Michael Finney is Gentry Locke’s Litigation Section Leader. His practice focuses on complex litigation and appeals, including business/shareholder disputes, whistleblower claims under the False Claims Act, defamation, and intellectual property matters. Prior to joining Gentry Locke, Michael practiced in Washington, DC, and clerked at the United States District Court in Roanoke for the Honorable James C. Turk. Since 2012 he has been recognized by Virginia Super Lawyers and is consistently named one of the “Legal Elite” by Virginia Business magazine.

  • Years with Gentry Locke
  • Wonderful kids
  • NBA arenas visited
  • What do you enjoy most about practicing law?

    I like the problem-solving and strategic aspects. Each case is a different challenge, an opportunity to think analytically and creatively. It’s both a great privilege and responsibility to try and achieve the best result for a client, whether through litigation or otherwise.

  • What do you like to do away from the office?

    Spend time with my kids. They’re delightful company, and while the time seems to go by faster and faster, it’s a great joy seeing them grow in all things. I’m also an aspiring/frustrated golfer.

  • If you had chosen a career other than law, what would you be doing today?

    Sports has always been a passion, and I would have loved to have worked in a front office. I think team-building is a fascinating blend of data and human factors. And although I’ll never have that job, having those opinions and debates as a fan is a big part of the fun.


  • Harvard Law School, J.D.
  • Stanford University, B.A.


Michael Finney is admitted to practice law in Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the State of California (inactive).

  • Lead appellate counsel for whistleblowers in United States ex rel. Arven et al. v. Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, et al., Case No. 20-13448 (11th Circuit), a False Claims Act case where the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that the defendants/appellees were not “arms of the state” of Florida, leading to $51 million settlement
  • Represent appellant in Pegasystems Inc. v. Appian Corporation, No. 1399-22-4 (Court of Appeals of Virginia), challenging $2 billion trade secrets judgment
  • Represented whistleblower in False Claims Act case involving research fraud, United States ex rel. Thomas v. Duke University, Case No. 1:17-cv-276-CCE-JLW (Middle District of North Carolina), which resulted in $112.5 million settlement
  • Obtained partial summary judgment and jury verdict for natural gas companies in defense of $14 million breach of contract claims, and then successfully argued appeal. Knox Energy, LLC et al. v. Gasco Drilling, Inc., No. 17-1878 (4th Circuit)
  • Represented social media/blockchain company in a dispute over the ownership of cryptocurrency tokens
  • Represented national retailer in multi-million dollar contract dispute with inventory service provider
  • Defended magazine publisher in high-profile defamation case. Eramo v. Rolling Stone LLC, et al., No. 3:15cv23 (W.D. Va.)
  • Represented company President/CEO/Director in shareholder’s derivative action, where asserted claims exceeded $200 million
  • Represented municipality in construction dispute over airport runway project
  • Represented company on products liability claims arising from plant explosion
  • Obtained dismissal of defamation and business tort claims action against newspaper publisher
  • Represented shopping center owner seeking to declare that a restrictive covenant was invalid
  • Represented former owner of accounting company in contract dispute over earn-out provision
  • Represented international pharmaceutical company in intellectual property dispute with former employee-inventor and his competing company
  • Represented national galvanizing company in open account contract dispute, obtaining trial judgment for full amount claimed
  • Represented guarantor of a commercial shopping center loan in federal litigation
  • Represented group of individuals who had purchased illegitimate annuities, in both primary and insurance coverage actions
  • Represented numerous business entities and departing individuals in non-compete, trade secret, conspiracy, defamation, and other “business divorce” cases
  • Served as local counsel in both state and federal litigation
  • Lawyer with Latham & Watkins before joining Gentry Locke
  • Federal judicial clerk for the Honorable James C. Turk, Western District of Virginia (2008-2009)


  • Member, Boyd Graves Conference (2021-present)
  • Board Member, Virginia State Bar Litigation Section (2018-present)
  • Member, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia (2022-present)
  • Board Member, Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia (2017-2020)
  • Secretary, Federal Bar Association, Roanoke Chapter (2012-14)
  • Chair, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys (2012)
  • Vice-Chair, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys (2011)
  • Member, Virginia State Bar
  • Member, Washington DC Bar
  • Member, California State Bar (inactive)
  • Member, Virginia Bar Association
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Roanoke Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association


  • Named to “Best Lawyers in America” for Commercial Litigation and Qui Tam Law (2020-2024), and for Appellate Law and Labor and Employment Litigation (2024)
  • Named a Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star in Business/Corporate Law (2012) and Business Litigation (2013-2018)
  • Designated one of the Legal Elite by Virginia Business magazine in the area of Litigation (2016-2020, 2023) and Young Lawyer (Under 40, 2015)

Published Work

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.
Michael Finney Virginia attorney