Michael McGovern grew up in a towing family. He started driving a tow truck as a teenager for his family’s business in Knoxville, Tennessee. He worked nights, weekends, and summers at Cedar Bluff Towing while attending the University of Tennessee Business School, from where he graduated with honors, and later the UT College of Law.
Upon admission to the bar, mainly because of his personal background and experience, McGovern’s law practice focused on the many legal issues facing the towing industry. In 1982, he accepted the position of executive director and general counsel to the Towing and Recovery Association of America, serving in that position for 12 years. During his tenure at TRAA, he was instrumental in many legislative and regulatory changes favorable for the towing industry, including an exemption from DOT hours of service rules, and improved procedures for the handling of junk and abandoned vehicles. He also helped to organize an insurance purchasing group for the towing industry and was a founding member of Towing Operators Working to Eliminate Drunk Driving (TOWED). For his many efforts during his tenure with TRAA, in 1994 he was awarded TRAA’s coveted Distinguished Service Award.
Since his return to private practice in 1993, he has continued to be an outspoken legal advocate for the rights of towing companies throughout the nation. In the past 20 years, Michael has represented hundreds of towing companies in cases involving government regulations, discrimination or other unfair treatment in towing rotation, police towing contracts, storage lien disputes, and a wide variety of other towing matters.
He is an accomplished trial attorney with a proven record in civil and criminal cases. He is a member of the bar of numerous federal trial courts, nine federal appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. In fact, Michael has been to the United States Supreme Court twice on towing cases: He was co-counsel for O’Hare Truck Service case in 1997 when the Court held that a towing company cannot be removed from a police rotation list based on his election campaign activities, and he represented TRAA in the 2002 Ours Garage case in which the Supreme Court clarified the scope of tow truck deregulation.
Michael’s popular column “Legaleze,” focusing on important legal issues in the towing industry, appears monthly in Tow Times magazine. For two years in a row, in 2001 and 2002, he was voted “Best Read Columnist” by the readers of that magazine.
In May 2007 Michael was honored with Ford Truck’s Lifetime Leader award for his 30 years of legal work in the towing industry.
Last year, Michael authored the first-of-its kind book “Towing and the Law,” addressing a wide range of legal issues facing the towing industry. The book has been enthusiastically received by the both the towing industry and the legal profession.