Michelle Campbell is Senior Counsel and a member of the Complex Trial Team in Tyson & Mendes’ Los Angeles office. Her practice includes general liability, catastrophic personal injury, directors and officers liability, and errors and omissions. An experienced insurance defense attorney, Michelle recently received a defense verdict in a $20 million environmental exposure toxic tort case, and has successfully settled numerous cases involving high-profile celebrities. Learn more about this avid home cook and soon-to-be first-time mom below.
T&M: How did you get into the insurance defense industry?
MC: I began my career defending large banking and financial institutions in the area of foreclosure litigation. This is where I developed my love for defense work, but I felt something was missing – my practice did not include seeing each case through trial. After a few years practicing in this arena, I went on a search for a deeper involvement in litigation practice, including litigating a case through trial. I found insurance defense work offers the full litigation experience.
T&M: Compared to other firms you have worked for, what makes Tyson & Mendes so unique?
MC: Tyson & Mendes has a successful method of truly valuing its people. Even while growing rapidly, Tyson & Mendes allows each employee to have their own voice and ability to carve their own path at the firm. I have never experienced this before, and have found our environment fosters retention of some really great people – both professionally and personally. I consider myself fortunate to work with such amazing individuals.
T&M: What has been the biggest challenge of your career thus far?
MC: The biggest challenge I have faced in my career is finding my own style as an attorney. I have been fortunate to have had some amazing mentors in my career (including Kevin Place who heads up the Complex Trial Team in our Los Angeles office), so I often would try to mimic the lawyering styles I admire in others, without stopping to think whether it fit with my personality. I have learned over the years to stop wishing I could lawyer exactly like my mentors and start lawyering like me.
T&M: Similarly, tell us about your biggest accomplishment so far at Tyson & Mendes?
MC: I consider my biggest accomplishment so far at Tyson & Mendes is my ability to participate in the Los Angeles Office’s Complex Trial Team. I truly enjoy what I do, and I consider being a part of the Complex Trial Team to be an honor.
T&M: What are the key differences between Los Angeles (where you work) and San Diego (where you did your undergrad)?
MC: I spent four years in San Diego and loved every minute of it! My freshman year dorm room had an ocean view, so I definitely could not complain. There are amazing perks of working in Los Angeles, though. While our downtown Los Angeles office does not have an ocean view, we get some great views of the city.
T&M: What did you want to be when you grew up?
MC: In Kindergarten, each student in my class was asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. The teacher video-recorded our answers. Among aspiring astronauts, doctors, and professional athletes, I boldly stated, “When I grow up, I want to be a mother.” My friends to this day still tease me about that. But, I suppose dreams do come true, as I will be joining the “motherhood club” this summer!
T&M: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
MC: When you fall upon tough times, just remember: “This too shall pass.” Though the hard times can seem to last an eternity, nothing lasts forever. My grandmother has to remind me of this all the time.
T&M: If you could travel anywhere in the world – all expenses paid – where would you go?
MC: I never caught the travel bug, so I never dreamed of travelling to any one specific location. However, my husband has a very clear idea of where he would love to travel, and I am always willing to go. I always joke with him that he really lucked out because we never have to argue about where to go – he always gets to pick the destination! Next on the list are Australia and New Zealand.
T&M: Where is the one place in Los Angeles you always like to share with guests from out of town?
MC: When someone comes to visit, I like to take them to the top of the Intercontinental Hotel, which is just a stone’s throw from our office. At the top of the hotel is a bar where you can quite literally see the entire city! But beware, if it is windy outside you may find yourself asking the bartenders for a blanket (yes, they give out blankets when it gets windy).
T&M: What is your favorite recipe to make when cooking at home?
MC: This is a no brainer – Shrimp Scampi! It was one of the very first recipes I tried when I first started cooking, and it has been my favorite for over 10 years now. I even learned how to make it with homemade pasta. I cannot get enough!