Amburgey Award Recipient Judge McShane
PILP will honor Michael McShane, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Oregon, with the Larry K. Amburgey Commitment to Public Interest Law Award at the PILP Auction. The Amburgey Award was established in 2011 to recognize Lewis & Clark Law School graduates who demonstrate long-term and loyal commitment to the public interest law program at the law school.
Judge Michael McShane grew up in the town of Kennewick, in the southeast corner of Washington, where his father worked on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation but made sure his family was sufficiently “up-wind” from the reactors. He attended college at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he obtained his English Literature degree, magna cum laude.
In 1983, Judge McShane moved to Portland, Oregon, to work with the homeless through a placement with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. He has remained committed to serving the less fortunate ever since. After graduating from the Lewis & Clark Law School, Judge McShane worked for the Metropolitan Public Defender in Portland for nearly a decade before being appointed to the state bench in 1997, where he presided over a variety of jury and bench trials in Oregon’s largest Circuit Court. His experience in complex civil litigation includes class actions, medical negligence, contracts, and general tort cases. He has been on the Death Penalty Panel since 2003 and presided over 25 capital homicide cases during his state court tenure.
In 2004, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski named Judge McShane to the Governor’s Re-Entry Council, which strives to improve the success rates of parolees returning to society after their incarceration by increasing the availability of counseling, mentoring, job training, and drug treatment services in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. In 2012, he received the Oregon State Bar President’s Public Service Award for his service to the community.
On and off the bench, Judge McShane is especially committed to helping at-risk youth. He spent six years on the board of St. Andrew Nativity School, a tuition-free middle school designed to prepare children living in poverty for a college preparatory education. As a state judge, Judge McShane brought kids from alternative schools into his courtroom on a weekly basis to expose them to the justice system. He has partnered with several other schools and with Job Corps to provide internship opportunities and presided over the Portland Classroom Law Project's Summer Law Camp for inner city kids. In his own life, Judge McShane is an adoptive and foster parent.
Judge McShane also enjoys teaching. He taught evidence at Oregon’s New Judge’s College and is a frequent lecturer at bar association conferences, CLE seminars, and law school classes. His fields of expertise include evidence, search & seizure, capital litigation, and trial practice. Judge McShane was an adjunct law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, where he taught Trial Advocacy and the Criminal Practice Seminar. He was also involved in the law school’s mentoring program and was named “Mentor of the Year” in 2009. Today, Judge McShane continues to lecture and mentor students from the University of Oregon School of Law and, in 2015, was selected by the graduating class to give their commencement address.
Judge McShane was nominated to the federal court by President Obama in September 2012 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 20, 2013. Judge McShane serves as a U.S. District Court Judge in Eugene, Oregon, where he lives with his partner and his teenage nephew.
Public Interest Law Project at Lewis & Clark Law School
Phone: (503) 768-6782