Michael J. Ernst

Phone: 404-603-3441
Fax: 404-352-8463
E-mail: Email Me
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Michael Ernst is SCE's Managing Partner and heads both the firm's Business Law/Litigation and Employment Law/Litigation practice groups. Mr. Ernst's business practice includes business litigation, business disputes, banking litigation, workouts, fraud, business torts, contract disputes, business advice, securities arbitration, financial services litigation, commercial transactions and other business matters. His employment practice includes employment litigation, defense of federal Title VII / Age Discrimination / Wage & Hour cases, and employment advice, as well as defense of state wrongful discharge cases and restrictive covenant litigation. He is an experienced litigator who represents business clients throughout the United States before trial and appellate courts in both state and federal court. Mr. Ernst also represents clients in mediation and arbitration proceedings, including securities arbitration before FINRA. Additionally, he represents management in traditional labor matters and union campaigns. Mr. Ernst joined SCE in 1989 and will celebrate his 35th Anniversary in the active practice of law in 2022. Prior to joining SCE, Mike practiced for several years with a national employment law firm in Atlanta. Mr. Ernst is a frequent speaker on business law, banking law, employment law, and trial law topics, and is a member of the American Bar Association Advisory Panel. He is active in a number of legal industry and banking industry associations.  Mr. Ernst is involved with charitable and community organizations in various capacities --  as a leader, a “pro bono” provider of legal services, and a hands-on volunteer. Over the past decade, he has been continually recognized by Georgia Trend Magazine as one of “Georgia's Legal Elite: The State's Most Effective Lawyers” in the areas of labor and employment law and business litigation.  Mr. Ernst is also consistently recognized as a “Super Lawyer®” by Georgia Super Lawyers Magazine and Atlanta Magazine in the area of business litigation.  He has also been consistently honored as a Top Rated Lawyer by both ALM® and Avvo®. Mr. Ernst is rated “AV® Preeminent®” by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given by the legal industry's premier peer-review rating system.

Areas of Practice

  • Business Law and Litigation
  • Employment Law and Litigation
  • General Civil Litigation
  • Creditor and Loan Workouts
  • Banking Law
  • Financial Services Litigation and FINRA Arbitration
  • Appellate Practice
  • Franchise Litigation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia, 1987
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois
  • Georgia Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Court of Georgia


  • University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia
    • J.D. – 1987
    • Honors: School of Law Scholar
    • Honors: Tuition Equalization Scholar
    • Honors: First Year Class President
    • Honors: Student Bar Association Governing Board (1984-85)
    • Honors: Mock Trial Board Member
    • Honors: ATLA Mock Trial National Team Member (Regional Finalist, 1987)
    • Honors: Who's Who Among American Law Students
  • Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
    • B.A. (Magna Cum Laude) – 1984
    • Major: Political Science
    • Minor: Business Administration
    • Honors: Phi Kappa Phi
    • Honors: Foundation Scholar
    • Honors: "Outstanding Student of the Year," Department of Government (1984)
    • Honors: National Truman Scholar Nominee
    • Honors: National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist
    • Honors: Pi Sigma Alpha
    • Honors: Sigma Tau Pi
    • Honors: Gamma Beta Phi

Honors and Awards

  • Rated “AV® Preeminent®” by Martindale-Hubbell, the Highest Rating Given
  • “Georgia's Legal Elite: The State's Most Effective Lawyers” by Georgia Trend Magazine: Labor and Employment Law
  • “Georgia's Legal Elite: The State's Most Effective Lawyers” by Georgia Trend Magazine: Business Litigation
  • “Super Lawyer®” by Georgia Super Lawyers Magazine and Atlanta Magazine: Business Litigation
  • “Super Lawyers Business Edition” by Super Lawyers Magazine: Business Litigation
  • “Top Rated Lawyer” by ALM®
  • “Top Rated Lawyer” by Avvo®
  • Who's Who in America
  • Who's Who in American Law
  • Who's Who in Practicing Attorneys
  • Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America
  • America's Most Honored Professionals
  • Outstanding Young Men of America

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • State Bar of Georgia
  • American Bar Association: Advisory Panel Member
  • Atlanta Bar Association: Litigation Section Board of Directors (2000-01; 2001–02)
  • Lawyers Club of Atlanta
  • Sandy Springs Bar Association
  • Community Bankers Association of Georgia: Associate Member; Advisory Council Member; Associate Committee Member
  • Georgia Bankers Association: Associate Member; Bank Counsel Section Member

Areas Served

From our office in Atlanta, Georgia, Stokes Carmichael & Ernst LLP provides quality legal representation to business clients throughout the State of Georgia, the southeastern United States, and elsewhere. Let SCE Law put The Power of Legal Knowledge® to work for you.