• 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 (teaching assistant)
  • 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, insurance, bankruptcy, class action defense, and cyber liability practice groups and serves as a Litigation Solicitor for the firm.

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

Mr. Fehner has given presentations and moderated panels 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.

Mr. Fehner received his J.D. from Yale Law School where he served as 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 criminal cases).

Mr. Fehner enjoys Minnesota, his twins, the Minnesota Twins, and stand-up comedy.   

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Representative Matters

  •  At the trial level and in arbitration, 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) to discovery and privilege issues (2009 WL 1457794, 692 F. Supp. 2d 1194), to allocation and damages (2008 WL 3270922), resulting in a nine-figure settlement on a single policy, one of the three largest settlements in California in 2010.

  • Defended a mortgage corporation against simultaneous class actions and seven state and federal regulatory actions in federal district court.

  • Prevailed on partial summary judgment in federal court in a later-settled matter for a property developer client against a recalcitrant insurer.

  • Aided in drafting a successful United States Supreme Court amicus brief on First Amendment issues, cited by the majority opinion, involving a California statute regulating video games should be struck down as unconstitutional (Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association (2011)). 

  • Litigated numerous proceedings involving large reorganizations in bankruptcy court, representing both debtors and creditors, including nondischargeability and other adversary proceedings in federal bankruptcy and appellate courts.

  • Successfully defended, on summary judgment and appeal, international law firms from malpractice and other claims of liability.

  • Mr. Fehner’s appellate experience includes cases involving transportation regulation (126 F.3d 426) and antitrust issues (133 F.3d 103).

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  • “What The Media Gets Wrong About Arbitration,” Law360 (October 26, 2016)
  • "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