Michael R. Berlon
I practiced law for more than twenty-two years before surrendering my license in 2014. I plead guilty to one count of wire fraud related to my law firm in 2015 and was sentenced to 63 months in prison. I served 49 months before I was released in 2019 and have spent months rebuilding my life. I have been married for thirty-seven years and look forward to the future now more than ever. I am passionate and fully committed to helping lessen the collateral consequences of mass incarceration to ex-felons at every stage and in any way possible-through education, employment and hope.
I have extensive experience in the area of non-profit operations, including fundraising and recruitment. I spent more than twenty years consulting in all aspects of human resources and legal compliance. In addition, I have a significant background in federal and state criminal and civil litigation, motion and appellate practice, post-conviction remedies, risk management and insurance matters, mediation, arbitration.
While I was in prison, I served at the law librarian. During that time, I helped prepare and file several successful post-conviction motions seeking sentence relief under a variety of laws, including 28 U.S.C. § 2255 & 28 U.S.C. § 2241, motions relating to the “Second Chance Act”, Compassionate Release, Petitions seeking relief under Amendments by the United States Sentencing Commission, District and Circuit Court appeals as well as authoring Petitions for Pardons and the Commutation of Sentences.
I have a significant background in politics at the national and state level in both elected and appointed capacities. In addition to running for Congress in 2002, I served as the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia and held almost every leadership position in the state related to the party. I managed a number of local and statewide campaigns and am familiar with all aspects of political party operations, policy positions, candidate recruiting, fund raising, public and media relations, speech writing, dealing with the media, campaign finance and election law.
October 15, 2019-April 1, 2021 HR and Compliance Director Atlanta, Georgia
The Walters Group
BW Auto Ventures
Reason for Leaving: The position was eliminated. The company recently downsized and sold off several dealerships so there was no longer a need for full time HR and Compliance Director.
Job Description: I was the HR and Compliance Director for the Walters Group. The firm owned several car dealerships, commercial property and real estate holdings across the country. I was responsible for the developing all HR policies and procedures for about 400+, employees. This
Michael R. Berlon
included management of all local HR staff, establishing on-boarding procedures, health care enrollment, employee disciplinary matters as well as conducting internal investigations into issues relating to alleged employee misconduct.
As Compliance Director, I was responsible for F&I audits and compliance reviews at all stores nationwide. I was tasked with making sure we were in full legal compliance with all relevant state and federal laws, regulations and licensing requirements including the ACA, EEOC adherence, sexual harassment, safety training and anything else related to employment with the company.
I was also responsible for managing and overseeing all claims of any kind relating to the Company. This included overseeing outside counsel in active litigation as well as managing all first and third party claims. As part of these duties, I was in charge of arranging insurance renewals and setting up competitive bidding for all lines of insurance including property, casualty, umbrella and excess coverages, health care and workers compensation coverage.
August 15, 2015-September 15, 2019 Law Librarian Pensacola, Florida
Education Liaison FPC Pensacola
Job Description: Law Librarian at the Federal Prison Camp located in Pensacola, Florida. In addition to overseeing all library operations, I was responsible for handling questions from inmates about their legal rights and helping them with inquiries about their case, filing motions, disciplinary issues or other administrative matters.
During that time, I helped prepare and file several successful post-conviction motions seeking sentence relief under a variety of laws, including 28 U.S.C. § 2255 & 28 U.S.C. § 2241, motions relating to the “Second Chance Act”, petitions seeking relief under Amendments by the United States Sentencing Commission, District and Circuit Court appeals as well as Petitions for Pardons and the Commutation of Sentences.
As Education Liaison, I was responsible for setting the class schedule for each quarter, teacher recruitment, syllabus and test preparation, as well as all of the logistics the Adult Continuing Education classes and the Re-Entry Program. I also taught multiple courses including:
Debate, Legal Rights, Legal Research, Credit Repair, Public Speaking, Land that Job, Living on a Budget, Financial Peace, Interviewing Skills, Criminal & Appellate Procedure, Winning Legal Appeals, Corporations and how they work and Beginning, Intermediate & Advanced Paralegal Courses.
Michael R. Berlon
January, 2011-August, 2014 Law Office of Michael R. Berlon Grayson, Georgia
Job Description: I was a sole practitioner. My area of expertise included federal and state civil and criminal litigation. I focused on trial work, wills trusts and estate planning, medical malpractice and personal injury defense, consumer and business bankruptcy filings, consumer law and political consulting. I also acted as general counsel to several small companies and handled HR matters and other issues that arose.
January, 2011-June, 2014 Chairman Atlanta, Georgia
Democratic Party of Georgia
Executive Committee Member
Democratic National Committee
I was elected Chairman of the Democratic Party of Georgia in January, 2011. In that role, I was responsible for the day to day operations of the organization. This included oversight and budget planning, assuring compliance with federal and state election law, fund raising, press relations, campaign strategy, candidate recruiting at the local, state and national level and voter registration initiatives.
I served as a member of the Democratic National Committee and as a “superdelegate” to the 2012 Presidential election campaign.
