Your Outside In-house Legal Counsel Since 1985
C. Michael Deese
  • Partner





C. MICHAEL DEESE, a partner in the McLean, Virginia office of Howe & Hutton, Ltd., graduated from Davidson College (A.B. in Political Science), the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (M.A. in International Relations) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School (J.D.). Mike has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Davidson College. His law practice focuses primarily upon the representation of national and international nonprofit organizations. Mike’s work on behalf of trade associations, professional societies, charitable organizations and their related entities has included corporate matters (incorporation, mergers and consolidations, bylaws development, obtaining and retaining tax exempt status, consulting regarding insurance coverage, review of publications and advertising, development of codes of ethics and certification and accreditation programs, and antitrust and tax compliance, including board member training), contract negotiation and drafting (with convention centers, hotels, endorsed product and service providers, publishers, website development and maintenance providers, association executives and association management companies), litigation (Title VII, ADA, First Amendment and contract disputes) and general counseling regarding the antitrust, tax and other consequences of client actions and programs. Mike currently serves as outside general counsel to numerous national and international nonprofit organizations, as well as several regional associations and automobile dealer advertising associations. Mike is a member of the Legal Section of the American Society of Association Executives, where he has served on the Editorial Advisory Committee for the Section's Association Law & Policy newsletter. Also a member of ASAE's Association Management Company Section and previously of its Section Council, Mike authors articles for that Section and speaks frequently on association governance and other legal topics, both at ASAE conferences and at conferences of other organizations including The AMC Institute.

Areas Of Practice

  • Nonprofit organization representation 90%
  • Advertising Law 5%
  • Association executive employment contracts 5%

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio, 1976
  • District of Columbia, 1978
  • U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, 1979
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1988
  • Supreme Court of the United States of America, 1988
  • Virginia, 2018


  • University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • J.D.
  • Davidson College, Davidson, NC
    • A.B.
    • Major: Political Science
  • University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Philadelphia
    • M.A.
    • Major: International Relations

Representative Clients

  • Trade Associations,Professional Societies and Other Nonprofit Organizations
  • Meetings, Events, Trade Shows, Conventions & Hospitality
  • Intellectual Property
  • Employment / Human Resources
  • Litigation / Risk Management
  • Administrative Law Matters
  • Antitrust
  • Governance


  • Association Legal Issues, AMC Institute, 1996 to Present
  • Association Law Symposium, ASAE, various

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Davidson College, Member, Board of Trustees, 2000 to 2001
  • American Society of Association Executives, Legal Section, Member, 1988 to Present
  • American Society of Association Executives, Legal Section, Editorial Advisory Committee for Association Law and Policy Newsletter, 1999 to 2004
  • ASAE, Association Management Company Section, Member
  • ASAE, Association Management Company Section, Section Council, 2001 to 2018
  • American Bar Association, Member, 1976 to Present
  • Virginia State Bar, Member, 2018 to Present


  • Phi Eta Sigma