Brent J. Gurney

Brent Gurney has significant jury trial and other court experience in complex civil and criminal cases throughout the United States with more than 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer and litigator in civil and criminal matters. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; a Member of its Complex Litigation Committee; and a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. He is also listed in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation and White Collar Criminal Defense and recognized in the 2015–2018 editions of Washington DC Super Lawyers for his Criminal Defense: White Collar practice.

Among Mr. Gurney's substantial jury trials is his defense of a former manager for a medical device manufacturer who was alleged to have participated in a fraudulent off-label marketing scheme. In that case, Mr. Gurney obtained a complete dismissal of all charges following opening statements and testimony from the government's first witness. called the dismissal "quite the dramatic turn." The dismissal was one of five cases featured in "Winning," the National Law Journal's annual report on significant trial victories. (National Law Journal/, "Winning," March 12, 2012.). Mr. Gurney's significant jury trials also include the jury verdict for IGEN that allowed it to terminate its licensing agreement with Roche, IGEN's key business objective, and awarded $505 million in damages. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit sustained the termination right, after which Roche purchased IGEN in a $1.25 billion deal. The $505 million jury verdict, which the Fourth Circuit reduced, ranks fourth in the National Law Journal's top verdicts of 2002.

Mr. Gurney’s litigation experience is broad and diverse. He has represented clients on complex matters including the False Claim Act, mortgage and financial fraud, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, complex construction disputes, trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement, healthcare fraud, criminal tax violations, and constitutional challenges to restrictive dealer franchise laws. He has represented major cities in sensitive and high profile civil rights pattern and practice investigations of US police departments. He has also handled numerous internal investigations into a wide variety of financial and other matters for clients in the US, Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and the Middle East.

Mr. Gurney previously served as Assistant US Attorney in the US Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland, and was later appointed Deputy Chief for the Southern Division. Mr. Gurney prosecuted, conducted and oversaw grand jury investigations involving money laundering, healthcare fraud, bank fraud, credit card fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, government contracts fraud, federal income tax evasion, violent crime, narcotics, the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act, and asset forfeiture.

Mr. Gurney served as a member of the teaching faculty for Harvard Law School's Trial Advocacy Workshop in January 2016.

Recent Publications & Highlights

Pro Bono Work

Mr. Gurney maintains an active pro bono practice, which has included a number of matters for military veterans, including a former Navy Seal, and veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He is a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panels for the US District Courts for the District of Columbia and Maryland, which provide representation to indigent defendants facing charges in federal court. 

Professional Activities

Mr. Gurney presented at the ACTL CLE on "Opening Statements and Closing Arguments" on June 6, 2017.

Mr. Gurney spoke at the ACEC Meeting in Washington DC as part of a panel in the session “No Disputing It: Risk Mitigation Strategies from an AE Litigator” on April 24, 2017.

Mr. Gurney spoke about several recent high profile criminal cases as part of a panel called "An Exploration of Ethical Issues Raised by Stevens, Stryker Biotech, and Similar Cases" at the Food and Drug Law Institute Annual Conference on April 25, 2012.

Mr. Gurney spoke in a panel entitled "Anatomy of a Health Care Fraud Case: Lessons from Stryker" at the Boston Bar Association Health Care Fraud 2012 CLE Program on April 10, 2012.

Mr. Gurney spoke in the panel "A Year in Legal Insight: Developments to Meet a Rapidly Evolving Industry" at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston which was part of the Medical Devices Summit 2012 produced by Opal Events on March 7, 2012.

Mr. Gurney presented "Disturbing Developments: Increased Strict Liability Prosecutions of Corporate Officers: The Crime of Doing Nothing" at the FDLI Enforcement and Litigation Conference in Washington DC on October 13, 2010.

Mr. Gurney presented "The Crime of Doing Nothing: Strict Liability for Corporate Officers under FDCA" at the FDLI Enforcement and Litigation Conference in Washington DC on October 13, 2009.

Mr. Gurney also presented "Problems and Pitfalls for In-House Counsel: Personal Liability of Corporate Counsel" at the Personal Care Products Council's 2009 Legal and Regulatory Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 18, 2009.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in The Daily Record on October 5, 2008. He discussed a recent law amending the Federal Rules of Evidence and limiting the circumstances under which attorney-client privilege is waived during discovery in the article, "New Rule Curbs Inadvertent Waiver."

