Michael J. Petersen

Michael J. Petersen

Irvine, California

Practice Admissions: California, Wisconsin (inactive), Minnesota (inactive) and Illinois (Inactive)

Corporate and Transactional Lawyer

As a Corporate and Transactional Attorney, I am a deal guy.  I help clients with the full range of commercial transactions, including the buying and selling of businesses and commercial real estate.  I also assist businesses with their ongoing business transactions including employment agreements, standard contract review and special contracting needs including licensing, leasing and consulting agreements.  As a corporate lawyer, I help clients meet corporate and LLC compliance requirements and address issues of governance.


Unusual Personal History Provides Special Business Insight

The typical lawyer career starts at large law firms moves to smaller firms then in house.  I largely ran my career backwards.  After law school, I joined a small firm in Wisconsin with a general practice, including trial work.  I had two jury trials, won one lost won, gaining a first experience with litigation, which I now actively help my clients avoid.  I left private practice and joined the law department of Prudential Insurance doing commercial real estate transactions in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Initially I thought it would be dull work and I would look for another job in a few months.  I ended up staying 20 years and moving from Minneapolis to Chicago, to Newark, New Jersey (Prudential’s headquarters) and then to Orange County, California.  At Prudential I did real estate commercial lending, real property acquisition, real estate development, leasing, and large real estate Joint Ventures which included financing from third non-Prudential parties. I also did some international transactions. In Chicago I was the attorney responsible for the downtown Prudential Plaza new 64 story office tower and redo of the old Prudential building visible through goal posts when the Bears play football.  When I moved to Orange County, I became General Counsel of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates a franchisor of primarily residential brokers.  In this role, I did corporate acquisition and mergers, corporate financing and franchising.  Because I was an in house lawyer, I had the opportunity to learn much more about the business side than is normally the case in private practice.  Because I was part of the business team, I learned what the business needs to win.


When I left Prudential, I joined a dot.com as counsel that after I completed the C round of funding dot bombed.  I learned a lot about start up business, VC funding and the internet. 


My next job was as General Counsel of Newport Federal, a privately held family owned firm.  I did commercial real estate transactions and leasing, acquisition, charter business for a private jet and a number of other interesting projects.  I learned a lot about the dynamics of smaller business and their somewhat unique legal needs.  It was a great experience but I decided to seek other opportunities.


It was then found Shulman Hodges & Bastian LLP who brought me in to start a Corporate and Transactional practice at the firm.  I have been with the firm since 2003.  I have found my rather backward career from large corporation in house to small in house to private practice allows me to provide my clients with an understanding of their business and legal needs and offer practical solutions.


Areas of Practice

  • Transactional
  • Corporate Governance
  • Real Estate
  • Financial Transactions


  • University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • J.D. cum laude - 1997
  • University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, WI
    • B.S. - 1974
    • Honors: With High Honors