Brian O’Dwyer is a native New Yorker and was educated in the New York City public school system. He graduated from the High School of Music and Art, now known as LaGuardia High School, and is married to the former Marianna Page MacWilliam. They have two children, Brendan Keith O’Dwyer and Kathleen Page O’Dwyer, and they have four grandchildren: Paul Ellis O’Dwyer, Patrick Trescott O’Dwyer, Reilly Page O’Dwyer, and Hailey Grace O’Dwyer.
Brian O’Dwyer received his Bachelor of Arts degree from The George Washington University in Spanish-American Literature and his Masters of Arts degree in Spanish-Language Literature from Middlebury College in Madrid. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctorate degree from Georgetown University and his Masters in Law from The George Washington University. In July 2013 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (hc) by Dublin City University.
He has spent virtually his entire legal career at O’Dwyer & Bernstein, LLP, a law firm founded by his late father, Paul, which concentrates on personal injury, immigration rights, labor relations and general commercial litigation. Presently, he serves as the firm’s senior partner. His outstanding achievements have been recognized by his peers, and he has been cited as a New York Super Lawyer since its inception, which a peer ranking is given to only the top 5% of the profession as surveyed by the Bar of New York City. He has also been awarded a rating for 25 years that puts him at the very top of his profession. He presently serves as General Counsel of the US Airline Pilots Association, and represents pilots throughout the United States.
Dr. O’Dwyer has been a consummate advocate for immigrants’ rights. He was founder of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, which is the largest Irish immigrant center in the United States. In its almost 25 years of existence, the center has helped literally thousands of Irish men and women as they immigrated to New York City. The center also serves as a focal point for the advocacy of Irish immigrant causes. Brian has served as chairman and counselor to the Asociación Tepeyac as well, which provides advocacy and services to New York’s growing Mexican community. One of his greatest accomplishments for immigration reform was when helped convince the late New York City Mayor Edward Koch to open the doors of New York City’s public universities and colleges to all immigrants regardless of their documented status. As an attorney he has concentrated on defending undocumented workers hurt in the course of their employment.
Dr. O’Dwyer has been cited for his work in promoting immigrant and human rights. He has received recognition from the Catholic Church by being named as a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher, a papal knighthood conferred by Edward Cardinal Egan. He has been conferred The Child of Peace Award by the Catholic Home Bureau as well as the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. His work has been cited and awarded by the New York City Council, the government of Puerto Rico and the State of New York. He has also been recognized for his work in the Clinton Administration by an award citing his outstanding public service
Brian O’Dwyer’s work in the political arena has concentrated largely on promoting Irish and Irish-American interests. He served as national chairman of Irish Americans for Clinton-Gore in 1992 and 1996 and Irish-Americans for Gore in 2000, and was founding member of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee and Irish American Democrats. He was part of the delegation that accompanied President Clinton to Ireland on each of his three trips and served as an advisor to the White House on Irish issues including the peace process. He was appointed by President Clinton as a Commissioner of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships and was awarded the Director Citation for Exemplary Public Service by the White House Director of Personnel citing his work on the Commission. In June 2011, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton appointed him as Commissioner of the United States National Commission for UNESCO.
Brian O’Dwyer has actively worked to advance Ireland’s cause in the United States. He has been recognized with numerous awards by Irish organizations in special recognition of his work in promoting Irish interests in the United States. He presently serves as chairman of the Irish Chamber of Commerce USA where he works to facilitate American investment in Ireland and Northern Ireland. He has accompanied many US public officials on their trips to Ireland and Northern Ireland, including New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, New York City Comptroller John Liu and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and New York’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to Ireland. He also serves as a member of the Board of Ireland West Airport in Knock, County Mayo Ireland.
As a former teacher of Spanish at both The George Washington University and Malcolm King College, Dr. O’Dwyer has been active in education. He presently serves as Treasurer of the City University of New York Law School Foundation and was a recipient of the Dean’s Medal. He also serves as a Co-Chair of the board of the Graduate School of Political Management of The George Washington University. He was national president of his college fraternity, Kappa Sigma, and presently serves as an advisor to many chapters in the New York City area. He was also named as the Fraternity’s Man of the Year in 2012, only one of 76 in the history of Kappa Sigma