Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland


  • J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1993
  • A.B., summa cum laude, Dartmouth College, 1989
    Phi Beta Kappa


  • District of Columbia Bar, Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section

    American Bar Association, Criminal Justice and Individual Rights and Responsibilities Sections

    Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court
T +1 202.344.4741
F +1 202.344.8300

Seth A. Rosenthal


Seth Rosenthal is an experienced trial attorney representing individuals and businesses in a wide range of criminal matters, internal investigations, investigations by federal and state regulators, False Claims Act litigation, and complex commercial, antitrust, and civil rights cases. Seth also manages Venable's pro bono program and serves as chair of the firm's pro bono committee.

Seth developed an extensive body of courtroom experience over the span of nearly a decade as a federal prosecutor in the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. He conducted grand jury investigations and successfully tried to verdict or obtained guilty pleas in a number of noteworthy cases involving human trafficking, police misconduct and hate crimes, as well as related charges of obstruction of justice, false statements and fraud. He also handled all facets of class-wide civil litigation, including trial, in cases arising under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Early in his career, Seth litigated death penalty and prison reform cases at the Southern Center for Human Rights.

Recent Experience

Government Contracts/Procurement Fraud/False Claims Act
  • Won a motion to dismiss on behalf of a mortgage lender sued for violating the False Claims Act by endorsing certain mortgage loans for Federal Housing Administration insurance
  • Defending an IT systems contractor criminally prosecuted for allegedly overbilling government
  • Won a motion to dismiss on behalf of a chemical manufacturer sued under "reverse" False Claims Act for allegedly failing to report purported dangers of certain products to Environmental Protection Agency 
  • Defending a services contractor investigated for violating False Claims Act by utilizing workers underqualified to perform contract requirements
  • Persuaded the Justice Department not to intervene in qui tam False Claims Act suit accusing organization of falsely certifying contractor’s eligibility to secure awards under set-aside program and obtained dismissal of qui tam relator's claims upheld on appeal
  • Defended state False Claims Act litigation and prosecuted related federal action involving allegations that IT systems provider delivered inadequate solutions for operation of state-run health care exchange
  • Avoided both criminal charges and Justice Department intervention in qui tam False Claims Act suit against construction contractor for purportedly submitting inflated invoices to the government
  • Represented services contractor suspended temporarily and investigated criminally for suspected violation of the Procurement Integrity Act
  • Avoided False Claims Act action by the government against construction contractor wrongfully alleged to have underpaid employees in violation of the Davis-Bacon Act  
  • Conducted numerous internal investigations on behalf of contractors involving allegations of false claims, theft, data misappropriation, misuse of source selection information and conflicts of interest, and advised clients on making voluntary self-disclosures to government agencies

Misconduct by Public Officials
  • Obtained below-Guidelines sentence for a city council member accused of misappropriating government funds
  • Secured probationary sentence in federal court for government employee accused of receiving kickback
  • Cleared a political appointee investigated by agency inspector general for purportedly violating conflict of interest laws
  • Led an investigation of company employees who, as former government officials, were alleged by agency inspector general to have violated conflict of interest laws

Antitrust and Unlawful Trade Practices
  • Tried O’Bannon v. NCAA as a member of the plaintiffs' team, winning historic judgment against the NCAA for violating the Sherman Act by conspiring with member schools to bar college football and basketball players from receiving compensation for use of their names, images and likenesses in TV broadcasts, rebroadcasts and videogames
  • Avoided federal charges for the founder of payment processing company suspected of illegally processing online gaming payments
  • Represented an online marketer facing allegations of deceptive trade practices by coalition of 40 state attorneys general

Commercial Litigation
  • Won favorable judgment, after federal court trial, for former partners whose law firm improperly reduced their liquidating capital account balances by more than $1 million
  • Representing a real estate developer alleged to have collaborated with city official to deprive competitor of contract to develop government-owned land
  • Won dismissal with prejudice of nuisance suit against a solid waste processing facility in the District of Columbia and helped secure comprehensive settlement agreement allowing facility to remain in operation

Civil Rights and Criminal Justice
  • Advised companies, including mortgage lenders, housing providers and web-based advertising platforms, to ensure compliance with the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  • Led an investigation of fatal use of force by government-deputized special police officers, headed subsequent comprehensive review of special police force, and advised management on implementing reforms
  • Negotiated a settlement agreement with the Justice Department on behalf of a community bank accused of lending discrimination
  • Led a successful effort to secure release of DC man wrongfully imprisoned for 19 years for murder he did not commit
  • Secured the dismissal of all charges after winning reversal on appeal of murder conviction of DC man wrongfully imprisoned for over 21 years
  • Obtained precedent-setting ruling from Maryland Court of Appeals in suit seeking police records regarding investigation of racial profiling complaints under Maryland public information act
  • Secured a substantial settlement in federal court for individual racially profiled by state troopers
  • Court-appointed to represent federal death row prisoner in post-conviction proceedings in Maryland


Seth has been an instructor in a number of trial advocacy courses, including National Institute for Trial Advocacy programs, and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University Law School. He is President of the board of directors of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, and serves on the board of directors of Anne Frank House, the advisory committee of the DC Bar Foundation, and the advisory council of Tzedek DC.