Michael A. Futterman


Contact Details

Direct: 415 399 3842
Fax: 415 399 3838

Michael Futterman’s practice focuses on business and employment law.  He has a broad range of business and corporate experience, including business formation, mergers & acquisitions, finance and private equity offerings, corporate governance, equity compensation, intellectual property, securities and contracts. Employment experience includes counseling employers and executives in all areas of employment law.  Michael represents a broad range of privately-held businesses, including technology (chip design, gaming, ISP and software), professional services (accounting, architecture and law firms), manufacturing, winery, insurance brokerage, nursing care, real estate finance, and non-profits.  Michael has developed a particular expertise in the hospitality sector, including representation of 501c(6) business associations and business improvement districts, and he also represents a number of 501c(3) non-profit entities.  Earlier in his career, Michael litigated business and employment disputes in state and federal courts, which has proven to be invaluable in serving his clients’ legal needs.


  • Serves as outside general counsel for high-tech, closely-held, and non-profit businesses and trade groups
  • Regularly represents clients in connection with the purchase and sale of businesses
  • Helps companies with the variety of legal issues facing start-ups, from selecting the correct form of entity, documenting ownership agreements such as LLC operating agreements and stock buy-sell agreements, putting employment agreements and policies in place, setting up stock option plans, and negotiating and documenting agreements with vendors, partners and affiliated entities
  • Counsels businesses and individuals on protection of trade secrets and unlawful competition issues
  • Represents technology companies on licensing issues
  • Advises employers on the panoply of legal requirements facing California employers including anti-discrimination laws, wrongful discharge, wage and hour compliance, family and medical leave, employees vs. independent contractors, and drafting and reviewing employee handbooks
  • Possesses significant experience working with government officials at the state and local level
  • Represents foreign companies doing business in the United States
  • Serves as contributing editor to the California Employment Law Letter, regularly writing articles about recent developments in California law on such topics as arbitration agreements, discrimination, defamation and disability rights

Selected Client Representations

Tourism and Hospitality

Serves as general counsel for the San Francisco Travel Association, a 501c(6) non-profit entity that serves as the official destination marketing organization for the City of San Francisco.

Michael has played a key role in the formation of the Moscone Expansion District (MED) and the San Francisco Tourism Improvement District (TID), both of which are innovative business improvement district consisting of all tourist hotels in the City of San Francisco.  Assessment funds generated by the MED and TID and helping to raise more than $500 million for a major expansion and renovation of the George S. Moscone Convention Center.  In addition to the district formation, Michael has worked on all aspects of the convention center expansion and renovation, including the drafting of legislation, filing of validation actions, and negotiation and drafting of design and construction contracts.  In the course of that work, Michael has worked closely with the hotel community and with multiple departments of the City of San Francisco, including the Mayor’s office, the City Administrator, City Controller, City Attorney’s Office and San Francisco Public Works. 

Private clients

Regularly helps client raise funds from venture capital investors and private individuals via preferred stock and convertible debt offerings.


Michael serves as outside counsel for various non-profit organizations, such as Esalen Institute and the San Francisco Estuary Institute.  Recent work for Esalen includes work on a tax-exempt financing for the purpose of refinancing existing debt and the funding of construction loans.  Recent representation of the San Francisco Estuary Institute includes work on issues involving Board governance and restructuring.


Helped design and administer a novel program for cost-effectively managing asbestos litigation for a foreign company named in many lawsuits in the United States, including managing the company’s California litigation. 

Family-owned insurance business

Represented the younger generation that purchased their father’s successful insurance business in a challenging transaction also involving an outside investor.  Helped the company raise additional funds needed for growth via preferred stock offerings, and subsequently represented the company in its sale to a major national insurance brokerage.  

Professional Participation

Michael is a member of California Employment Law Letter’s Advisory Board of Contributors, for which he regularly writes articles on developments in employment law. He is a member of the Planning Committee and regular speaker for the California CPA Education Foundation’s Annual Employment Practices Conference, serving as Chair of the 2010 conference. In addition, he served on the California Chief Justice’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Arbitrator Ethics and is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco, State Bar of California, and American Bar Association. Michael has been rated a “Super Lawyer” multiple years for his expertise in the areas of corporate and employment law.

Community Service

Highly involved in the community, Michael serves on the Board of Trustees for the Tamalpais Union High School District, and previously served on the Board of Trustees of the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District, including a term as Board President. He also served as President of the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council and of the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California, and on the Boards of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco and of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.  Michael is a fellow of the Wexner Heritage Foundation. He also is a former board member of the UC Davis (King Hall) School of Law Alumni Association.

Articles Written

Michael is a regular contributor to the California Employment Law Letter.  Recent topics include arbitration agreements, discrimination, defamation and disability rights.

Speaking Engagements

He speaks regularly on employment law issues at the California CPA Education Foundation’s Annual Employment Practices Conference.


State Bar of California, San Francisco Bar Association, American Bar Association.  Admitted to all California state courts, and the United States District Courts for the Northern District of California, and the Central District of California, and the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit

Languages Spoken