Michael practices labor and employment law, advising a broad range of public and private sector employers in the fields of health care, forest products, manufacturing, retail, municipal government, transportation and communications. He is Chair of the firm's Employment Law Group.

Michael advises on hiring and employee retention policies, personnel policies, discipline and termination issues, wage and hour issues, collective bargaining agreements and compliance with employment discrimination and civil rights laws.

He is a former Maine Assistant Attorney General and worked in the Criminal Division. In that position, he served as Chief Counsel to the State Department of Public Safety and also prosecuted white-collar crimes.

Michael was born in Portland and graduated cum laude from Harvard University. In 1978, he graduated from the University of Maine School of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review. He joined Preti Flaherty in 1980 and served as Managing Partner from 1991-1992.

Professional Activities

  • Maine State Bar Association
    • Labor and Employment Law section
  • American Bar Association
    • Labor and Employment Law section
  • For the College of Labor and Employment Attorneys
    • Member, 1st Circuit Credentials Committee

Honors & Recognition

  • Recognized in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Employment Law (Management), Labor Law (Management) and Litigation (Labor and Employment)
    • 2019 and 2023 Lawyer of the Year, Labor Law - Management (Portland, ME)
  • Recognized by New England Super Lawyers
  • Recognized as a Labor & Employment Star in Benchmark's Labor & Employment Guide
  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale Hubbell
  • Elected as Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • Chair, Personnel Committee, Congregation Bet Ha'am
  • Allocations Committee, Jewish Community Alliance
  • Former Board Member and Advisory Board Member, Portland Stage Company
  • Founding Member, Second Generation of Maine, an organization of children of Holocaust survivors
  • Former Trustee, Board of Trustees, Congregation Bet Ha'am
  • Coach, Cape Elizabeth Little League (six seasons)
  • Past-President, Holocaust Human Rights Center of Maine
  • Past-President, Portland Players Community Theatre

Presentations and Publications

  • Written and lectured extensively before management audiences at programs presented by the Council on Education in Management, the National Business Institute, the Maine Human Resource Management Association, and other organizations
  • Participated as a presenter at the 1st Annual Labor & Employment Conference sponsored by the Labor & Employment Relations Association of Maine (LERA) in Portland. Michael was a co-presenter with a union attorney on the subject of interviewing and investigation techniques
  • Selected by the Maine Human Rights Commission to serve as a presenter on defense practice issues before the Commission at the MHRC's first Fair Employment Practice Seminar

Firm Highlights


Preti Flaherty Attorneys Recognized for ILAP Support

Several Preti Flaherty attorneys were recognized for their support by the The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) in its  2021 Annual Report . ILAP's goal is to help low-income immigrants improve their legal status and promote...


46 Preti Flaherty Attorneys Selected by Peers for Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2023, Including 6 “Lawyers of the Year”

Forty-six Preti Flaherty attorneys have been named to Best Lawyers in America 2023, including three “Ones to Watch” and six “Lawyer of the Year” recipients. Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America is considered a...


Sixteen Preti Flaherty Attorneys Selected as Chambers USA Leaders in Their Field

Sixteen Preti Flaherty attorneys and six practice groups have been selected for inclusion in the 2022 Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business , the highly regarded directory of leading attorneys and...


Attorney Michael Messerschmidt Selected by Peers as “Lawyer of the Year” in Best Lawyers in America 2023

Preti Flaherty attorney Michael G. Messerschmidt has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2023 as the “Lawyer of the Year” in the field of Labor Law ­– Management. Inclusion in Best Lawyers in...


Employers May See Increased Accommodation Requests in 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a multitude of challenges for employers. As more employees return to the office in 2022—whether full-time or on a hybrid schedule—employers will face difficult compliance questions and, most likely...