Moxila A. Upadhyaya

Upadhyaya Moxila

Moxi Upadhyaya is an experienced trial attorney who has represented businesses and individuals in numerous bench and jury trials and depositions. Although she maintains a national practice, Moxi is often sought out for her extensive knowledge of the District of Columbia federal and local courts and administrative agencies, given her unique prior government service in the District. 

Moxi's clients include universities, hospitality companies, medical systems and practices, energy companies, commercial real estate developers and owners, professional services organizations, and local businesses.  In addition to handling complex commercial disputes, including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and defamation claims, she has represented large organizations in Title VII employment suits.  Her practice includes regulatory and administrative litigation challenging regulations and agency orders in the DC Circuit and other DC courts.  

Moxi began her career as a trial attorney early, having served as lead counsel in two jury trials and one bench trial during her third year of law school, through her participation in American University's Criminal Justice Clinic. As an associate during her first five years at Venable, she first-chaired a multi-day bench trial, second-chaired a federal bench trial on behalf of a major litigation law firm, and was a key member of two jury trial teams. She also worked as an integral part of a team handling a billion-dollar bankruptcy adversary proceeding in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of Enron as debtor-in-bankruptcy, during which she took or defended dozens of depositions.  

Moxi is uniquely familiar with practice in the DC federal and state courts. While serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert L. Wilkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Moxi advised on pending complex civil, administrative, and criminal matters involving high-profile issues of first impression. She regularly confronted questions of constitutional law, contract interpretation, statutory interpretation, federal civil procedure, and DC law. Prior to joining Venable, Moxi served a two-year term as law clerk to the Honorable Eric T. Washington, former chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. While there, Moxi was involved in numerous complex civil, criminal, and administrative cases that presented issues of first impression affecting the District of Columbia. 



Representative Matters

  • Defended a multinational hospitality company in a dispute involving complicated international jurisdictional issues related to plaintiffs' claims to land in Eastern Europe; argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Judge Richard A. Posner presiding), which affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case
  • Represented AltaGas Ltd., a Canadian energy company, in contested litigation before the District of Columbia Public Service Commission and Maryland Public Service Commission to obtain regulatory approval for its $9 billion acquisition of Washington Gas Light Co. After litigating both cases concurrently, obtained approval of the transaction in both jurisdictions, clearing the way for the creation of a $17 billion North American energy company
  • Defended a private university in a case brought by a tenured professor. After securing a victory for the university in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, argued before the DC Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court's ruling in favor of the client
  • Obtained a partial jury verdict in favor of the client after a five-week trial in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The jury found the existence of partnership arising from partners' conduct in associating with each other to carry on a summer camp business as co-owners
  • Represented a debtor in billion-dollar bankruptcy adversary proceeding involving commercial paper, in the U.S. Bankruptcy and District Courts for the Southern District of New York
  • Served as second-chair trial counsel and won a favorable judgment after a federal court trial, for former partners whose law firm improperly reduced their liquidating capital account balances by more than $1 million
  • Served as first-chair trial counsel for a commercial landlord in a multi-day bench trial in DC Superior Court
  • Defended a prestigious private university in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against employment discrimination allegations. Obtained an order granting summary judgment in the client's favor, holding the plaintiff in contempt, and awarding attorney's fees
  • Defended general partners in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland in a case involving a limited partner's claims of breach of fiduciary duty and improper squeeze-out, resulting in a jury verdict rejecting the limited partner's claim to damages and attempt to dissolve the limited partnership; won a jury verdict finding that limited partner had breached its agreement and was liable to general partners for more than $3.1 million in legal fees and costs
  • Won dismissal with prejudice of a lawsuit against a solid waste processing facility in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and helped secure a comprehensive settlement agreement allowing the facility to remain in operation




  • J.D. cum laude American University, Washington College of Law 2003
  • Editorial Board, Administrative Law Review

    Dean’s Award for outstanding performance in clinical program

  • B.J. magna cum laude Missouri School of Journalism 2000
  • A.B. Latin with honors University of Missouri 2000

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. Tax Court

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable Robert L. Wilkins U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia 2011 - 2012
  • Honorable Eric T. Washington District of Columbia Court of Appeals 2003 - 2005

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Committee on Grievances.
  • Past co-chair, DC Bar Litigation Section Steering Committee 
  • Board member, DC Access to Justice Foundation
  • Board member, Council for Court Excellence
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Maryland State Bar Association


  • Venable LLP 
    • Benjamin R. Civiletti Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, 2007
    • David W. Goewey Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • Lawyers of Color, Hot List, 2013 (Listed in inaugural issue)
  • Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, Defender of Innocence Award, 2009


Pro Bono

  • Represented a man who had been wrongly imprisoned for 19 years for a murder he did not commit. Venable's client challenged his conviction under the DC Innocence Protection Act, and, after an intense factual reinvestigation of the 1987 murder, Venable's client was ultimately released from prison
  • Represented an Alabama death row inmate in a state habeas proceeding