Michael A. Firestein is a partner in the Litigation Department, and formerly served as Vice Chair of the Department from 2018-2023.
Michael handles a wide range of commercial litigation on behalf of private equity funds, financial institutions, securities brokerages, investment advisors, fiduciaries, real estate operating companies and entertainment corporations.
During the past decade, Michael has emerged as a preeminent litigator and trial lawyer in some of the largest bankruptcy proceedings in the country. Specifically, he has a lead role in the Puerto Rico bankruptcy litigation on behalf of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico. In recent years, he was a principal trial lawyer in the confirmation hearings for plans of adjustment for (i) the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority, which sought to restructure nearly $ 6 billion of bond debt and other obligations of the Authority (2022), (ii) the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Public Buildings Authority, and the Puerto Rico Employee Retirement System, which restructured tens of billions of dollars of bond debt and unfunded pension obligations (2021), and (iii) the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation (COFINA), which sought to restructure $18 billion of bond debt (2019). Each of these confirmation proceedings saved the Commonwealth and its instrumentalities hundreds of millions of dollars of bond and other debt payments annually. Michael was also lead trial counsel in successful bankruptcy plan confirmations in two contested trials on behalf of Energy Future Holdings, where he addressed numerous intercompany/inter-debtor claims and other matters concerning this complex restructuring. Michael’s overall work in this space has led to his recognition as California’s Bankruptcy Litigator of the Year in Benchmark Litigation from 2020-2022.
Michael also advises on probate and trust litigation matters, employment litigation disputes, including wrongful termination, as well as intellectual property and entertainment litigation. He represents publicly traded companies in internal investigations and before the SEC, FINRA, and other SROs. Additionally, Michael counsels individuals in securities aspects of high-net-worth family law disputes.
Michael has tried cases before nearly every kind of tribunal (jury and bench), including state and federal court and before arbitration forums, including FINRA, AAA, JAMS, NYSE and others. Notable clients include Spectrum Equity Investors, The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, World Surfing League, The Nederlander Group Companies, Lincoln Military Housing, Energy Future Holdings, Aniplex, JP Morgan, New World Restaurant Group, NBC Universal, Telemundo Network, and The Pivotal Group.
Moreover, community service is an important part of Michael's life. For almost 30 years, he has served as a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for Concern Foundation for Cancer Research, and served as its President from 1994-1996. Michael also serves on the Board of Directors of Bet Tzedek, a Los Angeles-based provider of pro bono legal services.