Mitchell Y. Mirviss

Mitchell Mirviss

Mitch Mirviss is a co-chair of Venable's Appellate Litigation Group. Mitch handles appellate and commercial litigation, tackling a wide array of complex legal issues in both federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, federal appellate courts, Maryland appellate courts, and state and federal trial courts. He represents clients in complex litigation matters, focusing on commercial torts and punitive damages, complex financial transactions and other commercial matters, product liability, constitutional law and civil rights, intellectual property, children's rights, and disability issues.

With three decades of appellate experience, including more than 60 cases in the Maryland appellate courts, Mitch has prevailed in matters at every level of appellate practice: the U.S. Supreme Court, federal circuit courts of appeal, and the Maryland Supreme Court and Appellate Court. He has successfully served as lead appellate attorney in numerous product liability, commercial tort, children's rights, and disability rights cases, and has written winning briefs in these and many other areas.

In addition to his commercial work, Mitch is well known for his pro bono work and involvement in community affairs and children's causes. He has represented thousands of Baltimore City foster children in a long-standing federal class action since 1988 and is co-counsel for plaintiffs in another federal class action involving foster children in other Maryland counties. Mitch also recently argued in the Alaska Supreme Court on behalf of a coalition of national children’s organizations and Alaska foster children, and successfully litigated a statewide constitutional right to legal representation at all bail proceedings.


Representative Matters

  • Handled complex corporate finance and fraud issues arising out of the Enron bankruptcy, writing the briefs that defeated legal challenges to Enron's actions to recover more than $2 billion paid for derivative transactions, commercial paper, energy trading, and various fraudulent credit facilities
  • Represented the majority owners of the Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers, and Philips Arena in a high-profile $600 million fight for control of the teams and the arena , and drafted the Maryland appellate briefs that reversed a trial court judgment divesting the majority owners of their ownership rights with minimal compensation
  • Wrote successful briefs and/or argued seven punitive damage appeals in federal and Maryland courts that vacated jury verdicts of $1 million to $200 million and rejected the underlying tort claims, including Thompson v. UBS Fin. Servs. Inc., 443 Md. 47 (2015); VF Corp. v. Wrexham Aviation Corp., 350 Md. 693 (1998); and Alexander & Alexander Inc. v. B. Dixon Evander & Assocs., Inc., 336 Md. 635 (1994)
  • Successfully argued and briefed a major Fifth Amendment case before the U.S. Supreme Court, Maurice M. v. Bouknight, 493 U.S. 549 (1990)
  • Co-drafted the winning briefs in Howard Delivery Serv., Inc. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 547 U.S. 651 (2006), a widely cited bankruptcy-law decision
  • Co-drafted amicus briefs for numerous U.S. senators in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 579 U.S. 365 (2016), and 570 U.S. 297 (2013), supporting affirmative action in higher education admissions




  • J.D. cum laude Harvard Law School 1985
  • B.A. magna cum laude Yale University 1978

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association, Maryland State Bar Association, Bar Association of Baltimore City


  • Lorraine M. Sheehan Lifetime Achievement Award, Disability Rights Maryland, 2023 (Presented for "Mitch's unwavering dedication to protecting and advancing children's rights, civil rights, and disability rights for more than 35 years [which] has made a tremendous impact on the lives of Marylanders and helped to create a more integrated and just society")
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: Appellate, Maryland, 2022 – 2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Practice, 2013 – 2024
  • The Daily Record
    • Influential Marylanders, 2012 (Named one of top five lawyers)
    • Leadership in Law Award, Maryland, 2004
  • Benchmark Appellate, Circuit Litigation Star, Fourth Circuit, Maryland, 2011, 2013 (Named one of the top three appellate practitioners; 2011 was the inaugural edition)
  • Super Lawyers
    • Appellate Advocacy, Maryland, 2007 – 2008, 2013 – 2018, 2021 – 2023
    • Appellate, Baltimore, 2013
    • Commercial Litigation, Maryland, 2007
  • Marquis Who’s Who, Who’s Who in American Law, Appellate Practice, 2018
  • Maryland Legal Services Corporation, Arthur W. Machen, Jr. Award, 2011 (Presented for “extraordinary commitment to increasing access to justice and improving the legal services delivery system for low-income Marylanders”)
  • Maryland Equal Justice Council, Champion for Justice, 2016 (Presented for In re Adoption/Guardianship of Dustin R., 445 Md. 536 (2015), which affirmed judicial power to order life-sustaining services for extremely medically fragile individuals)
  • Maryland Legal Aid
    • Human Rights and Justice Champion, 2011 (One of 25 awardees for centennial celebration)
    • Executive Director’s Award for Exemplary Service, 2001 (Awarded to top advocate for Maryland Legal Aid Bureau)
  • A Step Closer Foundation, Champion for Foster Children, 2011
  • Pro Bono Resource Center, Pro Bono Hero Award, Maryland, 2005 (Awarded to Maryland’s top 15 pro bono attorneys over the previous 15 years)
  • Maryland Department of Human Services, Citizens Review Board for Children, Champion for Children Award, 2005
  • Maryland State Bar Association, People’s Choice Award, Pro Bono, 1992
  • Harvard Law School, Harvard Fellowship, Public Interest Law, 1985 – 1986


Pro Bono

  • Extensive pro bono work in children's rights, disability rights, civil rights, education, domestic violence, and voting rights matters
  • Served as lead counsel since 1988 for class of up to 10,000 Baltimore foster children in litigating and monitoring federal consent decrees requiring broad protections for safety and well-being; efforts helped reduce the number of children in foster care by 80%. L.J. v. Wilbon, 633 F.3d 297 (4th Cir.), cert. denied sub nom., Dallas v. L.J., 132 U.S. 757 (2011)
  • Successfully litigated constitutional and statutory challenges to Maryland's denial of counsel at bail hearings. Clyburn v. Richmond, 438 Md. 690 (2014); DeWolfe v. Richmond, 434 Md. 444 (2013); DeWolfe v. Richmond, 434 Md. 403 (2012)
  • Serving as co-counsel in a federal class action for Maryland foster children challenging involuntary hospitalization without medical necessity in psychiatric hospitals, psych wings of hospitals, and emergency departments
  • Argued in Alaska Supreme Court on behalf of national and state children’s organizations and class of Alaska foster children that state policy of taking foster children’s Social Security benefits for self-reimbursement is unconstitutional
  • Negotiated a comprehensive system for protecting against and investigating sexual assaults in state hospitals, mental institutions, and other health facilities as settlement in Doe v. Md. Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene (failure to protect woman with intellectual and emotional disabilities from repeated sexual assaults)
  • Reversed long-standing precedent regarding nuptial agreements and marital property in appeal described as worst case of financial and psychological abuse in Maryland appellate history. McGeehan v. McGeehan, 455 Md. 268 (2017)
  • Established judicial power to order state agencies to provide services to foster children, including life-sustaining services to medically fragile child and for jurisdiction to continue past age 21 to enforce order. In re Adoption/Guardianship of Dustin R., 445 Md. 536 (2015)
  • Established property guardian's right to take discovery and investigate possible misconduct of attorneys representing a severely disabled child in medical malpractice actions. Ashcraft & Gerel v. Shaw, 126 Md. App. 325 (1999)


  • Three-time president and 21-year member, Board of Directors, Advocates for Children & Youth, Inc. – a statewide advocacy organization for Maryland children's issues
  • Former member, Board of Disability Rights Maryland (formerly Maryland Disability Law Center), 11 years