Portrait of


  • Universite de Kubenhaven – Copenhagen, Denmark, studied (1987)
  • University of Texas at Austin, B.S. (1988)
  • University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, J.D. (1995)


  • California
Michelle Gillette, Partner San Francisco
Phone: +1 415.365.7445
275 Battery Street, 23rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111-3305

Michelle Gillette is a partner in Crowell & Moring's San Francisco office, head of the firm's Food & Beverage Industry Practice, and a member of the firm's Advertising & Product Risk Management Group. She is an accomplished trial lawyer whose practice is focused on representing emerging and established companies in litigation in federal and California state courts, with an emphasis on defending food, cosmetics, and retail companies in lawsuits involving false or misleading advertising, product liability, unfair competition, unfair business practices, trade secrets, torts, breach of contract, and patent infringement.

Michelle has successfully defended clients in class actions alleging false or misleading labeling or advertising of foods, cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and homeopathic products. These lawsuits have focused on "natural" claims, "clinically-proven" results, lack of efficacy, lack of substantiation, and failure to disclose. Michelle is highly experienced with state consumer protection statutes, known as "baby Federal Trade Commission Acts," as well as California's own consumer protection statutes, such as the Unfair Competition Law (Business & Professions Code sec. 17200), False Advertising Law (Business & Professions Code sec. 17500), Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Proposition 65, grocery industry pricing laws, and slack-fill claims; as well as federal statutes such as the Lanham Act, Magnuson-Moss Act, and "Made in USA" claims. She provides advice, risk management, trade secret protection, labeling compliance advice, and product liability risk assessments in addition to litigation.

Specific to products liability, Michelle serves companies by navigating the intersection of law and science in claims against manufacturers and distributors of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. As mass tort litigation typically involves complex scientific or medical evidence and requires sophisticated expertise at each step in the process, Michelle helps navigate this area both before and after these issues reach a jury. She is adept at examining expert witnesses, bringing Daubert and state law-equivalent motions for exclusion of evidence, and helping the judge and jury understand the complex issues that must be decided.

Specific to patent litigation, Michelle has represented emerging and established companies in various U.S. federal courts and the International Trade Commission (ITC), and has handled disputes involving a broad range of technologies, including smart TVs, data storage, access, and synchronization; music recognition and downloads; encryption and copy protection; and software, hardware, and computer peripherals.


Admitted to practice: California, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, pro hac vice approval for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, pro hac vice approval for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and pro hac vice approval for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.


American Bar Association Food and Supplements Committee, American Bar Association Product Liability Committee, DRI, California Women Lawyers, ProVisors, Association for Corporate Growth, Leading Women in Technology’s WilPower Group, Cosmetic Executive Women.

Speeches & Presentations

  • "Trends in Litigation," FDLI's Food Advertising, Labeling, and Litigation Conference, Washington, D.C. (September 15, 2016).
  • "Food & Beverage Industry: What Will 2016 Bring?" Webinar (February 10, 2016). Presenters: John Fuson, Michelle Gillette, Andrew Kaplan, and Chalana N. Williams.
  • "Preparing and Crossing Expert Witnesses in Food Cases," Food & Supplements Fifth Annual Workshop, ABA Section of Litigation, Omaha, NE (June 9, 2015). Moderator: Michelle Gillette.
  • "Presenting Food Science to the Judge or Jury," Food & Supplements Third Annual Workshop, ABA Section of Litigation, Oak Brook, IL (June 18, 2013). Moderator: Michelle Gillette.


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