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O'Kelly E. McWilliams, III

Member

[email protected]

+1.202.434.7407

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O’Kelly has collaborated with some of the world’s leading companies, asset managers and emerging businesses to advance their business objectives and mitigate risk. His practice primarily involves handling employment aspects of M&A and other corporate transactions as well as employment disputes, internal investigations, and compensation matters. He works predominantly with financial services clients, including hedge funds, private equity firms, and investment firms with up to $10 billion under management, as well as C-suite executives, boards of directors, and cross-border management teams.

O’Kelly maintains a robust network of more than 80 diverse-owned and emerging private equity firms and hedge funds in the country through his involvement with the National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC). He also serves as chair of the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Retirement System, a pension plan valued at nearly $88 billion.

O’Kelly provides guidance on managing employee relationships and has helped many companies investigate and respond to allegations of employer misconduct. He has helped companies handle whistleblower allegations and investigations and conduct investigations of employee misconduct, including trade secret theft. His experience also includes conducting confidential internal company investigations related to allegations of accounting and financial wrongdoing, corporate waste, discrimination, harassment, and unethical dealings. He has also worked with companies to respond to such allegations.

To help organizations manage employee relationships and reduce their liability, O’Kelly works with them to establish industry-specific employment policies and to provide board members and managers with compliance and employment training. He also conducts compensation audits to mitigate risks related to pay disparity issues. O’Kelly has significant experience helping clients develop, negotiate, and draft executive employment, noncompete, independent contractor and consulting, severance, change in control, and other complex agreements. In addition, he handles equity-based compensation and incentive plans and helps clients assess the risks associated with terminating employment and independent contractor relationships.

Prior to joining us in 2018, O’Kelly established, grew, and managed the DC, Virginia, and Maryland offices of a large national law firm. His experience also includes working with other prominent law firms in the DC area. From 2005 to 2007, he was a Member at Mintz. O’Kelly also clerked with the Honorable Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia.

He is frequently invited to lecture and present on employment law matters, including issues related to employment due diligence in business transactions, executive employment agreements, trade secrets, and D&O risk mitigation.

Education

  • George Mason University (JD)
  • Longwood University (BS)

Experience

Internal Investigations

  • Advised the Audit Committee of a publicly traded company and conducted internal investigation based on whistleblower allegations related to a key member of the Executive Leadership Team
  • Advised Board of Directors of a large non-profit and conducted internal investigation based on allegations from senior management of an inappropriate relationship between the Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel and other violations of Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Advised the Administration and Compensation Committee of a large private company and conducted investigation based on claims of disparate treatment in compensation and promotions
  • Advised the Board of Directors of high-profile non-profit and conducted an internal investigation based on suspicions of fraud, abuse and of violation of the organization’s conflict of interests, expense and reimbursement policies.
  • Advised Board of Directors of a publicly traded company and conducted investigation based on complaints of mismanagement and waste related to internal technology modernization projects

Transactional Guidance

  • Currently assisting a NY-based investment firm by sourcing and seeking access to additional capital
  • Currently representing a Chicago-based investment bank and management firm in raising their first fund, in addition to performing work related to bonds and issuances
  • Currently representing a global investment and advisory firm with $55 billion under management in employment and corporate matters

Recognition & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America: Litigation - Labor and Employment (2017- 2021)
  • Included on the DC Super Lawyers Employment & Labor, Employment Litigation: Defense, and Business/Corporate list (2014 – 2020)

Involvement

  • Chair, Board of Trustees, Virginia Retirement System (an almost $88 billion public pension plan)
  • Chairman, Epsilon Zeta Boule Foundation
  • Co-general counsel, National Association of Investment Companies
  • General counsel, MVP International Athletics

Viewpoints

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Artificial Intelligence in the Employment Relationship: Friend or Foe?

August 21, 2019 | Blog | By O'Kelly E. McWilliams, III, Jennifer Budoff

Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) is no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies or alien invasions.  The technology has permeated everyday life from Siri and Alexa to Facebook and Google.  While marketing teams have been relying on AI for years to help streamline business efforts and target consumers, employers have finally joined in on the hype. 
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2019 Trends in Employment Law

April 15, 2019 | Video | By O'Kelly E. McWilliams, III

O'Kelly E. McWilliams, III takes a look at the trends impacting employment law in 2019 which include a taking holistic approach to the work place,  transparency related to compensation, and more.
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Mintz 4th Annual Employment Law Summit – The High Cost of Worker Misclassification

March 28, 2018 | Blog | By O'Kelly E. McWilliams III, David Lagasse

Join us in a discussion on the increasingly complex landscape of employee misclassification as we explore best practices to help your company avoid the costly pitfalls and time consuming litigation that can result from this expensive mistake. An estimated 3.4 million employees are misclassified as independent contractors when they should be reported as employees.
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News & Press

Mintz attorneys O’Kelly E. McWilliams III and Jennifer R. Budoff have authored this high-level overview of some of the more prevalent challenges employers may encounter when deploying AI in the workplace, and guidance on the proactive steps employers should consider.
O’Kelly McWilliams is among the sources providing commentary in this article on how employers can improve upon written warnings issued to employees. The piece notes that with more constructive and more specific written warnings can lead to improvement in employees’ behavior and help employers more effectively manage their workforce.
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Mintz is pleased to welcome back O'Kelly E. McWilliams III, who returns to the firm as a Member in the Employment, Labor & Benefits Section. His clients include multi-national companies, private equity firms, and emerging businesses.
Mintz Member O’Kelly McWilliams was featured in a February 5th article in Law360. O’Kelly recently rejoined the Washington, D.C. office. Most recently, he was the managing partner of the Gordon & Rees, LLP Washington, DC office.