Michael R. Watts is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Manning & Kass, where he practices with the Government Entity Liability and Military & Veteran’s Teams. Mr. Watts is a former Special Agent with the United States Secret Service and is also currently a Major in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the United States Army Reserve.
Mr. Watts focuses his practice on representing police departments and law enforcement agencies during all phases of trial. He has also assisted numerous military personnel with various issues, including successfully defending personnel during security clearance revocation proceedings and appearing before the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA).
Mr. Watts began his legal career as a judge advocate in the United States Army. In the army, he served as a prosecutor for two years, where he investigated and prosecuted violent and white collar crimes, including a high-profile attempted murder case. He also taught hundreds of classes on the law of armed conflict, rules of engagement and the use of force.
After leaving the army, Mr. Watts became a special agent with the U.S. Secret Service assigned to the Los Angeles Field Office. He participated in numerous bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering investigations; and developed significant expertise in asset forfeiture and money laundering investigations. As a protective agent, he participated in protective operations for the president, vice president, presidential candidates, and foreign dignitaries.
Mr. Watts then returned to the army on active duty as a supervisory attorney, where he oversaw all legal operations for a large unit at the 101st Airborne Division.
Mr. Watts earned his BA in German from Washington University in St. Louis (2002), where he graduated with honors. He received his JD from the University of Tennessee (2005), winning the Constitutional Law Award.
While in law school, Mr. Watts participated in the Public Defender’s Externship and the Mediation Clinic.
Mr. Watts is admitted to practice in California and Tennessee. He speaks German, Russian, and French.
Mr. Watts is an active scuba diver, and is involved in various martial arts.