Matthew A. Fitzgerald


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  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Order of the Coif, Managing Board, Virginia Law Review, 2008
  • Dartmouth College, AB, Government, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 2004
  • Virginia
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
Member, Appellate Section, Virginia Bar Association

Matt's practice focuses on handling appellate matters, constitutional issues, and major motions. Matt previously served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States and Chief Judge Edward E. Carnes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Montgomery, Alabama.  He is a member of the firm's Recruiting Committee. 

Matt has briefed complex, high-dollar cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, as well as the Supreme Court of Virginia, where he has been lead counsel for clients at both the petition and merits stages.  He has litigated constitutional issues including preemption, separation of powers, defamation under the First Amendment, and double jeopardy.  In the federal district courts, Matt is experienced in successfully handling important strategic motions such as class certification, as well as emergency motions.  He also advises clients about seeking or opposing certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States, and has been counsel of record for amici.

Matt graduated magna cum laude from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served both as a Dillard Fellow and an essays editor on the managing board of the Virginia Law Review.

T: +1 804 775 4716F: +1 804 698 2251mfitzgerald@mcguirewoods.comOne James Center
901 East Cary Street
Richmond, VA 23219-4030
Federal Appeals Courts

Drafted both party and amicus briefs addressing a circuit split among the Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits (in the Fourth Circuit).

Represented energy companies appealing from orders issued by FERC—the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (in the D.C. Circuit, Seventh Circuit, and Fourth Circuit).

Represented a bank urging that a New York banking law had no private right of action (in the Second Circuit).

Represented nine U.S. Senators and two U.S. Representatives in drafting an amicus brief on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (in the Tenth Circuit)

Supreme Court of Virginia

Crafted and briefed a separation of powers issue, presenting a constitutional question of first impression.

Represented banking institutions opposing petitions for appeal in foreclosure-related lawsuits.

Drafted and argued an inmate’s petition for appeal on double jeopardy and sufficiency of evidence grounds.

Other Constitutional Issues

Defended against a defamation lawsuit on constitutional grounds in Virginia state court.

Advised a corporation considering a constitutional challenge to a recently-passed statute and its implementing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.

Represented an energy company briefing the preemptive effect of a federal mining law on a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Other Representations

Experienced in briefing emergency motions, including a motion opposing sanctions for discovery violations and a motion for a hearing to investigate prosecutorial misconduct.

Represented a banking institution opposing class certification in two foreclosure-process cases in federal district courts.

Drafted a white paper to assistant U.S. attorneys in defending against a criminal investigation relating to a high-dollar government contract.

Co-author, "Great Cases, Hard Cases, and the Judicial Role: Chief Justice Roberts’ Penalty-as-a-Tax Holding," AHLA Practice Group Email Alert, July 6, 2012
Author, Seizing Weapons of Mass Destruction from Foreign-Flagged Ships on the High Seas under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, 49 Va. J. Int’l L. 473, 2008
Panelist, "A Look at Decisions Impacting the Business Community," Fourth Circuit Year in Review, McGuireWoods LLP Complimentary Webinar and Live Presentation, May 15, 2014
Panelist, U.S. Supreme Court Review and Preview, Panel Review of the 2012-13 U.S. Supreme Court Term and Preview of the Upcoming 2013-14 Term with Particular Emphasis on Decisions that Impact the Business Community, September 5, 2013