Michael A. Cunniff


Michael A. Cunniff was awarded a law degree magna cum laude by Suffolk University Law School in Boston, and an undergraduate degree in psychology cum laude by Boston College. He is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Courts of Maine and Massachusetts and their subordinate courts, as well as in the United States District Court for the District of Maine, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. Mike has considerable experience as counsel to public officials, particularly police officers and other public safety personnel, in internal affairs matters, civil rights cases alleging constitutional violations, and critical incidents involving the use of deadly force.  Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings as assigned to Mike a rating of " AV Preeminent," reflecting that peers in the legal community ranked him as having achieved the highest level of professional excellence, including in the categories of legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, judgment, communication ability, and legal experience, and as having met very high ethical criteria. Mike has been listed in Legal Leaders: Boston's Top-Rated Lawyers in the fields of administrative, civil rights, and criminal law. Mike began his law practice in 1999 after 27 years of federal law enforcement service with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and its predecessor agency, the United States Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.  At the time of his retirement from federal service, Mike was a Supervisory Special Agent managing a Massachusetts-based multi-jurisdictional task force operating in the inner-city neighborhoods of Eastern Massachusetts, often concentrating on the suppression of drug-related violence. He served in permanent posts of duty in Boston, New York City, and Portland, Maine.  Mike investigated and supervised complicated cases involving criminal organizations with operations that were often interstate or international in scope, or engaged in law enforcement efforts designed to improve the quality of life in the communities where he worked, and included risky undercover assignments. Mike was also the lead federal law enforcement officer in a Maine task force that investigated diversion of pharmaceuticals and failures to comply with regulatory requirements for legitimately manufactured drugs, and the manager of a multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdictional financial investigative group in Massachusetts.  As a federal agent, he was a regular member of prosecutor-investigator teams that presented complex cases to federal grand juries and then tried the indicted cases to federal juries.  He frequently testified as a percipient or expert witness about those matters.  As a supervisor, he conducted delegated internal affairs investigations and delegated inspections of DEA regional offices for compliance with institutional requirements for good law enforcement agency management, fiscal integrity and achievement of enforcement objectives.  Enlisted to help prepare aspiring lawyers for the courtroom, Mike accepted an appointment from the University of Maine School of Law as a member of its adjunct faculty, where he served from 2007 until early 2012. At the Law School, he taught courses in trial practice, as well as sentencing law and strategy. He is a frequent lecturer and speaker on topics that are related to his law practice, including constitutional criminal procedure, investigative strategy and tactics, police liability, health care fraud and regulatory compliance. Mike also regularly supports efforts to provide continuing legal education to the law enforcement community; he makes presentations to law enforcement audiences on topics ranging from constitutional criminal procedure to case preparation to situational uses of force and related police liability issues.