Michael L. Collins is a member of the firm’s Government Affairs and State and Local Government Practice Groups. Mike represents private and public sector clients in legislative and regulatory affairs, election law, redevelopment and land use, contracting, compliance, and general governance. Mike has litigated cases involving the Local Public Contracts Law, Open Public Meetings Act, and Open Public Records Act, and has successfully tried cases to verdict in Tort Claims Act suits.
Mike has been appointed Holmdel Township Attorney since January 2017, serving as chief legal officer to the municipality. His representation follows a unique history with the Township, as he was previously elected to the Holmdel Township Board of Education at age 18, serving a term during his undergraduate and law school studies. More recently, Mike supported to support public education as a member of the New Jersey School Ethics Commission from 2018 to 2020, administering the state’s ethics laws for public school and charter school board members.
Along with his law practice, Mike is an Adjunct Professor of Law at his alma mater, Seton Hall University School of Law. Mike currently teaches Appellate Advocacy to second-year law students, educating them on appellate briefing and oral argument. Mike also serves as a member of the law school’s Alumni Council.
Prior to joining Archer, Mike served as Assistant Counsel to Governor Chris Christie. As a member of the Governor’s Authorities Unit, Mike represented the Governor before New Jersey’s independent state and bi-state authorities, providing legal and policy advice on actions subject to the Governor’s veto power. His work included implementing the Governor’s 2% cap on budget increases through the oversight of authority operating budgets, some in excess of $100 million. Mike also negotiated capital budgets, strategic plans, regulations, and employment terms to ensure consistency with the Governor’s priorities across broad sectors, including transportation, economic development, gaming, and infrastructure.
Before serving in Trenton, Mike clerked in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division for the Hon. Carmen Messano, P.J.A.D., who serves as Presiding Judge for Administration, the highest-ranking judge of New Jersey’s intermediate court.
- Provided legal advice to clients on compliance with executive orders and enacting local legislation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Successfully argued an Appellate Division case obtaining reversal of a trial court’s improper award of counsel fees in a published decision (455 N.J. Super. 357).
- Successfully terminated a complex long-term commercial lease on a for-cause basis and obtained dismissal of a lawsuit trying to reinstate the lease.
- Successfully represented state licensee and negotiated a settlement to an Office of Administrative Law contested case without any formal disciplinary action taken by the agency.
- Successfully reviewed a liquor licensee’s request for an expanded premises, collaborated with municipal officials and the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control, and drafted a municipal ordinance harmonizing the licensee’s request and the municipality’s public safety concerns.
- Successfully represented electoral candidate through trial in challenge to election nominating petition.
Professional and Community Involvement
- Seton Hall Law School Alumni Council, 2016 to Present
- New Jersey State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, 2012 to Present
- New Jersey School Ethics Commission, 2018 to 2020
- New Jersey Law Journal, Young Lawyers Advisory Board, 2014 to 2020