Michelle Gough Photo

Michelle R. Gough

  • Profile
  • Community Involvement
  • Additional Work
  • Memberships

Prior to joining HRM, Michelle’s career included work as a general practice attorney in a private firm handling family law, small business, and education law matters. She further acquired a decade of executive-level experience serving as the General Counsel to multiple Indiana state education agencies followed by her responsibilities as Chief Legal Officer for a complex, multi-national nonprofit. Michelle is also an entrepreneur, as she co-founded an assessment startup, which provided her a new perspective of the legal needs for small businesses and startups.

Michelle has been an invited speaker at dozens of state and national conferences on topics ranging from cybersecurity best practices to civil rights. She has a number of peer-reviewed publications, and her work has been cited in some of the nation’s top journals, including the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, the New York University Journal of Law & Social Change, the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, and Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In everything she does, Michelle combines compassion, persistence, and diligence with pragmaticism. Michelle’s broad experience allows her to contribute across a variety of practice areas at HRM, including advising clients on business and corporate matters, education law, and family law.


Michelle earned an LL.M. from Georgetown University in International Business and Economic Law, a Ph.D. in Education Policy from Indiana University Bloomington, and a J.D from Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law, from which she graduated Order of the Barristers.

She earned her B.A. in English Literature from DePauw University.

Areas of Practice

Tax-exempt and for-profit businesses

In her diversified practice, she counsels large and small companies, including for-profit and nonprofit entities, in all facets of their business and legal needs. Serving as an outside general counsel, she advises on compliance and ethics, data security and privacy, intellectual property, and related transactional matters, with special emphasis on software and technology licensing, software development, collection and use of data, and machine learning product development and licensing.

In this capacity, Michelle is passionate about providing each business client the attentive, white-glove treatment experience, whether it is updating service contracts, reviewing boilerplate NDAs and MSAs sent by a provider or vendor, or providing strategic legal support through a business event or shift that may have complex legal considerations and needs.

Michelle thrives on helping companies avoid unnecessary risk to their business from boilerplate agreements which may not meet their needs by creating unrealized risks and business continuity challenges.

Family Law and School Law

Michelle has extensive experience in all aspects of education law, which include counseling parents, guardians, and adult students in all facets of school law, covering public, private, and higher education. Rounding out Michelle’s experience, she has a solid background in family law, including divorce and separation matters, custody actions, grandparents’ rights, spousal maintenance establishment and modification, child support establishment and modification, parenting time, and termination of parental rights proceedings.

Business and Corporate

  • Providers of SaaS Platforms and those who contract for SaaS services
  • Startups, Small Business, and nonprofit services
  • Corporate Compliance and Ethics
  • Service Agreements
  • Employment Contracts
  • Noncompetes – contract language, enforcing, and navigating

Family Law

  • Divorce and Legal Separation
  • Child Custody, Support, and Visitation
  • Contempt
  • Modifications
  • Grandparent Visitation
  • Third-Party Custody
  • Relocation
  • Guardianship
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Protective Orders
Michelle is a dedicated mother of two, baker, book lover, and as an avid runner, she is a multiple-time qualifier for the Boston Marathon. She lives on a mini-farm with her life partner, Dr. John Fry, daughter, and son who both attend St. Richard’s Episcopal School, and many animal family members, including her beloved flock of hens who lay beautiful eggs of all colors.
Community Involvement

Michelle was appointed to serve as a Commissioner for the Indiana Civil Rights Commission from 2014-2016, and she was appointed in 2014, by the Mayor of Indianapolis and Indiana Black Expo, as the co-chair to the education subcommittee for the Your Life Matters Task Force, a bipartisan task force commissioned to write a research-based report and develop an action plan to improve outcomes for Black males ages 4 through 24.


Michelle has published over two dozen works in various journals and media. Here are a few examples:

Law Journal Articles

Gough, M. Parenting and Pregnant Students: An Evaluation of the Implementation of the “Other” Title IX. 17 Mich. Journal of Gender & Law 211 (2011).

Gough, M. § 1983 Wrongful Death and Survival Actions in the Seventh Circuit: An Indiana Litigant’s Guide to Claims After Russ v. Watts. 86 Indiana Law Journal Supplement 7 (2011).

Commissioned Reports

Bell et al. (2014) Your Life Matters Task Force Report to Indianapolis Mayor Ballard. Released by Indianapolis Mayor Ballard. Available at http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Mayor/Documents/2014/2014%20Your%20Life%20Matters%20Taskforce%20Report.pdf

Magazine Columns

Eckes, S. et al (2015). Pregnant and Parenting Students in Principle Leadership. Vol. 16. Reston,

VA: National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Book Chapters

Gough, M. (2012). Point: Should Teachers have Greater Rights when they are Subject to the Termination of Their Employment? In Debating Issues in American Education: School Law. C. Russo (Ed.). CA: SAGE.

Gough, M. (2012). Point: Are School Officials too Quick to Seclude or Restrain Students When Disciplining Students With Disabilities? In Debating Issues in American Education: School Discipline and Safety. C. Russo (Ed.). CA: SAGE.

Select Speaking Engagements

Michelle has been an invited speaker at dozens of events and conferences and training sessions on topics related to her practice areas.

Here are a few examples:

Gough, M. & Eliason, E. (2019, Jan.). Cybersecurity and Legal - A Critical Combination. Cybersecurity Technology Conference and Policy Summit, Indiana State Chamber of Commerce.

Gough, M. & Roach, C. (2017, Nov). Same Benefits? Parsing ESSA to Understanding the Legal Obligations to Provide Appropriate Accommodations.

Invited paper presenter as part of the 62nd annual Education Law Association Annual Conference. San Diego, California.

Gough, M. & Eliason, E. (2017, Oct.) Education Technology Vendors and Data Security. Invited speaker as part of the 2017 Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR) Cybersecurity Summit. Bloomington, Indiana.

Gough McKeown, M. & Richardson, E. (2015, May). Civil Rights and Education: Student-Based Classifications, Harassment, and Equity.

Continuing Legal Education seminar by Indiana Civil Rights Commission. Terre Haute, Indiana.

Gough McKeown, M. (2013, July). Overrepresentation of Vulnerable Populations in Special Education: Strategies and Suggestions. Invited conference speaker as part of Indiana Black Expo Education Conference Presented by Cummins Inc. and the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. Indianapolis, Indiana.

Gough McKeown, M. & Richardson E (2013, Nov). Legal Literacy for Nonpublic Schools. Invited Roundtable presenter as part of the 59th annual Education Law Association Annual Conference. Westminster, Colorado.

Brink, S. & Gough, M (2011, April). Restraint & Seclusion. Invited speaker as part of “Super Saturday 2011: Special Education” presented bySpecial Services, Johnson County Schools & IN-Source. Greenwood, Indiana.


J.D., Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Order of the Barristers

Ph.D., Education Policy, Indiana University - Bloomington

LL.M., International Business and Economic Law, Georgetown University

B.A. English Literature, DePauw University


Indiana (2011)

Kentucky (2007)

Qualities that Break the Stereotype

  • Personal, white-glove treatment for each client because we see you as more than just your case.
  • Working late nights and weekends, when necessary, in order to help you obtain the favorable case outcome you desire.
  • Passionate advocacy from experienced lawyers who are included on the prestigious list of Super Lawyers®.
  • Results-driven strategies that are personalized to your unique situation.

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