Michael P. Calabrese



Michael Calabrese is a partner and corporate lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Michael is a member of the firm’s Fund Formation & Investment Management Practice. He provides counsel to institutional investors and government agencies, particularly pension funds.

Prior to joining Foley, Michael was the chief counsel for San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Association where he served as the general counsel to the more than 30,000-member pension system. Michael also served as the chief deputy county counsel and pension fund general counsel for the County of Merced, and as chief deputy city attorney for the City of San Diego. He gained experience as an associate attorney at three law firms in California and Michigan after graduating from law school.

Michael leverages his extensive experience as a public servant and in-house counsel for pension funds and other government agencies to bring these types of clients a perspective that others cannot. Because he lived the duties of a public official and pension fund fiduciary on a daily basis for almost a decade, he understands the day-to-day needs, operations, and dynamics of a public pension fund to a depth that does not come from merely knowing the law or providing outside advice and services. In addition, because of his years as a public official, he has learned the operational, governance, and legal workings of government agencies with a unique breadth and depth. Michael regularly counsels both governmental and private sector clients who have dealings with the public sector, helping them navigate challenges that are peculiar to government agencies.


  • Foley & Lardner Pro Bono Champion, 2022

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • Presenter, “Private Market Investments,” interview to discuss private market investments. (December 7, 2022)

  • Co-Author, A Summary of Certain Recent Enforcement and Non-Enforcement ActionsInvestment Management Update (April 4, 2019)

  • Co-Author, “Strategic Relationship Agreements:  Better Returns through Better Relationships, Journal of Securities Operations & Custody, Volume 12, Number 3 (February 4, 2020)

  • Frequent speaker at various national and regional conferences for public pension attorneys, including NAPPA, CalAPRS, and SACRS.


  • Michigan State University College of Law (J.D., summa cum laude, 1999)
    • Ranked second in the class
    • Dean Charles H. King full scholarship recipient
    • Received two best oralist awards at national moot courts competitions and five Jurisprudence Achievement Awards
    • Externed with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Clifford Taylor
  • University of Michigan (A.B., with high honors, 1990)

Professional Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • California State Bar
  • National Association of Public Pension Attorneys (NAPPA)
  • State Association of County Retirement Systems (SACRS)


  • California


Ten Minute Interview: Private Market Investments
07 December 2022
A Summary of Certain Recent Enforcement and Non-Enforcement Actions
04 April 2019
Legal News: Investment Management Update
Foley Elects 23 New Partners
01 February 2023