Disability Rights Maryland (DRM) is pleased to announce that Mitchell Mirviss (Mitch), Partner at Venable LLP, will be honored as the recipient of DRM’s Lorraine Sheehan Lifetime Achievement Award. He will receive the award at DRM’s 2023 Breaking Barriers Awards Gala on Wednesday, September 20, at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) in Baltimore, Maryland.
This award, established in 2010, recognizes Lorraine Sheehan’s extraordinary and historic achievements on behalf of people with disabilities. Inspired by a desire to see her son, John Sheehan, included in every aspect of life, Lorraine was by many accounts the heart, soul and mastermind of the disability rights movement in Maryland.
Mitch’s unwavering dedication to protecting and advancing children’s rights, civil rights and disability rights for more than 35 years has made a tremendous impact on the lives of Marylanders and helped to create a more integrated and just society.
For instance, he has represented thousands of foster children from Baltimore City in a federal class action since 1988 and has provided important reforms in health, behavioral health and other vital areas. Additionally, he and DRM successfully negotiated a comprehensive system to prevent and investigate sexual assaults in state hospitals, state residential centers for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and residential treatment centers for youth. Moreover, he played a key role in establishing the rights of property guardians to gather evidence and investigate potential misconduct by attorneys representing severely disabled children in medical malpractice cases.
Mitch played a key role in creating significant changes through new laws in several areas. For example, one law requires the state to stop reimbursing itself and instead save a significant portion of the federal benefits received by foster youth with disabilities. Another law requires the state to continue providing services to foster youth with disabilities after they age out of foster care. This particular law was inspired by a landmark case that Mitch successfully argued in the Supreme Court of Maryland.
Recently, Mitch joined DRM to file a lawsuit called T.G., et.al. v. Maryland Department of Human Services, et.al. The lawsuit aims to improve the services and options available in communities for children with disabilities, and to stop the practice of “hospital overstays,” which refers to keeping children in hospitals even when there’s no medical need for it. According to Leslie Seid Margolis, who is the managing attorney and policy counsel at DRM, as well as one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, she states:
“Mitch and I met as new attorneys representing children in juvenile court more than three decades ago, and his continued dedication to children, to DRM’s work and to systems change is inspiring. Mitch is a brilliant, dedicated attorney and a truly wonderful human being; We are honored to co-counsel the T.G. case with him and thrilled that DRM is recognizing him with our award named to honor the memory of another wonderful human being and outstanding systems change advocate, Lorraine Sheehan.”
To learn more about DRM’s Breaking Barriers Awards Gala, visit DisabilityRightsMD.org/Breaking-Barriers-Gala.
About Mitch Mirviss:
Mitch Mirviss is a co-chair of Venable’s Appellate Litigation Group. Mitch handles appellate and commercial litigation, tackling a wide array of complex legal issues in both federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, federal appellate courts, Maryland appellate courts, and state and federal trial courts. He represents clients in complex litigation matters, focusing on commercial torts and punitive damages, complex financial transactions and other commercial matters, product liability, constitutional law and civil rights, intellectual property, children’s rights, and disability issues.
With 3½ decades of appellate experience, including more than 60 cases in the Maryland appellate courts, Mitch has prevailed in matters at every level of appellate practice: the U.S. Supreme Court, federal circuit courts of appeal, and the Maryland Supreme Court and Appellate Court. He has successfully served as lead appellate attorney in numerous product liability, commercial tort, children’s rights, and disability rights cases, and has written winning briefs in these and many other areas.
In addition to his commercial work, Mitch is well known for his pro bono work and involvement in community affairs and children’s causes. He has represented thousands of Baltimore City foster children in a long-standing federal class action since 1988 and is co-counsel for plaintiffs in another federal class action involving foster children in other Maryland counties. Mitch also recently argued in the Alaska Supreme Court on behalf of a coalition of national children’s organizations and Alaska foster children seeking to protect the federal benefits of foster children with disabilities, and he successfully litigated a statewide constitutional right to legal representation at all bail proceedings.