A native of Madisonville, Kentucky, Michelle graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1981, majoring in English and Fine Arts. After serving as a legal assistant in her father's law firm, Michelle enrolled in University of Louisville Law School (now Brandeis School of Law), becoming a member of the Brandeis Society, serving as Recent Cases Editor of the Journal of Family Law and graduating with honors in 1986.
Before starting her own practice, Michelle spent the main portion of her career as a litigation associate then partner with Louisville’s Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, with a brief period at Ice Miller Donadio & Ryan in Indianapolis. Her practice areas include life, health and disability insurance litigation and employment law, including ERISA litigation, discrimination and workers’ compensation. Michelle authored the Kentucky section of Misrepresentation in the Life, Health and Disability Insurance Application Process: A National Survey (ABA 2009, 2d ed. 2015) and has received an “AV” (Preeminent) peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell. The firm's foremost writer, Michelle has submitted briefs to every level of state and federal courts.
An avid cook, photographer, traveler and reader, Michelle lives on about 14 acres of former tobacco farm along with her husband Steve, two British Shorthair cats, some chickens and an impressive assortment of kitchen gadgets. She is the co-author of a book, Lost Restaurants of Louisville, and occasionally updates a food blog, Gourmandistan.
R. THAD KEAL
Born and raised in Vine Grove, Kentucky, Thad attended Bellarmine University. Awarded an English-Speaking Union Scholarship, he spent a summer studying modern British poetry at Exeter College, Oxford University. In 1990, Thad graduated from University of Richmond Law School where he was on the Moot Court Board.
Thad's early years of practice involved defending local governments and government officials in civil rights litigation. Participating in federal court actions throughout Kentucky, Thad learned early on the right way to prepare and try a case. During this time, he co-authored an article, "Traversing the Section 1983 Minefield: A Practitioner's Guide to Civil Rights Litigation," for the Kentucky Bar Association’s publication, Bench & Bar. Later, Thad added products liability, labor and employment and common carrier defense litigation to his professional portfolio. Based on 25 years of litigation experience, including dozens of trials, Thad prides himself on his ability to assess risk early and work with and advise his clients fully on the best way forward to a successful conclusion. He has an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating available.
A member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Thad traveled to Washington, D.C. in 2017 with his son, attending the Children’s Congress and urging Congress to renew the Special Diabetes Program. Thad served as judge and assistant coach for Bellarmine University’s National Mock Trial Team.
When he’s not working or volunteering, Thad enjoys fly fishing in small streams and rivers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. He also enjoys tennis with his family and learning everything he can about the life and law practice of another Hardin County native, Abraham Lincoln.
R. ALLEN BUTTON
A Louisville native, Allen attended college and law school at University of Kentucky. His undergraduate major was in Political Science/History. At UK College of Law, Allen participated in the school’s National Moot Court Team.
Devoting most of the late Seventies and early Eighties to public service, Allen became Chief Juvenile Defender for the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender’s Office. He also served on the Juvenile Detention Center Task Force and chaired the State Juvenile Justice Commission. In 1985, Allen shifted from criminal law to civil litigation with various firms before joining Michelle and Thad in 2005.
Since 1994, Allen has been litigation counsel for Transit Authority of River City (TARC), trying well over 50 cases involving bus accidents. Allen's civil trial experience is not limited to common carrier litigation, as he has tried numerous professional negligence, civil rights, employment law and other cases as well.
Allen also has much experience in the restaurant industry, at times cooking professionally in the evenings after practicing law all day. In the early 2000s, he had an ownership stake and served as primary host of Primo, an Italian place in downtown Louisville. Today, Allen cooks mostly for his wife, Judith, or his grandkids, either in Louisville or at their second home in Sedona, Arizona.