Mike is an appellate lawyer with a broad range of substantive experience in both civil and criminal litigation. He has authored more than a hundred appellate briefs and conducted dozens of oral arguments in federal and state courts nationwide. Mike is routinely hired not only for traditional appeals, but also to handle legal strategy and appellate preservation at the trial level, including arguing motions, proposed jury instructions, and jury selection issues. Mike has worked on about 30 jury trials in that role. In just the last two years, he has attended seven complete jury trials for three different clients—Facebook, Philip Morris USA, and Monsanto—in California, Florida and Washington.
Law360 recently named Mike a “Rising Star”—a recognition for “attorneys under 40 whose legal accomplishments transcend their age”—in “Cybersecurity & Privacy,” explaining that Mike “has amassed victories for Facebook and other companies over a career that has also been marked by his dedication to pro bono work.” Among other things, Mike won a Ninth Circuit appeal in which the plaintiffs challenged Facebook’s use of pixel technology to assist with targeted advertising. Mike argued a successful summary judgment motion on behalf of Facebook in a biometrics suit about the company’s facial recognition technology. Mike has briefed five product liability appeals for Philip Morris that resulted in vacated damages awards. And in 2022, Mike defended Monsanto at a two-month trial involving its manufacture of polychlorinated biphenyls, where the jury entered a defense verdict as to three of the four plaintiffs.
Mike devotes a large part of his practice to individuals facing threats to their life or liberty. He has represented clients convicted of murder, sexual assault, robbery, burglary, and drug trafficking, and numerous immigrants facing deportation from the United States. Mike’s victories include an opinion by the Second Circuit vacating the judgment against a client convicted of murder for hire, a decision by the South Carolina Court of Appeals vacating a client’s conviction for robbery, and four appellate court rulings barring the government from deporting immigrants to Mexico, Honduras and Poland.
Mike received his J.D. with high honors from The University of Chicago Law School, where he was a comments editor on The University of Chicago Law Review. After law school, Mike was a law clerk to Judge Jay Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and to Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Eastern District of New York. Before joining Shook, Mike was a partner at Mayer Brown LLP.
Selected Appellate Wins
Argueta v. Garland, 2022 WL 500459 (2d Cir. 2022): Argued appeal on behalf of client facing deportation to Honduras. The Second Circuit vacated the order of removal, holding that the agency had to reconsider his claim under the Convention Against Torture.
Fixed Income Shares v. Citibank, No. 18-1196 (2d Cir. 2018): Briefed appeal about contract dispute between Citibank and investors in residential mortgage-backed securities. The district court had granted Citibank’s motion to dismiss, which Mike briefed. See 314 F. Supp. 3d 552 (S.D.N.Y. 2018). The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their appeal after appellate briefing concluded.
United States v. Rosemond, 841 F.3d 95 (2d Cir. 2016): Argued appeal on behalf of music manager convicted of murder for hire. The Second Circuit vacated the conviction, holding that the client’s Sixth Amendment rights were violated.
Morales v. United States, 651 Fed. App’x 1 (2d Cir. 2016): Briefed habeas appeal on behalf of an incarcerated defendant challenging his sentence on constitutional grounds. The Second Circuit held that the defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights had been violated during his sentencing hearing.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Mylan, 586 F. App’x 747 (2d Cir. 2014): Briefed appeal about contract dispute with generic drug manufacturer. The lower court had dismissed the client’s complaint for failure to state a claim; the Second Circuit reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
Gullen v. Facebook, Inc., 745 F. App’x 481 (9th Cir. 2019): Briefed appeal of complaint alleging that Facebook violated the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA) by performing facial recognition on photographs of non-users. The district court had granted Facebook’s motion for summary judgment, which Mike briefed and argued. See 2018 WL 1609337 (N.D. Cal. 2018). The Ninth Circuit affirmed.
