FacultyFaculty/Author Profile
John J. O'Donnell

John J. O'Donnell

Herbert Smith Freehills

New York, NY, USA


John O'Donnell is a Partner in the firm's Corporate Crime and Investigations Group.  His practice focuses on the areas of white collar criminal defense and related regulatory proceedings, internal investigations and complex commercial litigation.  John has extensive trial and appellate experience, having served as lead counsel in more than seventeen federal jury trials and having briefed and argued more than a dozen appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Professional background

Prior to joining Herbert Smith Freehills, John spent ten years as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Southern District of New York, five of which were in the Office’s securities fraud unit, nearly five years in the Enforcement Division at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and more than eight years in private practice.   While working as a federal prosecutor he investigated and prosecuted cases involving securities and commodities fraud, including accounting fraud, insider trading, ponzi schemes, and market manipulation, as well as money laundering, mail and wire fraud, and other violations of federal law.

John served as a Law Clerk for U.S. District Court Judge John E. Sprizzo in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1989-1991.  He graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 1989 with a J.D. (cum laude).  He was an Associate Editor of the Fordham Law Review.  He obtained a B.A. in History from Fordham College in 1986.

Significant Representations

  • Representing a foreign state owned energy company in connection with a United States Department of Justice investigation and prosecution of the company's U.S. country head.
  • Representing a foreign bank in connection with bankruptcy proceedings concerning Oak Rock Financial's collapse due to its founder's fraudulent conduct.
  • Providing advice concerning U.S. securities regulatory issues to foreign financial service firms and their U.S. affiliates.

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