Michael Avenatti is a high-profile American attorney, commentator and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, California. He routinely appears on television and in the print media as a commentator on a range of issues and is widely considered one of the foremost trial lawyers in the nation, with trial victories in multiple states and venues across the country.
Michael often works closely with the press and media in connection with his legal practice – an area in which most lawyers falter and under-utilize. During his career, he has represented parties in a number of lawsuits that have gained international media attention, including two cases featured on the news magazine show 60 Minutes, as well as in cases brought against the National Football League, various celebrity defendants, including Paris Hilton and Jim Carrey, athletes, high-ranking business executives, and Fortune 100 companies.
During his career, Michael has been responsible as lead counsel for over $1 Billion in verdicts and settlements, including many well in excess of $10,000,000.
Michael lived throughout the United States while growing up but ultimately attended high school in St. Louis, Missouri. Michael graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with a major in Political Science. He subsequently attended law school at George Washington University, where he had the benefit of working closely with Professor Johnathan Turley on constitutional issues relating to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Michael later graduated Order of the Coif, first in his class.
In 2003, the law school honored Michael by establishing the Michael J. Avenatti Award for Excellence in Pre-Trial and Trial Advocacy, an annual award given to the member of the graduating Juris Doctor class who demonstrates excellence in pre-trial and trial advocacy. And in 2010, George Washington University recognized Michael by awarding him with an Alumni Achievement Award, the highest form of recognition given by the University, which was founded in 1821.
While in college and later in law school, Michael worked at a political opposition research and media firm run by Rahm Emanuel (who later became White House Chief of Staff and is presently the Mayor of Chicago). During his time there, Michael worked on over 150 campaigns in 42 states, including multiple gubernatorial and congressional campaigns (i.e. Joe Biden’s U.S. Senate Campaign).
Immediately following law school, Michael began working at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles, alongside Daniel Petrocelli, who previously represented the Goldman family in its case against O.J. Simpson. He assisted Petrocelli on multiple legal matters, including the representation of singer Christina Aguilera and litigation surrounding the movie K-19: The Widowmaker, and worked extensively on the defense of the Eagles’ Don Henley and Glen Frey in various cases, including in a well-publicized suit brought by former bandmate Don Felder against the band and Irving Azoff.
After three years at O’Melveny, he joined Greene Broillet & Wheeler, a Los Angeles boutique litigation firm. While there, Michael spearheaded many high-profile cases, including a $10 million defamation case against Paris Hilton; a successful idea theft lawsuit involving the reality show The Apprentice and its producer, Mark Burnett, as well as Donald Trump; and a large corporate multi-national embezzlement case involving in excess of $42,000,000.
In 2007, Michael formed the law firm Eagan Avenatti, LLP (fka Eagan O’Malley & Avenatti, LLP), with offices in Newport Beach, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Since co-founding the firm, Michael has been responsible for securing a number of large verdicts and settlements as lead counsel, including an April 2017 $454 Million verdict after a jury trial in Federal Court in Los Angeles in a fraud case against Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) and Halyard Health (NYSE: HYH) that was featured on 60 Minutes (won every jury question as to every defendant); a $80.5 million class action settlement against Service Corporation International (NYSE: SCI) in another case featured on 60 Minutes and in the international press (settlement reached in the middle of trial); a $41 million jury verdict after a nearly five-week trial in New Jersey; a $39 million settlement in a case involving the alleged theft of trade secrets; and a $13 million plus verdict after a six week jury trial in Palm Beach, Florida (won every jury question as to every defendant). In 2015, Michael prevailed against the National Football League after a two-week jury trial in Federal District Court in Dallas, Texas after obtaining a court order requiring Jerry Jones to attend trial and be cross-examined.
Michael routinely receives numerous honors and awards for his legal work, including being voted by his peers as the top trial lawyer of the year.