Michael Lightfoot

The Advisory Board of the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy

Michael Lightfoot

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. From 1985 to 1988, he was on Loyola'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 46 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.