A California native, originally from Orange County, I have lived in Culver City since 1975 and have officed there since 1986. I came to the Los Angeles area to go to UCLA Law School and stayed in this area.
I started my legal career working for Sandy Sapin, a Beverly Hills lawyer who had a busy and mixed practice which provided me with great opportunities for experiences in multiple areas of law, from business and real estate transactional work to all sorts of litigation, including business, commercial and real estate litigation as well as family law, personal injury and general civil litigation. We handled cases from San Diego County to Santa Barbara County and throughout Southern California.
My most interesting case at that office involved a dispute over the ownership of treasure taken from the wreck of a sunken Spanish galleon, the Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas. I also litigated cases involving some celebrities, including Chuck Norris and Crosby, Stills and Nash. I did a lot of work on cases that required injunctive relief, including TRO's and preliminary and permanent injunctions, including a number of unfair competition cases.
Working at the Sapin office, I was responsible for supervising and mentoring associate attorneys and staff personnel. While there, I also had a chance to work with Daniel Petrocelli, who was an undergraduate at UCLA and who decided to go to law school after working for our law firm.
When I left the Sapin office, I went to work for another Beverly Hills attorney named Peter Andrew Notaras. In addition to a busy private civil practice, our firm was outside general counsel for a publicly traded, fully reporting NASDAQ corporation that owned a number of subsidiaries. I handled a lot of that company's contract work, as well as all of its litigation throughout the state of California. While at that firm I also briefed and argued several reported appellate cases.
In 1980, our firm merged with a larger firm in Century City, Katz, Simon, Weiss and Notaras, and I became the senior litigation associate at that firm. Most of my work there involved business litigation cases and I also was responsible for mentoring other attorneys in that firm due to my substantial litigation experience.
In 1983, Peter Notaras and Daniel Simon, two of the partners in the firm, and I separated from the firm and formed a partnership which practiced in Century City. I did all of the litigation in that firm and also was involved in a lot of transactional work. An element of that firm's practice was the formation and representation of offshore insurance companies and we also represented other insurers. At that time, I was involved in defending and prosecuting insurance bad faith lawsuits in various courts in Southern California and also handled all sorts of business, commercial and real estate matters.
In 1985, that partnership dissolved and I opened my own solo practice. My first case after opening my doors was representing a man whose house was destroyed when an aircraft crashed into it and the nature and variety of the cases that I handled brought me into other areas of transactional and litigation work.
In 1986, I moved my office to Culver City, where I live. I got actively involved in local matters, joining the Culver City Exchange Club, the Culver City Education Foundation and the Culver City Chamber of Commerce. I eventually became the President of the Exchange Club and Education Foundation and Chairman of the Chamber Board and have continued to be active in my community. I also have represented many local businesses, including Sit 'n Sleep, Tito's Tacos, the Surplus Store, Brotman Hospital and Culver National Bank.
In the 1990's, I joined the Culver Marina Bar Association and was its President in 1997. I have been the voluntary Executive Director of that Association and a member of its Board continuously since then. That Association is an accredited MCLE provider which puts on MCLE dinner seminars for its members and other attorneys.
Our speakers have included many notable persons, including Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, John Van de Camp, Kenneth Starr, Congresswoman Jane Harmon, Erwin Chemerinsky, Justice Norman L. Epstein, Justice Paul Turner, Daniel M. Petrocelli, Mark Geragos and Manny Medrano. Among the attorneys with whom I have worked on the Association Board was noted criminal law attorney, Anthony V. Salerno, who was President of the Association in 1999, who remains a good friend.
I also became a member of an advisory committee that oversees operations of the ABA approved Paralegal Studies training program offered by the University of West Los Angeles and I was the chairman of that committee from 2006 to 2010.
My practice involves representation of businesses and individuals and is oriented toward business, estate planning, trust administration, real estate and litigation matters. I counsel clients on estate planning, trust, business, real estate and other matters and am readily available when they need me. I pride myself on my ability to solve problems and to keep on top of matters involving my clients. If I come across a case or legal issue that I feel may impact my clients, I contact them and make sure that they are made aware of such matters. I also make sure that all client legal deadlines are calendared and that my clients are always aware of their responsibility to comply with their legal obligations, such as their fiduciary obligations as trustees, preparing annual corporate minutes, making required Secretary of State filings, renewing fictitious business name statements, updating estate planning documents, and the like. I also use the contacts that I have formed over my many years of experience to be able to refer my clients to other attorneys when their matters are outside my practice areas.
I am proud that I have been a,v rated by Martindale, Hubbell since 1980. I also have the distinction of being one of only two attorneys for Los Angeles County listed in Campbell's List, a directory used by many attorneys, companies and institutions to locate competent counsel, since 2000. I am the only attorney listed for Culver City and surrounding areas. That List provides a directory of lawyers who have been " . . . selected for their ability and willingness to offer a wide variety of legal services to other attorneys and prospective clients outside their immediate geographical area, a unique distinction within the legal profession." (Campbell's List Introduction)
I am married to an artist and author, Francia Turner Fate, who makes custom art glass jewelry in addition to her other artistic endeavors. I have two adult children, two adult stepchildren and four grandchildren. My interests include wine, reading, photography and history.
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Mr. Fate and I worked together on a Revocable Trust issue that involved Washington and California issues. I found his thoroughness, creativity, knowledge of the law, and practical advice to be profoundly helpful. Working together, we were able to obtain the relief that our client sought. I will not hesitate to refer any client needing a California attorney to Mr. Fate. You may retain him with the confidence that you are getting quality representation.
James Pautler Family Attorney
Relationship: Worked together on matter
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Exchange Club Lifetime Achievement Award||California Nevada District of Exchange Club||2005|
|Member, Campbell's List of Selected Attorneys||Campbell's List||2000|
|Outstanding Chamber Director Award||Culver City Chamber of Commerce||1989|
|a, v rating||Martindale-Hubbell||1980|
|Bureau of National Affairs Award||Bureau of National Affairs||1973|
|American Title Insurance Award||American Title Insurance Company||1973|
|Florence and Virginia K. Wilson Scholarship||UCLA Law School||1970|
|National Merit Scholar||National Merit Scholarship Program||1966|
|Owner||Law Offices of Michael Fate||1986 - Present|
|Partner||Notaras, Simon & Fate||1983 - 1985|
|Senior Associate||Katz, Weiss, Simon & Notaras||1980 - 1982|
|Associate attorney and outside general counsel||PETER ANDREW NOTARAS, P.C.||1977 - 1981|
|Senior Associate||Law Offices of Sandy Sapin||1973 - 1977|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Culver Marina Bar Association||Executive Director||1997 - Present|
|Los Angeles County Bar Association||Member||1975 - Present|
|State Bar of California||Member||1973 - Present|
|Willis v. Soda Shoppes of California, Inc.||Judgment for defendant upheld on appeal|
|Virgil Burch v. Argus Properties, Inc.||Plaintiff verdict after trial affirmed on appeal|
|See all legal cases|
|Univ of California Irvine||N/A||undergraduate||N/A|
|LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce Networking Committee||A Business Lawyer's Insights Into Dealing With Some Serious Current Business Pitfalls and Problems||2010|
|Culver Marina Bar Association||Ethical Duties of Closing a Legal Practice||2009|
|Culver Marina Bar Association||Insurance Issues in Castastrophic Loss Cases||1999|