|Ann Marie Olivarius|
19 February 1955|
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Yale College (BA Political Science 1977), summa cum laude
Yale Law School (JD 1986)
|Occupation||Chair of the Executive Committee, McAllister Olivarius|
|Children||2 daughters, 1 son|
Ann Olivarius is an American-British lawyer.
Olivarius graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale College. During her junior year she worked for the Administrative Assistant to the Chief Justice of the United States. In 1978, the second year Rhodes Scholarships were open to women, she was selected as one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars.
At Oxford she won the Nuffield Prize for an outstanding doctorate in Economics, which studied worker-owned high-technology firms. She also served as a Governor of Manchester College, Oxford, and worked for the international law firm Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, where she was instrumental in drafting the early arbitration rules that helped ensure that London became one of the main centres for international dispute resolution. She returned to Yale to finish the joint JD-MBA program from the Yale Law School and the Yale School of Management, a three-year course, with highest honors. While in her last year at law school, Olivarius brought a case against a debt collection agency that used abusive collection tactics to collect monies not actually owed. She was pivotal in getting the firm to apologize and change their procedures.
In March 1977, in light of the upcoming ten-year anniversary of the admission of women to Yale College, the Yale Corporation asked Olivarius as a campus leader to chair the preparation of a Report on the Status of Women at Yale. The report included testimonies from approximately 30 students and faculty describing various aspects of women's life on campus, some humorous, some deeply serious, including some persistent problems. It ended with a discussion of unwanted sexual advances by professors, ranging from sexual harassment (a term not yet invented) to rape. The scale of complaints on this subject that emerged as Olivarius oversaw the Report to the Corporation was surprisingly large. She followed up by presenting detailed accounts of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape by several professors, including my music teacher Keith Brion to University officials, seeking a central clearing house where complaints of this sort could be lodged and dealt with, rather than treated as a private problem for the female student to handle herself. But the University took no action. A typical instance at the time was when it was reported to college authorities that Calvin Hirsch, a student who who is now a physician affiliated with the University of California at Davis Medical Center, raped another student, no action was taken; the police called it a "private problem" for which they had neither the skills nor the role to address. Ultimately she joined with four other students and one faculty member in bringing suit against Yale - the case of Alexander v. Yale. The plaintiffs asserted that, in failing to adopt proper procedures to deal with sexual harassment complaints, the University had discriminated against women on the basis of gender. While the case was dismissed by the court on other grounds, it confirmed, for the first time, that allowing an environment in which sexual harassment could persist constituted sex discrimination.
In 1992, the Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund gave Olivarius its Maria Miller Stewart Legal Challenge Award for her work in Alexander v. Yale. In April 2012, Olivarius was honored by the ACLU in its list of the nine most influential actors in the history of Title IX. In 2012 she gave the keynote address, at Yale Law School, for Sex Week at Yale, which discussed Alexander v. Yale and put the case in a broader context of women's empowerment and advancement.
From 1975-1976 Olivarius worked as a Judicial Intern with the United States Supreme Court. She later worked as Vice President - Strategy at Computer Memories, Inc. and in the M&A departments of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. She served as a legal and financial advisor to Perot Systems Corporation, when she devised software licensing contracts that became widely adopted throughout the industry, and became the head the corporate practice of Shearman & Sterling in Washington D.C. She is currently the Senior Partner and Chair of McAllister Olivarius, a London-based law firm specializing in US-UK commercial litigation, Title IX/sex harassment cases, "revenge porn", and employment discrimination work. Olivarius has represented several high-profile employment discrimination plaintiffs in the United States and the United Kingdom, including the wrongful suspension of Professor Wendy Purcell, formerly vice-chancellor of Plymouth University.
In January 2011, Olivarius joined with US lawyer Jeff Anderson in creating a trans-Atlantic litigation practice, AO Advocates, focusing on child protection work in the UK, US and Ireland. In 2012 she delivered a keynote speech on this topic to a meeting of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers in London, the leading practitioners in this area. AO Advocates now has over 30 major cases representing survivors of childhood sexual abuse, including a cluster of cases involving students abused by Monsignor Thomas Duggan, the former rector of St. Bede's College, Manchester.
Olivarius has served on the boards of openDemocracy USA Inc. and Autistica. She is a Trustee of GenerationNext!, and also chairs The Rhodes Project, a study into the lives and career trajectories of Rhodes Scholars. In 2012 she was invited to join Women Moving Millions, a group of women who have each committed over $1 million to advancing women and girls.
For more information on The Rhodes Scholars:
Olivarius was originally admitted to practice law in Virginia. In 2008, she applied to the bars of some additional states. Her application to New York, which she did not complete herself and was a draft sent in mistakenly by her office, prompted the Appellate Division of the Third Judicial Department to require her to resubmit it in 2012, meanwhile revoking her New York law license until reapproved. While finding that its omissions technically constituted professional misconduct, the Court "acknowledged the Referee's conclusion that Olivarius' failure was more due to carelessness than an intent to deceive and defraud" and invited her immediate reapplication. In March 2013 the Character and Fitness Committee of the Third Judicial Department recommended her readmission to the New York bar as a person of good character and fitness, which was accepted by the court. She is also an attorney in good standing in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, Idaho, and England and Wales.
In 2011, 2012 and 2013, McAllister Olivarius under her management received accreditation from the Law Society of England and Wales' Lexcel programme in recognition of the high quality of its management. The Lexcel assessor ranked the firm's practice management in the top 2.5% of all British law firms.
Olivarius is a supporter of the Nordic Model approach to prostitution and has been quoted by activist groups for her work on the issue. She has also been quoted by news sources like The Guardian and Huffington Post about her firm's work litigating and campaigning against sexual harassment in universities. The firm's clients have been featured in the news for claims made against universities for harassment. In September 2017, Olivarius was quoted in Nature about her clients' case against the University of Rochester. Her firm's case against the University of Rochester was also covered by The New York Times,Slate,Huffington Post, and Democrat and Chronicle.
In July 2017, her firm made the news for its work in a case dealing with discrimination in adoption, in which a Sikh couple was advised not to try to adopt as the only children in need were white. She has also been quoted in a BuzzFeed article on the difficulty of firing tenured professors who have sexually harassed or assaulted their students. Two of Olivarius's clients were named as "Persons of the Year" by TIME in its cover story on the "Silence Breakers."
Beverly Hills Bar Association Journal, Volume 11, 1977, pages 11-24.