Pickett, Michelle Lee

A trusted advisor to corporations and nonprofits, Michelle Pickett is a transactional attorney focusing on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and general corporate, business and tax matters. She represents private and public companies as well as public-private entities in all stages of the business cycle.

Michelle has represented numerous companies in the technology, water, and film and entertainment industries. She combines her practical, business, accounting and legal skills to structure and implement strategies that maximize a client’s business objectives, while advising on operational and governance matters.

Actively engaged in providing legal services to the philanthropic sector, Michelle works closely with established nonprofits as well as high net worth individuals and celebrities in structuring, forming and operating public charities and private foundations, and providing continued governance and operational advice.

Practices & Industries
Mergers & Acquisitions

Michelle has an active mergers and acquisitions practice representing wide-ranging industries in debt and equity financings, and routinely assists her partners with California-specific matters. Recent transactions include the sale of a media-based company to an international entertainment conglomerate, the sale of various professional service companies with a complex earn-out structure, an acquisition of resort assets, and structuring various financing rounds for a technology company.

Public Charities/Private Foundations

With her knowledge of both federal and California rules and regulations governing nonprofit and tax-exempt entities, Michelle actively counsels public charities, professional fundraisers, private foundations and other exempt or nonprofit organizations. She serves as general counsel to numerous public charities, including an internationally-renowned nonprofit dedicated to improving the health of people in need, and a public charity that strives to bring food education to schools, youth groups, businesses and communities. Michelle also serves as a legal advisor to various private foundations of entertainment personalities, assisting with governance, compliance and operational issues as they arise.  


Water Transactions

Like many attorneys in Brownstein’s California offices, Michelle has significant legal experience as it relates to water use, with a specialty in corporate and contract law and the formation and operation of mutual water companies. She has negotiated agreements for the joint use of water resources by two public agencies, advised a mutual water company in transferring its water rights, and structured the tax-free transfer of water-related facilities and assets from a private mutual water company to a public agency/improvement district, among other transactions.

News & Events

Board of Directors, The Children’s Project, 2012–2014

Board of Directors, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, 2006–2014

Former Chair of the Board, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, 2009–2012

Chair Emeritus Board, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, 2012–present

Board of Trustees, Santa Barbara Foundation, 2008–2016

Katherine Harvey Fellow, Santa Barbara Foundation, 2004–2005

  • J.D., 1994, The George Washington University Law School
  • B.A., 1991, cum laude, George Washington University, with academic honors
  • California, 1998
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Who's Who in Professional Services, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2015
  • Santa Barbara Women Making Waves, Santa Barbara Life & Style Magazine, July 2015
  • Who’s Who in Professional Services, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2014
  • Top 50 Women in Business, Editor's Choice, Pacific Coast Business Times, 2010

American Bar Association

Santa Barbara County Bar Association

Santa Barbara Women Lawyers