Michele Riley is one of the nation’s most prominent intellectual property damages experts. She is a key figure in Stout’s Dispute Consulting group and is the leader of the firm’s Washington, DC, office. She is also a Golden Shellback (more on that below).
Last year, Michele moved into a part-time Senior Advisor role at Stout as she pursued public office. Now back at Stout full-time as a Managing Director, she picks up where she left off, building on her expertise and testimony experience in many jurisdictions nationwide. “There are always opportunities for employees to take on additional leadership roles at Stout, at all levels of the firm,” she says. “I’m approaching my five-year anniversary with Stout, and I feel very fortunate to have found such a wonderful professional home here.”
Michele was first recruited to Stout several years ago by now-fellow Managing Director, John Bone. “John has an excellent reputation as an expert in intellectual property damages and valuation, so I was interested to learn more from him about the firm and about why he had joined Stout.” With each person she met, Michele became even more impressed by the firm’s commitment to its core values and by the entrepreneurial spirit, enthusiasm, and accountability every person brought to their work. “For me, it’s very rewarding that we’re all on the same page here at Stout,” she says. “We’re driving toward the same growth and employee-development goal, and I feel very strongly that we all like reaching for that goal together.”
What drives Michele in her daily work is Stout’s collective efforts to deliver the gold standard of client service. “In my practice, this means providing expert opinions that are well-supported, methodologically sound, and simplified enough to be thoroughly understood by the trier of fact, whether it be a judge or jury.” Michele points out that each person at Stout knows what “doing a good job” looks like, and that contributes to a commonality of excellence across the firm.
When she is not in the office or delivering expert testimony at trial, Michele enjoys socializing and entertaining, and making and/or listening to music of any kind, “particularly if the music involves our cello-playing son or oboe-playing daughter.” She has been known to share the microphone with Stout CEO Craige Stout when karaoke is available at company events and also regularly shows her competitive spirit, whether it involves trivia, bowling, poker, or bartending. “I’m happy playing pretty much any kind of game or any sport, and I’m usually training for some kind of race,” she says. “But mostly I love to laugh, and my husband Jack is easily the funniest person I know, so I consider myself lucky to have found him.”
And how did she obtain the title of Golden Shellback? “On working ships, there is a long tradition of celebrating ‘line crossings’ of the equator, Arctic Circle, Antarctic Circle, and the like. Many years ago, I worked on an oceanographic research ship that crossed the equator at the International Date Line, which makes you a Golden Shellback if you can endure the days and days of ritual hazing that accompany the induction process. To me, it was like being in a food fight while being sprayed by a fire hose except you have no food, no hose, and you are blindfolded.”