As head of the Global Services group, Mike Zeller provides his corporate transactional clients the accessibility, responsiveness, knowledge, and understanding of in-house counsel, coupled with the deep, full spectrum of the firm’s legal resources and cost- efficiencies.


Mike gives his regional, national and international clients passionate, straightforward counsel in general corporate representation, mergers and acquisitions, franchising, inbound and outbound international trade. He represents companies both as franchisors and franchisees. A significant portion of Mike's practice involves the implementation of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and transactions involving ESOP companies. In this regard, Mike represents both corporations and institutional trustees.  

He focuses on instilling confidence in his clients by:

  • Handling their requests with all possible attention and high professionalism.
  • Understanding their goals fully.
  • Using realistic and timely communication.
  • Providing options that best accomplish their desired outcomes.

From 1997 to 2007, Mike served as local counsel to CIT Small Business Lending Corporation. He also represents clients as borrowers in connection with major corporate acquisitions, reorganizations, plant expansions and increased working-capital needs.

Fluent in German and formerly associated with DROSTE, a prominent Hamburg, Germany, law firm, he assists foreign clients, with a large focus on German and German-speaking companies, in establishing business relations or subsidiaries in the United States. Mike advises United States-based clients on the development of trading opportunities abroad, joint venture agreements, distributor and agency agreements, sales representative agreements, and licensing agreements.

Mike’s client services include:

  • Asset acquisitions and divestitures
  • Capitalization transactions
  • Corporate governance
  • Employee stock ownership plans
  • Entity formation/governance
  • Franchising 
  • General corporate counsel
  • International business/trade
  • Joint ventures and strategic alliances
  • Leveraged buyouts
  • Licensing, distribution and general contract matters
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Preferred and common stock placements
  • Private equity, venture capital
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Stock agreements
  • Stock option plans and restricted stock agreements



  • North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2022-2023
  • Listed in International WHO's WHO of Professionals 2011-2012
  • Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in the Southeast, and Who’s Who in America, 2003-2008
  • AV peer review rated in Martindale-Hubbell legal directory
  • Fluent in German (Bio), versed in Spanish
  • Seminar lecturer on corporate, ESOP and international law issues
  • 5.0 Client Rating
  • Pro Bono general counsel to Charlotte Mothers of Multiples
  • Pro Bono general counsel to Charlotte Community School for Girls 2010-2011
  • INLIVIAN, pro bono Informal Hearing Officer 2012- present
  • Active volunteer attorney, representing children in contested custody cases and women seeking domestic-violence protective orders
  • Volunteer Attorney of the Year, Mecklenburg County Bar Volunteer Lawyers Program in 1998 and 2003 for exemplary service to Council for Children’s Rights
  • Guardian ad litem
  • Director, Council for Children's Rights, 2004-2007
  • Director & Secretary, The German Language and Culture Foundation, 2011- present
  • Contact Partner, Globalaw
  • Contributing author, Structuring International M&A Deals: Leading Lawyers on Managing Mergers & Acquisitions in a Global Environment, Aspatore Books' Inside the Mind series
  • Board Member, ASPIRE Community Capital


Blogs and Resources




  • American Bar Association
  • ESOP Association, Member of Legislative and Regulatory Advisory Committee
  • Gewerblicher Rechtschutz und Urheberrecht Verband
  • Mecklenburg County Bar
  • National Center for Employee Ownership
  • North Carolina Bar Association



  • Mike Zeller moderates panel at 2022 St. Louis Dealmakers Conference: Building Capital Stacks For Growth, March 2022 
  • Mike Zeller Speaks at 2021 St. Louis Dealmakers Conference: How Jim Sramek Came To Sell Midwest Equipment Company To His Employees, August 2021
  • Mike Zeller Speaks at 2021 St. Louis Smart Business Dealmakers Conference: The Future of M&A in a Post-COVID World, May 2021 

  • Zeller Speaks on Officer & Director Liability in the U.S., Hamburg, Germany, April 2015
  • Mike Zeller Presented at 2015 AM&AA Winter Conference: “Ins & Outs” of Buying and Selling an ESOP Company
  • Mike Zeller Presented at Carolinas Chapter of the ESOP Association 2015 ESOP Invitational: Selling your ESOP Company - Tales from the Trenches
  • Mike Zeller Presented at 2014 AM&AA Summer Conference: Private Equity and ESOPs, July 2014
  • Gwaltney and Zeller Speak at 2012 NCEO Annual Conference, April 2012
  • Zeller Presented at Event at the Hannover Chamber of Commerce, November 10, 2009


LL.M., University of Hamburg, 1994, magna cum laude

J.D., Temple University, 1992

B.A., Union College, 1989, Modern Languages


  • North Carolina, 1996
  • New York, 1993


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