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Mirviss to head Venable’s Rockville office

Mitchell Y. Mirviss, a prominent appellate attorney and a pro bono advocate whose cases have set new standards in state and federal courts — including the U.S. Supreme Court — will take on a new challenge on Jan. 1 when he becomes partner-in-charge of Venable LLP’s Rockville office.

In his new role, Mitchell Y. Mirviss hopes to expand Venable’s business and pro bono activities in Montgomery County.

Mirviss, a Montgomery County resident, has worked in Baltimore throughout most of his career. He has been at Venable for 23 years.

“I am not forsaking Baltimore,” Mirviss said in a telephone interview Friday. “I hope to continue to have a significant practice there.”

Mirviss takes over as partner-in-charge from Paul T. Glasgow, who will continue his practice, which focuses on real estate and construction litigation.

Venable Vice Chairman Brian L. Schwalb said in a statement that Mirviss is “a first-class attorney and the efforts of our Rockville office will be further strengthened by his strong leadership and well-respected reputation.”

As an appellate attorney, Mirviss has overturned six large, multimillion-dollar punitive damage verdicts and sanctions totaling more than $400 million.

He said he hopes his presence in Montgomery County will actually make it “easier for me to expand my practice personally.”

“My hope is that the process of leading the office and helping to expand the business opportunities for others will also result in increased business opportunities for me,” Mirviss said.

Through his new position, he also hopes to bring Venable’s broader resources to the Montgomery County community.

“Venable is the only full-service firm in Montgomery County,” Mirviss said. “We want to let the business community know that a local option exists with full service availability. That would be a change for Venable and it is long overdue.”

Mirviss described the Rockville office as “small but robust.”

“I very much enjoy the opportunity to work in a small firm environment with large firm resources and extremely talented lawyers,” he said.

Mirviss said he hopes to enhance the firm’s pro bono work in the Montgomery County community. Specifically, he would like to work with Baltimore-based House of Ruth Maryland to represent victims of domestic violence in court.

Mirviss said the firm has partnered up with The House of Ruth to represent victims in Baltimore, and he said members of the organization have said the need for representation in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties “is considerable.”

He said the issue of child welfare is one that is “near and dear to my heart.”

He has served as lead counsel for the past 24 years for a class of up to 10,000 Baltimore foster children in L.J. v. Massinga, working to ensure the children’s safety and well-being under a federal consent decree.

Mirviss represented Maurice M., a missing child whose mother refused to provide information about his whereabouts. The case, Maurice M. v. Bouknight, went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which held in 1990 that the mother could not invoke the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid a subsequent court order to produce the child.

More recently, Mirviss successfully co-litigated DeWolfe v. Richmond, in which the Court of Appeals held in January there was a statutory right to counsel at initial bail hearings. The General Assembly later revised the statute. The Court of Appeals is currently considering relief for detainees who were denied their right to counsel under the prior law.