Michael Stephenson's legal skills have been praised in open court by both state and federal judges, by opposing lawyers, and, of course, by his clients and their families. He is himself a skilled cyclist and is an expert at proving liability and damages in cases where a cyclist has been injured. In his spare time, he volunteers as a legal counsel for bicycle advocacy groups in California, including California Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and others.
Mr. Stephenson has extensive trial experience and began his career trying misdemeanor cases in Oregon as a public defender in 2007. Prior to that, he was awarded Most Outstanding Trial Advocate at the American Trial Lawyers Association's (now The American Association for Justice) West Coast Regional Trial Championships. As an expert trial lawyer, he has also volunteered his time as a Trial Practice Coach, instructing law students in trial-lawyer techniques at the UC Berkeley School of Law, one of the Top 10 law schools in the United States. Mr. Stephenson's success as a trial lawyer puts pressure on insurance companies to settle cases early to avoid having to go toe-to toe with him in a courtroom. Insurance companies know that if a case proceeds to trial, they face the high likelihood that they will lose and be forced to pay all the additional court and attorney fees on top of the amounts paid to the injured cyclist.
Prior to founding Bay Area Bicycle Law, Mr. Stephenson worked for Davis Wright Tremaine (DWT), one of the top 100 law firms in the United States, at its Portland, Oregon office. During his time at DWT, he worked on many high-profile lawsuits involving some of the largest companies in the United States. He left DWT in January of 2010 to return to the San Francisco Bay Area and work exclusively on behalf of cyclists.
Mr. Stephenson's legal writings have been featured in the Portland Business Journal, the State Bar Litigation Journal, the State Bar Professional Liability Newsletter, Davis Wright Tremaine client advisories, and other publications.
Mr. Stephenson graduated top of his class with Honors at the University of Oregon Law School and was a Managing Editor of the prestigious Law Review. During law school he was also an extern for the Honorable Ann Aiken, the Chief Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Oregon District Federal Court. Mr. Stephenson was awarded the law school's Pro Bono Award in recognition of his substantial volunteer legal work in defending low-income clients in hearings and jury trials in state court. Mr. Stephenson earned his Bachelor's degree in three years at Brown University, Rhode Island.