Michael Cucchissi is a partner in the Newport Beach office, focusing on real estate development and real estate finance. He has vast experience in representing residential developers and merchant builders in purchase and sale transactions, financing transactions and subdivision of residential projects.

Michael has been blessed with many opportunities to represent some of the most successful real estate developers and builders for over forty years.  These opportunities have enabled him to work for and with some of the brightest and most accomplished people in the real estate business and the legal profession.  Early in Michael's career a mentor advised him to avoid being a typical lawyer who is perceived to be a person with a problem for every solution.  He took that advice to heart and strove to become a lawyer who not only identifies potential problems and answers his client’s questions but also advises his client about what questions need to be asked and answered in order to either avoid problems or formulate and implement solutions to them if they arise.  This approach has proved to be quite effective in handling transactions of varying sizes and levels of complexity.

Prior to joining Newmeyer Dillion in 1994, Michael was a founding partner of Pettis, Tester, Kruse & Krinsky, a partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Samuel P. King of the U.S. District Court of Hawaii.

Michael co-authored the Promissory Notes chapter in the book entitled California Real Property Financing (Volume I) and served as a consultant for the book entitled California Mortgage and Deed of Trust Practice, both of which were published by the California Continuing Education of the Bar.

Awards & Recognition

  • Selected to the Southern California Super Lawyers list, 2006-2018
  • AV® Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review
  • Selected to the Orange County Best Lawyers list for Real Estate Law, 2010-2020

Professional Affiliations

  • Orange County Building Industry Association Department of Real Estate Committee
  • Home Builders Council of the Southern California Building Industry Association
  • Orange County Bar Association

Charitable & Civic Involvement

  • Compass Bible Church
  • Focal Point Ministries
  • Grace to You


  • California, 1978
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit


  • University of Pennsylvania Law School (cum laude, J.D., 1978)
    • Comment Editor of the Law Review
  • Massachusetts Insitute of Technology (B.S., 1975)