I was born and raised in New York City, and attended the Lyçee Français de New York and the Brearley School. Armed with a B.A in Romance Languages from Colorado College, I began my legal career as a paralegal at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. I wanted to be a lawyer, so I attended the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. In 1985, graduating magna cum laude, I practiced intellectual property law and learned the art of transactional work at Brown & Bain in Palo Alto.
I was fascinated by science & technology and negotiated my way into a job with Sun Microsystems. I spent eight years as in-house counsel, becoming a Director in the Labs and involved in a number of cutting-edge projects, including the Java programming environment. I served as a strategic advisor and negotiated several licensing deals with major Japanese customers, but more importantly, knew when to walk away from a deal (Microsoft).
The nineties were booming, a time of spectacular technological advances, but my life was out of balance. In 1996, I sold the house, quit my job, and moved to Taos, New Mexico. I had become enchanted with that region and vowed, at 18, to retire there one day. I was only 38, but my father had died young (54) and I felt I didn’t have the luxury of waiting. Taos offered the space and time to learn meditation, attend retreats, travel to Jerusalem, up the Nile and down the Colorado, write a novel (never published), and recharge my batteries.
Three years later, I returned to Palo Alto to help a friend start Kalepa Networks as its business development officer. The company received venture funding to build peer-to-peer software, but the events of 9/11 derailed our efforts. The VC merged the company, so I moved back to New Mexico.
After a series of transformational experiences –attending a semester of Chinese medicine school and a trip to Tanzania, Africa– I started my own law practice. The Archer Law Group worked with small and mid-sized technology and arts companies to protect and license their creative properties. I served on the boards of the Santa Fe Business Incubator and the Santa Fe library, and gave pro bono talks to community organizations about negotiation and intellectual property licensing. I began writing The Transformative Negotiator, observations on how to bring spiritual energy into legal and business negotiations.
The speaking and volunteering led to an adjunct role at the University of New Mexico’s School of Law teaching IP licensing to third year students. That led to a full time position in the University’s legal department working on intellectual property, technology, and research. I have been at the University for five years, serving in various leadership roles, and recently was chosen by Albuquerque Business First to receive a 2014 Women of Influence award http://news.unm.edu/news/michele-huff-honored-as-a-woman-of-influence-by-albuquerque-business-first/