Steven J. Kelly


Steve Kelly is a principal at Grant & Eisenhofer who, over the past two decades, has developed a national reputation for effectively litigating and advocating on behalf of crime victims/survivors – children and adults – including those targeted by serial sexual predators.  He is widely considered by his peers as a pioneer for survivors in their civil claims for justice and also serving (pro bono) as their personal counsel/advocate throughout their perpetrator’s criminal prosecution. Mr. Kelly’s early work in this unique area of practice was instrumental in the formation of the National Crime Victim Law Institute. Prior to joining G&E, Mr. Kelly was a Partner for several years in the Baltimore office of a leading national law firm; there he founded and successfully led the firm’s innovative Criminal/Sexual Violence Group.  

Passionate about his work, Mr. Kelly’s lifelong commitment to crime prevention, victims’ rights, and justice for survivors is rooted in his own tragic personal family experience; his sister was raped and murdered when he was a teenager and the perpetrator was never charged. Mr. Kelly’s wide-ranging, often high-profile and highly-impactful outcomes on behalf of survivors/victims, includes:

  • A $14 million landmark Title IX settlement against Dartmouth College on behalf of students who were sexually assaulted and/or harassed by a group of professors; besides monetary compensation, the agreement required Dartmouth implement new measures to protect students. 
  • A $14.25 million settlement for survivors of Rabbi Bernard ‘Barry’ Freundel, the disgraced former Kesher Israel Synagogue (Washington, D.C.) leader who was convicted of illicitly photographing women they prepared for their religious conversion in his temple’s ritual bath.
  • Overturning the exoneration of convicted Maryland murderer Adnan Syed, the focus of the Serial Podcast, on behalf of his victim’s family who were given no opportunity to participate in the criminal proceedings.
  • Leading the first mass action filing under the federal child pornography statute, Masha’s Law, against more than 150 perpetrators who possessed, viewed, and distributed images of two very young girls being sexually abused by adult men
  • Reaching a confidential settlement on behalf of a former student and resident at the prestigious St. Paul’s (boarding) School, who was raped by a fellow student as part of a sex competition of which the school was aware
  • Litigating on behalf of a group of families against the Glen Mar Early Learning Center, whose staff member sexually molested students under the age of five
  • Achieving a confidential settlement on behalf of a student at a prestigious school who was sexually abused by the school’s dean of students
  • Negotiating to obtain a substantial settlement for a victim who was sexually abused while incarcerated in a juvenile facility
  • Negotiating a confidential settlement on behalf of a middle school student who was sexually abused by her teacher at a DC Charter School
  • Successfully arguing in the Connecticut Supreme Court on behalf of a missing - and presumed murdered - victim’s family who was sued by the criminal suspect for posting missing person’s posters. The court overturned the trial court’s verdict against the family on First Amendment Grounds in a case with great significance groups devoted to finding missing persons
  • Successfully litigating on behalf of survivors in criminal cases across the country including cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and the Maryland Court of Appeals

Mr. Kelly has been lauded for his outstanding leadership, from courthouses to state houses, by peers, government officials, agencies and survivors advocacy organizations. The National Crime Victim Law Institute, American Bar Association, Network for Victim Recovery Center (NVRDC), Baltimore Child Abuse Center, Maryland Crime Victim’s Resource Center, and the Maryland Office of the Governor, are among those recognizing his myriad accomplishments. He has also been selected among Maryland Super Lawyers every year since 2003, and is a 2022 selection in the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers.

Mr. Kelly has authored/co-authored articles that appear in: American Bar Association publications on representing child-victims and its guide on prosecutorial discretion; U.S. Justice Department Guidelines for representing victims of crime; U.S. Military training protocols for special victims’ counsel; National Crime Victim Bar Association; National Institute of Justice and numerous state and local organizations. Mr. Kelly has presented at state and national conferences on crime victim rights in the criminal process, civil claims arising out of criminal acts, representing child-victims, criminal restitution, trauma-informed advocacy, and insurance coverage issues common in criminal/sexual violence cases.

He serves as the Chair of the Maryland State Board of Victim Services (appointed by Maryland Governor), is a member of the Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, the Advisory Board for the National Crime Victim Law Institute, the American Bar Association Victim Committee, the National Alliance for Crime Victim Rights Attorneys (“NAVRA”), National Crime Victim Bar Association, Maryland Association of Justice, Federal Bar Association, Maryland Bar Association and the Maryland Association for Justice.

Mr. Kelly earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 2003, where he served on the Journal of Law and Public Policy and was recognized for his advocacy on behalf of victims by the Domestic Violence Clinic; and his B.A. from American University in 1997.



  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., cum laude


  • American University, B.A., magna cum laude



  • Maryland

  • District of Columbia

  • U.S. Supreme Court

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

  • U.S. District Court for the District of MD

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