Michael is a skilled litigator who leads high-profile, complex matters in federal, state, and appellate courts across the country. Michael has a diverse practice with deep experience in the areas of appellate law, distressed real estate, class actions, antitrust, defamation, and securities litigation, as well as in precedent-setting matters before federal circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 2019, Michael briefed, argued, and won a major First Amendment case at the U.S. Supreme Court. In Manhattan Community Access Center v. Halleck the Court reversed a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision, clarified when private entities can be considered “state actors” and therefore liable for constitutional violations, and upheld longstanding distinctions between private and government action.
Michael has represented lenders, borrowers, developers and landlords in complex real estate litigation and workouts. His team won the first case decided by a New York appellate court on the pivotal “frustration” and “impossibility” defenses being put forth by commercial tenants after the mandatory closure of non-essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this case, he secured dismissal of all claims and The GAP was ordered to pay past and future rent, essentially stopping all similar New York-based claims in their tracks.
Known for his work in First Amendment and defamation law, Michael has been retained to defend investment firms in bet-the company defamation cases known colloquially as “short and distort” disputes and climate scientists in free speech and Anti-SLAPP lawsuits. He is go-to counsel for corporate governance and derivative cases, post-merger or failed merger disputes, and litigation over distressed real estate portfolios.
In his role as vice chair of the business litigation group, Michael has significant responsibility for practice operations, including work assignments, mentorship of junior attorneys, and targeted business development.
Michael is active in bar and civic organizations. He serves on the board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and previously served as co-chair of the Antitrust Litigation Committee in the Litigation Section of the ABA. He was an elected member and vice president of the Board of Education in Glen Ridge, N.J. for 10 years, completing his last term in 2022. He is also the lead guitarist for Cozen O’Connor’s house band, The Dirty Scriveners.
Michael received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Montclair State University and then continued his study of philosophy in graduate school at Rutgers University. He earned his law degree from Rutgers University School of Law, graduating with honors and as a member of the order of the coif. He was editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Computer & Technology Law Journal.