Michael J. Ernst

Managing Partner

Phone: 404-603-3441
E-mail: Email Me
vCard: download

As SCE Law's Managing Partner, Michael Ernst heads the firm's Business Law/Litigation and Employment Law/Litigation practice groups. Mr. Ernst's business practice includes business law and litigation, business disputes, banking litigation, workouts, fraud, business torts, contract disputes, business advice, financial services litigation, commercial transactions and other business matters. His employment practice includes employment law and 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 has represented 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. Mr. Ernst joined SCE Law in 1989 and celebrates his 37th Anniversary in the active practice of law in 2024. Prior to joining SCE Law, he 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, banking industry, and collection 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. He is rated “AV® Preeminent®” by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating given by the legal industry's premier peer-review rating system. Mr. Ernst has also been recognized in multiple years as:

  • one of "The Best Lawyers in America®" by Best Lawyers® in the area of employment law (management), a distinction given to the top 5% of lawyers in America;
  • a “Super Lawyer®” by Georgia Super Lawyers Magazine / Atlanta Magazine / Atlanta Business Chronicle in the area of business litigation;
  • one of “Georgia's Legal Elite: The State's Most Effective Lawyers” by Georgia Trend Magazine in the areas of both business litigation and labor and employment law; and
  • a Top Rated Lawyer by both ALM® and Avvo®.

Areas of Practice

  • Business Law and Litigation
  • Employment Law and Litigation
  • General Civil Litigation
  • Commercial Law, Collections, and Creditor Bankruptcy
  • Creditor and Loan Workouts
  • Banking Law
  • Financial Services Litigation
  • Appellate Practice
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Bar Admissions

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


University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia

  • J.D. – 1987
  • Honors: School of Law Scholar; 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; National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist
  • Honors: Pi Sigma Alpha; Sigma Tau Pi; 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: Business Litigation; Labor and Employment Law
  • “Super Lawyer®” by Georgia Super Lawyers Magazine / Atlanta Magazine / Atlanta Business Chronicle: Business Litigation
  • “Super Lawyers Business Edition” by Super Lawyers Magazine: Business Litigation
  • "Best Lawyers in America®”: Employment Law, Management
  • “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)
  • Commercial Law League of America (Creditors' Rights 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.

404.352.8455 (fax)
Mon: 08:30am - 05:00pm
Tue: 08:30am - 05:00pm
Wed: 08:30am - 05:00pm
Thu: 08:30am - 05:00pm
Fri: 08:30am - 05:00pm