Judge David Schuman

Oregon Court of Appeals

Speed skater, English professor, law professor, college administrator, deputy attorney general, judge and avid recreational bicyclist. These are just some of the words that describe Hon. David Schuman, Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Judge Schuman was born and raised in the Chicago area. As a 17-year-old, he was an accomplished speed skater, placing second in the North American finals in the 220 yard competition. Although he harbored some Olympic aspirations, he passed up the opportunity because he was anxious to start school that fall at Stanford University.

In 1966, Judge Schuman graduated from Stanford with a major in psychology. Inspired at least in part by his father who was a Chicago business lawyer, Judge Schuman started law school later that year at the Hastings School of Law. At Hastings, his first-year professors included William Prosser in torts, August Farnsworth for contracts and Richard Powell on property. Despite (or because of) the opportunity to learn from such legal luminaries through their rigorously Socratic method, Judge Schuman decided the law was not for him and quit after six weeks.

That same fall, Judge Schuman enrolled at San Francisco State University, where he earned a master's degree in English. While in graduate school, he married and then taught English for two years at Santa Clara University. Deciding to pursue a Ph.D., he returned to his roots and attended the University of Chicago.

With a doctorate in hand, Judge Schuman and his wife decided they preferred the West Coast. The couple accepted a position in a job-share arrangement to teach literature at the Deep Springs College in California. The college is located on an alfalfa and cattle ranch near the Nevada border. It had 25 students in a two-year program who worked 20 hours per week on the ranch. Judge Schuman and his wife decided to leave the bucolic setting when their children attained school age so that they would not have to travel 41 miles to school each day.

Although Judge Schuman has no regrets about studying and teaching literature, the family's move in 1981 prompted him to "recycle" himself and to try law school a second time. He attended the University of Oregon School of Law and found the experience more inviting than his initial law school exposure.

After graduating from U of O, Judge Schuman clerked for Justice Hans Linde and then worked at the Department of Justice for two years handling appellate cases. He returned to academia, this time as a law professor at U of O, and served as the associate dean of academic affairs for two years. He taught classes on constitutional law, criminal procedure, and legislative and administrative processes.

In 1997, Judge Schuman joined Attorney General Hardy Myers as deputy attorney general, a post he held through 2000, when he was appointed to the Court of Appeals.

Judge Schuman, the former English professor, finds Scott Turow's novels very well written. As for another lawyer-novelist, he says he has picked up a John Grisham volume a time or two at an airport, but only when stuck without advance sheets to read.

Judge Schuman retired from running after his second Portland marathon, and now bicycles to keep fit.

Originally authored by Jeff Chicoine and printed in the October 2005 Multnomah Lawyer
Updated for the Internet in 2007