SENIOR TRIAL ATTORNEY BRIAN MICHAELS
Senior attorney Brian Michaels is a 20-year veteran of the Southern California Criminal Courts. Attorney Michaels is a 4th generation Angeleno and spent his formative years in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles before moving with his family in Junior High School to the San Fernando Valley where he graduated from Birmingham High School.
After High School, Mr. Michaels attended the University of California at Santa Barbara where he majored in Political Science and International Relations with the intent of becoming involved in politics with Law School as his post graduate goal. As an Undergraduate Mr. Michaels began his legal career working as a Legal Assistant for the Legal Defense Center of Santa Barbara where he worked on legal issues affecting the local homeless population.
He took his first political job working as an Intern for State Senator Gary Hart and ran his campuses Government Internship Program while in Santa Barbara. He would later go on to work on Presidental Campaigns for Senators Bill Bradley and Bob Kerry.
Mr. Michaels began law school in the early 1990s. During Law School, and as a result of his academic achievement he was the #1 ranked student in his law school class for two years running. He was one of two students to be accepted onto his law school's Law Review based solely on academic achievement. He received multiple scholastic honors and scholarships based solely on academic performance graduating on the Dean's List.
While in Law School Attorney Michaels was selected from hundreds of applicants to work as Law Clerk for the Honorable Earl Johnson Jr. at the Second Appellate Court of Appeals. As a a Law Clerk Michaels researched and authored Memorandum opinion for the court, one of which was published and became precedent setting law in California.
After passing the California State Bar on his first attempt Michaels was hand picked by then Los Angeles City Attorney James Hahn to work first as a Criminal Prosecutor and later as a Civil Litigation Attorney for the Los Angeles Police Department at the height of the infamous Rampart Scandal.
During his tenure with the City Attorney's Office Michaels tried nearly 85 civil and criminal jury trials, more than most attorneys in the state will try in their career, with only two defeats. Mr. Michaels distinguished trial accomplishments lead to advancement and acclaim within his office and in the courts.
In 2002 Michaels retired from Government to pursue his dream of opening his own Law Firm. Early in his private career Michaels handled both Civil and Criminal Litigation. Over time, attorney Michaels has focused more of his attention on his Criminal Defense and DUI practice. Mr. Michaels practice has included some Family Law and Personal Injury matters but is first and foremost a criminal defense attorney.
Over the last 20 years Michaels has successfully defended hundreds of clients charged with offenses ranging from DUI cases to high grade Felonies including Homicide cases, Drug cases, Gang cases, and Sex Crimes. Attorney Michaels maintains a full time criminal practice and continues to accept criminal cases in other areas of the law in addition to consulting on the civil aspects of enforcement and licensing. Attorney Michaels is also building a new state of the art trial advocacy program for young lawyers in Los Angeles designed to teach the art of the winning jury trial.
In 2021 Attorney Michaels opened "The Restraining Order Lawyer" to address the growing need for access to the courts by members of the public underserved by law enforcement.
Brian Michaels is a member of the California State Bar, Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange County State Bar, Americans For Safe Access, California DUI Lawyer's Association, California Association of Criminal Trial Lawyers, and NORML. Michaels is also a member of Mensa International and Lawyers in Mensa, an elite organization whose membership includes individuals in the top 2 percent of IQ in the world based solely on sophisticated IQ testing.
Recently Mr. Michaels was voted one of the top 100 Trial Lawyers in American and has a prestigious perfect 10.0 AVVO rating. He has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and various other local news organizations.
- Law Office of Brian Michaels, Los Angeles, California - June 2002-Present - Owner and proprietor of the Law Office of Brian Michaels, a private law practice. Responsible for all the day to day business and legal affairs of a full time law practice from initial client contact through trial in 5 Southern California Counties. The primary emphasis of my practice is criminal defense though I have with minor emphasis in civil, family and business litigation. My criminal caseload runs the gamut from infractions and misdemeanors, to gang crimes, sex crimes, homicide and other serious felonies. I represent clients in five Southern California Counties.
- Los Angeles City Attorney – Criminal Prosecutor - June 1995-June 2002 - In June of 1995, I was hired to serve as a criminal Prosecutor. After receiving 6 weeks of intensive trial training I was assigned directly to trial courts where over the course of the first 4 years of my career I completed nearly 75 jury trials to verdict. I filed cases from inception. I was assigned higher profile homicide cases. I trained and supervised new hires and volunteer attorneys in trial skills. I argued law and motion and settled hundreds of cases as a Prosecutor.
- Los Angeles City Attorney – Civil Litigation Attorney June 2000 – January 2002 - I spent approximately 2 and half years assigned to the City's Civil Litigation Division where I was responsible for a full caseload of Personal Injury, Civil Rights and Excessive Force cases for the City and the Los Angeles Police Department. I had a heavy caseload, which included all aspects of civil discovery and Trial in State and Federal Court. I tried 4 complex Civil cases over the course of two years including two Federal Civil Rights Trials at the height of the Rampart Scandal and obtained defense verdicts in all trials.
- Judicial Clerk- Associate Justice Earl Johnson, Jr. Second Appellate District, May 1995-September 1996 - Selected from over 800 applicants to serve as a Judicial Clerk for the California Court of Appeals in Los Angeles assigned to Justice Earl Johnson Jr. Researched and wrote enumerable appellate memorandum and decisions for the court, one of which was published and set a legal precedent at that time.
- Intern– State Senator Gary Hart, Santa Barbara – 1988 - I was hired to serve as a legislative intern for then State Senator Gary Hart in his Santa Barbara Office. I worked on both local community issues as well as legislative research.
- U.C.S.B Government Internship Program – 1987-1988 - I was the director of the Government internship Program at the University of California at Santa Barbara. I was responsible for placing qualified students in relevant Government positions in Washington D.C. I interfaced directly with Congressional Offices as well as the White House. I interviewed, hired and placed students personally with positions in Washington D.C. and oversaw their programs.
- Association for Third World Affairs, Washington D.C. – 1987 - I served as an intern for a policy center in Washington D.C. during the summer of 1987. I was a research intern. My primary project was working on the global Cambodian refugee crisis under the direct supervision of Chhang Song, who later became a Senator in the newly formed Cambodian Government and was a minister in the Lon Nol government during the 1970s.
- Legal Defense Center of Santa Barbara – 1986 - I was a legal assistant for a Pro Bono law firm that worked on litigation defending the rights of the homeless in Santa Barbara.
University of LaVerne, College of Law, Juris Doctor, May 1994 - Honors and awards include Law Review, Annual Dean's List, Dean's List Graduate, #1 ranked student for two consecutive years, performance based scholarships.
University of California, Santa Barbara, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, June 1988
- Minor emphasis in International Relations.
- Associations and Affiliations
- Los Angeles County Bar
- San Fernando Valley Bar
- Ventura County Bar Association
- Mensa International
In addition to our full-time staff, the law office of Brian Michaels utilizes private investigators that assist counsel with criminal and enforcement actions and include former Los Angeles police department and Los Angeles sheriff's department investigators.