David W. Ogden


Chair, Government and Regulatory Litigation Practice Group

Ogden, David W.

A nationally recognized litigator and counselor with more than thirty years' experience, David Ogden focuses his practice on complex disputes with serious financial implications. He served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2010 and as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, from 1999 to 2001. Mr. Ogden is chair of the firm's Government and Regulatory Litigation Group.

Principal areas of practice include:

  • civil litigation and government enforcement actions under regulatory regimes such as the False Claims Act, fair lending and other anti-discrimination laws, the antitrust or competition laws, securities laws, fraud, consumer protection, financial services, and environmental laws;
  • matters raising issues of public and private international law, such as transnational litigation in US courts, transnational regulation and enforcement, investor-state disputes, enforcement of foreign judgments, injunctions against foreign litigation, and controversies outside the United States;
  • administrative law and other litigation involving defects in government regulations or other official actions;
  • litigation to restrain the enforcement of federal or state statutes, including first amendment, federal preemption, Commerce Clause, equal protection, due process, and expropriation issues;
  • development and advocacy of policy reforms relating to litigation and enforcement issues; and
  • Supreme Court and appellate litigation.

Mr. Ogden is consistently highly ranked by leading publications such as Chambers USA, which describes him as a “fabulous litigator” with extensive experience in both civil and criminal litigation. Clients say he "gets right to the heart of a point and at the same time can see the whole picture and look for areas of legal risk." Best Lawyers in America in its 2017 edition rated him first among all regulatory enforcement litigators in Washington DC, naming him its “Lawyer of the Year" in that category. Additionally, U.S. News - Best Lawyers reported in its 2016 “Best Law Firms” rankings that Mr. Ogden “is both a great litigator and a great counselor. He understands that litigation is a tool and not an end in itself. He is highly strategic, great at seeing around corners, and a pleasure to work with to boot.” In 2017, Mr. Ogden was named an Acritas Star Lawyer following an independent survey of general counsel and other legal executives who commented that "he is a brilliant lawyer who sees strategic issues very clearly and has always tried to keep an eye on practicalities in litigation and complex matters.”

His clients have included leading companies in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, technology, retail, insurance, defense, financial, manufacturing, airline, automotive, rail, media, entertainment, and government services industries, as well as major trade and professional associations, nonprofit foundations, and individuals.

Government Experience

Mr. Ogden served as the Deputy Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2010. In that position, he was the second ranking official of the United States Department of Justice and its chief operating officer, supervising the Justice Department's 110,000 employees, almost $30 billion budget, and all of its components and operations. Among the components reporting to Mr. Ogden were the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies, the 93 United States Attorneys Offices, and all of the Justice Department's national litigating divisions including the Criminal Division, National Security Division, Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, Antitrust Division, Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Tax Division. He led major Justice Department and Executive Branch initiatives addressing healthcare fraud, financial and mortgage fraud, international organized crime, Mexican drug cartels, immigration, international tax enforcement, the government's compliance with criminal and civil discovery, and law enforcement in Indian Country. He worked regularly with the leaders of foreign justice and interior ministries on international disputes and national security and law enforcement matters.

Earlier, Mr. Ogden served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division (1999-2001), where he directed the Justice Department's largest litigating unit representing federal agencies and officials in major civil litigation, including the government's largest regulatory, constitutional, international, national security, administrative, government contract, commercial, fraud and false claims, tort, immigration, and consumer matters. He also served as Chief of Staff and Counselor to former Attorney General Janet Reno (1997-1999), Associate Deputy Attorney General (1995-1997), and Deputy General Counsel and Legal Counsel at the United States Department of Defense (1994-1995).

Honors & Awards

  • Selected as a leading lawyer for his work in the litigation field in the 2013-2016 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of Best Lawyers in America for Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy), and was named the Washington DC "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement in the 2017 edition
  • Named a 2017 Acritas Star Lawyer, an independent survey of general counsel and other legal executives around the world to identify exemplary outside counsel
  • Recommended in the 2016 edition of The Legal 500 United States in the areas of energy: regulatory, commercial litigation and energy law
  • Named by The Ethisphere Institute to its 2015 list of Attorneys Who Matter in the Specialists - Private Practice category. 
  • Recommended as a litigation star in Washington DC in Benchmark Litigation's The Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (2008, 2012-2016)
  • Edward H. Levi Award for Outstanding Professionalism and Exemplary Integrity, US Department of Justice (2010) 
  • Named a 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Washington DC Super Lawyer for business litigation
  • One of Washington Business Journal's "Top Washington Lawyers" in the area of corporate litigation (2006)
  • National Law Journal Pro Bono Award (2006)
  • Outstanding Legal Service Award, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (2005)
  • Edmund J. Randolph Award for Outstanding Service, US Department of Justice (2001)
  • Attorney General's Medallion, US Department of Justice (1999)
  • Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service (1995)

Publications & News


April 28, 2017

WilmerHale Partners Ogden and Machen Chosen to Monitor Tenet Healthcare

Tenet and the US Department of Justice jointly selected the WilmerHale partners, pursuant to the terms of the non-prosecution agreement the health care giant reached last year with the DOJ to settle kickback allegations.