Coto Ortiz v. Barr, 812 F. App’x 615 (9th Cir. 2019): Briefed and argued appeal on behalf of client facing deportation to Honduras. The Ninth Circuit held that the client could not be deported because he was entitled to relief under the Convention Against Torture.
Parzych v. Garland, 2 F.4th 1013 (7th Cir. 2021): Briefed and argued appeal on behalf of client facing deportation to Poland. The Second Circuit vacated the order of removal, holding that Illinois burglary is categorically broader than the federal offenses of burglary and attempted theft.
Mendoza-Sanchez v. Lynch, 808 F.3d 1182 (7th Cir. 2015): Briefed appeal on behalf of client facing deportation to Mexico. The Seventh Circuit held that the agency erred in its analysis of whether the client was entitled to relief under the Convention Against Torture. Mike then represented the client in immigration court, which granted relief.
Commerce Bank v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 141 A.D.3d 413 (1st Dep’t 2016): Briefed appeal about contract dispute between Bank of New York Mellon and investors in residential mortgage-backed securities. The First Department affirmed the trial court’s dismissal in part of the plaintiff’s claims, holding that an RMBS trustee had no duty to investigate the events at issue.
Remet Corp. The Estate of Pyne, 26 N.Y.3d 58 (N.Y. 2015): Briefed appeal in the New York Court of Appeals about the scope and meaning of contractual indemnification clauses in environmental cleanup cases. The lower court had held that the client was not entitled to indemnification for environmental cleanup costs associated with a Superfund site; in a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals reversed and held that the client was entitled to full indemnification.
In re Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 127 A.D.3d 120 (1st Dep’t 2015): Briefed appeal of $8.5 billion settlement agreement entered into by BNYM on behalf of 530 RMBS trusts. The First Department affirmed the approval of the settlement.
Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Principe, 337 So. 3d 821 (Fla. 3d Dist. Ct. App. 2021): Briefed appeal about the scope of Florida’s fraud statute of repose. The appellate court vacated a $10.5 million judgment against the client, and remanded for entry of judgment on all claims.
Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Gentile, 281 So. 3d 493 (Fla. 4th Dist. Ct. App. 2019): Briefed appeal raising issue similar to Principe. The appellate court vacated a $7.1 million judgment and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of the client.
Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Martin, 262 So. 3d 769 (Fla. 4th Dist. Ct. App. 2018): Briefed appeal about the application of Florida’s punitive damages statute to wrongful death actions. The appellate court held that punitive damages are not permitted in cases involving decedents whose injuries first manifested after a 1999 statutory amendment. The judgment for punitive damages was vacated and the claim was dismissed.
Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Naugle, 182 So. 3d 885 (Fla. 4th Dist. Ct. App. 2016): Briefed appeal of $11.2 million judgment following a jury trial. The appellate court reversed in part, holding that there were reasonable grounds to believe that juror misconduct had occurred.
Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Green, 175 So. 3d 312 (Fla. 5th Dist. Ct. App. 2015): Briefed appeal of $10 million judgment following a jury trial. The appellate court reversed in part, holding that the trial court erred by declining to apply comparative fault to the judgment.
Appellate Advocacy: Strategic Choices in Trial Courts, Practicing Law Institute (PLI), April 2021.
Preserving Issues for Appeal, New York Law Journal, August 25, 2014 (with Scott Chesin).
Trump Granted Hip-Hop Manager Clemency but Left Him in Prison, Lawyers Claim, The Washington Post, October 7, 2021.
Citi Wins Freeze of Hedge Fund’s $175 Million Revlon Loan Payment, The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2020.
Rising Star: Mayer Brown’s Michael Rayfield, Law360, October 2, 2019.
Circuit Overturns Former Rap Mogul’s Murder Conviction, New York Law Journal, November 1, 2016.
CA7 (Posner) on Mexico, CAT, La Linea - Mendoza-Sanchez v. Lynch, LexisNexis Legal Newsroom, December 24, 2015.