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Michael J. Dorney

545 Long Wharf Drive
Ninth Floor
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
Phone:  203.672.3210
Fax:  203.672.3233


Mr. Dorney has been engaged in litigation matters in Connecticut for 50 years. He served as a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer from 1989 through 2009, having been certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He has been lead counsel in over 25 cases in Connecticut which have resulted in jury verdicts in Federal and State Court, and well over 100 jury trials which have commenced and been disposed of at some point in the proceedings.

In addition to jury trials, Mr. Dorney has been lead counsel in well over 100 non-jury contested cases which have resulted in decisions in Federal Court, State Court, and various administrative-type agencies. The topics have ranged from personal injury defense to product liability, medical malpractice, patent and trademark, municipal, labor and employment, and general business and banking litigation. He has argued appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Connecticut Supreme Court, and has lectured and co-authored materials on Federal and State civil practice and procedure.

Specifically with regards to the Federal Court, Mr. Dorney has continued to be involved with major litigation cases in the District of Connecticut. He is routinely involved in the Federal Court with Motions to Dismiss, Motions to Compel, Motions for Summary Judgment, and the preparation of voluminous Pre-Trial Memoranda, as currently required by the Local Rules. Mr. Dorney has acted as both lead counsel in such endeavors and as an advisor to several national law firms with multiple cases pending in Connecticut. Among the latter group have been Intellectual Property and Business Litigation cases for national corporations.

Aside from a general litigation practice, Mr. Dorney has been engaged in the practice of labor law on behalf of management throughout his legal career. In addition to traditional labor representation in areas such as elections, negotiations and strikes, he has represented management in defense of race, age, and sex discrimination as well as wrongful discharge cases in Federal and State Court and before administrative agencies. In some of these matters, he acted as local counsel for national employers and was lead counsel in a variety of Connecticut-based cases on behalf of local employers and municipalities. He has obtained well over 100 decisions in contested labor matters before the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the American Arbitration Association, the State Board of Labor Relations, and the National Labor Relations Board.

In addition to representing municipalities in labor relations matters, Mr. Dorney has advised Connecticut municipalities, districts, and authorities on all aspects of governmental law, from charter revision to inter-agency relations, the conduct of referenda, the creation of boards and commissions, and the responsibilities of municipalities to other governments and the public. He served as Town Counsel of Orange for 26 years and currently serves as its Labor Counsel. He has served the Town of Guilford as Town Counsel for several terms between 1997 and the present. In addition, he has served municipal clients such as Cheshire, Glastonbury, Hamden, Milford, North Haven, and West Haven as special counsel in significant litigation and other matters.

Legal Experience

  • LeClairRyan, New Haven, Connecticut, November 2008 – Present
  • Tyler Cooper, New Haven, Connecticut, July 1963 – October 2008

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • New Haven County Bar Association
  • Connecticut Bar Association: Chairman, 1973 – 1976, and Executive Committee, Labor & Employment Section; Federal Practice Section, 1985 – Present; Standing Committee on the Courts, 2000 – 2012
  • Connecticut Judicial Branch: Civil Commission, 2001 – Present
  • Connecticut Bar Foundation: Fellow

Board Memberships


  • Orange Foundation Board
  • Orange Republican Town Committee

  • Catholic Family Services (New Haven)
  • Hospital of St. Raphael Foundation
  • Junior Achievement South Central Connecticut
  • Race Brook Country Club Board of Governors


  • Recognized by Law & Politics magazine as a Connecticut “Super Lawyer” in the areas of General Litigation, Government/Cities/Municipalities, and Employment & Labor, 2007 – 2018.  For more information on the selection process, click here.
  • Martindale Hubbell – AV Preeminent Rating
  • Federal Court Special Master
  • Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, National Board of Trial Advocacy, 1989 – 2009


  • LL.B., Boston College Law School, 1963
  • B.A., History and Government, Boston College, 1960

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut, 1963

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 1998
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1995
  • United States Supreme Court, 1969
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 1967
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, 1964
  • Connecticut Appellate Court, 1963
  • Connecticut Supreme Court, 1963