Benjamin Civiletti

Born: July 17, 1935
Peetskill, New York

Died: October 16, 2022

Summary by
Patricia Shakow

Interviews Conducted by
Patricia Shakow, Esq.

Benjamin Civiletti, Esq.

Oral History Text & Documentation

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Oral History Summary


Chairman Emeritus and retired partner Ben Civiletti focused his practice of law on commercial litigation, banking, white-collar crime, government regulation, and corporate governance. He conducted numerous product liability cases; successfully prosecuted and defended statutory and constitutional claims, and conducted special investigations growing out of derivative suits, governmental proceedings, and a state impeachment resolution.

Ben is both a trial and appellate advocate. In addition, he developed a practice in alternative dispute resolution, working successfully as a mediator, facilitator, master and arbitrator in many commercial and tort disputes to achieve faster and more cost-efficient justice.

Ben’s prior service on four public for-profit boards and three non-profit boards afforded him a thorough familiarity with corporate governance consensus, task forces, and strategic planning. As Attorney General of the United States, Ben argued before the International Court of Justice on behalf of the American captives in Iran, and before the Supreme Court for the right of the government to denaturalize Nazi war criminals, and successfully defended the President’s wage and price guidelines in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (sitting en banc).

Furthermore, Ben was responsible for the Justice Department’s promulgation of open trial guidelines, the Stanford Daily laws, the development and publication of National Priorities for the Investigation and Prosecution of White-Collar Crime, Principles of Federal Prosecution, National Prison Standards, and a score of other improvements in the effective enforcement of criminal law and in civil rights and environmental protection.


Ben successfully argued again in the Court of Appeals of Maryland to reverse excessive millions in punitive damages and the court entered judgment for the defendant. He was co-independent counsel, appointed by regulators, in the investigation of the derivative business of a major Wall Street financial institution.

Ben represented a corporate client in the successful defense of multi-million dollar claims of tortious interference with contract. For another client, he successfully settled multiple intentional tort claims after a lengthy trial on motions to suppress. And he again was successful in settling claims from a domestic air crash in which he represented plaintiffs against a major airline.


Ben served as a member of the National Research Council Committee to Study National Cryptography Policy and as Chair of the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Welfare Policy. He was a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Alternatives to Incarceration. In community-related areas, Ben’s service includes former membership on the Legal Aid Bureau, Inc.’s board and Chair of GBMC Healthcare, Inc. (retired).

In the legal publications field, he was a member of the Lexis-Nexis/Martindale-Hubbell Legal Advisory Board and a member of Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., – board of editors of Federal Litigation Guide Reporter. Ben also served as chair or member on a number of task forces under several Maryland governors. These include: Funding of Public Education; Drug Abuse; and Funding of the Arts.

L.L.B. (J.D.), University of Maryland School of Law, 1961
A.B., Johns Hopkins University, 1957

Judicial  Clerkships
Honorable W. Calvin Chesnut, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, 1961 – 1962

American Bar Association
Federal Bar Association
Maryland State Bar Association
District of Columbia Bar Association
Bar Association of Baltimore City

Bar Admissions
District of Columbia

Government Experience
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
Office of the Attorney General