Born and raised in the Mott Haven and Highbridge sections of the Bronx, New York, Michael moved to California in 1976 to start law school, after serving in the U.S. Army (1968-1970), getting a B.S. in Education from the City University of New York and a brief teaching career. After graduating from the University of California Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, in 1979, he began his legal career at the venerable firm Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe. That launched a 36-year legal career, which included a wide range of business, commercial, bankruptcy and securities litigation and trial work, in the national and international markets. Michael retired from the practice of law in 2015.