DONNELLY L. McDOWELL
Special Counsel
(202) 342-8645 (202) 342-8645
DONNELLY L. McDOWELL Special Counsel
Donnelly McDowell is special counsel in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Donnelly’s practice focuses on all aspects of advertising and consumer protection law with specialized concentrations in consumer finance, food and drug law, and direct sales and network marketing compliance.  Donnelly also has unique expertise in a number of niche subject matter areas, including consumer financial privacy, e-commerce transactions, rewards and loyalty programs, and gift cards.

Donnelly regularly represents clients in contested matters such as regulatory inquiries and investigations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), as well as state attorneys general and district attorneys.  Donnelly also represents challengers and advertisers before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the National Advertising Review Board (NARB).

In addition to contested work, Donnelly provides regulatory advice and helps clients develop strategies to balance regulatory and litigation risk.  Donnelly also assists clients in connection with due diligence assessments for potential acquisitions and investments, compliance audits to identify compliance gaps and solutions, and policy initiatives, such as by engaging with regulatory agencies in connection with rulemakings, guidance documents, and public meetings.  Donnelly’s client work spans a range of industries including retailers, e-commerce platforms, payment processers, manufacturers and distributors of FDA-regulated products and other consumer goods, and direct sellers and multi-level marketers.
 
Representative Contested Matters

Represented a major direct seller in an investigation and negotiations with the FTC arising out of alleged unfair and deceptive acts concerning its multi-level marketing program and how it represented its business opportunity.  Successfully negotiated a settlement that permitted the company to continue to operate and the case was closed.

Represented and successfully negotiated a settlement for national retailer in an FTC investigation related to compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the FTC’s Red Flags Rule.

Represented and successfully negotiated a settlement for a home service provider in connection with attorney general investigation into electronic billing and contract formation practices.

Represented and successfully negotiated a settlement for a telecommunications provider in connection with attorney general investigation into billing practices.

Represented and successfully negotiated a settlement for a financial services company in connection with a CFPB investigation into compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act.

Successfully challenged price claims related to a national grocery store before the National Advertising Division (NAD).

Part of a team that successfully represented a cooperative association of 450 family-owned dairies, maker of the best selling brand of butter in the Western U.S., in a class action filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that the labeling of certain of their dairy products were false and misleading in violation of the California Unfair Competition statutes, as well as the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.  Judge dismissed the case with prejudice on federal preemption grounds.

Representative Regulatory Advice and Policy Work

Led a general compliance audit to assess financial services company’s marketing of third party add-on products in connection with mortgages and other financial products, including an analysis of billing disclosures and consumer financial privacy issues.

Led audits for multiple direct sellers and network marketers to assess compliance with FTC guidelines on earnings claims, product claims, and substantiating genuine retail demand.

Drafted comments and petitions on multiple FDA and FTC rulemakings and guidance documents, including proposed rule revisions to FDA regulations governing nutrition labeling.

Conducted multiple regulatory due diligences and drafted memoranda providing analysis and recommendations related to compliance with advertising and food and drug law issues.

Conducted a general compliance audit of a lead generator to assess client’s business practices, including related to telemarketing and the collection, use and sharing of consumer’s personal information.

Regularly provides day-to-day counseling on an array of general advertising and niche regulatory issues related to consumer financial protection, consumer financial privacy, gift cards, loyalty and rewards programs, and FDA-regulated products.
 
Recognized by Super Lawyers as a Washington D.C. "Rising Star," 2018-2020.
 
American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law, Advertising Disputes and Litigation Committee, vice chair, 2016-2020.

American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law, Young Lawyer Representative Program, co-coordinator, 2014-2016.

Food & Drug Law Institute, Austern Writing Competition Committee, 2019-2020.
 

About

Donnelly McDowell is special counsel in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Donnelly’s practice focuses on all aspects of advertising and consumer protection law with specialized concentrations in consumer finance, food and drug law, and direct sales and network marketing compliance.  Donnelly also has unique expertise in a number of niche subject matter areas, including consumer financial privacy, e-commerce transactions, rewards and loyalty programs, and gift cards.

Donnelly regularly represents clients in contested matters such as regulatory inquiries and investigations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), as well as state attorneys general and district attorneys.  Donnelly also represents challengers and advertisers before the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the National Advertising Review Board (NARB).

In addition to contested work, Donnelly provides regulatory advice and helps clients develop strategies to balance regulatory and litigation risk.  Donnelly also assists clients in connection with due diligence assessments for potential acquisitions and investments, compliance audits to identify compliance gaps and solutions, and policy initiatives, such as by engaging with regulatory agencies in connection with rulemakings, guidance documents, and public meetings.  Donnelly’s client work spans a range of industries including retailers, e-commerce platforms, payment processers, manufacturers and distributors of FDA-regulated products and other consumer goods, and direct sellers and multi-level marketers.
 

Experience

Representative Contested Matters

Represented a major direct seller in an investigation and negotiations with the FTC arising out of alleged unfair and deceptive acts concerning its multi-level marketing program and how it represented its business opportunity.  Successfully negotiated a settlement that permitted the company to continue to operate and the case was closed.

Represented and successfully negotiated a settlement for national retailer in an FTC investigation related to compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the FTC’s Red Flags Rule.

Represented and successfully negotiated a settlement for a home service provider in connection with attorney general investigation into electronic billing and contract formation practices.

Represented and successfully negotiated a settlement for a telecommunications provider in connection with attorney general investigation into billing practices.

Represented and successfully negotiated a settlement for a financial services company in connection with a CFPB investigation into compliance with the Dodd-Frank Act.

Successfully challenged price claims related to a national grocery store before the National Advertising Division (NAD).

Part of a team that successfully represented a cooperative association of 450 family-owned dairies, maker of the best selling brand of butter in the Western U.S., in a class action filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging that the labeling of certain of their dairy products were false and misleading in violation of the California Unfair Competition statutes, as well as the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.  Judge dismissed the case with prejudice on federal preemption grounds.

Representative Regulatory Advice and Policy Work

Led a general compliance audit to assess financial services company’s marketing of third party add-on products in connection with mortgages and other financial products, including an analysis of billing disclosures and consumer financial privacy issues.

Led audits for multiple direct sellers and network marketers to assess compliance with FTC guidelines on earnings claims, product claims, and substantiating genuine retail demand.

Drafted comments and petitions on multiple FDA and FTC rulemakings and guidance documents, including proposed rule revisions to FDA regulations governing nutrition labeling.

Conducted multiple regulatory due diligences and drafted memoranda providing analysis and recommendations related to compliance with advertising and food and drug law issues.

Conducted a general compliance audit of a lead generator to assess client’s business practices, including related to telemarketing and the collection, use and sharing of consumer’s personal information.

Regularly provides day-to-day counseling on an array of general advertising and niche regulatory issues related to consumer financial protection, consumer financial privacy, gift cards, loyalty and rewards programs, and FDA-regulated products.
 

Honors

Recognized by Super Lawyers as a Washington D.C. "Rising Star," 2018-2020.
 

Memberships

American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law, Advertising Disputes and Litigation Committee, vice chair, 2016-2020.

American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law, Young Lawyer Representative Program, co-coordinator, 2014-2016.

Food & Drug Law Institute, Austern Writing Competition Committee, 2019-2020.