Michael Easley is a litigator focused on internal investigations and trial court work in state and federal courts. He represents businesses and individuals in complex, high-stakes civil, criminal, and regulatory matters.
He has handled matters involving a wide range of topics, including antitrust, environmental, consumer protection, business torts, professional negligence, government contracting, criminal law, as well as matters involving financial services and securities.
In addition to his practice in the courts, he has advised clients facing inquiries by the Department of Justice, North Carolina Ethics Commission, and matters before the North Carolina Utilities Commission and other governmental regulatory bodies.
Born in Southport, North Carolina, Michael attended the University of North Carolina where he graduated with honors and distinction in political science. He later received his law degree with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law. While still in law school, Michael frequently prosecuted cases on behalf of the District Attorney’s office as an extern in the 10th Judicial District.
In addition to his work at McGuireWoods, Michael contributes time to various bar and community organizations. He has served on the Board of Directors of the 10th Judicial District Bar and Wake County Bar Association. Michael also participates in the pro bono representation of criminal defendants in the Eastern District of North Carolina pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 and is an active member of the Professionalism Committee of the 10th Judicial District Bar.
Counsel to Fortune 500 companies in connection with multi-year investigations conducted by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and United States Attorney’s offices, occasionally involving concurrent civil litigation and investigations.
Led an internal investigation and data breach response for one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies following cyber-related misconduct. The case involved significant digital forensics and coordination with the United States Attorney’s Office and multiple state Attorneys General. The perpetrator was convicted in federal court.
Representation of an internationally recognized energy company in connection with civil litigation arising from one of the largest securities fraud cases in the history of the Fourth Circuit and parallel investigations by a United States Attorney’s Office, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a state Attorney General.
Defended a major international brokerage firm against state and federal securities claims arising from a massive fraud perpetrated by Stanford International Bank, Ltd.
Trial counsel to one of America’s top food retailers in litigation seeking over $1 million in damages arising from breach of contract and property damage claims. Obtained a successful jury verdict at trial.
Defense of one of America’s leading research universities in regulatory action arising from alleged Uranium release from a nuclear laboratory.
Representation of an international agribusiness client in federal litigation with direct supervision of and responsibility for pretrial workup on multiple cases.
Representation of Common Cause and the League of Women Voters as amici curiae in litigation to preserve an early voting site on Appalachian State University’s campus.
Represented a Fortune 500 utility company in successful challenge to civil penalties issued in an environmental enforcement action.
Counsel to a Fortune 50 financial institution in trust matters arising from the sale of its institutional trust business.
Counsel to Fortune 200 financial institution in litigation with a state treasurer arising from nearly $100 million in losses incurred in the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.
Defense of attorney in federal court against charges of aiding and abetting false statements under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Defended home services subsidiary of the seventh largest global utility in multiple state regulatory enforcement actions.
Defense of a multinational broadcast television network in litigation concerning a reality show. Secured dismissal of the case.
Representation of one of the world’s largest agribusiness companies in multiple federal trade practice audits by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Defense of commercial shrimpers in ongoing litigation alleging violations of the Clean Water Act.
Counsel to international companies on compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and various international trade sanctions and embargos.
Defense of indigent criminal defendants in federal court as a member of the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Successfully prosecuted criminal cases, jury and non jury, in Wake County Superior Court prior to joining McGuireWoods.
Former Board Member, 10th Judicial District Bar and Wake County Bar Association
Former Board Member, North Carolina Museum of History Young Associates
Former Member, Liberty Bell Awards Committee, North Carolina Bar Association
Member, Professionalism Committee, Wake County Bar Association
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Named to "North Carolina Rising Stars," Business Litigation, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2015-2021
Selected for inclusion into the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2019
Named to "Legal Elite," Young Guns, Business North Carolina, 2014