Photo of Michael W. Mitchell

Michael W. Mitchell

AA Contact Info

Deborah J. Smith
Phone: 919.821.6632


Mike Mitchell is a trial and appellate lawyer with more than 25 years of experience in state and federal courts. In Chambers USA, Mike is praised for his "great insight" and sources note that "his client service is fabulous" (Chambers USA 2014).

Mike advises clients on business strategies for resolving complex disputes. He regularly manages complex business litigation, including intellectual property and ERISA litigation. He has tried cases in all three federal districts in North Carolina and in numerous counties across the State. Mike routinely handles cases in the North Carolina Business Court, and cases designated as Exceptional by the Chief Justice. He has handled appeals before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court and the North Carolina Court of Appeals. He also represents clients in litigation in other states -- most recently, New York, Texas, and Michigan.

In 2015, Mike was appointed by Chief Justice Mark Martin to serve on the North Carolina Commission for the Administration of Law and Justice. In August 2013, Mike was appointed by Governor Pat McCrory to serve on the North Carolina General Statutes Commission. Mike also serves on the Civil Local Rules Committee of the Eastern District of North Carolina and he has worked to revise the local rules for the Tenth Judicial District for electronic discovery.

Mike has an interest in education policy, serving as the Vice Chair of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education. In 2013, he accepted the opportunity to serve on a special advisory committee to Governor McCrory to consider changes to the composition of the Education Cabinet in North Carolina.

He has served in various leadership positions in the North Carolina Bar Association and currently holds several leadership roles in the Firm, including Co-Chair of the Firm's Commercial Litigation Section. Mike formerly served as a law clerk to the Honorable Frank W. Bullock, Jr., United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

  • Member, Civil Local Rules Committee for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • American Bar Association, Commercial Litigation
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Commercial Litigation
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Co-Chair, Administration of Justice Committee
    • Past Co-Chair, Bench Bar Liaison Committee, North Carolina Bar Association
  • Board of Directors, North Carolina Business Committee for Education
  • Member, Board of Directors, Wake County Economic Development (WCED)
  • Past Member, North Carolina General Statutes Commission
  • Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina State Litigation Star (2013-2018)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Real Estate Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation (2012-2018)
  • Business North Carolina "Legal Elite," Commercial Litigation
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers, Litigation: General Commercial (2014-2017)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers (2011-2018)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Top 100 Lawyers (2013, 2015, 2016)



  • Mike is representing a private company in proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
  • He recently represented a public company in ERISA litigation arising out of the denial of benefits to a former senior executive of a subsidiary. The case involved two different retirement plans, one of which was challenged regarding its exempt status under ERISA. The case also involved an allegation by the former employee of wrongful termination to prevent him from qualifying for retirement.
  • In November 2016, he successfully argued before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, which unanimously affirmed the trial court in a published opinion dismissing an alleged unfair trade practices case.
  • In February and March 2013, he successfully tried a heavily-contested complex land use dispute in Onslow County. The trial included his examination of 13 expert witnesses in the case.
  • In January 2013, he tried a jury trial on a breach of contract case in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
  • In December 2010, he served as lead counsel in a two-week jury trial in Wake County Superior Court on a breach of contract case. The jury returned a verdict of $37 million for the firm’s client. It was the largest verdict in North Carolina in 2010 and one of the top 60 in the U.S. This judgment was affirmed unanimously by the Court of Appeals in August 2012, and satisfied in full in September 2012 ($48.5 million including interest).
  • In 2009, he tried both a jury trial and a bench trial in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina in consolidated cases arising out of an aviation accident in Martinsville, Virginia.
  • He has tried cases in all three federal districts in North Carolina, as well as in Buncombe, Gaston, Randolph, Moore, Lee, Wake, Cumberland, Nash, Pitt, and Onslow Counties.
  • He has experience representing clients in U.S. and foreign arbitration proceedings. He served as lead U.S. counsel in obtaining a multi-million euro arbitration award for breach of a patent license.  He also has served as an arbitrator.

News & Publications



Events & Webinars


  • NCBA 2014 eDiscovery: Process, Prospects and Perspectives - CLE: "Using Local Rules to Promote Best Practices for eDiscovery"
  • NCBA 2013 Litigation Section Annual Meeting – CLE:  “Managing Challenging People and Challenging Cases,” with Edward F. Hennessey, IV, Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.; Joseph P. McGuire, McGuire Wood & Bisette, P.A.; Michael W. Mitchell, Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P.; Allison O. Van Laningham, Turning Point Litigation/Van Laningham Duncan P.L.L.C.
  • NCADA’s 33rd Annual Meeting - Commercial:  “Bringing Your Commercial Case Alive for Judge & Jury – Tips & Strategies for Effective Courtroom Presentation of Commercial Cases,” with Hon. James L. Gale, Judge, N.C. Business Court; Clifton L. Brinson & Michael W. Mitchell, Smith Anderson Blount Dorsett Mitchell & Jernigan, L.L.P.; Jonathan D. Sasser, Ellis & Winters, L.L.P.

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S.District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • All North Carolina State Courts


Wake Forest University, J.D., 1989

Wake Forest University, B.A., 1986


  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Frank W. Bullock, Jr., United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
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