Michael Stephenson

Episode 012

Michael Stephenson

Firm: Bay Area Bicycle Law

Biography

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Show Notes

In this episode of “Celebrating Justice,” we explore the remarkable journey of trial lawyer Michael Stephenson. Michael shares his unconventional path to becoming a lawyer which didn’t start until his final year of college. Although he had no legal influence growing up and was studying music theory in college, Michael decided to take a pre-law course and discovered his passion for law. His interest and natural talent for law helped him excel in law school and eventually fueled his desire to work in the courtroom.

Michael shares how his experiences in the criminal defense clinic and winning “most outstanding trial advocate” while competing on the mock trial team pivoted his focus from pursing environmental law to becoming a trial lawyer. He recounts impactful cases from his time as a public defender and how connecting with his clients and winning his first case, all while still in law school at the University of Oregon, solidified his commitment to personal injury law and emphasizing public service as a crucial aspect of his career.  

For his “Closing Argument,” Michael discusses the often-misunderstood role of personal injury lawyers, the profound impact that civil litigation can have in holding corporations accountable, and how powerful it can be for doing good in the world.

Chapters

1:25 – Why did you want to become a trial lawyer?
7:10 – What makes you unique?
8:19 – A case that Matters.
11:36 – Michael’s “Closing Argument.”

Key Takeaways:

  1. Inspiration from Unlikely Beginnings: Michael’s journey highlights how a chance course in college can ignite a passion that leads to a rewarding career, despite initial unrelated interests or lack of influence from family or friends.
  2. Value of Early Practical Experience: Participation in mock trials and criminal defense clinics during law school proved pivotal in shaping Michael’s skills and confidence as a trial lawyer.
  3. Connecting with Clients on a Human Level: Michael emphasizes the importance of understanding clients’ personal stories and challenges, which can provide valuable context and motivation in the pursuit of justice.
  4. The Power of Civil Litigation: Michael advocates for the essential role of plaintiff-side litigation in holding powerful corporations accountable and enforcing individual rights, countering negative stereotypes often portrayed in media.
  5. Pivotal Career Moments: Significant career experiences, such as Michael’s first courtroom victories and interactions with inspiring mentors, not only influenced his career path but also his philosophy towards law and justice.

Transcript

[Theme Song Plays]

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