I was Chairman of the Georgia delegation at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina and split my Chairmanship with Dr. Joseph Lowery, who gave the Inaugural Benediction to the Presidential Inauguration in 2008 so that he could attend.
I was appointed by the President of the United States to one of eighteen Presidential Electors to the Electoral College for the 2012 General Election.
I was selected by “Janes Magazine” as one of the most influential politicians in the State of Georgia for 2012 & 2013.
In 2012, I served as the State wide Campaign Manager for the Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor Carol Porter.
In 2011, I was appointed by the White House as Vice-Chairman of a diplomatic delegation to Taiwan to meet with its President and Legislature regarding U.S. Military aid and support.
From 2010 to 2012, I authored several white papers regarding policy considerations for the National Party, including “The Sustainability and Future of the Voting Rights Act”,
Michael R. Berlon
“Politics of the Middle East: A Primer on the Viability of the Palestinian State” and “Policy Considerations concerning the U.S., China and the Russian Federation”.
I was involved in initiating multiple legal cases involving the restoration of voters to the voting rolls, redistricting and voter access.
December, 2002-January, 2011 Chairman-Gwinnett County Duluth, Georgia
Elected as the Democratic Party Chairman for Gwinnett County. My role as County Party Chair was to build the party infrastructure, recruit candidates and oversee elections and election related issues. I was elected unanimously to for consecutive two year terms before I resigned to take over as the State Party Chairman. In this role, I also served as the 7th District Congressional Chair to the State Party and was appointed to its Executive Committee and acted as a liaison to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee [DCCC].
Chairman-Georgia Association of Democratic County Chairs
While serving as Gwinnett County Chair, I was also unanimously statewide to four consecutive two year terms as the Chairman of the Georgia Association of Democratic Party Chairs. In that role, I oversaw the operation of more than 100 County parties across the State. This included responsibility for oversight of existing county parties, state wide candidate recruiting, coordination with the Boards of Election in each individual county regarding issues such as voter fraud, assuring access to the polls and other election issues.
January, 2002-November, 2002 Candidate for U.S. Congress Duluth, Georgia
Georgia’s 7th Congressional
I was the Democratic Nominee for Congress in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. This was an open house seat that was being contested by two incumbent Republicans. One was Bob Barr, a former House Impeachment Manager during the Clinton Administration. The other was Representative John Linder who authored the book “The Fair Tax”.
September, 2001-December, 2010 Berlon, Ponder & Wiklendt Duluth, Georgia
Managing attorney/Senior Partner at a three member law firm which specialized in insurance defense work, personal injury litigation, bankruptcy, criminal law and political consulting. Responsible for all operations of the firm. I specialized in trial work, motions practice and appeals. I also acted as general counsel for several small companies which did not need a full time lawyer and handled everything related to general business advice to HR administration.
Michael R. Berlon
September, 2008-June, 2011 Assistant Debate Coach Atlanta, Georgia
St. Pius X High School
Served as Assistant Coach for the High School Debate team. I taught basic debate fundamentals, speech, logic, reason and the structure of arguments. During this time, the school won three consecutive State championships and were recognized by the Georgia General Assembly for their success. I was selected by the Georgia Debate Association as the Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010.
February, 1992-September, 2001 Berlon & Timmel Duluth, Georgia
After graduating from law school in 1991, I was named the Managing Attorney for Berlon & Timmel, the in-house counsel legal operation for the Cincinnati Insurance Company. I was responsible for overseeing a 5 lawyer team, all aspects of practice management, attorney recruitment and personnel decisions.
I handled major litigation for the Company in the areas of employment practices liability, civil rights and EEOC litigation and claims, workers compensation cases, major medical malpractice defense work, wrongful death cases and supervised all litigation sent to outside counsel. I was the primary representative for all significant mediation or arbitration cases and conducted internal investigations when required into sexual harassment, discrimination and other claims which arose involving employees.
I worked closely with the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s office with any matters involving the Company or any of its subsidiaries and was primarily responsible in handling all filings and litigation involving rate increases which included working with the Company’s actuaries and underwriting department. I also dealt extensively with the reinsurance carriers concerning loss reserves.
September, 1984-February, 1992 Cincinnati Insurance Company Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Multi-Line Adjuster
Senior multi-line claims adjuster. I handled all types of claims presented under the Companies commercial and personal lines insurance policies, including automobile, homeowner general and commercial liability, umbrella and worker’s compensation claims.
I was lead adjuster in one of our largest agencies in the State of Georgia and had unlimited draft authority. I was also team leader on one of our catastrophe teams and handled all logistics, including assembling teams, oversight on all claims assignments and was responsible for setting loss reserves. Between 1984 and 1991 I was nominated 5 times as “Claims Person of the Year” by the Atlanta Claims Association.
Michael R. Berlon
Juris Doctorate Georgia State University Atlanta, Georgia
December, 1991 College of Law
Bachelor of Arts Georgia State University Atlanta, Georgia
July, 1989 Political Science Major
Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts Thomas Edison State College Trenton, New Jersey
November, 1990 History Major
Bachelor of Arts