Michael graduated from the University of South Carolina Pettigrew School of Law in 1969 with a Juris Doctor. He was a finalist in the Prince Competition, where he demonstrated exceptional ability in appellate advocacy. He was a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Conflicts. While in law school, he was selected by the NAACP to travel to Memphis, Tennessee. There, he helped investigate police brutality in connection with the Memphis riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. Among lawyer associations, Michael was admitted to both the Virginia State Bar and US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 1969. He spent a year working for a prominent Norfolk law office, emphasizing Personal Injury, Domestic Relations and Criminal Law before starting his own firm in 1971. In 1973, he was admitted to the US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, and in 1974, the US Supreme Court. He is a member of the Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association, the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. In addition, he is a member of the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America).