Joseph J. Cavanaugh | Washington, D.C. | Hogan Lovells

Joseph J. Cavanaugh

Pro Bono Senior Associate Litigation, Arbitration, and Employment

Cavanaugh Joe

Joseph J. Cavanaugh
Cavanaugh Joe
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Credentials
  • Insights and events

Joe Cavanaugh represents clients in a range of commercial litigation matters, with a particular focus on privacy and data security litigation. He advises organizations that have suffered a cyber attack or have been accused of consumer privacy violations in addressing government investigations and managing numerous lawsuits.

Joe has experience helping clients resolve major investigations before the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general, as well as defending class action lawsuits. He helps clients through different stages of litigation, including incident response and internal investigations, discovery obligations, motions practice, and settlement. His cases involve various substantive laws, including the Federal Trade Commission Act, state consumer protection statutes, data breach notification acts, and state common law causes of action.

Joe is committed to pro bono.  For nearly two years (2022-2024), he was assigned as the firm’s full-time Senior Associate in charge of United States pro bono work, litigating high-profile civil rights cases and managing the firm’s Pro Bono practice.  He was a member of the trial team that won the largest jury verdict in U.S. history in a wrongful conviction case ($75 million) for two brothers who spent a combined 62 years in prison for a crime they did not commit.  Today, he currently serves as a lead attorney for a class of indigent defendants challenging violations of their Sixth Amendment right to counsel resulting from inadequacies in a state public defense system, as well as a lead attorney litigating the constitutionality of a state's use of the death penalty.  Joe also frequently advocates for wrongfully convicted individuals, and is representing multiple clients in post-conviction proceedings.

In addition to his practice at Hogan Lovells, Joe is a Captain in the United States Army Reserve.  Prior to law school, Joe spent an academic year in Madrid, Spain on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Representative experience

Won largest jury verdict in a wrongful conviction case in U.S. history (US$75m) as trial counsel.

Represented diagnostic company related to vendor data breach affecting over ten million people.

Assisted large government contractor with incident response, internal investigation, and litigation following a cyberattack.

Won early dismissal of proposed class action against major technology company alleging violations of children’s privacy.

Assisted leading technology company with responding to federal government investigation into advertising and privacy practices.

Counseled multiple organizations on cybersecurity vendor agreements and incident response planning.


  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, cum laude, 2018
  • B.A., College of the Holy Cross, magna cum laude, 2012
Bar admissions and qualifications
  • District of Columbia
Court admissions
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado