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’s appellate practice spans the broad array of subject matters litigated by Ellis & Winters. She has worked on numerous appeals that have arisen in the firm’s civil litigation matters, and she regularly advises on matters of appellate strategy while cases are proceeding in trial court. Michelle also 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.
Michelle’s trial court practice focuses on complex commercial disputes, class actions, and section 1983 litigation. Michelle is a founding member of Best in Class, the firm’s class action blog, and she regularly writes and edits articles for the blog.
Michelle is actively involved in the legal community, locally and nationally. She is on the North Carolina Bar Association’s Appellate Section Council, and serves as CLE Co-Chair. Michelle is involved, as well, with the American Bar Association’s Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee, and serves as Chair of the Appellate Subcommittee. She is also on the Bar Candidate Interview Committee for the Wake County Bar Association.
Before joining Ellis & Winters, Michelle 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 North Carolina appellate courts and Fourth Circuit.
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 Sections, CLE Chair
- 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
- Effective and Equitable Drug Prosecutions: Comparative Perspectives, Moderator, Harvard Club of the Research Triangle, 2021
- Cross-Appeals: What, Why, When, and How in North Carolina’s Federal and State Appellate Courts, NCBA Appellate Practice Section CLE, 2021
- Class-Action Incentive Awards Under Siege?, The Voice, DRI, 2021
- Class Actions 101, and Some Tips for China, Lexology, 2020
- A New Emergency Law Model for Egypt, American University Washington College of Law, Human Rights Brief, 2012
- Best Lawyers in America, “Ones to Watch,” Appellate Practice, 2021-2022
- Michelle Liguori Appointed to Fourth Circuit’s CJA Panel
- Ellis & Winters Named to 2022 “Best Lawyers in America” List
- Scottie Forbes Lee and Michelle Liguori appointed to North Carolina Bar Association leadership positions
- Michelle Liguori Moderates Panel of Global Experts for the Harvard Club of the Research Triangle
- Michelle Liguori to Present at the 2021 NCBA’s Appellate Practice Section CLE