Smith ♦ Ellison, a Professional Corporation

Telephone: (949) 442-1500
Facsimile: (949) 442-1515


Michael W. Ellison, Esq.

Mr. Ellison, President of Smith Ellison, represents clients in complex business litigation matters.  He devotes a majority of his practice to cases involving insurance coverage related to environmental sites, having represented insurance companies and policyholders in cases involving thousands of environmental sites and billions of dollars of alleged response costs, including more than a dozen sites that individually involved in excess of one hundred million dollars of alleged response costs.  Mr. Ellison also routinely represents companies in other complex insurance coverage actions, copyright actions, and a variety of other complex business litigation matters including, inter alia, representing companies in class actions including securities and consumer class actions, representing a major oil company in an unfair completion suit against another major oil company, representing franchisors in disputes with franchisees, representing companies in an array of contract disputes, and representing individuals and companies in actions involving an assortment of business tort claims.


Prior to joining Smith Ellison, Mr. Ellison was a member of the Litigation Department of the international law firm Latham & Watkins.  Mr. Ellison is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California, and has also practiced before the United States District Courts for the District of Nevada, District of Massachusetts, Eastern District of Missouri, Western District of Missouri, Northern District of New York, and Northern District of Texas.


Mr. Ellison earned his J.D. cum laude, from the University of Michigan and also received an M.A. in Philosophy from Rackham Graduate School at the University of Michigan.  He completed his mediation training at the Program on Negotiation of Harvard Law School.  Prior to graduate school, he earned his B.A. in Chemistry and Philosophy cum laude from Cornell University.  During summers while at Cornell he conducted research on thermal analysis of polymers at the Institute of Materials Science of the University of Connecticut and on issues related to nuclear waste at the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.  In addition to his work as an attorney, Mr. Ellison has also served as an adjunct Professor of Philosophy of Law.  He is a member of the State Bar of California, the Orange County Bar Association, and the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and is a founding member of the Celtic Bar Association of Orange County.  He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Pacific Club and the Veterans Canine Intelligence Academy, and a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee of the Orange County Bar Association, and has served as Chair of the Orange County Bar Association's Pro Bono Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Ethics Committee of the ABA/YLD.  Outside of work, Mr. Ellison enjoys playing soccer, lacrosse, and golf, riding supersport motorcycles, and spending time with his wife, adult children, and Irish wolfhounds.