February 10, 2017

WilmerHale Scores Win for DaVita, Preserves Insurance Access for Kidney Patients

WilmerHale achieved a major victory when a federal district court in Texas issued a nationwide injunction protecting patients' access to health coverage during their final stage of chronic kidney disease in response to a legal challenge filed by the kidney care community.

January 31, 2017

False Claims Act: 2016 Year-in-Review

In 2016, the Department of Justice continued to give high priority to False Claims Act investigations and prosecutions.

August 23, 2016

High Court Inclusive Communities Ruling: 1 Year Later

In this article published by Law360, authors David Ogden, Franca Harris Gutierrez, Debo Adegbile, Michael Gordon, Stephen Carey, Sky Lynn Perryman and Adriel Cepeda Derieux analyze the evolution of disparate impact doctrine since the court's Inclusive Communities decision, with a particular focus on how the decision appears to be affecting enforcement cases brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

August 15, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers Named Among the 2017 Best Lawyers in America®, Six Recognized as Lawyers of the Year

Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry—recognizes 101 WilmerHale lawyers and names six partners as Lawyers of the Year in its 23rd edition.

August 11, 2016

Supreme Court Upholds Implied Certification Liability, While Emphasizing Materiality Requirement

Authors Jonathan G. Cedarbaum, Karen F. Green and David W. Ogden explain the US Supreme Court's recent unanimous decision to uphold the “implied certification” theory of liability under the False Claims Act and discuss the implications for future False Claims Act cases; published in the August 2016 edition of Pratt's Government Contracting Law Report, Vol. 2, No. 8.

June 22, 2016

The Legal 500 United States 2016 Recognizes 111 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 30 Practice Areas

The guide's rankings are based on a series of criteria, including client feedback, interviews with private practice lawyers, and its own research.

June 16, 2016

Supreme Court Upholds Implied Certification Liability, While Emphasizing Materiality Requirement

In Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the “implied certification” theory of liability under the False Claims Act (FCA), while emphasizing that only material misrepresentations are actionable.

June 9, 2016

David Ogden Calls for DOJ to Return to a Punishment-Fits-the-Crime Settlement Approach

David Ogden warned in a recent and important speech that the Department of Justice's current tendency to use its vast power to extract disproportionate monetary penalties from many companies that fall under its prosecutorial glare is actually counterproductive.

May 27, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2016 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2016 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 47 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 82 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

Representative Matters

International Disputes  

  • Obtaining for a US petrochemical company judicial declarations that foreign judgments totaling more than $500 million are unenforceable in the United States
  • Successfully managing for US pharmaceutical and international petro-chemical companies high-stakes litigations in foreign courts raising issues of judicial corruption and investor-state protections
  • Representing an American company in litigation against a foreign state under the expropriation and commercial activities exceptions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act
  • Representing a foreign sovereign in US litigation with another foreign sovereign concerning ownership of mineral rights
  • Successfully defending foreign airlines in two separate US antitrust litigations seeking more than $50 billion in damages, and managing related litigation worldwide
  • Successfully representing an international law firm in a civil racketeering suit brought by a former adversary in international arbitration
  • Representing corporate clients in investor-state arbitration under ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules  
  • Representing a former US Secretary of State in Alien Tort Statute litigation

Government and Public Policy Litigation and Investigations  

  • Successfully representing an international law firm in a civil RICO action
  • Representing defense, retail and entertainment industry clients in qui tam actions brought under the False Claims Act
  • Representing insurance, pharmaceutical, technology, banking, and, government service companies in Justice Department False Claims investigations
  • Representing financial institutions in CFPB investigations under fair lending, RESPA, and other regulatory regimes
  • Representing manufacturing, legal services, and financial services entities in SEC investigations
  • Obtaining on behalf of a major national mortgage lender dismissal with prejudice of a putative nationwide discrimination class action and representing an investment bank in similar litigation
  • Representing a major insurance company in fair lending investigation by a state regulatory authority
  • Obtaining for a trade association summary judgment striking down on Commerce Clause and preemption grounds a state price control statute
  • Obtaining for a trade association summary judgment striking down on preemption grounds a state statute that invalidated arbitration clauses in certain agreements
  • Advising a major insurance company and other financial institutions with respect to Dodd-Frank issues, including the Financial Stability Oversight Council
  • Submitting amicus briefs for a major professional and scientific association and a major industry association in the US Supreme Court and other appellate courts

Professional Activities

  • Public Member, Administrative Conference of the United States, 2010-2016
  • Senior Fellow, Administrative Conference of the United States, 2016-present
  • Board Member, District of Columbia Bar Foundation, 2015-present
  • Member, Janet Reno Endowment National Advisory Committee, McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, 2016-present