Brendan R. McGuire

Brendan R. McGuire is an accomplished trial lawyer, litigator and advisor for individual and corporate clients. He represents officers, directors, professionals and corporations in sensitive and complex trials, investigations and other criminal and civil proceedings. Mr. McGuire has handled significant matters that involve all aspects of white collar crime, including allegations of securities fraud, accounting fraud, tax offenses, bribery, embezzlement, money laundering and FCPA violations. Mr. McGuire also advises in the areas of national security, cybersecurity and privacy, and export controls and economic sanctions. In addition to his criminal work, Mr. McGuire also represents corporations and individuals in complex commercial litigation.         

His recent notable representations include securing the dismissal, prior to trial, of a civil complaint against an international consulting firm alleging computer hacking and the theft of trade secrets filed in California federal court; the defense at trial in the Southern District of New York of a former pharmaceutical executive against charges of fraud and money laundering; and the representation of a financial services firm in connection with high-profile parallel investigations by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.    

Before joining WilmerHale, Mr. McGuire served for more than ten years as an Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During his tenure as Assistant US Attorney, Mr. McGuire was appointed to lead the Public Corruption Unit and then the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. As chief of the Public Corruption Unit, Mr. McGuire led some of the most notable investigations and prosecutions of New York officials in recent years, as well as cases involving violations of securities fraud, the federal fraud and bribery statutes, healthcare fraud and tax evasion. He also oversaw multiple corporate prosecutions, including the settlement of the largest municipal fraud case in history. During his tenure as chief of the Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit, Mr. McGuire supervised investigations and prosecutions of international and domestic terrorism, money laundering, violations of economic sanctions and export control laws, espionage, and global narcotics trafficking. In that position, he regularly coordinated criminal investigations with the intelligence community, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Defense, the Department of State and foreign governments. Prior to his supervisory positions as a member of the Terrorism Unit, Mr. McGuire handled some of the most significant terrorism cases within the Department of Justice, including the 2009 kidnapping of Captain Richard Phillips by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, the 2010 prosecution of Faisal Shahzad for the attempted bombing of Times Square and the 2011 prosecution of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for conspiring to kill Americans.

After receiving his law degree, Mr. McGuire practiced as a litigator at two prominent New York law firms where he specialized in white-collar defense and corporate investigations. He also clerked for the Honorable Peter K. Leisure of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

Professional Activities

Mr. McGuire is a Lecturer in Law at Columbia University School of Law, where he teaches national security law. He also serves on the Board of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and the John Jay College Foundation, and recently completed his term on the Board of Trustees of Regis High School. He is also a member of the Lawyers Council for the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City and is an active member of federal and state bar organizations.

  • WilmerHale Launches Podcast, In the Public Interest

    From COVID-19 and civil unrest to climate change and beyond, explore the legal and policy challenges capturing the public interest. WilmerHale Partners John Walsh and Brendan McGuire provide a front-row seat to the events making headlines. In each podcast episode, they’ll pass the mic to those with unique perspectives on the most challenging issues of the day.

    Read More
  • A Conversation on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    In the final episode of season one of WilmerHale’s podcast, In the Public Interest, co-hosts Brendan McGuire and John Walsh welcome Partner Brittany Amadi, who is joined by guests Malini Moorthy and Ajit Narang to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Medtronic. 

    August 9, 2021
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    • Represented US financial services firms in parallel investigations by the DOJ and the SEC regarding employee theft and misconduct
    • Represented elected New York State official in parallel federal and state investigations of public corruption and tax fraud
    • Represented US trading firm in connection with DOJ investigation of theft of trade secrets and cyber intrusion
    • Represented former employee of Fortune 500 company in connection with DOJ fraud and money laundering investigation and related civil litigation
    • Advised global financial services firm regarding misconduct by senior employee
    • Represented employees of international airline in DOJ investigation of illegal smuggling
  • Pro Bono Matters

    • Represented indigent criminal defendant charged with fraud by DOJ
    • Represented nonprofit athletic commission in DOJ corruption investigation


  • Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White Collar (2021–2022)
  • Chambers USA: World's Leading Lawyers for Business, Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (New York) (2020–2021)
  • Henry L. Stimson Medal for outstanding career performance as an Assistant US Attorney (2015)
  • Federal Law Enforcement Foundation Prosecutor of the Year (2013)
  • National Committee on American Foreign Policy 21st Century Leader Award (2012)
  • Anti-Defamation League Shield Award (2012)
  • Attorney General's Award (2011)

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, New York University School of Law, 2002

    • BA, Williams College, 1998

  • Admissions

    • New York

  • Clerkships

    • The Hon. Peter K. Leisure, US District Court for the Southern District of New York