Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Anna Moody of Debevoise & Plimpton

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
Executive Editor
MP McQueen

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.

My matters are often highly confidential, but I recently secured a declination from the SEC in connection with an investigation of a leading hedge fund’s trades in the securities of a target company, and successfully represented several individuals in sensitive Congressional and DOJ inquiries. I also recently obtained a declination for a private equity adviser client in connection with an SEC insider trading investigation.

In addition, we recently achieved a 9-0 unanimous win before the US Supreme Court in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, which resolved important questions of due process and the state power of taxation.

Finally, I am proud of my pro bono representation of leading medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in defending access to safe reproductive health care, including before the U.S. Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?

As a first-year attorney, I quickly learned that what distinguishes a rewarding experience from a grueling one is the team. I was lucky enough to experience first-hand that working on a team that collaborates well, supports each other as individuals and as a group, and communicates clearly can transform even the most grueling case into a meaningful opportunity for growth as a lawyer.

The pandemic made this effort more challenging but, if anything, more essential than before—it is all too easy to forget that our colleagues exist outside of a zoom call. As a senior lawyer managing teams today, I try to create an environment in which my colleagues feel that their contributions are appreciated, their growth is encouraged, and they are personally supported through their strengths and opportunities for development—whether that is through informal feedback, impromptu coffee breaks, or focused time spent thinking through difficult questions together.

It is critical to me that everyone be seen and heard, no matter how junior. I believe that highly integrated, supportive teams also produce the highest quality work, so the effort put in pays off for everyone.

How do you define success in your practice?

In civil litigation there is often a clear winner and a clear loser, but in white- collar and regulatory defense success can be more nuanced. Our clients are often facing incredibly stressful circumstances, and getting to a resolution may take many months, or even years.

Without expert help, these matters can become all-consuming.In those circumstances, success in my practice is helping clients best navigate whatever legal challenges they are facing and alleviate the often-significant burden on them so that they can focus on what they do, whether that is running a business or running an agency.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?

I am extremely proud of my pro bono practice. I am beyond privileged to work at a firm where I am encouraged to support organizations and ideals that are close to my heart, and to know that I have the full resources of the firm behind me.

At a time when reproductive rights are under unrelenting attack, it has been an honor to lend my skills and my time to fighting deep inequities in reproductive health care. Since 2018, I have collaborated with leading medical organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics in their efforts to promote patient health guided by core principles of medical ethics by, for example, filing amicus briefing in support of necessarily medical care for minors in immigration custody (in Azar v. Garza II), and filing amicus briefing opposing Texas law SB8 in the US Supreme Court (in US v. Texas). I hope that someday this work will not be necessary, but until then I will be proud to keep doing it.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?

I am very lucky to have two invaluable mentors, Dave O’Neil and Julie Riewe, who have permanently shaped who I am as a lawyer. Both took a chance on me—I was new to the white-collar group, despite being a relatively senior associate—and tossed me opportunity after opportunity to learn and to grow in the practice.

They are alike in that they are both incredibly skilled attorneys, extremely hardworking, and somehow still lovely people. Julie is one of the smartest and hardest working people I’ve ever met, marrying an incredible attention to detail with a macro sense of purpose that I can only hope to someday emulate. Dave is an extraordinarily accomplished litigator who somehow can balance exciting and cutting-edge defense work with a full slate of high-impact pro bono matters.

While managing all that, they have stood up for me time and time again by identifying stretch assignments, putting me in direct contact with clients, and vouching for my work as I expand my practice. Working with Dave and Julie has taught me to aspire to do important work, while making time to invest in mentoring others as they have invested in me.

Tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.

I listen to a lot of classical while I work—Liszt’s “Müllerlieder von Franz Schubert” and Mendelssohn’s String Quartets are among my current favorites.

Anna Moody of Debevoise & Plimpton at social event.
Credit: Anna Moody and Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Anna Moody led a team in securing a 9-0 win before the US Supreme Court in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust. Her pro bono work has included representing the American Medical Association and other organizations, in defending patient access to safe reproductive health care in the wake of Texas law SB 8. She also manages associate staffing for Debevoise’s Washington D.C. office.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

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