D.J. O’Brien’s practice is constantly evolving to advise and represent employers and individuals in commercial litigation, employment law, and regulatory enforcement actions. He has deep experience in all levels of federal and state appellate and trial courts in North Carolina, including the N.C. Business Court.
D.J. represents businesses in a variety of employment-related litigation cases, including class and collective actions and discrimination and wage-and-hour claims, before state and federal agencies and courts. He has worked with companies in a broad variety of industries, including technology companies and franchises.
As part of his criminal and civil litigation practice, D.J. regularly represents individuals and corporations from a variety of industries, including the health care, construction, defense, transportation, and technology sectors, in claims asserted under the False Claims Act.
Recently, D.J.’s experience has included matters involving medical research grant fraud, including representing a whistleblower in a lawsuit against Duke University, who alleged that university researchers were committing grant fraud by relying on falsified experiment results. The case settled in 2019 for what is believed to be the largest recovery for research grant fraud in the history of the False Claims Act.
D.J. represents businesses and individuals in a range of sophisticated business disputes, including litigation involving the False Claims Act, securities, real estate, and shareholder disputes. He has deep experience litigating class and collective actions in state and federal court.
D.J. represents executives and companies who are under criminal or regulatory scrutiny concerning their business practices. He has extensive experience conducting sensitive internal investigations for companies, big and small, in an array of practice areas, including banking, health care, and securities.
Law Clerk to The Honorable James C. Dever, III, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina, 2006-07
Honors & Recognitions
Recognized as a "Labor and Employment Star" by Benchmark Litigation (2020-2023)
Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Employment Law - Management (2019-2023)
Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) as a “Rising Star” in Business Litigation (2012)
North Carolina Bar Association Leadership Academy, Inaugural Class (2011)
Wake Forest University School of Law, J.D., 2006; Editor-in-Chief, Wake Forest Law Review, 2005-06
Vanderbilt University, B.A., 1998
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th and 11th Circuits
U.S. District Court for the Western, Middle, and Eastern Districts of North Carolina
- Press Release06.21.2022
- RecognitionBenchmark Litigation, 10.07.2021
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.19.2021
- Press Release04.12.2021
- RecognitionBenchmark Litigation, 11.09.2020
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.20.2020
- Press ReleaseD.J. O’Brien Named President of the Federal Bar Association’s Middle District of North Carolina Chapter11.21.2019
- RecognitionBenchmark Litigation, 10.15.2019
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2019
- Press Release07.11.2019
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2018
- Press Release10.20.2016
- Press Release01.14.2014
- Press Release03.02.2011
- eventBrooks Pierce Hosts Webinar on Navigating Non-Compete, Non-Solicitation and Confidentiality Agreements05.27.2021
- Speaking Engagements07.16.2020
- Speaking Engagements04.25.2013
- Client AlertJustice Department and EEOC Issue Guidance on Disability Discrimination in Use of Artificial Intelligence in Hiring05.13.2022
- OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for Private Employers with more than 100 EmployeesCOVID-19 Response Resource Center: Timely Counsel for your Business, 11.04.2021
- Client Alert11.23.2016
- Client Alert05.20.2016
Professional & Civic
Professional & Civic Activities
Local Civil Rules Committee, United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (2019-present)
Member, Greensboro Criminal Justice Advisory Commission (2016-present)
Member, Board of Directors, Greensboro Rotary Club (2015-2018)
Member, Board of Trustees, AbolitionNC (2017-present)
Member, Our Lady of Grace Church Finance Council (2015-present)
President, Federal Bar Association, Middle District of North Carolina Chapter (2019-2020)
Youth Soccer Coach (2012-present)
Member, Board of Directors, HandyCapable Network, Inc. (2013-2016)
Member, Labor & Employment Law Section, North Carolina Bar Association
Member, Chief Justice Joseph Branch Inn of Court (2003-06, 2008-10)