PL Profiles | Jan 16, 2024

PL Profile: Fresh Faces – Michael Held

Michael Held professional image with PL logo in background and PL Profile logo in top corner
Featuring: Michael W. Held

Deep roots sprout abundant hometown pride

Michael Held’s journey that landed him as an integral member of the Immigration Practice Team at Phillips Lytle weaves through family entrepreneurship, immigration and criminal law, while maintaining a commitment to the Buffalo community and his family and friends.

Michael’s roots in entrepreneurship trace back to his grandfather, the visionary mind behind the original Club Protector—an invention that shields your golf clubs and bag from rain while cruising the course on a golf cart. Having worked for his family’s business before embarking on his legal career, Michael carries on a legacy of innovation and creativity that has defined his family’s endeavors in Buffalo.

Michael initially sought a career in medicine beginning at Canisius College (now Canisius University). After observing a homicide trial in Erie County Court, coupled with a change of heart, his path was redirected from the pre-medical undergraduate track at Canisius to a journey in law. Michael navigated a diverse range of fields throughout law school, including family and matrimonial law, criminal law, and immigration law, before embarking on his career as an immigration attorney at a boutique firm in Buffalo. Motivated by the original inspiration that led him to law, Michael secured a position as an Assistant District Attorney at the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, an opportunity that felt like déjà vu. Eventually, his intrinsic passion in business and inherent entrepreneurial roots drew him back to the field of immigration law.

As so many young hockey players in Buffalo do, Michael had dreams of a career in the NHL at an early age. While he’s left his hopes of an NHL career behind, despite commenting that he’s still a “free agent,” seeing the Sabres bring the Stanley Cup to Buffalo looms large on his bucket list (as does a Bills Super Bowl victory). Michael still plays hockey recreationally and is a sought-after, golf scramble team member—something that probably came naturally given his family’s business. He credits keeping a healthy work-life balance for maintaining his focus. Michael attributes some of his success to daily routines, a practice honed well after law school that has become a cornerstone of his professional life.

Michael considers himself lucky to remain close to home and for the unwavering support from his parents and two younger brothers as his career has taken flight. Those family bonds are especially important to him as he reflects on the road to Phillips Lytle.

“I cannot thank my family enough for their endless support and encouragement throughout undergrad, law school, and my early career.”