Mike received his B.A. degree in English Literature from Tulane University, and his J.D. degree from Tulane Law School (1974). In law school, he served as an editor of the Tulane Law Review and was elected to membership in The Order of the Coif. After clerking for Justice Walter Marcus on the Louisiana Supreme Court, he attended Harvard Law School and received his LL.M. degree in 1976.
In the years since, Mike has been an active trial lawyer, litigating a variety of civil and criminal cases involving such diverse matters as personal injuries, securities fraud, toxic torts, breaches of trust, construction disputes, school board elections, and civil rights claims. In so doing, he has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, including members of the Bench and Bar. He has also represented judges wrongly accused of misconduct. E.g., In re Quirk, 97-1143 (La. 12/1/97), 705 So.2d 172.
Among his many first-chair trial experiences, Mike successfully defended a series of personal injury claims arising from chemical leaks at a local refinery, e.g., Dawsey v. Olin Corp., 782 F.2d 1254 (5th Cir. 1986); Broussard v. Olin Corp., 546 So. 2d 1301 (La. App. 3d Cir. 1989); Walls v. Olin Corp., 533 So. 2d 1375 (La. App. 3d Cir. 1988), writ denied, 536 So. 2d 1220 (La. 1989); Schepp v. Olin Corp., 445 So. 2d 1280 (La. App. 3d Cir.), writ denied, 448 So. 2d 117 (La. 1984).
More recently, Mike turned his attention to commercial litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. He secured the cancellation of a mineral lease and the return of two producing gas wells in a suit brought on behalf of Amoco Production Company. The recovery was valued at more than $13 million. Amoco Production Company v. Texas Meridian Resources Exploration Inc., 180 F.3d 664 (5th Cir. 1999). In May of 2000, Mike completed a jury trial on behalf of the owners of property contaminated by oil and gas operations that resulted in a verdict exceeding $50 million. The case became one of the most talked-about verdicts in the state. Mike then successfully defended the result against industry-wide opposition in the Supreme Court of Louisiana. Corbello v. Iowa Production Co., 2002-0826 (La. 2/25/03), 850 So.2d 686, 33 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,230. The verdict was ultimately valued at $76 million. The following year, in September 2001, Mike was lead counsel in securing a $30 million verdict on behalf of an oil company for breach of a contract to reassign mineral leases. With interest, the verdict was valued at $51 million. Again, the result was affirmed despite a vigorous appeal by the defendants. Amoco Production Co. v. Texaco Inc., 2002-0240 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1/29/03), 838 So.2d 821, writ denied, 2003-1102, 1104 (La. 6/6/03), 845 So.2d 1096.
Mike has also maintained a continuing interest in academics, publishing numerous law review articles. See, e.g., The Contracts Clause and the Court: A View of Precedent and Practice in Constitutional Adjudication, 54 Tul. L. Rev. 117 (1979); In Search of Precedent in the Oil Patch: Louisiana's Market Value Cases, 44 La. L. Rev. 949 (1984); Evaluating the Economic Impact of Personal Injuries, 31 Loy. L. Rev. 825 (1986), partially reprinted in M. Shapo, Tort and Injury Law 464-67 (1990); The Trial of Toxic Torts: Scientific Evidence in the Wake of Daubert, 57 La. L. Rev. 647 (1997). Mike also has authored a training manual for trial lawyers, LITIGATION HANDBOOK: A METHOD OF TRIAL PRACTICE, which he used as a course text while teaching courses as an adjunct professor at both LSU and Tulane law schools. As a consequence of his work at LSU, Mike was inducted as a member of the LSU Law Center Hall of Fame in 1993. He is also a frequent CLE program speaker.
As lead counsel in the landmark case of Corbello v. Iowa Production, 850 So.2d 686 (La. 2003), Mike obtained a $76 million judgment on behalf of his mother's family for the contamination of his great-grandfather's farm by Shell Oil Company. That experience inspired Mike's fourth book, a nonfiction account of his family's battle with big oil entitled SHELL GAME, which was released in 2007. Like his earlier books, Mike's first nonfiction work earned similar praise from critics. Publisher's Weekly declared the book to be “a cracking good read.” The Library Journal recommended SHELL GAME in equally glowing terms: “Veron knows how to hold readers' interest. An engaging plot, colorful characters, well-written narration, and an ultimately happy ending make this a satisfying work.”