Michelson Law Group has a dual focus: commercial bankruptcy (business bankruptcy, out of court workouts, and receivership) and mediation of every type of commercial case.

Business Bankruptcy

Over the last quarter century, Ms. Michelson has been a leader in the field of business bankruptcy. She has represented every constituent in the bankruptcy arena. She most commonly deploys her legal expertise on behalf of creditors, trustees, creditors' committees and purchasers of assets. She provides highly-skilled counsel in both large, complex and closely-held business bankruptcy cases.

Creditor Representation   Michelson Law Group represents every type of creditor, from secured lender to trade creditor, bondholder to claim purchaser, licensor to licensee, landlord to tenant. Randy Michelson's expertise extends from the bankruptcy court to appeals at all levels, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Ms. Michelson is a nationally- recognized authority on intellectual property and bankruptcy. In the seminal Catapult case, Perlman v. Catapult Entertainment, Inc. (In re Catapult Entertainment, Inc.), 165 F.3d 747 (9th Cir.), cert .dismissed, 120 S. Ct. 369 (U.S. 1999), she represented Microsoft Corporation and Stephen Perlman, a licensor of patented technology to Catapult. Through multiple levels of appellate review, Ms. Michelson established the principle that a debtor cannot assign, over the objection of its licensor, intellectual property. Ms. Michelson also focuses on real estate and bankruptcy. She represented a lessor in Mayan Networks, a key Ninth Circuit case on the treatment of landlord claims in bankruptcy cases, In re Mayan Networks Corp. (Redback Networks, Inc. v. Mayan Networks Corp.), 308 B.R. 295 (9th Cir. BAP 2004).

Trustee Representation   Ms. Michelson has vast experience in representing Chapter 11 trustees. She often is retained in cases where complex frauds have been perpetrated. In one matter, she herself was appointed as the Chapter 11 trustee. She developed a litigation strategy to maximize return for creditors. Following a jury trial in which the jury found a basis for the imposition of punitive damages, Ms. Michelson was able to negotiate a resolution of the estate's claims that paid all creditors in full, with a large sum remaining for equity.

Creditors' Committee Representation   In the Aureal bankruptcy case, Ms. Michelson represented the committee of unsecured creditors. She successfully navigated a contentious sale of the debtor's assets, succeeding in selling not only the debtor's intellectual property but also potentially valuable claims against third parties, over the strenuous objections of both the debtor and the shareholders. As a result of her stewardship, unsecured creditors received a distribution of more than 85% of their claims. Ms. Michelson represented the committee of governmental entities in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of Davis Industries, then one of the ten largest handgun manufacturers in the U.S. Ms. Michelson's clients included cities and counties across the country that had sued handgun manufacturers in an attempt to reduce violent crime. Davis Industries sought bankruptcy protection to stay all of the litigation against it. Ms. Michelson established in the bankruptcy court and on appeal that the automatic stay under the United States Bankruptcy Code did not prevent the governmental litigation from continuing against Davis Industries given that the governmental litigation across the country was intended to protect public health and safety. As a result of her representation, the bankruptcy case was dismissed and Davis Industries was liquidated.

Buying and Selling of Assets   Ms. Michelson excels at the representation of buyers and sellers of distressed assets. Throughout her career, she has represented clients in the sale or disposition of assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Those assets include real estate, technology, intellectual property, restaurants, financial service firms, franchises, and much more.

Professional Bankruptcy Organizations   Ms. Michelson is a director of the International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC), Northern California Chapter. She has led the California Bankruptcy Forum, the Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum, and the Bar Association of San Francisco's Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section.


There are times when litigation is not the answer. At its very best, litigation is torturous, expensive, stressful and unpredictable way to settle disputes. Courts at every level now encourage or require litigants to participate in mediation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. There is good reason for this: it works. Virtually every frequent user of the legal system can recount settlements reached in mediation of cases that all parties and their attorneys had been certain never could be settled. And many others that settled as well.

As a mediator, Randy Michelson works to facilitate consensual resolution of every type of commercial case. Her skills and demeanor enable her to do so with much success.

Professional Mediation Affiliations

Ms. Michelson has been selected as a resolution advocate for the Bankruptcy Dispute Resolution Panel of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California. She frequently serves as a mediator of complaints filed by citizens against police officers for the City of San Francisco's Office of Citizen Complaints.