A state representative from Powell Butte, Michael R. McLane, will replace retiring Circuit Court Judge Dan Ahern for the 22nd Judicial District, Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday.
McClane will join two other judges serving the 22nd Judicial District — which covers Jefferson and Crook counties — Annette Hillman, of Madras, and Daina Vitolins, of Prineville.
McLane, who has represented House District 55 since 2011, was the Republican Leader of the Oregon House of Representatives from 2012 to 2018. He is a staff judge advocate in the Oregon Air National Guard, maintains a private business litigation practice, and, for two years, was a judge pro tempore on the Deschutes County Circuit Court.
"Rep. McLane is well-known in the Capitol for his sharp mind, personal integrity, and respect for the rule of law," said Brown. "While we haven't always seen eye-to-eye on policy, Mike's deep commitment to promoting the public good is never in doubt. These qualities have served the Oregon Legislature well and will now enrich our state court bench."
McLane is a partner at the firm Lynch Conger McLane LLP, in Bend, where he advises and litigates on behalf of business clients. Earlier, he worked at several other firms, including the Portland-based firms Miller Nash Graham and Dunn, and Stoel Rives, as well as one of Central Oregon's oldest firms, Bryant, Emerson & Fitch.
From 1994 to 2001, McLane served as chief executive officer of Flying Rhinoceros Inc., which he co-founded, a publisher of bilingual elementary curriculum materials and creator of a television cartoon series.
He began his career as a law clerk to Oregon Supreme Court Justice W. Michael Gillette, who is now retired.
McLane, a lieutenant colonel in the Oregon Air National Guard, where he serves as a staff judge advocate, was previously an officer in the 41st Infantry Brigade of the Oregon Army National Guard.
McLane earned his law degree at Lewis & Clark Law School, finishing at the top of his class, and his bachelor's degree at Oregon State University.
Brown appointed McLane to a vacancy created by the March 29 retirement of Ahern, who had served on the 22nd Judicial District Circuit Court since 1996, and as the presiding judge since 2010. Although he retired at the end of March, Ahern plans to continue Jefferson County Circuit Court work through the end of June.
McClane's appointment is effective immediately, but he will be sworn in and begin his judicial service in July.
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