Michelle Philo

Michelle A. Philo

Managing Attorney

Michelle provides Estate Planning Packages, assists Trustees with Trust Administration, and provides Probate services. The comprehensive estate planning packages include a trust, wills, powers of attorneys, and advanced healthcare directives. She also assist trustees with a variety of services, providing assistance with the administration and distribution of a trust's assets to the intended beneficiaries. If a loved one passes without a Trust, Michelle represents the estate's executor or personal representative in probate proceedings.

In the event of a dispute between a trustee and beneficiaries, Michelle is involved with trust and probate litigation. Litigation can include contesting a will, demanding a trustee to account to the beneficiaries, or contesting the actions of a trustee.

Michelle also serves as General Counsel for small businesses and startups. In this capacity she assists the entrepreneur from the initial formation of their business, to the everyday needs associated with running a business. She works with the business owner with contracts, corporate maintenance, stock purchase and ownership transfers, licensing agreements, and day to day needs.  She also assists the small business owner by managing the team of outside counsel. It is not uncommon for a business to have a business attorney, an employment attorney, an immigration attorney, and an intellectual property attorney. Michelle interacts with a business' team of attorneys to eliminate the time spent on legal matters and allow the business owner to focus on the growth of the business.

Born and raised in Southern California, Michelle graduated from Chapman University with her Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies and received her Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School. She was recently elected as the President-Elect of the Chapman University Alumni Association and has served as the President of Orange County Women Lawyers Association, President of Whittier Law School Alumni Association, and California Delegate to the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, an appointment by the State Bar of California.

Areas of Practice

  • Estate Planning
  • Trust Administration
  • Probate
  • Trust & Probate Litigation
  • Business Formations
  • Business Transactions
  • Contracts
  • Licensing Agreements
  • Purchase and Sale Transactions
  • Shareholder Agreements & Transfers
  • Trademarks

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of California, 2012
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 2012
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 2012
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 2015
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2017
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2022


  • Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, California
    • Juris Doctorate
    • Honors: Dean's Citation Award, Trial Advocacy Honors Board, Certificate in International Law
    • Student Bar Association President 2010 - 2012
  • Chapman University
    • Bachelor of Arts, Legal Studies
    • Honors: Presidential Scholar

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers "Rising Star", 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015
  • Aquinas High School Distinguished Alumni Award, 2020
  • Whittier Law School Dean's Alumni Award, 2017
  • American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division On the Rise Top 40 Young Lawyers, 2016
  • Orange County Wine Society President’s Award, 2014
  • Orange County Women Lawyers Association Everyday Hero Award, December 2013
  • Whittier Law School Dean’s Citation Award, 2012
  • American Bar Association Law Student Division Gold Key Award 2012
  • American Bar Association Law Student Division Silver Key Award 2012, 2011

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Chapman University Alumni Association, President-Elect 2023-2024; Vice President of Strategy & Operations 2020-2023; Vice President Development 2019-2020; Director at Large 2018-2019
  • Orange County Lawyers Magazine, Editorial Advisory Committee, 2017 – Present
  • California Women Lawyers, Governor at Large 2023; 2017-2018; Affiliate Governor 2016-2017
  • Probate Attorneys of San Diego, Member 2020-2023; Probate Handbook Committee 2023
  • Orange County Women Lawyers Association, Immediate Past President – 2021; President -– 2019-2020; President-Elect - 2018; Vice President - 2017; Treasurer - 2016; Secretary - 2015; Board of Directors - 2014
  • Orange County Women Lawyers Association Foundation, President - 2021; 2017-2018, Board of Directors -– 2019
  • San Diego Bar Association, Membership Committee - 2021
  • Whittier Law School Alumni Association, President - 2018-2023, 2014-2016; Chair - 2016-2017, 2019-2020; Treasurer - 2018-2020; Secretary - 2013-2014
  • State Bar of California, Delegate to ABA House of Delegates, 2013-2020
  • Orange County Bar Association, Appointments Committee 2020; Young Lawyers Division, Chair, 2016; Chair-Elect, 2015; Social Committee Chair, 2014
  • American Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division Liaison to Section of Individual Rights & Responsibilities, 2014 - 2016
  • American Bar Association Commission on Women on the Profession, Social Media Co-Chair, 2014-2016

Does working with Philo Law Firm sound like a good fit for your legal needs?  Contact us today to determine if we are the match for you!