Interior of the Office of Kaplan Johnson Abate & Bird LLP

Michael Abate



Areas Of Practice

  • Appellate & Constitutional Law
  • Complex Commercial & Business Litigation
  • Arbitration & Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Securities & Wealth Management Litigation & Arbitration
  • First Amendment & Media Law
  • Managed Care Litigation

Mike is an experienced litigator who has practiced at all levels of the federal court system. Mike began his career in the U.S. Department of Justice handling the United States’ most sensitive constitutional, statutory, and administrative law cases. After nearly eight years at DOJ, he joined a large regional law firm in Louisville where he became partner and chair of the firm’s appellate practice group. Mike has briefed and argued cases for his clients all across the country, including in eleven different U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Kentucky Supreme Court, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He also has briefed numerous cases in the U.S. Supreme Court at both the certiorari and merits stages.

Mike concentrates his practice on healthcare, media, and appellate litigation. He regularly represents Medicare and Medicaid managed care organizations in disputes pending in state and federal courts across the country. He also represents media organizations in litigation over constitutional issues and access to public records. Mike also handles state and federal appeals on wide range of different issues.


  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • District of Columbia
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 1st Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court District of Maryland
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims


  • Stanford Law School, Stanford, California
    • J.D. - 2005
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
  • Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts
    • B.A. - 2000
    • Honors: magna cum laude

Honors And Awards

  • Best Lawyers 2023 Appellate Practice – Best Appellate Lawyer, Louisville
  • Louisville Legal Aid Society Access to Justice Champion
  • Louisville Business First Forty Under Forty
  • Director of National Intelligence Award
  • US Department of Justice, Special Commendation (Immigration Preemption Litigation)
  • Attorney General’s Award for Furthering the Interest of National Security
  • Life Member, Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference


  • Law Clerk, Hon. Diana Gribbon Motz, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Representative Clients

  • Served as national counsel for Medicare Advantage Organizations in numerous cases successfully asserting Medicare Secondary Payer rights in litigation against no-fault and liability insurers, tortfeasors, and other parties responsible for reimbursing conditional Medicare payments.
  • Represented media organizations, journalists, and private individuals sued for defamation and other reputational torts.
  • Represented Medicare managed care organizations in connection with a variety of payer-provider disputes and regulatory matters.
  • Represented health care payers and providers in connection with government investigations and allegations arising under the False Claims Act.
  • Represented media clients in disputes arising under the Kentucky Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act, including obtaining an unprecedented fee and penalty award from a state agency following a multi-day bench trial.
  • Presented dozens of appellate arguments, including arguing before 11 different U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Kentucky Supreme Court, and the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
  • Represented state political party, elected officials, and voters in constitutional challenges to state house and congressional redistricting plans
  • Represented indigent litigants on appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court seeking the right to obtain fee waivers in order to pursue felony expungements

Community Activities

  • Seven Counties Services, Board Chair, 2017 - 2020; Vice Chair, 2015 – 2017; Board Member, 2013 - 2022
  • ACLU of Kentucky, Committee on Litigation, 2017-2020
  • Highland Presbyterian Church, Member of Session, 2018-2019