Moonlight Law is located at 545 Second Street in Encinitas. It is owned by sole practitioner, Mike McColloch who has over thirty years experience in civil law and business law. His expertise ranges from employee discrimination and wrongful termination, business law, entity formation, contract law, to wine law and wine law distribution. He is a friendly attorney with a serious approach to matters that involve the law and representation of his clients. His reputation is impeccable and experience of over thirty years makes him a great choice when choosing a legal expert.
Local Spotlight: Moonlight Law
Mike McColloch is an Encinitas-based attorney who has been practicing law for 39 years. A proven trial attorney, Mike focuses his practice in business law, general civil litigation matters, and hospitality law. He provides both transactional and litigation services, with a trial-level and appellate practice before the federal and state courts. He has earned the highest "AV Preeminent" rating by Martindale Hubbell.
Mike represents a range of local, national, and international clients like Fujifilm, Konica Minolta, Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, Radisson Hotels and Osiris Shoes. He also specializes in wine law, representing numerous vineyards, wineries, distributors, retailers, hotels and restaurants, including local Encinitas restaurant, Trattoria I Trulli.
For much of his career, Mike worked as a senior partner and litigator in a 400-attorney national firm in Los Angeles focusing on cases involving labor and employment; professional liability; real property and construction; securities litigation; contracts; trademark and copyright. Eventually, Mike decided to return to his roots in San Diego as a solo practitioner in order to deliver legal services in a more personalized and cost-effective manner.
In contrast to the "big firm" atmosphere, where there are teams of junior attorneys and paralegals working on every file, Mike handles every file personally. If you call the office, you will get Mike on the phone. When you send a letter or email, he will respond immediately. Mike develops relationships with his clients. He takes a vested interest in bringing them the best possible outcome.
With an expertise in wine law, Mike successfully negotiates his clients through the challenging legal landscape associated with the manufacture and sale of wine. This includes the acquisitions of vineyards and wineries; complying with zoning laws; registering the business with the federal Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB); acquiring or transferring a license from California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC); complying with wine bottling laws; and resolving disputes in courts or before government agencies.
Mike was recently recognized as a "Top Lawyer" by San Diego Magazine for 2013 and 2014, and as a "Top Lawyer in Southern California" for 2013 and 2014 by the Legal Network.
Mike currently lectures in wine law in connection with MiraCosta College's Wine Certification Program, and is a member of the Mira Costa’s Horticultural Department Advisory Committee under which the Wine Certification Program operates. Previously he taught "Trial Advocacy" and "Legal Writing and Research" as an adjunct professor for Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
On a personal note, Mike has been married for 36 years, with three children and three grandchildren. He enjoys golf, skiing and all water sports. He is an active member of the National Board and San Diego Regional Council of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, a Jesuit-based volunteer organization serving the materially poor.
Why did you decide to leave the "big firm" atmosphere and open a solo practice?
In a big firm, a lot of people get thrown onto a case, which increases the cost to the client. I've found my clients want me, personally, to work on their matters.
They don't want a host of lawyers and paralegals assigned to the matter, they want one person they can call who is accountable. When they call they say, "Mike, I have this problem. Will you handle it for me?" There's this direct relationship between the lawyer and the client. A personal relationship that's meaningful. It gives me a real sense of helping somebody. I get the most satisfaction out of helping people. I’m also very happy getting out of a downtown, multi-story, concrete office building to work looking out over the ocean at Moonlight Beach.
What's your favorite thing to do in Encinitas?
I’ll give you two: The beach and the restaurants. There are so many good places to eat and drink, and I love Encinitas for that. There are just so many cool, interesting places to go, all within walking distance of my office.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Encinitas?
This one is a client, but I really like Trattoria I Trulli. I’ve been a regular customer for 14 years. I like Third Corner, too. The food quite good and the wine list is filled with interesting selections. I'm a member of their wine club and they offer some particularly good deals on wines. I’m a fan of Honey's, too.
What are your favorite dishes on those menus?
I love pasta. Daniela Caniglia (co-owner of Trattoria I Trulli) recently put together a goat ragout on pasta, and you know, you don't get goat very often. It was so good. Just a very authentic Tuscan dish. The pasta specialties there are awesome.
Third Corner has a Sunday night prix fixe menu. For $19, you get three courses and you can do a wine pairing for another $10. They have some really good dishes. Honey's has an ahi tuna salad that's awesome. Their fish tacos are good, too.
How did you decide to start practicing wine law?
I came to the legal practice of wine first as a consumer. I just loved wine. I liked the social aspect of wine, the taste of wine, I liked wine with meals, but I didn't know much about wine. I knew the basics. The different varietals. But I didn't know much about the making of wine or the subtleties of wine. So I started taking some classes in wine appreciation and I began to understand more about the grapes. About terroir, and how the location and growing conditions can impact the quality of the wine, or the character of the wine. I took a class in winemaking. So I had this love of wine and I thought I'd try to mix it together with my legal practice, and that led to a legal practice of wine.
What are some of your favorite wines?
That’s a hard one. I'm a fan of big, bold reds. Certainly they can come from California. There are so many great cabernets from Napa, Alexander Valley in Sonoma, and the Paso Robles area. I also like Zinfandel and Petit Sirah. I like the Super Tuscan wines of Italy. And of course, the Bordeauxs of France.
Locally, I enjoy many good wines of all types being made in San Diego County, which now has more than 100 bonded wineries. I am a member of the San Diego County Vintners Association, the trade group for San Diego wineries. I also enjoy many of the wines being made in Guadalupe Valley in Mexico, only a little more than an hour away.