• Yale Law School (J.D., 1995), Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal; Executive Editor of the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities; Coker Fellow; Legal Assistance Clinic
  • St. Olaf College (B.A., English, Political Science, and American Studies, 1992); salutatorian; summa cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa; National Merit Scholar; Blue Key Leadership Society

Michael Fehner is Counsel in the Newport Beach office of Irell & Manella LLP. Mr. Fehner is a member of the complex litigation practice group and serves as a Litigation Solicitor for the firm.

Mr. Fehner has a vast range of experience in litigating business, trade secret, commercial tort, employment, and intellectual property issues in federal and state courts across the United States, specializing in complex civil litigation, insurance coverage litigation on behalf of policyholders, and the defense of law firms.

Mr. Fehner has moderated panels and given presentations on insurance and intellectual property litigation issues for the Orange County Bar Association and other organizations. In addition to being a member of the Orange County Bar Association, he is a member of the American Bar Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, and numerous federal bars. In 2012, after several years being named a "Rising Star," Mr. Fehner was named to the Southern California "Super Lawyers" list by Los Angeles Magazine.

Mr. Fehner received his J.D. from Yale Law School where he served a teaching assistant to Professor James Q. Whitman and was also a member of several law journals, including the Yale Law Journal, as well as the Submissions Editor for the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities. After graduating from law school, Mr. Fehner clerked for the Honorable Richard H. Kyle, United States District Court Judge for the District of Minnesota.

Following his clerkship to Judge Kyle in Minnesota, Mr. Fehner worked for firms in Washington, D.C. (where he also taught legal research and writing at the George Washington University Law School), and in Minneapolis (where he also spent several months as a Special Assistant City Attorney prosecuting misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors).

Being the father of twins, Mr. Fehner is quite active with groups like the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Irvine Unified School District programs and sports.  He and his wife have been residents of California for over a decade, but still maintains business and personal contacts (including sporting allegiances) with Minnesota. 

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Representative Matters

  • At the trial level, Mr. Fehner managed and litigated a number of matters in the insurance coverage context – including one long-running asbestos case involving issues ranging from jurisdiction (2004 WL 1977220) to policy interpretation (410 F. Supp. 2d 875, 480 F. Supp. 2d 1167), leading to a nine-figure settlement on a single policy, one of the three largest in California in 2010.
  • Aided in drafting a successful United States Supreme Court amicus brief on First Amendment issues, involving a California statute regulating video games should be struck down as unconstitutional (Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011)), cited by the majority opinion. 
  • Has litigated numerous proceedings in large reorganizations in bankruptcy court, representing both debtors and creditors.
  • Successfully defended, on summary judgment and appeal, international law firms from malpractice and other claims of liability.
  • Appellate experience includes writing on cases involving transportation regulation (126 F.3d 426) and antitrust issues (133 F.3d 103). 
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  • "Breaking Down Liability Insurance For Transactional Lawyers," Daily Journal (November 20, 2012)
  • "Some Pragmatic Advice For The Non-Insurance Litigator," Daily Journal (October 24, 2012)
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Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association (Litigation Section)
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • Orange County Bar Association (Insurance and Business Litigation Sections)
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Bar & Court Admissions

  • 2014, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • 2004, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • 2000, U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • 2000, California
  • 1997, District of Columbia
  • 1996, U.S. District Court, Minnesota
  • 1995, Minnesota