Michelle Ator heads the Medical Malpractice Group. Her practice is focused on representing doctors, hospitals and other medical care providers in malpractice litigation. She also represents pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in products cases. 

Michelle has been recognized by Arkansas Business as one of the 250 Most Influential Arkansans and also in Chambers USA: America's Leading Individuals.  As noted in Chambers, she is a "highly respected medical malpractice defense lawyer... polished and very good in court.”  She was previously named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in the area of medical malpractice defense and has been rated by Super Lawyers as one of the "Top 50 Lawyers in Arkansas" and "Top 50 Women Lawyers of the Mid-South." Martindale-Hubbell has rated Michelle as AV “Preeminent” – the highest rating for ability and ethical standards.

Michelle has also been the recipient of a number of professional awards including the Vincent Foster, Jr. Outstanding Lawyer Award, the Pulaski County Bar Association’s President’s Award, an Ike Scott Fellowship by the Pulaski County Bar Foundation and the Arkansas Bar Foundation Award for Excellence in Legal Writing. 

Michelle is a Past President of the Pulaski County Bar Association and remains actively involved in service to the bar and community. She has served as a Special Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and two terms as appointed member of the Arkansas Supreme Court Committee on Civil Practice. She is a Master of the Bench and Past President of the Henry Woods American Inn of Court.  She has also acted as trial skills faculty at the American Board of Trial Advocates National Trial College. She is currently serving as Chancellor for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Michelle is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an Associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), DRI and Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel. 

Before joining the firm, Michelle served as a Division Chief in the Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office where she primarily tried rape, child abuse, domestic abuse and homicide cases. 

She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado where she was a President’s Leadership Class Scholar, and Juris Doctor with Honors from the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law where she worked as an Associate Editor on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Journal. 

Michelle is licensed to practice in Arkansas state courts, federal courts in Arkansas, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and before the United States Supreme Court. 


  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law
    • Juris Doctor with Honors, 1995
    • Associate Casenotes Editor, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Journal
    • Phi Delta Phi
  • University of Colorado; B.A., Political Science, 1989
    • President's Leadership Institute Graduate, an academic and scholarship program awarded to CU’s “top 50 freshmen”
    • University Academic Achievement Award; NBA Academic Scholarship Recipient; Regent's Scholar; Golden Key Honor Society; Order of Omega Honor Society; Pi Beta Phi, Vice President

Best Lawyers - Lawyer Logo 2024 copy Chambers - USA 2024

Associations and Memberships

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Associate
  • Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel, Member, Invited Speaker
  • Arkansas Bar Association, Member, Invited Speaker
  • DRI, Member, Invited Speaker
  • Henry Woods American Inn of Court, Past-President, Master of the Bench
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, Member
  • Leadership Greater Little Rock, Class XVI
  • Pulaski County Bar Association, Past President
  • Pulaski County Bar Foundation, Board of Directors, 2004-2008
  • VOCALS (Volunteer Organization for Central Arkansas Legal Services)
  • William R. Overton Inn of Court, Alumni
  • American Bar Association, Sections on Litigation, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice


  • Arkansas
  • Colorado (Inactive)
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas