Michael D. Leffel



Michael D. Leffel is a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. Michael's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation matters, including class actions. Michael is the chair of the firm’s Consumer Law, Finance & Class Action Practice. He is a member of the firm's Appellate, Consumer Financial Services, and Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practices. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he teaches “Complex Litigation.”

Michael has represented clients, including many Fortune 100 companies, in more than 250 class actions. The cases involved various state consumer protection statutes, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the federal securities and antitrust acts, the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, the Truth-In-Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act, and product liability claims, among other issues.

Michael has served as counsel for clients in 15 cases before the United States Supreme Court, and has represented parties in numerous cases before courts of appeals at both the state and federal level. He also has represented clients before various regulatory agencies and in congressional investigations.

Prior to joining Foley & Lardner, Michael worked for Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C., where his practice focused on commercial litigation and where he was awarded the John H. Pickering award for his commitment to pro bono representation.

Representative Matters

Foley was responsible for class certification and dispositive motion issues. The plaintiff alleged that he purchased certain windows and doors from Lincoln Wood Products based on alleged misrepresentations about their insulating values, and that the products are manufactured in such a way that they ultimately will prematurely fail. Plaintiff sought to recover for violation of various state consumer protection acts, and under a theory of breach of warranty. The district court denied the plaintiff's motion for class certification, and dismissed some of his claims. The Tenth Circuit Court denied the plaintiff's request for interlocutory review.

Defeated a motion for class certification in a proposed nationwide class action against Honda North America, Inc. and other defendants. The plaintiffs alleged that OnStar Corporation and manufacturers of their vehicles, including Honda, defrauded the plaintiffs and other owners and lessees of vehicles equipped with analog cellular equipment by failing to disclose to them at the time of purchase that the Federal Communications Commission had made a rule change by which third-party cellular service providers would not be required to continue providing analog services some years after the purchase.


Michael is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1997). He served as the managing editor of the Michigan Law Review and authored, "A More Sensible Approach to Regulating Independent Expenditures: Defending the Constitutionality of the FEC’s New Express Advocacy Standard." After graduation from law school, Michael served as a law clerk for the Honorable Karen Nelson Moore, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He has lectured on class actions, the enforceability of arbitration clauses, the constitutional implications of academic freedom, and the constitutionality of student fees.


Michael is admitted to practice in Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, District of Columbia Circuits, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He is also admitted in the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, the Northern District of Ohio, the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois.

Publications and Presentations

  • Author, “Don’t Delay Rule 23(f),” Consumer Class Defense Counsel, February 2019
  • Author, “RESPA Class Action Case Cannot Survive Scrutiny under Spokeo or Menominee,” Consumer Class Defense Counsel, January 2019
  • Author, “A Primer: Wisconsin’s New Class Action Statute,” Wisconsin Lawyer Volume 91, Number 4, April 2018
  • Author, “The D.C. Circuit Significantly Limits the Reach of the TCPA Statute, but Issues Still Remain,” Consumer Class Defense Counsel, March 2018
  • Co-authored a chapter, The Attorney’s Guide to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (Sixth Edition, 2015), State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books
  • Author, “ Jurisdiction Issues Dog Multistate Class Actions,” Consumer Class Defense Counsel, March 2018
  • Author, “4 Tips for Applying Arbitration Agreements to TCPA Claims,” Consumer Class Defense Counsel, February 2018
  • “Class action waivers in arbitration agreements enforceable: High court,” Business Insurance, June 20, 2013
  • Quoted, “Attorneys React to High Court’s Arbitration Ruling,” Law360, June 20, 2013
  • “Developments in Class Actions," Litigation, Dispute Resolution, & Appellate Practice Institute 2013, May 2013
  • Quoted, “Small Pharmacies Seek Class Cert. In Caremark Antitrust Row,” Law360, November 2012
  • "Mooting Plaintiff's Case Might Not End Class Action," Law360, October 2012
  • “Debunking Class Certification Myths,” Law360, January 2012
  • “Trends in ‘All Natural’ Class Actions,” Law360, November 2011
  • “Using Offers Of Judgment in Class Actions,” Law360, September 2011
  • “Concepcion Steers Potential Class Actions Toward Arbitration,” Wisconsin State Bar News, July 2011
  • "Foreclosure Actions Could Result in FDCPA Violations," LexisNexis® Research Solutions, July 2010
  • "New Rulings from the Fourth and Eleventh Circuit Shed New Light on RESPA Liability and the Filed Rate Doctrine," LexisNexis® Emerging Issues Analysis, July 2009
  • "Current Developments in Lender Liability Law – Consumer Context Part II," Foley & Lardner LLP Web conference, April 2009