Overview

Mike Mitchell is a trial and appellate lawyer with 30 years of experience in state and federal courts. He is co-chair of the firm's Litigation team, as well as the Intellectual Property Litigation practice. In Chambers USA, Mike is praised for his "great insight" and for being a "creative thinker, effective at connecting divergent ideas and facts." Sources also note that "his client service is fabulous" and he “is exceedingly bright and thorough.”

Mike advises clients on business strategies for resolving complex disputes. He regularly manages complex business 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 has represented clients with cases pending in other states, including California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas, Michigan, Washington and South Carolina.

Mike was appointed by Chief Justice Mark Martin to serve on the Chief Justice's Rules Advisory Commission, and was reappointed by Chief Justice Cheri Beasley and again by Chief Justice Paul Newby. Chief Justice Martin also appointed Mike to serve on the Commission for the Administration of Law and Justice. 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 served as the Vice Chair of the North Carolina Business Committee for Education. He has served 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. 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.

Areas of Focus

Credentials

Recognition

  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite, Commercial Litigation (2023-2024)
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers, Litigation: General Commercial (2014-2024)
  • Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Litigation Star (2013-2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Commercial Litigation (2012-2024)
    • Construction Law (2012-2024)
    • Real Estate Law (2012-2024)
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation (2012-2024)
    • Litigation - Intellectual Property (2012-2024)
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Raleigh, Litigation-Intellectual Property (2023)
  • Super Lawyers
    • North Carolina Super Lawyers (2011-2023)
    • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Top 100 Lawyers (2013, 2015, 2016)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated

Clerkships

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

Education

  • Wake Forest University, J.D., 1989
    • Editorial Staff, Wake Forest Law Review
  • Wake Forest University, B.A., 1986

Affiliations

  • Member, Chief Justice’s Rules Advisory Commission (Chief Justice’s Appointment) (2021-2023)
  • Member, Civil Local Rules Committee for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Board of Visitors, Wake Forest University School of Law (2023-present)
  • 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, Veterans Life Center of North Carolina
  • Board of Directors, North Carolina Business Committee for Education (2013-2022)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Wake County Economic Development (WCED)
    • Member, Existing Industry EDGE 6 Committee
  • Past Member, North Carolina Commission for the Administration of Law and Justice
  • Past Member, North Carolina General Statutes Commission

Experience

  • Advises boards of directors and individual board members of public, private, and nonprofit companies regarding litigation, pre-litigation disputes, as well as enterprise risks.

  • Represented a large hospital system against the University of North Carolina system in litigation involving contract and governance disputes.

  • Represents a multinational company in a large insurance coverage dispute in the North Carolina Business Court.

  • Represented a large general contractor in construction litigation against the State of North Carolina.

  • Represented a bank in ERISA litigation in federal court in North Carolina.

  • Represented a private company in proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

  • Represented a public company in ERISA litigation in federal court in North Carolina and Florida.
  • Successful appeal (N.C. Supreme Court) unanimously affirming the judgment in favor of guardian ad litem on behalf of a minor child.

  • Multiple successful appeals (unpublished opinion before the N.C. Court of Appeals) unanimously affirming the termination of parental rights in favor of a guardian ad litem who represented minor children.

  • Successful appeal (unpublished opinion before the N.C. Court of Appeals) unanimously affirming dismissal of a third-party complaint in an aviation case.
  • Successful appeal (unpublished opinion before the N.C. Court of Appeals) unanimously affirming a large sanctions award against opposing counsel.
  • Successful appeal (N.C. Supreme Court) unanimously affirming the business court in a complex contract case.
  • Successful appeal (published opinion by the N.C. Court of Appeals) unanimously affirming dismissal of an unfair trade practice case.
  • Successful appeal (unpublished opinion by the N.C. Court of Appeals) reversing the trial court in a complex property rights case.
  • Successfully tried a heavily contested complex land use dispute in Onslow County where the trial included an examination of 13 witnesses, including 10 experts.
  • Tried a jury trial in a breach of contract case in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
  • Served as lead counsel in a two-week jury trial in Wake County Superior Court in a breach of contract case resulting in a verdict of $37 million. This 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, and then satisfied in full ($48.5 million including interest).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Represented clients in U.S. and foreign arbitration proceedings, and served as lead U.S. counsel in obtaining a multi-million euro arbitration award for breach of a patent license.
  • Experience as an arbitrator.

Insights

News

Publications & Alerts

Events & Programming

  • "2018 Civil Law Update" Presentation with Judge Paul C. Ridgeway (Senior Resident Superior County Judge - Tenth Judicial District) and Casey C. Fidler (Tharrington Smith), Wake County Bar Association
  • "Cost Effective Litigation: Winning the Case Without Breaking the Bank," CLE, 2015
  • 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.
  • Co-Presenter, "Pre-suit Disputes: Advising Your Board of Directors," Live Webinar Presented by the Corporate Counsel Section of the NCBA
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Managing Retirement Plan Risk: Fiduciary Duties and Litigation Trends," Smith Anderson 29th Annual Employment Law Update, Virtual
    Speaking Engagement
  • Co-Presenter, "Where Can We Be Sued? The Evolving Landscape of Personal Jurisdiction," Webinar hosted by CELESQ
    Speaking Engagement
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