Michael D. Sher

Of Counsel


  • University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D., 1974), cum laude
  • University of Michigan (B.A., 1971), with distinction

Related Services

Michael represents clients in complex civil litigation and in business-related criminal investigations, trials and appeals in federal and state judicial and administrative proceedings. Chambers USA (2010) reports that Michael “has a stellar reputation among peers for his ‘first rate’ performance in court.” Michael has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (within Commercial Litigation and Litigation-Securities). Michael has been a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School, teaching Fourth and Fifth Amendment law and trial practice. Before joining the firm, Michael served as a Staff Attorney with the Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Teaching Experience:

  • University of Chicago Law School, Lecturer in Law: Developments in Fourth and Fifth Amendment Jurisprudence (2013-2014); Trial Practice (1981-83).
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Midwest Regional Program, Northwestern University Law School

Real Estate & Partnership Law:

  • Representation of a group of investors and limited partners in an action against their general partner, brought in the United States District Court in Dallas, Texas, asserting claims against the general partner and related entities for fraud, mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duty. The prosecution of the limited partners’ action resulted in the recovery from the general partner of all misappropriated funds
  • Representation of various general partners, limited partners and investors in various real estate development partnerships, involving office towers, shopping centers and other properties, throughout the United States
  • Representation of manufacturer in its action seeking specific performance of an option to purchase real estate. The District Court’s judgment in favor of the manufacturer, granting specific performance, was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and that decision is reported in Keene Corporation v. Chapple, 716 F.2d 475 (7th Cir. 1983)
  • Representation of national REIT in trial and appellate courts, defending action for specific performance brought against it in connection with real estate owned in South Carolina. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendant REIT and dismissed the action, which judgment was affirmed by the South Carolina Court of Appeals
  • Representation of lenders and borrowers in mortgage foreclosure proceedings

Class Action and Shareholder Derivative Action Litigation:

State and Local Taxation Class Actions:

  • Representation of a national car rental company in a class action brought by renters of automobiles asserting various claims relating to their purchase of the “collision damage waiver” and taxes imposed in connection with their rentals. Plaintiffs in this action claimed that the defendant car rental companies overcharged plaintiffs for certain state and municipal taxes due in connection with their rentals. The trial court dismissed plaintiffs’ complaint, and that order of dismissal was affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court and the Supreme Court of Illinois. These cases are reported in Freund v. Avis Rent A Car System, Inc., 114 Ill.2d 73, 499 N.E.2d 473 (1986), which affirmed the judgment of the Illinois Appellate Court in Russell v. The Hertz Corporation, 139 Ill.App.3d 11, 487 N.E.2d 630 (1st Dist. 1985)
  • Representation of a national drug-store chain in a class action brought by a putative class of customers seeking to recover city and state taxes which they claimed were paid in error. The court’s decisions are reported in Geary, et al., v. Dominick’s Finer Foods, Inc., et al., 167 Ill.App.3d 1, 520 N.E.2d 968 (1st Dist. 1988), and 129 Ill.2d 389, 544 N.E.2d 344 (1989)

Consumer Fraud Class Actions: 

  • Representation of national car rental company in a purported consumer fraud class action. The car rental company’s motion to dismiss was granted, and the dismissal was affirmed on appeal. The case is reported in Cahnman v. Agency Rent A Car System, Inc., 299 Ill. App. 3d 54, 701 N.E. 2d 512 (1998)

Shareholder Derivative Actions: 

  • Representation of a public utility in a shareholder’s derivative action arising from alleged accounting irregularities relating to a gas-purchasing program, alleging demand futility and claims of breach of fiduciary duty
  • Representation of board of directors of publicly-traded company in connection with allegations of back-dating of stock options

Criminal Litigation: 

