Michael F. Rafferty


6060 Primacy Parkway
Memphis, Tennessee 38119
mrafferty [at] harrisshelton [dot] com

In more than 30 years of practice, I have appeared in courts at every level, including the U.S. Supreme Court and all of courts in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, trying jury cases in small towns and large cities and successfully arguing appeals in the highest courts of these states and the federal appellate courts.

I focus my practice on commercial litigation, including

  • Business disputes (breach of contract claims, business torts, insurance coverage disputes for both insurers and insureds)
  • Employment matters (non-compete agreements, NDA’s, protection of trade secrets, discrimination and whistleblower claims)
  • Intellectual property disputes (copyright, trademark, and patent infringement claims).

My experience includes representing clients in

  • Complex, confidential arrangements in regulated businesses such as generic/off-patent manufacturing and in claims of securities fraud
  • Insurance coverage matters, successfully prosecuting appeals to compel insurance coverage in the Tennessee Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals
  • Environmental cost-recovery and contribution actions
  • Product liability and personal injury claims
  • Medical malpractice claims
  • Professional licensing and disciplinary proceedings
  • Coverage disputes with insurers and third-party payers, including Medicare. 

This varied experience has taught me the following lessons

  • Be confident, not arrogant. Listen more, especially to clients; it’s their case, not mine. Clients always know their business better than I ever will. Clients win cases, not lawyers.
  • Be honest with everyone. Tell the truth to clients, judges and juries, opposing counsel, partners, support personnel, and especially to yourself. It’s a matter of trust and respect.
  • Genuine humility is better than false modesty. Give credit when due; accept credit when earned. It’s better to admit a mistake than defend an excuse.
  • Clients come to lawyers for solutions. They don’t want to be told the problem; they know that already.
  • Small things matter. Credibility is earned from performance; it is built on delivery, integrity, and timely responses.
  • Know history – and your place in it. Most cases contain a lesson from the classics. Identifying the true story can help direct the desired result.

Lawyers are reflections of their clients, especially their values. I welcome the opportunity to assist you in identifying and implementing a solution for you. 

Representative Cases

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Supreme Courts of Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth, Fifth, and Eighth Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts for the Western District of Tennessee, Eastern and
  • Western Districts of Arkansas, Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi, Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri, Southern District of Texas


  • Rhodes College (B.A.)
  • Tulane University (J.D.)


  • Law Clerk, Hon. W. Frank Crawford, Tennessee Court of Appeals

Professional Organizations

  • Memphis Bar Association, Member
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Member
  • Arkansas Bar Association, Member
  • State Bar of Mississippi, Member
  • AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Rating