Michele has worked in the field of Federal Indian Law for more than 27 years.
Beginning in 2004 as a staff attorney in the Escondido Office of California Indian Legal Services, she represented Tribes in the CEQA process, matters of cultural resource protection, ICWA, tribal court development, and code drafting. In August 2009, Michele transitioned to an in-house position with the Pechanga Band of Indians, where she served as Deputy General Counsel for 13 years. She represented a variety of tribal government entities and departments, continuing to hone her expertise in CEQA, NEPA/NHPA, NAGPRA, Tribal Consultation, ICWA (direct Tribal representation and legislative advocacy), legislative drafting and advocacy, Tribal court development and associated grant writing responsibilities, estate planning for Tribal Citizens, and a variety of other issues.
Michele recently accepted appointment as the Tribal Judge for the Pala Band of Mission Indians Tribal Court, and also serves as a part time lecturer at San Diego State University. Michele graduated from UCLA School of Law in 2003, and received a master’s degree in American Indian Studies in 2004. She received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology, with a Minor in American Studies, from the University of Washington in 1998.