Nemelka N. Michael

Michael N. Nemelka


  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 2006
    • Order of the Coif
    • Notes Development Editor, Virginia Law Review, 2005-2006
  • Brigham Young University, B.A., 2003


  • Law Clerk, Judge Paul V. Niemeyer, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 2006-2007

Government Service

  • Deputy United States Trade Representative for Africa, China, the Western Hemisphere, and Investment, Services, Labor, and Environment, 2020, with the rank of Ambassador.
  • Special Advisor to Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative, 2020.


  • 2006, Virginia
  • 2008, District of Columbia

Ambassador Michael N. Nemelka returned to Kellogg Hansen in 2020 after serving as the Deputy United States Trade Representative for Africa, China, the Western Hemisphere, and Investment, Services, Labor, and Environment.  In addition, he was responsible for global trade policy in the areas of intellectual property, market access, and industrial competitiveness.  Ambassador Nemelka was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote without opposition.  As Deputy United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Nemelka formulated and implemented U.S. trade policy for the regions and issues under his purview, led important trade negotiations, and developed and executed strategies to address trade barriers and unfair trade practices in countries around the world.  Ambassador Nemelka played a key role in the successful implementation and launch of the new United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement, which replaced NAFTA, and in the monitoring and enforcement of the groundbreaking China Phase I deal.  He also served as the lead negotiator for the proposed free trade agreement with the Republic of Kenya, which would be the first such agreement between the United States and a country in sub-Saharan Africa, and negotiated important trade agreements with Ecuador and Brazil.  Prior to being confirmed as Deputy United States Trade Representative, he served as special advisor to Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States Trade Representative.

Ambassador Nemelka helps clients navigate challenges and barriers in international trade and investment, and in dispute resolution before international trade tribunals and arbitrations.  He also specializes in complex commercial litigation, and has experience across a broad range of civil and criminal matters.  He has tried numerous cases to verdict in federal and state courts, as well as before arbitration panels.  He has represented corporate and individual clients in cases involving antitrust liability, trust administration, breach of contract, intellectual property, and government securities and FCPA investigations.

Ambassador Nemelka spearheaded the investigation of the core claims in the antitrust litigation against the two leading providers of dealer management systems, CDK Global, LLC and The Reynolds & Reynolds Company.  In re Dealer Mgmt. Sys. Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 2817 (N.D. Ill.).  He successfully served as lead trial counsel for Authenticom, Inc. at the preliminary injunction hearing in the Western District of Wisconsin.  Global Competition Review named him, along with his partners Derek Ho and Aaron Panner, “Litigators of the Week” for obtaining this rare preliminary injunction. 

In one of the few antitrust class actions to go to trial, Ambassador Nemelka was a member of the trial team that represented a class of direct purchasers in a four-week jury trial alleging price fixing by the Dow Chemical Company among others.  The jury rendered a $1.2 billion dollar verdict after trebling on February 20, 2013.  Prior to the trial, all of the other defendants settled with the class.  In re Urethane Antitrust Litig., MDL No. 1616 (D. Kan. 2013).

Ambassador Nemelka joined Kellogg Hansen in 2007 after clerking for the Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  He earned his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was on the managing board of the Virginia Law Review, and a B.A. in history from Brigham Young University.

Representative Experience

  • In re Dealer Management Systems Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2817 (N.D. Ill.)
  • In re Urethane Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1616 (D. Kan. 2013)
  • iHeartCommunications, Inc. v. Benefit Street Partners, LLC, No. 2016-CI-04006
    (Tex. Dist. Ct., Bexar Cnty. May 6, 2016)
    Represented iHeartCommunications, Inc. in defeating motion to dismiss and establishing personal jurisdiction over noteholders of the company, in a dispute involving notices of default issued to iHeart in Texas.
  • Otto v. Gore, 45 A.3d 120 (Del. 2012)
    Counsel in Delaware Supreme Court appeal defending judgment by the Court of Chancery regarding the interpretation and distribution of assets of a large Delaware trust.  The Court unanimously affirmed, resulting in a complete victory for the firm’s clients.
  • Great-West Investors, LP v. Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P., C.A. No. 5508-VCN, 2012 WL 19469
    (Del. Ch. Jan. 4, 2012)
    Represented private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners in high-stakes dispute with its special limited partner.  Case settled on favorable terms after key victory on summary judgment.
  • In re Trust for Grandchildren, No. 1165-VCN, 2011 WL 3444569 (Del. Ch. July 29, 2011)
    Member of trial team in Delaware Court of Chancery case involving the effect of a strategic adult adoption on the distribution of principal under a trust, as well as a dispute over the terms of the governing trust instrument.  Court of Chancery ruled in favor of the firm’s clients on all issues.  Also represented co-trustees in related litigation, which settled on favorable terms.
  • AstroTel, Inc. v. Verizon Florida, LLC, American Arbitration Association (2010)
    Lead trial counsel for Verizon in a four-day arbitration involving a contractual dispute with a local telecommunications provider.  Arbitrator ruled in favor of Verizon on all claims. 
  • New Jersey v. Sprint Corporation, et al., 758 F. Supp. 2d 1186 (D. Kan. 2010)
    Represented former CEO and COO of Sprint in securities fraud class action suit.  Plaintiffs alleged that there were false and misleading statements in Sprint’s proxy materials related to the executives’ employment at the company.  The court granted defendants’ summary judgment motion, for a complete victory for the firm’s clients.
  • In re Refco Inc. Securities Litigation, 07 MDL 1902 (S.D.N.Y.)
    Represented private equity firm in a multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of New York arising out of the collapse of Refco, then the largest independent derivatives execution and clearing firm in the world, including claims against Refco’s law firm and auditor.
  • BT Triple Crown Merger Co. v. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., No. 08-600899 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.)
    Represented private equity firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners in much-publicized multibillion-dollar breach-of-contract action against six banks, arising out of the banks’ refusal to honor their commitment to finance the Clear Channel Communications leveraged buyout transaction.  Expedited discovery was conducted in less than six weeks.  Immediately before trial in New York state court, our clients prevailed on their argument that specific performance was an available remedy.  The parties settled shortly thereafter, with the banks agreeing to finance the transaction.