MICHAEL J. LIGHTFOOT received his undergraduate degree from Fordham University and his law degree from University of Virginia Law School. He started his career as a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. In 1968, he went on to become an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles and then a Deputy Federal Public Defender when its office first opened in Los Angeles in 1971. While there, he was named Chief Trial Deputy.
Mr. Lightfoot joined the full-time faculty at Loyola Law School in 1973 and remained there for twelve years, teaching criminal law and procedure, evidence, ethics, appellate advocacy, and trial advocacy. In 1982, Mr. Lightfoot spent a semester teaching at Vermont Law School as a visiting professor. From 1985 to 1988, he was on Loyola Law School's adjunct faculty.
Mr. Lightfoot was a partner from 1985 to 2008 at the firm of Talcott, Lightfoot, Vandevelde, Woehrle and Sadowsky (and its successors). That firm was regarded as one of the foremost white collar firms in California. In late 2008, he and the other lawyers at that firm joined the firm of Crowell & Moring LLP. In February 2010, he and Richard M. Steingard started their present firm. They were joined in October 2010 by Mr. Lightfoot’s long-time partner, Stephen Sadowsky.
Mr. Lightfoot has tried numerous criminal and civil rights cases in his over 48 years of practice. He has litigated many habeas corpus petitions and has briefed and argued appellate cases in the California Court of Appeal and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as the California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. He has represented over 100 attorneys in criminal, administrative, and other matters. In addition, he has lectured on a wide variety of subjects, including federal criminal practice, rules of evidence, various topics in criminal law, and on criminal and civil justice system reforms.
Fordham College, New York, A.B., 1960
University of Virginia Law School, Virginia, L.L.B., 1964
Virginia, 1964 (inactive)
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals – Ninth Circuit
United States District Courts – Central, Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of California
HONORS & DISTINCTIONS
- 2007: Los Angeles County Criminal Bar Association, Lifetime Achievement Award
- 2006: American College of Trial Lawyers, selected as Fellow
- 1996: Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, CA, Richard A. Vachon, S.J., Distinguished Service Award
- 1985: The American Immigration Lawyers Association, Southern California Chapter, for advancing the rights of the foreign born
- Current Board Member, California Appellate Project (an organization which represents death row inmates on direct appeal and state habeas corpus proceedings.)
- Current Board Member, Loyola Law School Board of Overseers
- Current Board Member, Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law & Policy
- Current Advisory Board Member, Loyola Law School Advocacy Institute
- Former Chair, Loyola Marymount University Board of Regents
- Former Lawyer Delegate (three terms), Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference
- Former Chair, Central District of California Magistrate Judge Selection Committee
- Former Member, California Judicial Nominees Evaluation Committee
- Former Board Member, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
- Former Board Member, Santa Marta Hospital Foundation
RECENT PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- 2002: California Trial Objections, CEB, Board of Editors
- 1997: Jefferson’s Bench Book - Board of Editors
- 1996: On A Level Playing Field, 30 Loy. L. A. L. Rev. 69 (1996)
- 1996: Teacher, Lecture on Trial Objections at State Bar Convention, California State Bar
- 1994: Panelist, “Justice in the Balance, 2020,” Commission on the Future of the California Courts
- 1992: Speaker, “Joint Defense Attorney-Client Privilege,” American Bar Association White Collar Crime Western Regional Subcommittee
- 1991: A Tribute to Justice Wm. J. Brennan, Jr.
- 1990 – 2008: Member of team of judges and attorneys visiting developing nations and regions advising on criminal and civil justice system reforms. Sponsored by United States Department of State. Traveled to Malaysia (1990); Bolivia (1993); Egypt (1993 and 1997); Tunisia (1993 and 1994); Mexico (1994); West Bank and Gaza (1994, 1995 and 1996); Turkey (2008).