Judge Michael McShane

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Michael McShane

Michael McShane remembers, as a five-year-old, going with his family down to the local homeless shelter and serving holiday meals. Volunteer social work was a regular activity for his family, and he learned its importance early in life.

He was born in Pittsburgh, but spent his younger years through high school in Kennewick, Washington, where his father had moved the family to take a position with Westinghouse. After graduating from high school, he attended Gonzaga University, and in 1983 he graduated, summa cum laude, with a degree in English literature.

After college, his desire to contribute in the social areas lead him to join the Jesuit Volunteer Corp, a community service organization, much like an inner city Peace Corps. While there he worked in the Portland area as a corrections' counselor. That was his first taste of the law.

Feeling he could do more with a better education, after two years with the Jesuit Volunteers, he entered Lewis & Clark School of Law and graduated with honors in 1988.

Although he worked for the Clark County DA's office during law school, for a man who enjoys helping those in need, the low pay and heavy caseload of the Public Defenders office seemed like a perfect fit. Within months of his hire, he was trying major felonies. Michael says he would like to think it was his trial skills that earned him that responsibility in such a short time, but he knows it had to do with office turnover. He willingly accepted the responsibility and became a fast learner. Nine years later, he had tried a great number of felony cases and earned the responsibility of supervising both misdemeanor and then felony attorneys.

In 1997, Judge McShane accepted the position of a full-time Circuit Court Judge Pro Tem. He rotated among the high volume dockets of criminal arraignments, small claims, FED and traffic court. In March of 2001, Michael was appointed to the Circuit Court by then Governor John Kitzhaber.

Michael hears a combination of criminal and civil matters. He is one of four judges assigned to hear death penalty cases in Multnomah County . He is a member of the civil motions panel and the Judicial Conference Criminal Law Committee. He was recently appointed by Governor Kulongoski to sit as the Judicial Department representative on the Governor's Prisoner Re-entry Council.

In the community, Michael attempts to play rugby, bike and travel. He sits on the board of St. Andrew Nativity School, an inner city middle school for disadvantaged youth. He is a member of the adjunct faculty at Lewis & Clark Lw School . Michael's courtroom is a favorite for school children visiting with the Classroom Law Project and on Fridays he teaches a courtroom course for a local alternative school. Michael is a favorite CLE speaker on trial practice issues such as cross examination and voir dire.

Originally authored by Mike Bloom and printed in the March 2001 Multnomah Lawyer
Updated for the Internet in 2012