Karen O’Brien is a seasoned government contracts attorney and recognized expert on procurement law. Karen provides high-level acquisition assessment reviews, strategic assessments, and acquisition assistance to numerous federal agencies.

Karen has extensive experience working with the Department of Veterans Affairs on A-123 acquisition reviews. She is currently working with the Federal Acquisition Institute on the development of an extensive contracting specialist smart tool which will guide users through the maze of the acquisition process and provide tips and best practices. She recently finished a study for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Inspector General on current practices pertaining to CORs and actions needed to ensure compliance and improve COR outcomes.

Ms. O’Brien is an author on key texts in the field of government contracting, including The Government Contracts Reference Book and Competitive Negotiation: The Source Selection Process (published by CCH Publishing).
Prior to joining Jefferson in 2005, Ms. O’Brien was with the firm of McCarthy, Sweeney and Harkaway, P.C. where she practiced in the area of government contract law, including contract administration matters, claims, disputes and bid protests. Prior to that, Ms. O’Brien managed the Government Contracts publications program of the George Washington University Law School.

Karen began her career as a procurement law attorney in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. While in the Army, Ms. O’Brien served as the legal advisor to the Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting and the Head of Contracting Activity in Southwest Asia. She also served as a staff attorney for the DoD Advisory Panel on Streamlining and Codifying the Acquisition Process (Section 800 Panel).

Karen received a Juris Doctor from the Vermont Law School and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Niagara University.