Patrick O. Cavanaugh


Patrick Cavanaugh has more than 30 years of experience as a civil litigator and environmental lawyer, beginning his career as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Torts Branch, Civil Division, where he was hired through the Attorney General’s Honors Program. While at the Justice Department, Patrick worked on a variety of Federal Tort Claims Act matters and was a member of the Agent Orange and Radiation Litigation trial teams. He has litigated a number of environmental, product liability and toxic tort cases since becoming a private practitioner in the late-1980s. Patrick’s current practice focuses primarily in areas of business disputes and employment, environmental and insurance coverage counseling. Specifically, he has represented a wide range of clients in areas such as:

  • Litigation of civil and commercial claims
  • Defense of employment claims
  • Defense of commercial disputes and breach-of-contract actions
  • Defense of “toxic tort” and product liability claims alleging personal injury and property damage
  • Environmental compliance and “due diligence” counseling in connection with transactions involving contaminated properties
  • Defense of False Claims Act cases and government suspension and debarment proceedings

Patrick serves as an ex-officio member of Blank Rome’s Executive Committee and previously served as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer. Before joining Blank Rome via a merger in 2003, he was the managing director of Dyer Ellis & Joseph, P.C., and the head of that firm’s environmental and litigation practices.

Outside the Firm

Patrick is involved with a number of local charitable groups, including the DC Greys and Youth Apostles ministry. He also represents a number of non-profit organizations on a pro bono basis, including the Joey Pizzano Memorial Fund.

In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his family, and a variety of sporting activities, including golf and doubles tennis. Pat resides with his wife in McLean, Virginia, and they have four children.

Related Industries


  • A defunct railroad company, defense of claims alleging property damages as a result of PCB contamination.
  • A landfill, obtained injunction against Virginia Department of Environmental Quality revoking operating permit and related penalties.
  • A county government, ongoing defense concerning cleanup requirements for area groundwater (“BCEE”) contamination affecting public water supplies.
  • An investment group and security company, defense of breach of contract, common law fraud, and securities claims arising out of purchase-and-sales transaction.
  • An international maritime company, investigation of fraud and “kick-back” schemes, and related efforts to obtain civil restitution.
  • Various entities, a series of internal investigations concerning alleged civil and criminal regulatory violations, as well as employment claims.


  • AV Preeminent®, listed by Martindale-Hubbell®



  • American Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • Virginia Bar Association
Professional Activities

Patrick is a past editor-in-chief of the ABA publication Trends and a 12-year member of NR&E magazine.



  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia


  • George Mason University School of Law, JD
  • George Mason University, BS
  • French