About Michael Murrell
Our principal, Michael Murrell, has been a certificated litigation paralegal since 1988 when he was hired by a newly formed practice which had split off from the prestigious Haight, Dickson, Brown & Bonesteel firm. The new firm, Dickson, Carlson & Campillo, hired Michael for the specific purpose of assigning him to a team litigating the In re Mojave matter, a multi-state, multiple-wrongful death, multi-million-dollar economic losses case involving an electricity generating plant in the Mojave desert; owned by Southern California Edison and managed by Bechtel Corporation.
Following weeks of intense training by two brilliant young attorneys, it soon became Michael's job to draft discovery requests to Edison and Bechtel (among others) requesting information sought by the experts. Over the ensuing months Michael became responsible for drafting the vast majority of the discovery requests, attending site inspections and document productions, and generating analysis memoranda. To the clients' great pleasure, the matter ultimately settled for $125,000,000.
In 1991, when Michael joined the Law Offices of Dale S. Gribow in Beverly Hills, this AV-rated plaintiff's personal injury practice was experiencing a perpetual bottleneck with discovery responses, which was greatly slowing case turnover. Michael soon became the firm's Discovery Department Head and was made responsible for drafting all responses to all discovery requests. Despite having the assistance of only one secretary and a file clerk ─ and hundreds of active litigation files ─ within weeks the bottleneck was eliminated and the steady stream of meet and confer letters and motions to compel slowed to a trickle ─ and OSC hearings were permanently eliminated. This allowed the firm to aggressively litigate cases to quicker resolution, thereby increasing cash flow and profitability.
In 1997, Michael was hired by Rose, Kein & Marias, a prominent 75-year-old firm whose primary focus was on complex personal injury and workers' compensation. Michael was one of three paralegals hired to work up files and organize information in anticipation of discovery for two distinct class-action mass toxic-tort (groundwater contamination) matters involving catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death/survival action cases. When Michael was hired the firm had ~500 files which were becoming unmanageable, the primary problem being that most of the clients were not responding to information request forms. Within a matter of days, Michael identified the problem: the information forms were too long and thus too daunting for the working-class clients. Michael suggested that they be re-written to eliminate confusing and ambiguous language, and that, instead of one, three different forms be used which would be specific to men, women and minors. The managing partner, Christopher P. Ridout, agreed and assigned Michael to rewrite the forms. The previously ~25-page form was reduced by about half for the adults and by more than two thirds for the children, and were color-coded for quick identification. Going forward the firm was able to quickly and efficiently request, obtain and process the clients' medical care and LOE information, and other crucial data that previously had not been forthcoming. This also all but completely eliminated the dozens of status calls the firm had been receiving on a daily basis. Michael became the project manager for these cases and remained with the firm for close to five years as the caseload grew from 500 to more than 2100 files.
In 2004, Michael joined Trutanich-Michel, LLP (now Michel & Associates, P.C.), where he was responsible for ensuring that major corporations the likes of Boeing, Reynolds Aluminum and Waste Management, et al., fully comply with subpoenas in a $30-million soil/groundwater remediation matter filed in federal court. In 2005, Michael was tapped by then-senior partner Carmen "Nuch" Trutanich (now the City Attorney of Los Angeles) to sit in with him on a prospective new case meeting involving multiple wrongful deaths and high-end fraudulent transfers, and was thereafter assigned to the case. In addition to performing hundreds of hours of investigation which included working closely with the L.A. County D.A.'s Office's Major Crimes Unit and LAPD Robbery/Homicide detectives ─ over the course of the litigation Michael drafted dozens of litigation documents including amendments to the complaint, oppositions, replies, briefs, discovery, meet and confer letters, analysis memoranda, FOIA requests, the mediation and trial briefs, witness and exhibit lists, etc., and was responsible for identifying and qualifying the trial experts and organizing and maintaining the integrity of hundreds of exhibits. Michael also participated in settlement negotiation meetings and calls, drafted all of the deposition outlines and worked closely with managing partner C.D. "Chuck" Michel in attending each of the depositions. Ultimately, Michael was the full-charge Senior Litigation Paralegal on the matter, responsible for managing it on a daily basis for the six months leading to trial. Judgment: $148-million (Patel, et al. v. Govin, et al., LASC BC288577; 7.25.06)
In 2007, Michael was hired away from T-M by The Lanier Law Firm, a sophisticated Houston-based practice renowned nationwide for their expertise in high-end pharmaceutical, product liability, toxic tort, and commercial litigation. As the Lanier firm's first and, at the time, only, California employee, Michael was tasked to open and develop a new asbestos/mesothelioma practice in Century City. In his capacity as the Office Manager and Senior Litigation Paralegal, Michael went about the business of setting up the practice when he was tapped to assist in the opening of another California office, this one an intellectual property practice, in Palo Alto, California. After a month's stay in the Bay Area on special assignment from Mark Lanier, Michael returned to the Century City office and going forward, worked closely with the attorneys in Houston and New York in guiding them through California law, making intake decisions, and shepherding cases through the California courts by drafting and amending complaints, preparing all manner of pleadings, briefs and petitions and propounding and responding to discovery, preparing all court filings, performing legal research, and submitting legal analysis memoranda in resolving any discrepancies between California-specific law and their local jurisdictions, to the attorneys in the Houston and New York offices.
In early 2009, Michael became the Administrator, Litigation Manager and Business Manager of the Law Offices of Brian D. Witzer, a highly successful boutique firm in West Hollywood, California, specializing in high-end catastrophic personal-injury matters relating to pharmaceutical toxic tort. Michael was motivated by that experience to go into business for himself. Thus, in November of 2010, he founded Murrell Litigation, Inc.
Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, CA
Juris Doctorate candidate: 8/01 – 5/02
California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Northridge, CA
Received Bachelor of Arts degree in English (writing emphasis): 12/00; perpetual Dean's List honors student (university-level GPA ─ 3.77; combined undergraduate GPA ─ 3.23)
Santa Monica College (SMC), Santa Monica, CA
Completed sophomore year and transferred to CSUN: 6/98
University of California, at Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, CA
Attended Spanish, legal research and writing, etc., classes through University Extension Program.: 9/94 – 10/96; intermittently thereafter.
Santa Monica College Professional Paralegal Institute (SMC), Santa Monica, CA
Received Certificate in Paralegal Studies/Civil Litigation (GPA ─ 91%): 6/88
Michael served as the on-set legal consultant for the New Line Cinema film "My Sister's Keeper" (released in theaters in June of 2009) wherein he coached director Nick Cassavetes and actors Alec Baldwin, Cameron Diaz and Joan Cusack in attorney and courtroom protocols and procedures, and worked closely with the 1st assistant director, set director, and prop manager on set-up of the courtroom and judge's chambers; received film credit.
Michael's full resume, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and Business and Professions Code Section 6450(d) compliance documentation ─ are available upon request.