Skip to main content

O'Kelly E. McWilliams, III


[email protected]



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 over $100 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.


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


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 Senior Management Team related to whistleblower allegations of disparate treatment based on supervision and management practices
  • 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- 2022)
  • Included on the DC Super Lawyers Employment & Labor, Employment Litigation: Defense, and Business/Corporate list (2014 – 2021)


  • 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

Recent Insights

News & Press



ESG Thumbnail

How Investors Evaluate a Company’s ESG

March 24, 2022 | Blog | By O'Kelly E. McWilliams III

Investment funds that target companies with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies have experienced record growth. Yet it’s difficult for companies to know which ESG actions will affect the value of their stock. Although ESG rating providers focus on different ESG elements and market pricing of corporate ESG actions has been uneven, companies can take steps to influence how their ESG activity is valued.
Read more
Webinar Reference Image

What Does ESG Mean for Your Organization?

March 3, 2022 | Webinar | By O'Kelly E. McWilliams III

In the latest discussion in our ESG webinar series, O’Kelly E. McWilliams III was joined by an informative panel featuring Katherine Grawe, Joe Aguilar, and Mamadou-Abou Sarr. In this webinar, our panelists explored how a variety of issues informed the deployment of ESG policies and shared best practices for putting ESG into action.
Read more
Conference Reference Image

Conference Recordings: Mintz's Annual Employment Law Summit

March 12, 2021 | Webinar | By Michael Arnold, David Barmak, Micha Mitch Danzig, Geri Haight, Andrew Matzkin, David Lagasse, O'Kelly E. McWilliams, III, Jennifer Rubin, Tyrone Thomas, Alexander Hecht, Danielle Bereznay, Delaney Busch, Corbin Carter, Emma Follansbee, Natalie C. Groot, Paul Huston, Brie Kluytenaar, Brendan Lowd, Nicole Rivers, Richard Block

Mintz’s Annual Employment Law Summit brought together thought leaders to discuss the most pressing issues employers are facing in today’s unprecedented work environment. Attendees heard presentations on the continued impact of COVID-19; social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives; recent and anticipated changes to employment laws; and best practices for managing sensitive employee situations.
Read more
Viewpoint Thumbnail

Artificial Intelligence in the Employment Relationship: Friend or Foe?

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

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. 
Read more
Viewpoint Thumbnail

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.
Read more

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.
Read more

News & Press

Press Release Thumbnail
Mintz continues its ongoing commitment to ensuring the firm is an equitable workplace, establishing a new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee that reports directly to the firm's main decision making body, the Policy Committee. The new Equity Advisory Council (EAC) will be responsible for driving equity for the firm’s attorneys, especially women, attorneys of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys.
News Thumbnail
Mintz Member O’Kelly McWilliams and Associate Jennifer Budoff co-authored a Law360 Expert Analysis article providing guidance to employers on issues to consider when linking environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics with executive compensation.
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.
Press Release Thumbnail
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.