Mike Fearl is a native Portlander - and he doesn't even have a neck beard! After beginning college as an engineering student at a university on the east coast, Mike returned to Portland to earn his undergraduate degree in English, and his law degree, at Lewis & Clark College.
He began his career as a staff attorney, then supervising attorney and branch manager, at the Hillsboro office of St. Andrew Legal Clinic, a non-profit public interest law firm which provides mainly indigent and working poor clients in family law matters. Practicing family law since 1997, Mike has learned that these cases are really about the struggle to reorganize a family in ways that will improve its functioning after the parties no longer live together in the same home. Most family law clients are good people who are experiencing a very stressful time in their life, and often the most valuable contribution a lawyer can make at this time is to foster creative and constructive solutions designed to meet the needs of a particular family as much as possible. While a small fraction of cases are decided in court, Mike knows that court is not a good forum for resolving the challenges faced by divorcing and separating families. That is why Mike advocates for more constructive, client-centered methods of dispute resolution like collaborative divorce and mediation.
Mike is regularly appointed by judges to represent children whose parents are unable to resolve a disagreement about custody or parenting time. Most of these cases entail identifying changes to the parenting schedule or helping the parents alter the way they interact with each other in order to improve the children's experience with each parent.