Michael grew up on the North Carolina coast. Much of his childhood was either spent on a boat or a golf course as his father was both an avid golfer and fisherman. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Psychology degree, despite spending a lot of time watching Tarheel basketball. He was then accepted into the graduate business program at East Carolina University and received an MBA with a concentration in Finance and Marketing.
After spending several years in finance and IT-related positions with IBM, Corning, and Carolina’s Healthcare, Michael became interested in a career in criminal law and personal injury while helping a friend who was starting his own law firm right out of school. Having spent a year in Atlanta after business school, Michael was familiar with Macon and the Mercer Law School. While at Mercer Law, Michael concentrated his coursework on criminal law and trial practice. He interned with R. Clarke Speaks Law Firm in Wilmington, NC, the Houston County Judicial Circuit in Perry, GA, and the newly formed Macon Public Defenders Office, which offered him a position as an Assistant Public Defender upon graduation in 2005.
As a public defender, Michael represented hundreds of indigent clients charged with felony drug offenses and other related crimes. He handled all stages of a case from bond hearings to jury trials. He received extensive annual training from the Georgia Public Defender’s Council and participated in the Macon Bar Association.
In 2007, Michael accepted a position as an Assistant District Attorney with the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit in Greene County. There he prosecuted thousands of felonies and misdemeanors in Superior Court, handling everything from bond hearings to jury trials to appeals. He obtained convictions in numerous complex jury trials for drug trafficking, rape, aggravated assault, DUI, and many other criminal offenses. Michael received extensive annual training through the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia and participated in DUI Field Sobriety Testing coursework conducted by the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, GA.
In addition, Michael was the solicitor for the Greene County Probate Court and prosecuted thousands of DUI and traffic offenses between 2007 and 2015. He obtained convictions in numerous bench trials for DUI, reckless driving, speeding, and other traffic offenses. Equally important, he negotiated hundreds of cases with defense attorneys and those representing themselves to find ways to reduce the long-term consequences of a ticket and help people keep their licenses when possible.
In the eight years he served as a prosecutor, Michael also worked with the victims of violent crimes and automobile-related accidents, including the families of those seriously injured or killed by another’s criminal negligence. Throughout his career, Michael has worked extensively with the people on every side of the legal process from defendants to victims to law enforcement and judges. He developed an ability to listen and to see things from ‘the other person’s perspective’ that helps immensely in finding resolutions to complex legal situations, especially where someone’s life, liberty, and future are on the line.
In 2008, Michael married a fellow Mercer Law classmate and they settled down in Morgan County. They are blessed with a son, a daughter, and a very energetic Goldendoodle. He enjoys photography, traveling, and getting back to the beach as much as possible.