Michael T. Kirkpatrick

Attorney, Public Citizen Litigation Group

Michael T. Kirkpatrick is an attorney at the Public Citizen Litigation Group in Washington, D.C., where he has worked since March 2004. Mr. Kirkpatrick’s practice areas include constitutional law, civil rights, administrative law, and open government, including practice before the United States Supreme Court.

Among the cases litigated by Mr. Kirkpatrick are Jones v. Flowers, 547 U.S. 220 (2006) (holding that due process requires the government to take further action to provide notice of an impending deprivation of property when the government learns that its initial effort has failed); Dolan v. U.S. Postal Service, 546 U.S. 481 (2006) (holding that the postal exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act does not bar all claims for injuries caused by the negligence of government employees engaged in the delivery of mail); Cerqueira v. American Airlines, Inc., 484 F. Supp. 2d 232 (D. Mass. 2007) (jury verdict for the plaintiff in civil rights challenge to racial profiling by an airline), rev’d, 520 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2008); ACORN v. FEMA, 463 F. Supp. 2d 26 (D.D.C. 2006) (D.D.C. 2006) (granting preliminary injunction in constitutional challenge to the adequacy of notices used to inform hurricane evacuees of denial of housing assistance); and Asociación de Trabajadores Fronterizos v. Dep’t of Labor, No. 04-400 (W.D. Tex. Dec. 30, 2005) (challenge to DOL’s implementation of trade adjustment assistance program for limited-English proficient trade-dislocated workers; resolved pursuant to settlement agreement requiring policy changes and additional job training for affected workers).

Before joining the Litigation Group, Mr. Kirkpatrick served as a senior trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (1995—2004), where he litigated employment discrimination cases against state and local government employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and defended the constitutionality of federal affirmative action programs. Mr. Kirkpatrick was lead counsel from initial investigation through discovery and trial of two complex pattern-or-practice cases that used the disparate impact theory to challenge the discriminatory use of written cognitive tests in selecting public safety officers. He was also lead counsel for the United States in the first jury trial of a Title VII case brought by the Department of Justice.

Earlier in his career (1991—1995), Mr. Kirkpatrick was a staff attorney with the Farm Worker Division of Texas Rural Legal Aid (TRLA), where he litigated employment and civil rights cases on behalf of migrant, transnational, and contingent workers. While practicing at TRLA, Mr. Kirkpatrick litigated over two dozen cases in federal court, including class and collective actions. He also negotiated labor agreements for striking workers and counseled farm worker unions and community organizations.

Mr. Kirkpatrick earned his undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University in 1987. In 1991, he graduated cum laude from the American University, Washington College of Law, and received the Dean’s Award for Professional Responsibility, Most Outstanding Clinical Student. In 2008, Mr. Kirkpatrick received the Peter M. Cicchino Award for Outstanding Advocacy in the Public Interest. He has served as a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow at Harvard Law School, and as a Law and Policy Mentor for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Mr. Kirkpatrick is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center where he teaches a course on ethics in public interest practice as part of the Public Interest Law Scholar program.

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