Michael Attanasio

Litigation Department Chair

I defend companies against threats to their innovation and success, and I defend individuals against threats to their freedom. My teams work tirelessly to extinguish these risks and deliver our clients to safety.

Mike Attanasio is chair of Cooley's global Litigation Department, overseeing the business litigation, intellectual property, and employment groups. He also leads the Department’s lateral recruiting efforts and growth strategy. With more than 25 years of first-chair trial experience, Mike has been recognized dozens of times for his representation of clients in commercial litigation, antitrust, and white collar matters.  A fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, Mike has been called one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal, a “Game Changer” by The Recorder, and a “White Collar MVP” by Law360.  Beyond his courtroom advocacy, Mike serves on Cooley's Compensation Committee and is Partner-in-Charge of the San Diego office.  He is also the Chair of the Standing Committee on Attorney Discipline for the Southern District of California, a position to which he was appointed by the District Court.

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That question is going to live in cross-examination lore forever. – Former federal prosecutor quoted in the New York Post

  • Stanford Law School
    JD, 1990

  • Princeton University
    BA, 1987

Admissions & Credentials



  • American College of Trial Lawyers

Rankings & Accolades

    American College of Trial Lawyers: Fellow

    Attorney General's John Marshall Award for Legal Achievement (Trial)

    Law360: White Collar MVP

    The Daily Journal: Top 100 Attorneys in California

    The Daily Journal: Top Defense Verdicts (Moser v. Encore Capital et al.)

    Recorder: Game Changer award (US v. Jacobson)

    Best Lawyers: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, White Collar Defense

    Benchmark Litigation: Litigation, White Collar

    Chambers USA: Litigation: General Commercial

    Chambers USA: Litigation: General Commercial (California: San Diego) Band 1

    Super Lawyers: Top 10 Lawyer in San Diego

    Super Lawyers: White Collar Defense, Securities Litigation

    San Diego Daily Transcript: Top San Diego County Attorneys (Criminal Law)

    Legal 500: Dispute Resolution – General Commercial Disputes; Trade Secrets (Litigation and Non-Contentious Matters)

Chambers USA: Band 1

He's a strong advocate and communicator  Cooley Client