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6th Annual Asset Recovery International
5 - 7 February 2025
The ConradDublin

John Brownlee
Chair, National White Collar Defense and Investigations Team at Holland & Knight (USA)


John Brownlee is chair of Holland & Knight's National White Collar Defense and Investigations Team, and a former member of the firm's Directors Committee. Mr. Brownlee has extensive experience in white collar defense, securities enforcement, World Bank investigations, and internal and Congressional investigations, having represented many companies and individuals in criminal and civil litigation, as well as in administrative matters before various federal and state agencies. He has litigated numerous cases to verdict.

Mr. Brownlee has had a distinguished career in public service, serving more than 10 years at the U.S. Department of Justice – both as the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. During his tenue at the Justice Department, he spearheaded a myriad of high-profile investigations and prosecutions including, the first conviction of a major defense contractor for violating the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, convictions of corrupt public officials, and helped develop a novel legal theory by using the Violence Against Women's Act in a successful double-murder prosecution.

Mr. Brownlee is perhaps most well-known for leading a team that secured the first conviction of a major pharmaceutical company for its role in the opioid epidemic in the United States. In 2007, after a five-year investigation, Purdue Pharma, and its top three executives, were convicted of misbranding its powerful opioid, OxyContin, and ordered to pay a record $634 million in fines. Mr. Brownlee testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee regarding his investigation and was lauded by both political parties for his work on the case. Mr. Brownlee and his team of prosecutors are depicted in the Hulu award-winning miniseries, "Dopesick," which explores the origins of America's opioid crisis and follows his team's investigation and prosecution of Purdue Pharma.

As a defense attorney, Mr. Brownlee has successfully defended numerous individuals and corporations, including the former Governor of Virginia, members of the Saudi Royal family, major defense contractors, and health care companies.

Prior to joining the Justice Department, he served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Sam Wilson. In addition, Mr. Brownlee served on active duty in the U.S. Army in the infantry and in the Judge Advocate General Corps (U.S. Army Reserves), and is a graduate of the Army's Airborne and Ranger programs.

Agenda Sessions

  • Keynote