Michele Hangley handles high-stakes governmental, commercial, and legal malpractice cases across the country, appearing most frequently in Pennsylvania state and federal courts. Her clients include government officials, international corporations, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and lawyers and law firms. Michele is a creative, but practical, litigator, who works closely with her clients to understand their goals and pursues those goals relentlessly.
Michele has built a strong practice representing government entities and offices, most recently representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a range of high stakes matters related to the 2020 election. She led the firm’s team on several election matters, including defending the Pennsylvania Secretary of State on challenges to in-person and mail-in voting and defending Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties’ ballot canvassing procedures. She also defended the Commonwealth against efforts to overturn the results after Election Day, including a lawsuit brought by a U.S. representative who challenged the state’s recently adopted Election Code as unconstitutional. For her efforts, she has been named one of three finalists for the 2021 Attorney of the Year Award by the Legal Intelligencer. According to the publication, “Hangley’s work helped shape the way one of the most highly contested and consequential elections played out in one of the country’s most pivotal battleground states.” In 2018, Michele was also a leader of the firm team representing Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and members of his administration in the Pennsylvania Congressional Redistricting Litigation, in which several groups of plaintiffs challenged Pennsylvania’s congressional district map as an illegal partisan gerrymander. This fast-paced litigation played out in four separate lawsuits in two federal district courts, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth and Supreme Courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court, and resulted in a new, court-drawn map being put in place in time for the 2018 congressional elections.
In addition to her governmental practice, Michele has a strong commercial litigation practice covering a broad range of areas, including business tort and breach of contract claims and intellectual property disputes. She is also well-known for her work defending attorneys and law firms in legal malpractice cases arising out of complex lawsuits and transactions.
Michele has been appointed as a discovery master and as a judge pro tempore for the Commerce Program of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and has served as a Hearing Committee Member for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s Disciplinary Board. She is frequently called upon to lecture on matters involving civil procedure and attorney ethics. Michele has been recognized as a leader in Litigation by Chambers USA, as one of the country’s Top 250 Women in Litigation and as a Local Litigation Star by Benchmark: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys, as one of Pennsylvania’s “Most Powerful and Influential Women” by the Pennsylvania Diversity Council, and as a top attorney by Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine.
- Served as lead counsel for Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar in a challenge to various procedures for in-person and mail-in voting, including the use of certain types of voting machines. The Court denied Petitioners’ preliminary injunction application at the close of Petitioners’ evidence, without requiring evidence from Michele’s client. Michele then argued the client’s Preliminary Objections, and the Court granted them. (NAACP v. Boockvar)
- Served as were lead counsel for Secretary of the Commonwealth Boockvar in a challenge to Pennsylvania’s mail-in ballot procedures, including the deadline for receipt of voted mail-in ballots. Our client initially opposed extending the deadline, but she later withdrew her opposition as a result of changes to U.S. Post Office mailing standards. At the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s direction, a Commonwealth Court judge held an evidentiary hearing on August 31, 2020. The Supreme Court ultimately ordered an extension of the deadline as relief in another case, but made use of the Crossey evidentiary record to do so. Crossey v. Boockvar 2020 WL 5554582 (Pa. Sept. 17, 2020).
- Represented Department of State officials in Commonwealth Court litigation involving mail-in ballot application processes. Cramer v. Boockvar
- Represented the Commonwealth in a challenge to the state’s receipt of funds from a technology foundation for new voting equipment. Pennsylvania Voters Alliance v. Centre County
- Represented Commonwealth of Pennsylvania officials Kathy Boockvar, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Jonathan Marks, the Deputy Secretary for Elections and Commissions, in litigation involving the certification and use of voting machines and related voting machine technology brought by former Presidential candidate Jill Stein.
- Represented the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania after US Representative Mike Kelly, along with Congressional Candidate Sean Parnell, State Senate candidate Wanda Logan, and five other voters filed suit in the Commonwealth Court, seeking to block certification of the state’s electoral votes, claiming that universal mail-in voting violated the Commonwealth Constitution. After the Commonwealth Court judge temporarily barred certification, the defendants asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction powers to take up the case and determine if the Commonwealth Court judged erred in granting the temporary injunction. The Court later declared in a unanimous decision that the plaintiffs had waited too long to bring their suit and that the remedy they sought was too extreme. Kelly v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Successfully represented Pennsylvania’s Governor and members of his administration in the Pennsylvania Congressional Redistricting Litigation, in which several groups of plaintiffs challenged Pennsylvania’s congressional district map as an illegal partisan gerrymander. This fast-paced litigation played out in four separate lawsuits in two federal district courts, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth and Supreme Courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court, and resulted in a new, court-drawn map being put in place in time for the 2018 congressional elections. League of Women Voters v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 178 A.3d 737 (Pa. 2018); Corman v. Torres, 287 F. Supp. 3d 558 (M.D. Pa. 2018).
- Represented a national cable and entertainment company in patent litigation involving claimed damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
- Successfully defended several prominent law firms and attorneys against legal malpractice suits in Pennsylvania state courts, including winning defense jury verdict in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas after lengthy trial.
- Won dismissal on jurisdictional grounds of technology company’s claims against West Coast investor. Return on Intelligence, Ltd., v. Shenkman, 2017 WL 3310684 (E.D. Pa. August 3, 2017).
- Represented specialty pharmaceutical company in $200+ million contract dispute with large international pharmaceutical company in Philadelphia’s Commerce Court; case ended with successful mediation and settlement.