Mike O'Brien is the go-to attorney for clients faced with urgent labor and employment issues. His reputation is built on being responsive to his clients' needs while helping them creatively navigate their thorniest problems.
Mike has extensive experience in matters related to collective bargaining (blue-collar and white-collar), union organizing, labor arbitrations, unfair labor practice charges, and general labor-management relations. He also leads internal workplace investigations, counsels on crisis management, and trains on discrimination avoidance and other HR matters. Mike's clients range from the largest Fortune 50 companies to utilities, Alaska Native Corporations, and regional and local businesses.
If litigation becomes inevitable, Mike is as comfortable in the courtroom as he is in the boardroom. He has been fiercely litigating on behalf of clients for over two decades, with more than 60 jury trials and frequent appearances before the NLRB, the EEOC, ASCHR, the U.S. Department of Education, and other federal and state administrative agencies.
Mike exemplifies DWT's commitment to pro bono legal assistance, with a long track record of representing domestic violence victims, especially those whose citizenship, sexual orientation, or income make them particularly prone to exploitation or abuse.
Cutting-edge labor advising
Higher ed expertise
Admitted to Practice
J.D., Vermont Law School, 2002, cum laude
M.A., Environmental Law, Vermont Law School, 2002, cum laude
M.A., Classics, St. John's College, 1998
B.A., English, University of Montana, 1996
Memberships & Affiliations
- Alaska Bar Association, Employment Law Section, 2011-present
- Federal Bar Association, Alaska Chapter: President, 2021-2023; Executive Committee, 2020-2023
- Fairbanks Northstar Borough School Board: Vice President, 2016-2017; Elected Member, 2014 -2017
- Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks: President, 2009-2011; Board Member, 2008-2012; Coach, 2010-present
- Eagle Scout
- Named as one of "America's Leading Lawyers for Business" by Chambers USA in Labor & Employment (Alaska), 2023
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America: Employment Law – Management; Litigation – Labor and Employment Law, 2021-2023
- Brian Timbers Pro Bono Award, Alaska Bar Association, 2014
- Partner, Perkins Coie LLP, Anchorage/Fairbanks, Alaska, 2019-2023
- Director, Office of Public Advocacy, Fairbanks, Alaska, 2019
- Associate General Counsel, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, 2008-2019
- Assistant Public Defender, State of Alaska, 2003-2008
- Judicial Law Clerk, Hon. Charles Pengilly, Superior Court of Alaska, 2002-2003