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Michael Li-Ming Wong is a partner in Willkie’s Litigation Department and Co-Chair of the firm’s White-Collar Defense Practice Group. Based in Willkie’s San Francisco and Palo Alto offices, Michael is a former federal prosecutor and also a former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk.   

Michael focuses his practice on white-collar criminal matters, complex civil litigation, data privacy matters, and internal investigations. He has tried more than twenty civil and criminal jury trials in federal and state courts in recent years, including several multi-week jury trials. Three times the San Francisco Daily Journal and Los Angeles Daily Journal have recognized his trial and litigation victories as Top Defense Verdict of the Year in California. Michael is regarded as a leading attorney in his field, with several national and regional accolades from legal media and directories for his work.

Michael has led numerous global investigations and enforcement matters, including those involving allegations of FCPA violations, fraud and trade secrets violations. A Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US), he assists clients with data privacy counseling and litigation, and has been lead counsel in numerous high-profile matters involving alleged data breaches. 

Michael has maintained a robust pro bono practice. Among his victories in civil-rights related cases include securing a post-conviction resentencing for an African American defendant serving an effective life sentence in Louisiana based on a unconstitutional conviction; and convincing an appellate panel to reverse an Immigration judge’s decision to deny asylum to an LGBTQ citizen of one the world’s most homophobic country. He has also served as lead counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court in amicus briefs filed in connection with important Constitutional matters.

Prior to entering private practice, Michael served for more than eight years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, where he was lead counsel on some of the district’s most significant and high-profile matters. During his tenure as a federal prosecutor, Michael served for several years as Chief of the White Collar Crimes Section, supervising investigations, prosecutions and trials involving white-collar fraud and public corruption. Michael was also Chief of the Major Crimes Section. He is a two-time winner of the U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney.

 

 

Experience

  • Euromoney’s Legal Media Group, “World’s Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers” (2016–2021)
  • San Francisco Daily Journal and Los Angeles Daily Journal, “Top Defense Verdict of the Year” (February 2019, February 2018 & February 2012)
  • Law360, “MVP of the Year,” Cybersecurity and Privacy (2018)
  • The American Lawyer, National “Litigator of the Week” (December 2017)
  • Law360, “MVP of the Year,” Securities (2014)
  • Recognized in The American Lawyer “Big Suits” column for trial results
  • Thomson Reuters, Northern California “Super Lawyer”  
  • “FCPA Program Continues Focus on Individuals,” Daily Journal (April 2016) (co-author)
  • “The Data Security Governance Conundrum: Practical Solutions and Best Practices for the Boardroom and the C-Suite,” Columbia Business Law Review (July 2015) (co-author)
     

Credentials

Education


Harvard Law School, J.D. (magna cum laude) Pomona College, B.A.

Bar Admissions


California District of Columbia