With nearly a decade of experience handling cannabis and hemp-related legal matters, Michelle Mabugat demonstrates a powerful level of knowledge and understanding when advising her clients.

As part of the firm's Corporate and Cannabis Groups, Michelle works with licensed cannabis operators, brands, ancillary businesses, landlords and investors, advising on corporate formation and governance, licensing and compliance, commercial contracts, IP protection, capital raising, joint ventures, asset purchases, M&A and IP-related due diligence, and best business practices.

After practicing cannabis defense litigation for five years, Michelle began advising her high-growth business clients in a strategic capacity. Using her stellar research, writing, and advocacy skills, Michelle has mastered the areas of cannabis and hemp start-up law, regulatory compliance, and business contracts. She is known as a caring yet tenacious advocate and strategic out-of-the-box thinker.

Michelle regularly speaks at events and on panels about cannabis law, hemp law, and best business practices. She has co-authored “Legal Weed: A Comprehensive Guide to California Cannabis Law & Regulation,” one of the first authoritative books on California's regulatory landscape. With her early background in criminal defense, Michelle remains deeply rooted and committed to social justice and policy reform issues. 

In 2018, Michelle was honored to be nominated as “Lawyer of the Year” for the California Cannabis Awards. Also, in 2018, Michelle was shortlisted to be on DataBird's list of “250 Cannabis Law Leaders in the United States.”

Michelle's savvy approach to deal-making paired with her experience in litigation creates an ideal partnership for her clients in this quickly-evolving legal landscape.

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, International Cannabis Bar Association
  • Member, National LGBT Bar Association
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Member, Legislative Advocacy Committee, Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
  • Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • Member, Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • Member, Philippine American Bar Association
  • Member, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • Member, Animal Legal Defense Fund


  • “Lawyer of the Year,” California Cannabis Awards, Nominee
  • Shortlisted on “250 Cannabis Law Leaders in the United States," Databird

Bar Admissions

  • California


  • University of Southern California Gould School of Law  (J.D., 2011)
  • University of California, Los Angeles  (B.A., 2007)
    • History/Political Science