Marina Veljanovska O'Brien is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Washington, D.C., office and is a member of the firm's Business Section. Ms. O'Brien's practice focuses on regulatory compliance, with an emphasis on aviation and international trade law.

Ms. O'Brien advises airlines, airports, aviation service providers and pilots on compliance with applicable state, federal, foreign and international transportation, and trade-related laws and regulations. These include economic licensing, consumer protection, airport sponsors' obligations, airport privatization issues, transportation safety standards, antitrust and competition compliance, and risk assessment.

Additionally, Ms. O'Brien assists clients operating unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or drones) and those in need of obtaining special permits for transporting hazardous materials (HAZMAT).

As part of her conflict resolution practice, Ms. O'Brien represents clients in adversarial administrative proceedings and enforcement actions before government agencies. She has handled matters before the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Department of Homeland and Security's Transportation Security Agency (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Control (CBP), and U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). She has also assisted clients in resolving contractual and other disputes in state and federal courts or by using alternative dispute resolution methods.

Ms. O'Brien is also experienced in assisting clients on a wide range of commercial and business matters by conducting due diligence, negotiating and drafting various agreements, including documents related to the sale and purchase of aircraft and/or aircraft parts, aircraft dry and wet leases, fractional ownership and management agreements.

In the area of international trade law, Ms. O'Brien assists clients (including U.S. government and defense contractors) with registration, drafting of licenses, encryption reviews, voluntary disclosures and compliance under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Ms. O'Brien also counsels clients on compliance with U.S. trade embargoes and economic sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) and the U.S. Department of State, particularly with respect to Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Venezuela. Ms. O'Brien's practice also covers assisting clients with anti-boycott issues as well as compliance with U.S. anti-bribery/corruption legislation such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). She has assisted clients in developing new – or improving existing – export control, sanctions and FCPA compliance programs.

In addition, Ms. O'Brien has experience advising clients on Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and industrial security issues, especially in the context of mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Ms. O'Brien is active in Holland & Knight's pro bono program, through which she provides counseling to nonprofit organizations in connection with their humanitarian assistance, and regularly assists veterans with their disability benefits claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Prior to entering private practice, Ms. O'Brien served as a judicial law clerk in the Magistrate Judges Chambers of the D.C. Superior Court, where she successfully managed a civil docket of more than 2,000 cases.

During law school, Ms. O'Brien was hired by the World Bank to research and analyze foreign legal materials from several Balkan countries.


  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D.
  • Texas Lutheran University, B.A., cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • Women in Aviation International
  • Georgetown Women's Legal Alliance
  • United Macedonian Diaspora, Co-Founder and Board Member, 2004-2008
  • The William B. Bryant American Inn of Court, Executive Board Member and Team Co-Leader, 2011-2015
  • American Bar Association, Forum on Air & Space Law, 2019-Present
Honors & Awards
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2020, 2021
  • Outstanding Program Award, American Inns of Court, 2015
  • Best Team Presentation Award, The William B. Bryant Inn of Court, 2012
  • Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Contribution, Georgetown University Law Center, 2011
Spoken Languages
  • Bulgarian
  • Croatian
  • English
  • Macedonian
  • Serbian


Speaking Engagements