John L. Brownlee

Partner
  • T 202.828.1854
  • T 703.720.8053

John Brownlee is the chair of Holland & Knight's National White Collar Defense and Investigations Team, the practice group leader for litigation in Northern Virginia and a member of the firm's Directors Committee. Mr. Brownlee is a trial lawyer with experience in white collar defense, securities enforcement and civil litigation — including grand jury and inspector general investigations, and investigations involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), False Claims Act, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and internal investigations. As a trial attorney, he represents many companies and individuals in criminal and civil litigation, as well as in administrative matters before various federal and state agencies. Mr. Brownlee holds a Top Secret/SCI level security clearance.

Mr. Brownlee worked at the highest levels of the Justice Department for nearly 11 years. He now defends businesses and individuals against investigations by the Justice Department and inspector generals throughout the federal government, and handles civil commercial disputes. He has litigated numerous cases to verdict, including two jury trials in 2014.

Mr. Brownlee served as the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia. Nominated by the president, he was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2001 and served with distinction for nearly seven years. As the district's chief federal law enforcement official, Mr. Brownlee supervised the prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of all civil matters involving the federal government. He served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 1997 through 2001. During his service at the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. Brownlee litigated numerous jury trials and argued many cases before appellate courts of the United States and District of Columbia.

Prior to joining the U.S. Justice Department, Mr. Brownlee served as a law clerk for the Honorable Sam Wilson, U.S. District Judge, Western District of Virginia. He also served on active duty in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer and was a member of the Judge Advocate General Corps in the U.S. Army Reserves. Mr. Brownlee is a graduate of the Army's Airborne and Ranger programs. He previously served as an adjunct law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law where he taught trial advocacy.

Representative Engagements

  • Defended a public company before the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding allegations related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Defended a privately held company regarding allegations related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that resulted in no liability or fines imposed
  • Defended a former chairman and chief executive officer of a Fortune 20 company in a criminal investigation before the U.S. Department of Justice in New York
  • Defended a food manufacturer in an emergency FDA inspection involving a recall of multiple products and daily interaction with the FDA and CDC
  • Defended an energy company in a five week civil jury trial against allegations of fraud and breach of contract
  • Defended the governor of Virginia in a criminal investigation and six week jury trial in a federal court in Virginia
  • Defended a public company in a False Claims Act litigation in federal court in California
  • Defended a government contractor in a False Claims Act litigation in federal court in Virginia
  • Defended a public long-term care pharmacy services company in a False Claims Act litigation in federal court in Virginia
  • Defended a U.S. government contractor before the U.S. Department of Justice regarding allegations of fraud in federal court in Utah
  • Defended a U.S. government contractor before the U.S. Department of Justice regarding allegations of fraud in federal court in Florida
  • Defended two foreign companies before the U.S. Department of Justice regarding allegations of foreign bribery
  • Defended a foreign company before the U.S. Department of Justice regarding allegations of theft of trade secrets
  • Defended the president of a foreign company before the U.S. Department of Justice regarding allegations of foreign bribery
  • Conducted an internal investigation regarding the False Claims Act for a multibillion-dollar U.S. government contractor
  • Defended a foreign individual before the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding allegations of securities fraud and bank fraud in federal court in New York
  • Defended an executive of a major nonprofit during an investigation by a U.S. Office of the Inspector General
  • Defended a multibillion-dollar U.S. government contractor before the U.S. Department of Justice regarding allegations of fraud
  • Defended a multibillion-dollar U.S. government contractor before the Small Business Administration regarding suspension proceedings
  • Defended a U.S. government contractor and its president before the U.S. Department of Justice regarding allegations of fraud and bribery
  • Defended a mortgage services company before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Defended a plaintiff in a civil case filed in federal court regarding allegations of securities fraud

Honors & Awards

  • Regulatory & Compliance Trailblazer, The National Law Journal, June 2015
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2013-2016
  • President's Council on Integrity & Efficiency, Award for Excellence, 2007
  • National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, Investigation of the Year, Honorable Mention, 2007
  • Chief's Award, Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, 2007
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Special Achievement Award for Sustained Superior Performance, 2000

Memberships

  • Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, Permanent Member
  • The Edward Bennett Williams American Inn of Court, Member
  • National Association of Former United States Attorneys, Member
  • Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, 2011- Present
  • Virginia State Bar (Criminal Law Section), Board of Governors, 2005-2008