O'Kelly E. McWilliams III

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

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • Virginia

O’Kelly advises US and international clients on a wide range of business and employment law matters. He has extensive experience handling employment aspects of M&A and other corporate transactions as well as employment disputes and compensation issues. O’Kelly has collaborated with some of the world’s leading companies and emerging businesses to mitigate their risks and advance their business plans. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Retirement System — a nearly $80 billion pension plan — and participates on its Benefits & Actuarial, Audit and Compliance, Defined Contribution Plan, and Administration and Personnel committees.

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.  

Clients count on O’Kelly’s advice to guide them through difficult employee challenges. He has helped companies handle whistleblower allegations and investigations, and he has helped 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. 

In addition, O’Kelly has advised clients on the best ways to handle complex employee issues arising from company mergers and acquisitions as well as workforce restructuring. He regularly provides strategic counseling in assessing trade secret, confidential and proprietary information, contractual, and other risks associated with the potential hiring of executives and employee raiding from competitive entities.   

As a litigator, O’Kelly has represented clients in disputes involving breach of contract claims, the misappropriation of trade secrets, and employee raiding and noncompete agreements. 

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 Levin. 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.

Recognitions & Awards

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

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Virginia Retirement System (an almost $80 billion public pension plan)
  • Chairman, Epsilon Zeta Boule Foundation
  • Co-general counsel, National Association of Investment Companies
  • General counsel, MVP International Athletics