Oscar Michelen attended New York Law School and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1985. He graduated magna cum laude, finishing in the top 5% of his class. He served as an editor on the New York Law School Law Review. His experience in the practice of law also began during law school, first as a student law clerk to the Honorable Vincent J. Broderick, a Federal District Court Judge, and later as a student legal specialist in the Office of the Corporation Counsel, the law firm that represents The City of New York.
Upon graduation, he was hired as a trial attorney at the Corporation Counsel’s Office. He was quickly promoted to Senior Trial Attorney in the Manhattan Trial unit and supervised and trained a number of other attorneys while continuing to try the more serious cases. In 1987, after being out of law school for less than two years, he was promoted to the position of Senior Trial Specialist in the Special Litigation Unit. He was the youngest lawyer and first Hispanic in the office’s history to be given this prestigious position. In that unit, he was responsible for defending the City in the highest exposure, multimillion dollar lawsuits brought in all five boroughs and the surrounding counties. He held that position until 1990 when he joined the law firm of Sandback & Birnbaum. He became a partner in 1995 and the firm became Sandback, Birnbaum & Michelen.
In 2010, after 20 years of a successful practice at that firm, Mr. Michelen joined the firm of Cuomo LLC as a member. At Cuomo LLC, Mr. Michelen brings his significant trial experience and record of success to develop several practice areas that are flourishing and continuing to grow. The Civil & Commercial Litigation Group represents corporations and individuals, as well as several governmental agencies, insurance carriers and municipalities, in all manner of serious, civil lawsuits throughout the metropolitan area and the State. The Entertainment and Intellectual Property Litigation Group assists clients in protecting and defending entertainment deals; copyrights; and trademarks. He recently founded an employment law practice that defends small and mid-sized businesses in employment-related disputes including Wage and Hour; discrimination; executive compensation; and non-compete/non-disclosure claims.
As an off-shoot of his entertainment and intellectual property practice, Mr. Michelen has become an important source for representation and guidance in the field of digital imagery litigation. Many businesses, small and large, that have been besieged with claim letters and lawsuits from digital photo catalog giants like Getty Images, Corbis, and Masterfile; and from copyright trolling lawyers like Richard Liebowitz, have turned to Mr. Michelen for defense of those claims. He has represented thousands of companies in these claims all across the country.
Mr. Michelen is also often sought out for appearances on television and in print media discussing a variety of legal topics. He has been retained as an expert witness in litigation discussing various issues of law. He served as an adjunct professor of law at New York Law School for eight years and currently teaches New York Practice as an adjunct professor of law at Touro Law College in Central Islip, NY.
Mr. Michelen has exonerated six men in five separate murder cases. His work in this area can be seen in the Netflix movie Fight for Justice: David & Me and in the podcast Empire on Blood, detailing the case of Calvin Buari, exonerated by Mr. Michelen in March 2018.
Mr. Michelen is fluent in Spanish, having been born in the Dominican Republic. He lives with his wife in Long Island, New York.