Ann Olivarius has managed complex legal matters for over 25 years, focusing on both civil rights and corporate law.
She was deeply involved in litigating a landmark civil rights case, Alexander v. Yale, which for the first time found that sexual harassment within a university was illegal. Her groundbreaking work was recognized by the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund which presented her with the Martha Stewart Miller Legal Challenge Award in 1992. Since Alexander v Yale she has continued to break new ground and work on major cases in the area of discrimination and employment law. In 2012 she was included by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on its list of the most influential people in the history of Title IX, the US anti-discrimination law, and in 2017 the science journal Nature named her as one of “Nature’s 10” people who mattered in science in 2017, because of her work fighting sexual harassment at universities. Her work also includes international corporate transactions, online privacy and harassment, and divorces involving complex financial provisions.
After first developing her corporate finance skills in the mergers and acquisitions departments of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, Ann’s legal career includes service as a legal and financial advisor for Perot Systems and Computer Memories, Inc., devising contracts that became widely used in the software applications industry, and drafting London arbitration rules that have framed international arbitration practice for decades. She was the first CEO and General Counsel of the Sarnoff Endowment for Cardiovascular Science, whose assets she grew from some $26 million to over $100 million while helping to bring its scientific programs to international prominence. Before founding McAllister Olivarius, she ran the corporate department at Shearman & Sterling’s Washington, DC office.
Ann served on the board of National Alliance for Autism Research (UK), also known as Autistica, and OpenDemocracy USA. She is founder and Chair of the Rhodes Project, which evaluates the careers and life choices of Rhodes Scholars worldwide. Ann is a Trustee of GenerationNext!, a charity which supports the Vuleka school in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nelson Mandela introduced her as “a lawyer who has advised me well and who has courageously advanced the cause of justice, and improved life opportunities, for hundreds of millions of women, blacks and disadvantaged, worldwide”. She is regularly interviewed by leading news organizations, including BBC, Guardian and The Telegraph.
Ann graduated summa cum laude from Yale College. As a Rhodes Scholar, she wrote a prize-winning doctorate in Economics at Oxford University, before becoming the first person to complete degrees from both the Yale School of Management and Yale Law School, normally a five-year course, in three years, receiving highest honors. She is licensed to practice law in New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, the District of Columbia, Idaho and Virginia, and is a solicitor of England and Wales.
She is also Managing Partner of AO Advocates, our sister firm that represents survivors of child sexual abuse, often against churches, boarding schools and other institutions that allowed the abuse to flourish.