Mike is a trial lawyer in the Firm’s Litigation, Bankruptcy & Creditor Rights, Fashion, Luxury & Retail, Commercial Competition, and Motor Vehicle Groups. He engages in all aspects of commercial litigation across the country in federal and state court, arbitrations, and mediations, where he regularly represents his clients in complex commercial disputes involving corporate finance, valuation, trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract claims, commercial real estate, and bankruptcy claims. Whether he’s representing a multinational manufacturer, a middle-market lender, or a small privately held company, Mike counsels his clients to achieve their goals through tailor-made strategies while always remaining prepared to try cases to verdict.
Mike also provides tax controversy assistance to clients as part of the Firm’s Tax & Business Planning Group. His practice experience includes litigation in the U.S. Tax Court and federal district court for IRC § 482 transfer pricing allocations, IRC § 481 disputes, debt-equity characterizations, leasing transactions, IRC § 1031 like-kind exchanges, tax penalties, and economic substance, sham-transaction and other substance-over-form doctrines. Prior to joining Barack Ferrazzano, Mike was an attorney in Mayer Brown’s Tax Controversy practice, where he worked on notable cases including the Tyco debt-equity litigation and the Guidant/Boston Scientific transfer pricing litigation.
In addition to litigation counsel, Mike also has advised on a substantial number of transactions to avoid litigation altogether, including creditors in out-of-court workouts, automotive manufacturers in negotiating approvals for franchise buy/sell agreements, and private and publicly-held clients in numerous strategic transactions and out-of-court settlements. Mike has served as both a lead negotiator and deal architect for such arrangements, developing creative transaction frameworks to solve novel problems in highly regulated fields. Mike also has experience in evaluating warranty regulations that apply to automotive manufacturers’ dealership networks.
General Commercial Litigation
- Defended national and multinational banks against claims for conversion, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of federal laws relating to funds availability.
- Advised special committees of boards of directors for internal investigations.
- Represented an investment firm in disputes relating to purchases of notes involving distressed borrowers.
- Defended and prosecuted claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and numerous tort claims on behalf of middle-market companies, manufacturers, financial institutions, and investment firms.
Intellectual Property Litigation
- Defended and prosecuted claims under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and state trade secret statutes.
- Defended and prosecuted claims for unfair competition, violations of non-competition agreements, and/or breach of fiduciary duty claims.
- Represented former employees who were accused of violating employment agreements after joining competitor in federal action. Matter settled with all employees still employed at competitor.
- Negotiated out-of-court workouts for clients in heavily regulated and trade-secret intensive industries.
- Represented Fortune 500 companies in defense against false advertising claims under the federal Lanham Act.
- Prosecuted and defended patent infringement claims involving medical device technology and optical sensors.
Motor Vehicle Litigation
- Represented luxury import brand in nationwide litigation regarding cancellation of line-makes.
- Defended luxury import brand in litigation against their largest respective U.S. dealers and dealership groups regarding alleged modifications of their dealer agreements in violation of state motor vehicle laws.
- Represented luxury import brand and a volume import brand in multi-jurisdiction litigation regarding a dealership group buy-sell transaction and manufacturer rights of first refusal.
- Advised manufacturers and distributors on the structuring and implementation of national incentive programs.
- Represented manufacturers and distributors in dealer termination disputes both in the U.S. and internationally, challenges to manufacturer sales performance metrics, incentive programs, allocation and distribution practices, and dealer territories.
Real Estate Litigation
- Represented real estate investment firms in leasing disputes involving hundreds of millions of dollars of investment properties.
- Represented client in construction dispute involving multi-million dollar commercial retail space repurposed for temporary exhibition.
- Represented multinational corporations regarding debt-equity characterizations and withholding tax disputes in U.S. Tax Court, which were successfully settled before trial for 5% of the alleged tax liability.
- Defended medical device manufacturer in U.S. Tax Court against IRS’ proposed IRC § 482 transfer pricing adjustments, as well as IRC § 367(a) and (d) adjustments on outbound transfers.
- Advised on transfer pricing documentation and structuring, particularly relating to intellectual property as well as soft intangibles such as going concern value and good will.
- Defended national energy provider in trial at U.S. Tax Court against IRS challenge to deferred like-kind exchange of power plants sold and replacement plants acquired under sale-leaseback.
- Represented clients in interest netting disputes in U.S. Tax Court.
An active participant in pro bono legal services, Mike represents individuals in immigration, taxation, special education, and family law matters. He also aided a pro bono client in achieving asylum in the United States, based on persuasive and detailed briefing that was specifically commended by the judge. Mike’s work on this case resulted in “Rising Star” recognition by the National Immigrant Justice Center in 2019.
Outside the Courtroom
Mike spends his free time chasing after his rescue dog, testing out recipes on his family and friends, and keeping his fingers crossed for another Chicago Bears Super Bowl title in his lifetime.
Activities & Honors
- Selected, Commercial Litigation, Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch (2021-2022)
- Member, Taxation Section, American Bar Association
- Member, Chicago Bar Association
- Comments Editor, The Chicago Journal of International Law
- Recipient, Rising Stars Award, National Immigrant Justice Center (2019)
- Recipient, Casper Platt Award, University of Chicago Law School (2014)
Speaking Engagements & Presentations
- October 6, 2020 – Speaker (Virtual)
- Quick-Peek Reviews under Federal Rule of Evidence 502: Advantages and Disadvantages in Discovery and Privilege DisputesFebruary 2018 – Speaker (CBA Commercial Litigation Committee)
- Transfer Pricing Litigation Round-UpMay 2017 – Panel Discussion (ABA Taxation Section)
Articles & Publications
- September 10, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- May 12, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- April 15, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- March 29, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- March 27, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- March 20, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- March 18, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- February 25, 2019 – Barack Ferrazzano Client Alert
- “The Common European Sales Law’s Compliance with the Subsidiarity Principle of the European Union,”Spring 2013 – Volume 14, Chicago Journal of International Law, No. 1, Article 10
- August 19, 2021 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
- November 6, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
- August 20, 2020 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
- June 4, 2019 – Honoree, Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
- October 23, 2018 – Barack Ferrazzano Press Release
- May 1, 2017
University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 2014
Yale University, B.A., magna cum laude, 2011
Bar & Court Admissions
- State of Illinois
- State of Minnesota
- U.S. District Court – Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court – District of Minnesota
- U.S. District Court – Western District of Wisconsin
- U.S. Tax Court