  • Representation of a client subsequent to his indictment (and the indictment of his co-defendants) in September, 2010, in federal district court, in which he was charged with wire fraud, perjury and obstruction of justice. Michael successfully persuaded the government that all charges against his client should be dismissed, and all charges against his client were dismissed prior to trial. Reported decisions relating to this matter include United States v. Hollnagel, et al., 2011 WL 3471081, and 2011 WL 3664885 (N.D. Ill. 2011).
  • Representation of defendant-appellant in his appeal of his conviction in the District Court, in which the Court of Appeals reversed the defendant’s life sentence and remanded the case for a new trial. The decision of the Seventh Circuit is reported in United States v. Cunningham, 462 F.3d 708 (2006)
  • Representation of defendant at trial and on appeal in federal prosecution arising out of operation of Minority-Business Enterprise and charges of violations of RICO, RICO conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. The decision of the Court of Appeals regarding this matter is United States v. Leahy, 464 F.3d 773 (7th Cir. 2006)
  • Representation of defendant-broker in a criminal prosecution brought against eighteen traders and one clerk in the soybean pit of the Chicago Board of Trade, involving charges of violations of RICO, the Commodities Exchange Act, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud and conspiracy. Reported decisions relating to this matter are United States v. Dempsey, 768 F. Supp. 1256 (N.D. Ill. 1990), and United States v. Ashman, 979 F.2d 469 (7th Cir. 1992)
  • Representation of defendant at trial involving multiple defendants and charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, securities fraud and perjury, reported at 651 F. Supp. 636 (N. D. Ill. 1986), 846 F.2d 135 (2nd Cir. 1988), 856 F.2d 5 (2nd Cir. 1988), and 940 F.2d 1004 (7th Cir. 1991)
  • Representation of defendant, which included the filing of a motion to dismiss the indictment and a motion to suppress evidence. Following an evidentiary hearing, the motion to suppress was granted, and thereafter the government moved to dismiss the indictment and the indictment was dismissed. This case is reported at United States v. Hairston, 439 F. Supp. 515, and 437 F. Supp. 33 (N. D. Ill. 1977)
  • Representation of defendant’s estate in connection with a motion to abate the sentence and fine imposed on the defendant prior to his death. The motion was granted and the sentence and fine were abated. This case is reported at United States v. Bowler, 537 F. Supp. 933 (N. D. Ill. 1982)
  • Representation of numerous individuals in federal grand jury and SEC investigations, involving investigation and claims of fraud, market manipulation, conspiracy, RICO, price-fixing and market allocation, antitrust violations, pre-arranged trading, commodities markets, public corruption and federal tax law violations

Securities Litigation: 

  • Representation of national cable TV company in an action commenced by one of its limited partners seeking to rescind the purchase of limited partnership interests. This action was based on the Illinois Securities Act, and the court’s decisions are reported in Benjamin v. Cablevision Programming Investments, 114 Ill.2d 150, 499 N.E.2d 1309 (1986), and 132 Ill.App.3d 943, 478 N.E.2d 39 (1st Dist. 1985)
  • Representation of defendant in the Court of Appeals, appealing from the District Court’s order enjoining defendant from committing acts in violation of the federal securities laws and freezing certain of his assets. The decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in this case is reported in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Quinn, 997 F.2d 287 (1993)

Complex Insurance Litigation & Construction Litigation: 

  • Representation of a number of insurance carriers in federal litigation relating to the National Workers Compensation Reinsurance Pool and claims arising from disputes among the member companies in that pool
  • Representation of national health-club chain in a declaratory judgment action to determine the rights of certain insureds under various policies of primary and excess insurance. This action involved more than twenty primary and excess insurance carriers, and covered a time period of over five years of coverage, involving issues relating to scope of coverage, continuing occurrence and apportionment of responsibility among primary and excess carriers, and trigger of coverage
  • Representation of owner of a mixed-use high-rise in downtown Chicago, prosecuting the owner’s claims against the curtain wall subcontractor, its surety and the architect in connection with claims arising from the design, erection and installation of the building’s curtain wall, resulting in a substantial recovery on behalf of the building owner, and working with consulting engineer in connection with the design, implementation and supervision of corrective work
  • Representation of a condominium association in connection with construction-defect claims relating to a 152-unit residential development in Chicago, Illinois, involving various roofing, masonry and related construction defects. Settlement was reached with the developer of the project, its general contractor and architect, various subcontractors, and their respective insurance carriers as a result of a substantial payment being made to the condominium association

Intellectual Property Litigation: 

  • Representation of licensor in an action to recover damages for breach of a licensing agreement relating to the manufacture and sale of aerosol valves. This case is reported in Newman-Green, Inc. v. Alfonzo-Larrain, R., 490 U.S. 826, 109 S.Ct. 2218 (1989), 734 F.Supp. 1470 (N.D. Ill. 1990), 612 F.Supp. 1434 (N.D. Ill. 1985), 605 F.Supp. 793 (N.D. Ill. 1985), and 590 F.Supp. 1083 (N.D. Ill. 1984)
  • Representation of national hotel chain in an action commenced to enjoin the infringement of its trademark and to recover damages and attorneys’ fees

Employment Law, Including Age Discrimination, Retaliatory:

Discharge, Wrongful Discharge and Other Discrimination Claims: 

  • Representation of company in an employment discrimination action, alleging age discrimination and retaliatory discharge. Following the entry of summary judgment in favor of the company, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment. The case is reported in Ortiz v. John O. Butler Company, 94 F.3d 1121 (1996)
  • Representation at trial of a closely held corporation in an action for age discrimination brought by a former employee. This action was resolved following a jury trial which ended in a mistrial as a result of the jury’s inability to reach a unanimous verdict

Disciplinary Proceedings: 

  • Representation of attorneys before the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, defending charges of violations of the governing rules of professional responsibility
  • The Best Lawyers in America, recommended in “Commercial Litigation and Litigation - Securities” since 2013
  • The Best Lawyers in America, “Lawyer of the Year: Litigation - Securities,” 2017
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, recommended in “Litigation: White Collar Crime & Government Investigations,” 2010-2018
  • Illinois Super Lawyers, recommended in “Business Litigation,” 2006, 2008-present
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • Illinois Supreme Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Tax Court