Mr. Gurney was quoted in the September 30, 2008 article, "Embracing 502, the New Hope for Attorney-Client Privilege," which appeared in Compliance Week.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in the September 29, 2008 article, "New Discovery Rule to Curb Accidental Privilege Waiver," which appeared in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, discussing a newly signed law that amends the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in the March 2008 issue of the RPM Report article, "No Walk in the Park: FDA Talks Tough About Executive Accountability" discussing the applicability of the Park Doctrine in strict liability prosecutions in the pharmaceutical industry, under the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in the July 6, 2007 issue of Rx Compliance Report discussing strict liability prosecutions in the pharmaceutical industry under the responsible corporate officer doctrine.

Mr. Gurney was quoted in U.S. News & World Report concerning trends in white-collar crime: "The Crackdown Cracks, Getting tough on corporate crime is so yesterday. The pendulum is swinging back, hitting everyone from gumshoes to judges," U.S. News & World Report, April 24, 2006 (available at

Professional Affiliations

Gunther ACTL

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers     
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar
  • Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section
  • International Law Section
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Criminal Justice Section
  • Litigation Section
  • Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney, US District Court for the District of Columbia and US District Court for the District of Maryland 


  • Mr. Gurney has been quoted in, Bloomberg BNA Medical Devices Law & Industry Report,, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in connection with his representation at trial of the former regional manager for Stryker Biotech who was facing federal felony charges for his alleged participation in an off-label marketing scheme, but which were dismissed by federal prosecutors shortly after opening statements and the government's first witness in the interests of justice. (, "Government Settles with Stryker Biotech for $15 Million, Drops Charges Against Execs," January 19, 2012; Bloomberg BNA Health Care Fraud Report, "U.S. Drops Charges Against Last Stryker Biotech Official Remaining in Off-Label Case," February 8, 2012;, "Stryker Biotech Agrees to Plead Guilty to Misbranding Charge," January 19, 2012;, "Last of Individual Charges Dropped in Stryker Off-Label Case," February 13, 2012;, "Defense opening upends gov't case," January 26, 2012.)

  • Mr. Gurney was mentioned in a Legal Times article titled, "Flat-Screen Cost Controversy Goes Global," on March 30, 2009, for his work in what has been called "one of the largest price-fixing cases ever."

  • Represented Purdue Pharma in connection with a lengthy multi-year criminal investigation into the marketing and promotion of the painkiller, OxyContin, by the Department of Justice, US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia, the Food and Drug Administration, and other agencies.

  • Represented former Rep. Jim Kolbe (R. Ariz.) in connection with a Department of Justice and US Attorney's Office investigation that ended with no finding of wrongdoing. As noted in the June 18, 2007 issue of the Legal Times - under the heading "Wilmer's Save" - this "marked the second good outcome this year for members of Congress represented by WilmerHale."


  • Selected for inclusion in the 2018–2019 Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of Commercial Litigation and White-Collar Criminal Defense. WilmerHale's white collar and commercial litigation practices earned a first-tier ranking for the Washington DC area in the "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News - Best Lawyers®.
  • Selected by Washingtonian magazine as one of the 2015 Top Attorneys in DC for Criminal Defense/White Collar.
  • Recognized in the 2015–2018 editions of Washington DC Super Lawyers for his Criminal Defense: White Collar practice. 
  • Named a Life Sciences Star in the 2012–2018 editions of LMG Life Sciences for Government Enforcement/Investigation.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • Harvard Business School Online

      Credential of Readiness (CORe), Business Analytics, Financial Accounting, Economics for Managers, with High Honors, 2015
    • Harvard Business School Online

      Disruptive Strategy with Clayton Christensen: Certificate of Completion, December 2015

    • JD, Harvard Law School, 1985

      cum laude Comments Editor, Harvard International Law Journal
    • Thomas J. Watson Fellowship recipient
    • BA, Kalamazoo College, 1981

      magna cum laude Phi Beta Kappa
    • London School of Economics

      General Course Student
  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • United States Supreme Court

  • Clerkships

    • The Hon. Warren Matthews, Supreme Court of Alaska, 1985 - 1986