Benjamin R. Civiletti

Chairman Emeritus and Retired Partner
Civiletti Benjamin

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of our friend, former partner, and chairman emeritus, Ben Civiletti.

Chairman Emeritus and retired partner Ben Civiletti focused his practice of law on commercial litigation, banking, white-collar crime, government regulation, and corporate governance. He conducted numerous product liability cases; successfully prosecuted and defended statutory and constitutional claims, and conducted special investigations growing out of derivative suits, governmental proceedings, and a state impeachment resolution. Ben was both a trial and appellate advocate. In addition, he developed a practice in alternative dispute resolution, working successfully as a mediator, facilitator, master and arbitrator in many commercial and tort disputes to achieve faster and more cost-efficient justice.

Ben's prior service on four public for-profit boards and three non-profit boards afforded him a thorough familiarity with corporate governance consensus, task forces, and strategic planning. As Attorney General of the United States, Ben argued before the International Court of Justice on behalf of the American captives in Iran, and before the Supreme Court for the right of the government to denaturalize Nazi war criminals, and successfully defended the President's wage and price guidelines in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (sitting en banc). Furthermore, Ben was responsible for the Justice Department's promulgation of open trial guidelines, the Stanford Daily laws, the development and publication of National Priorities for the Investigation and Prosecution of White-Collar Crime, Principles of Federal Prosecution, National Prison Standards, and a score of other improvements in the effective enforcement of criminal law and in civil rights and environmental protection.


Government Experience

  • Attorney General of the United States, United States Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Representative Matters

Ben successfully argued again in the Court of Appeals of Maryland to reverse excessive millions in punitive damages and the court entered judgment for the defendant. He was co-independent counsel, appointed by regulators, in the investigation of the derivative business of a major Wall Street financial institution. Ben represented a corporate client in the successful defense of multi-million dollar claims of tortious interference with contract. For another client, he successfully settled multiple intentional tort claims after a lengthy trial on motions to suppress. And he again was successful in settling claims from a domestic air crash in which he represented plaintiffs against a major airline.




  • L.L.B. (J.D.) University of Maryland School of Law 1961
    • Omicron Delta Kappa
    • Order of the Coif
  • A.B. Johns Hopkins University 1957

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable W. Calvin Chesnut U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland 1961 - 1962

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Past chair, Section of Litigation
    • Chair, Task Force on an International Criminal Court
    • Past member, House of Delegates
    • Member, Commission on the American Jury
    • ABA representative to the United Nations
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Maryland State Bar Association
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Member, Bar Association of Baltimore City
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, American Law Institute
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Founding chair, Maryland Legal Services Corporation


  • Jewish Theological Seminary of America, Herbert H. Lehman Ethics Award
  • Johns Hopkins Alumni Association, Distinguished Alumnus Award
  • Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Knight-Commander
  • Baltimore Urban League, Equal Justice Award, 1997
  • American Judicature Society, Justice Award, 2005
  • National Trial Advocacy College at the University of Virginia School of Law, William J. Brennan, Jr. Award
  • University of Maryland School of Law, Benjamin R. Civiletti Scholarship (Established in 2004 to honor his leadership in public service and law)
  • Who’s Who Legal
    • International Who’s Who of Corporate Governance Lawyers, 2004
    • Corporate Governance and Commercial Litigation, 2011
  • The University of Baltimore, Honorary Doctor of Law
  • New York Law School, Honorary Doctor of Law
  • St. John’s College, Honorary Doctor of Law
  • Tulane University, Honorary Doctor of Law
  • Notre Dame University, Honorary Doctor of Law
  • The University of Maryland, Honorary Doctor of Law
  • Towson University, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Peer Review Rated
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Governance and Compliance Law, and Criminal Defense: White Collar (Listed for over 20 years)
  • Super Lawyers
    • Maryland, 2008 – 2012
    • Litigation, Baltimore, 2013
  • Washingtonian, Washington’s Top Lawyers, 2007, 2009
  • The American Lawyer, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009


Personal Activities

Ben served as a member of the National Research Council Committee to Study National Cryptography Policy and as Chair of the Maryland Governor's Commission on Welfare Policy. He was a member of the Governor's Task Force on Alternatives to Incarceration. In community-related areas, Ben's service includes former membership on the Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.'s board and Chair of GBMC Healthcare, Inc. (retired). In the legal publications field, he was a member of the Lexis-Nexis/Martindale-Hubbell Legal Advisory Board and a member of Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., - board of editors of Federal Litigation Guide Reporter. Ben also served as chair or member on a number of task forces under several Maryland governors. These include: Funding of Public Education; Drug Abuse; and Funding of the Arts.