Michael represents clients in high-risk matters involving criminal charges, government enforcement actions, and complex civil litigation. He regularly leads successful defenses against a variety of life-altering allegations, including securities and investment fraud, cybercrimes, tax fraud, perjury, immigration and customs fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, false statements, and identity theft.
Over the course of a distinguished two-decade career—including a tenure as a trial deputy in the Federal Defender's office—Michael has obtained favorable outcomes for individuals and entities at all stages of federal criminal proceedings. His recent successes include a non-custodial sentence with no probation for a telecommunications executive who pled guilty to a major auto-subscribing scheme; a probationary sentence for a parent in the Varsity Blues scandal; and the declination of all healthcare fraud charges against a physician, including the return of over a million dollars' worth of cash and assets seized by the government. A skilled appellate practicioner, Michael has also aided clients in overturning unjust rulings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Michael's clients benefit from the breadth and depth of his experience. As a former federal public defender and a partner at one of the country's most reputable trial firms, he is well-versed in virtually every facet of federal criminal law and procedure. Clients prize his ability to predict likely obstacles and prepare for their eventuality, whether that requires plotting a new course or issuing a challenge. Additionally, as a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles legal community, Michael maintains connections with local prosecutors, judges, and court personnel. This familiarity enables him to account for the nuances of each audience and venue when building case strategies.
Michael also earns clients' trust through his direct approach and personal attention. When allegations of wrongdoing upend an individual's life, plunging them into unfamiliar territory, Michael serves as a steadfast advocate. He takes the time to understand their priorities, crafts practical solutions that fulfill their goals, and joins them "in the trenches" to fight tirelessly for their interests—whether at the negotiating table or in the courtroom.
Before joining Cohen Williams, Michael was a partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP and a shareholder at Caldwell Leslie & Proctor, a highly regarded litigation boutique in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he served as a Trial Deputy in the Federal Defender’s Office, where he secured numerous acquittals at trial in cases charging bank robberies, drug trafficking, firearms offenses and criminal threats against federal agents. He achieved a slate of victories through creative pre-trial motions and strategic plea negotiations, as well as on appeal, including in a published opinion in a habeas corpus case.
Michael is highly active in a number of local organizations. He recently served as Co-Chair of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference Lawyer Representatives for the Central District of California. Previously, he was a member of the Criminal Justice Act panel in the Central District of California, through which he accepted dozens of appointments to represent indigent defendants charged with federal crimes. Michael also lectures and provides training on various topics in criminal law, including bail proceedings, criminal investigations and grand jury proceedings, cooperation with federal investigations and prosecutions, and federal sentencing and advocacy.