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Overview

Michael excels as a dedicated defender of his clients’ rights in real estate litigation matters that range from mechanic’s lien claims to receiverships and in his diverse pro bono work.

Michael litigates bond claims on construction projects, handles real estate disputes and represents insured parties for title insurance companies in everything from landowner easement claims to quiet title actions. He also analyzes, prepares and negotiates real estate conveyances and easements.

Michael represents business clients and lenders in state and federal courts in matters involving commercial litigation, foreclosures and bankruptcy. He has considerable experience with Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) sales, replevins, attachments, receiverships, negotiation and drafting of forbearance agreements, and water law matters. He also advises and represents public, corporate and nonprofit clients on corporate governance and general legal matters.

As a strong advocate of equality for all citizens, Michael performs pro bono work that promotes inclusiveness and equal rights.


Industry

Services

Recognition

  • Pro Bono Service Award, Legal Services Corporation, 2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law, 2019-2020; Commercial Litigation, Land Use and Zoning Law, Real Estate Law, 2020
  • Missouri Bar 2017 Pro Bono Hall of Fame

Education

  • J.D., University of Missouri School of Law
  • B.A., Missouri State University

Admissions

  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Missouri Mediators
  • The Missouri Bar
  • Missouri Rural Water Association
  • Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Tri-State Water Resource Coalition

Clerkship

The Hon. Kerry L. Montgomery, Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, 1993-1994

Experience

Real Estate

  • Negotiated, reviewed and prepared license agreements and documents related to installation and maintenance of wireless telecommunications antennae and equipment.
  • Filed mechanic's liens and related lawsuit to enforce liens for security services company that performed security installations for retirement project.
  • Defended title company in multimillion dollar lawsuit alleging failure to defend city against title insurance claims.
  • Served as court-appointed receiver for dairy farm, with responsibilities for managing property, working on-site and preparing real estate purchase agreement to sell farm.

Condominium & HOA

  • Represented a condominium developer in complex dispute with condominium owners association over the capacity and operation of a privately owned but publicly regulated sewage treatment facility.
  • Represented condominium owners association in dispute with developers over construction defects.

Water Law

  • Litigated and mediated dispute to protect boundaries of public water supply district.
Outside the Office

Michael’s interests include hiking, running, traveling and exploring his genealogy.

Once or twice a week, Michael enjoys hiking with his wife in Busiek State Forest, just south of Springfield. He also has participated in several half-marathons and a marathon.

In 2017, Michael and his wife traveled to England as part of a three-week European vacation to visit their daughter, who was working for Parliament. While there, Michael visited ancestral burial sites, including a 16th-generation grandfather who was buried under the chancel of a church and a 15th-generation grandfather, who was buried in a chapel where three “Harry Potter” movies were filmed.

Community Leadership

Enthusiasm for the arts and love of his hometown have drawn Michael to his civic involvements.

Michael grew up next door to the Springfield Art Museum and considered a career in art before attending law school. He has always supported the museum and previously held a leadership role on the Board of Directors. While on the board, the museum added its most recent wing to the gallery and he assisted with the financial aspect of operating the museum. He enjoyed the opportunity to view the fine artwork the museum was considering for purchase. 

He especially enjoys the museum’s annual Watercolor USA event, a national exhibition that recognizes watermedia painting and honors chosen artists with cash awards. 

  • Springfield Police Officers and Firefighters Retirement System, Board of Trustees, 2016-present
  • Christ Episcopal Church Foundation, Board of Directors, 2016-present
  • Springfield Art Museum, Board of Directors, 2004-2010
  • Springfield Little Theatre, Board of Directors, 2004-2011
  • Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, Board of Directors, 2009-2016
     
Pro Bono Equal Rights & Inclusion

Michael performs pro bono work that promotes inclusiveness and equal rights.

Before same-sex marriage was legal in Missouri, Michael had a friend with a same-sex marriage in Iowa who then moved to Missouri where she could not get a divorce. As a federal employee, she needed a divorce to stop spousal benefits. Michael filed the matter in Greene County, Missouri, and persuaded the circuit court judge to grant the divorce. Today, that action is the only same-sex divorce case on record before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.

Michael also represented a same-sex couple in St. Louis who received a marriage license prior to passage of the Missouri statute. Currently, Michael is providing pro bono work for a transgender individual.

Coming from a religious background, Michael’s more conservative friends are surprised by his involvement in these issues. But the concept of inclusiveness, equal rights and not requiring people to live in the shadows as second-class citizens is a matter of fundamental rights for Michael. He believes it makes a difference when a friend is struggling with these issues. The issues become more poignant and the rights become more real.