Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
1819 Fifth Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205)521-8676 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael is a 2004 graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law and University of Virginia in 2001 where he received a B.A. in History. Prior to becoming an associate at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, Michael clerked for Honorable Sharon L. Blackburn with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. He is part of the Class Action, Financial Services, and Real Estate, Environmental, and Natural Resources Teams. He is part of the Litigation Practice Group.
Michael is a member of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, Alabama State Bar, Defense Research Institute, Birmingham Bar Association, and American Bar Association. He is involved in the ABA’s Section of Litigation as a committee member of the Class Actions and Derivative Suits and Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section. In the Birmingham Bar Association, he is/was involved with the VLP, Homeless Experience Legal Protection Program, Membership Committee, CLE Committee, and Civil Courts Procedure Committee. He has been published in ABA reports, the Birmingham Bar Association CLE, and the Defense Research Institute’s newsletter The Whisper. Michael’s activities include Firehouse Homeless Shelter volunteer, junior board of directors for American Diabetes Association – AL/MS chapter, and Independent Presbyterian Church Partners Committee.
The Chief U.S. District Judge who recommended Michael says, “It is a pleasure and a privilege to enthusiastically recommend my former law clerk to you for consideration in the Bar’s Leadership Forum Program. I am certain that he will be a tremendous asset to the program which I am familiar with from participating as a speaker at several sessions in past years. I hold the program in very high regard and am proud that our state bar had committed to developing leaders from within its ranks. Although I have long known several members of Michael’s family, which has deep roots in Alabama and our legal community, I first met Michel in July 2003 when I interviewed him for a judicial clerkship. I was impressed enough with the interview and Michael’s qualifications that I called and offered him the job before he could send out applications for clerkships with other judges. While working for me, Michael was a very proactive and conscientious law clerk and a delight to have in my chambers. He had very good relationships with other members of the court staff and often organized lunches with the other judges’ law clerk. Michael was more than willing to work long hours and weekends when called upon, without complaint. He was an excellent writer and, in my judgment, has an extremely bright future in the law. Since his one-year clerkship term ended, Michael has been engaged in an impressive number of professional and civic activities around Birmingham, while at the same time putting in the hard work required of a young lawyer in a large firm. He is also a devoted husband and father. These activities reinforce my view of Michael as a ‘giver’ – a giver of his time, his energy, his expertise, and his resources. He has the decisiveness, good judgment, and decency that strong leaders must have, and he has worked his way into a good position to become an effective leader in our legal community and our state. He clearly also has the desire to ‘do good’ and to serve the community.”
In his own words, Michael said, “I have hoped to be a part of the Leadership Forum since I first read about its goals and ideals more than five years ago. The program is a fantastic asset to the State of Alabama, and my main motivation for applying to participate is the hope that I can assist its efforts to advance our State. I am a native of Mobile, left the state for seven years, and hurried back to my adopted hometown of Birmingham when I was given the opportunity to practice law here. I have never regretted that decision for a second. I love and am proud of our State, both because of and in spite of its various eccentricities and issues. We have a number of great things going for us, not all of them as recognized and celebrated as they should be, and a number of areas where we have great potential. And of course, there are a number of areas where we need to make massive improvements. My educational background stressed honor, service, and the ideal underlying the Biblical verse that ‘to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.’ Both the University of Virginia, where I received my undergraduate degree, and my law school at Washington and Lee University, maintain single-sanction honor systems. The simple principles of those systems emphasized that student were assumed to be upright, ethical members of society, and that any less-than-honorable actions would be entirely intolerable. In those settings, and in particular at W&L, the idea of honor encompassed the belief that one who could help others who needed it should not stand by and decline to service. I have tried to carry those same standards of honor and service with me into the practice of law. I have been pleased to find that they have served me well, largely because most of the members of our bar that I have encountered also practice according to those ideals. The level of collegiality that I have experienced among members from both sides of the aisle of our Bar is one of many reason I truly enjoy my practice here, particularly when compared to reports I have received from friends who practice elsewhere. I have tried, with varying degrees of success, to apply the lessons I learned while in school to serve the public and to provide leadership to groups with which I have been involved. In a world that is generally focused on the billable hour, I learned – too slowly – that one must actively seek out opportunities for service and leadership. As a result, there were several years in the beginning of my career where I did far too little. I have remedied that failure to some degree in recent years, but I want to continue and expand on those efforts now, and I know that participation in the Leadership Forum would exponentially increase the opportunities to serve that will be available to me. At work, I have for a number of years defended, on a pro bono basis, an Alabamian sentenced to death. In particular, my work on that death penalty appeal, in which we recently received a favorable decision from the Alabama Supreme Court, has opened my eyes to the real difference that a motivated lawyer can make in a person’s life. The number of people who do not have access, or even any hope of access, to such lawyers is disheartening and unacceptable. We can and must improve on that situation, and in doing so will significantly advance our system of justice, and, nearly as importantly, the popular perception thereof. In addition to that pro bono work, in recent years I have become involved in the American Bar Association through its Class Action and Derivative Suits committee, which is one of the areas in which I practice. Through chairing one of its subcommittee, leading its efforts to promote membership, publishing articles, and attending seminars and talking to practitioners from across the country, I hope that I have advanced the reputation of our State Bar by emphasizing the degree of sophisticated, complex litigation that takes place here between highly skilled lawyers. In addition to numerous other benefits, the Leadership Forum is especially attractive to me because it further broadens the horizons of its participants regarding the various issues and concerns that our Bar members must deal with, in addition to highlighting some of the critical non-legal problems that our state faces. ”