Michelle Liguori is an appellate and trial court litigator who has seen the world inside and outside the courthouse. Michelle grew up in suburban New York, received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, and has lived in six states and three countries, including a stint as a Fulbright Fellow in Egypt during the height of the Arab Spring.
Michelle has a rich background in appellate practice. Before joining Ellis & Winters, she spent three years helping federal judges decide appeals as a staff attorney and law clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She later worked for the Solicitor General’s Office at the North Carolina Department of Justice, handling civil and criminal appeals in the state and federal appellate courts. At Ellis & Winters, Michelle has worked on numerous appeals that have arisen in civil litigation matters, and she represents criminal defendants on appeal in the North Carolina appellate courts as a member of the Office of the Appellate Defender’s Criminal Appellate Roster.
True to her diverse background, Michelle also maintains a broad trial court litigation practice at Ellis & Winters. She has worked on several class actions, and regularly writes about issues that arise in the class action context. In addition, Michelle has litigated numerous commercial disputes involving claims for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, theft of trade secrets, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and corporate information rights. Michelle’s practice also involves estate disputes, product liability defense, and consumer protection litigation.
In addition to her law practice, Michelle serves the next generation of lawyers as an adjunct professor at Duke Law School, where she has taught legal writing to international L.L.M. students, and scholarly writing to J.D. students. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Club of the Research Triangle.
- J.D., Harvard Law School, 2012
- Honors: cum laude
- B.A., Amherst College, 2006
- North Carolina
- New York
- Eastern District of North Carolina
- Middle District of North Carolina
- Western District of North Carolina
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- United States Supreme Court
Professional Associations and Memberships
- North Carolina Bar Association, Appellate Practice and Criminal Justice Sections
- Wake County Bar Association, Bar Candidate Interview Committee
- American Bar Association, Litigation Section, Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee
- Defense Research Institute, Appellate Advocacy Committee
- Federal Bar Association
- Helped obtain preliminary injunction prohibiting member’s unilateral withdrawal from LLC in violation of the LLC’s operating agreement
- Argued issue of first impression in North Carolina Business Court related to enforcement of LLC member’s information rights
- Wrote certiorari reply brief in the United States Supreme Court
- Wrote winning Fourth Circuit brief defending against section 1983 claims and constitutional challenges to a state occupational licensing statute
Prior Work Experience
- Fellow, Office of the Solicitor General, North Carolina Department of Justice, Raleigh NC
- Staff Attorney/Law Clerk, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Miami, FL, Hon. Stanley Marcus
- Staff Attorney, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Atlanta, GA
- Successfully defended stalking convictions, at oral argument in the North Carolina Court of Appeals, against First Amendment challenges
- Class-Action Incentive Awards Under Siege?, DRI, The Voice, 2021 (https://www.elliswinters.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Johnson-v.-NPAS-Solutions-Comment.pdf)
- A New Emergency Law Model for Egypt, American University Washington College of Law, Human Rights Brief, 2012 (https://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/hrbrief/vol19/iss3/2/)
- Best Lawyers in America, “Ones to Watch,” Appellate Practice (2021)