Griffs Under 40: Brian P. Nicholson '03

July 18, 2017


Buffalo, NY - Brian P. Nicholson is not your average trial attorney, nor does he carry an average caseload.  He is a U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney who handles criminal matters involving international investigations and extraditions. 

Nicholson is new to the position but not the courtroom.  He prosecuted dozens of cases to verdict, domestically and abroad, for kidnapping, child molestation, conspiracy and fraud. 

After attending Notre Dame Law School on full scholarship, where he won a boxing championship, Nicholson accepted a position as litigation associate in Washington for a large international firm.  He was lead associate on several high-profile cases but a calling to serve led him to leave for the military.

In the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps, he deployed to Iraq for a year and was liaison between the Iraq Judiciary and U.S. Special Operations Forces, advising on counter-terror prosecution and international law.

Upon Nicholson’s return to the United States, he was senior prosecutor for the Military District of Washington, D.C.—a district that includes the Pentagon.  Ultimately, he was assigned as military defense counsel for Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the lead defendant in the death penalty case arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Nicholson joined the DOJ upon completion of his military service. 

Nicholson was selected as an outstanding public interest attorney by Harvard Law School, which named him a 2016-2017 Wassertein Fellow.  He has instructed law students at Notre Dame Law School and at Washington & Lee University School of Law in the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program and as a Professor of Practice, respectively.