Michael is a seasoned litigator who focuses his practice on trusts and estates litigation and employment litigation.

Michael regularly represents fiduciaries, beneficiaries, and other parties in will contests, trust matters, accounting proceedings, discovery proceedings, estate tax proceedings, and other fiduciary litigation in the New York State Surrogate’s Court and New York Appellate Courts. Michael often resolves complicated and contentious disputes through negotiation or mediation. But, when an amicable resolution cannot be reached, Michael has the experience and advocacy skills to try the case.  

Michael also represents employers and management in Court, in arbitrations, and before administrative agencies on a broad array of employment-related litigation, including cases with allegations involving discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, leave and accommodation laws, restrictive covenants, and federal and state wage and hour laws. Michael also assists employers in defending class and collective actions.

Michael helps employers mitigate risk by providing counseling on workplace policies, handbooks, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, safety and health compliance, drug and alcohol testing, wage and hour laws, worker classification, and discipline and discharge. Michael is a frequent lecturer on a wide range of labor and employment topics for various groups, including presenting on sexual harassment prevention at the annual conference of the Associated General Contractors of New York, wage and hour laws at the annual conference of the New York State Society for Human Resource Management, and New York Forward Reopening Guidance to the New York State Bar Association, the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, and the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Michael has also written on a wide range of topics including worker classification, COVID-19 related whistleblower claims, and business owner liability for wage claims.


Syracuse University, B.A., magna cum laude

Rutgers University, J.D., cum laude and Order of the Coif


  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Distrcit Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey


  • Listed, Upstate New York Super Lawyers Rising Stars (Employment Litigation: Defense) 2019 - 2023
  • Listed, New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2016 - 2018
  • Morris Gann Prize for Greatest Achievement in Evidence

News & Insights


  • Leadership Tech Valley - Class of 2020
  • Albany Institute of History and Art, Trustee


  • New York State Bar Association, Trusts and Estates Section
  • Albany County Bar Association
  • Society for Human Resource Management
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Michael D. Zahler / News & Insights