Mike is a trial lawyer who handles complex commercial litigation and serves as strategist and adviser to a wide variety of sophisticated businesses in the financial services and investment, construction, automotive, pharmaceutical, and cannabis industries, among others. He is also a law enforcement academy instructor and former police sergeant with deep knowledge of criminal, constitutional, and use-of-force law.
Mike is licensed and practices regularly in Colorado, California, and New York, and appears in state and federal courts and in FINRA and AAA arbitration nationwide. Named a 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” by Law Week Colorado, he is recognized as a bet-the-company litigator and has tried numerous high-profile, high-stakes cases—experience and a mind-set that also lead to thoughtful and effective settlements.
Mike’s management philosophy harnesses the power of diverse, egalitarian, and well-rounded legal teams in which all members’ life experiences and talents foster entrepreneurial, creative solutions for clients. This management philosophy in intertwined with Mike’s determined commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and to community service more broadly, especially service that supports historically disadvantaged communities. He is a member of the Colorado Center for Legal Inclusiveness “Champions’ Roundtable” and a supporter of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, the Denver Public Schools Foundation, and El Sistema of Colorado, among other community groups.
- Complex Civil Litigation
- Criminal and Civil Rights Law
- Appellate Practice
- Bankruptcy Litigation
- Financial Crisis and Investment Litigation – for more than a decade, Mike has litigated the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, including as lead counsel to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy estate for mortgage-backed securities (RMBS)-related matters. In that role, he defended more than $80 billion in mortgage-related claims brought against the Lehman estate and prosecuted thousands of claims against sellers of defective mortgage loans. Mike has also represented both institutional investors and investment banks in several multibillion-dollar RMBS trials, achieving, in one case, what the New York Post called “a whopping defeat” of an $11.4 billion claim.
- Brand and Business Protection – Mike has substantial experience in brand and business protection, both as a preventative strategist and adviser and as a litigator. He has provided counseling and litigated cases involving trade secrets, trademarks, raiding, and non-compete agreements in the financial services, pharmaceutical, medical device, energy, and cannabis industries. Mike immerses himself in clients’ businesses to thoroughly understand their goals and challenges and to design comprehensive legal strategies in which litigation is only one of many tools for achieving success.
- Business Divorce and Corporate Governance – Mike represents companies, senior executives, and founders in disputes concerning corporate governance and business divorce and in internal investigations. These cases are often highly charged, where managing both the legal and emotional aspects of these disputes is critical to preventing further harm to the organization and its people.
- Cannabis Law – Mike represents investors and entrepreneurs in the legalized cannabis industry, which requires sophisticated counsel who can adapt to ever-changing business and legal environments and provide reliable advice to clients in a field with little legal precedent. In this respect, Mike excels because of his experience handling multibillion-dollar bet-the-company matters, the laser-focus and steady hand he developed in his military and law enforcement service, and his aptitude for solving difficult—often novel—legal problems. Clients in the cannabis space (and beyond) particularly benefit from Mike’s personal experience as an entrepreneur and business owner.
- FINRA and Securities – Mike appears in numerous arbitrations administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) on behalf of both customers and industry members, and serves as a FINRA arbitrator.
- University of Denver Sturm College of Law (J.D.), Class Rank No. 1, Order of St. Ives
- University of Colorado Denver (B.A.), summa cum laude
- New York
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
- U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
- Named to a list of 250 Cannabis Law Experts by Databird Research Journal (2018)
- Lawyer of the Year, Law Week Colorado (2017)
- Ranked in Chambers USA
- Rated AV Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Elite Boutique Trailblazer, The National Law Journal (2017)
- Colorado Super Lawyers for Securities Litigation (2014-2020)
- Top 100: 2015, Colorado Super Lawyers
- Local Litigation Star in Colorado by Benchmark Litigation (2017-2020)
- Local Litigation Star in Colorado – Plaintiff, Benchmark Litigation (2014)
- Colorado Rising Stars (2010-2013)