- Complex Litigation
- Family Law
- Criminal Defense
- Personal Injury
- Civil Litigation
- Stalking/Restraining Orders
- Estate Planning
Michael Arnold, Eugene, Oregon Attorney
Shareholder, Chief Strategy Adviser
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Phone: (541) 338-9111
Fax: (541) 338-9101
E-mail: E-mail Me
Mike Arnold is experienced in jury trials and complex criminal and civil litigation involving multiple parties and witnesses, voluminous discovery, expert witnesses, and high stakes.
Mike was managing partner of Arnold Law for 10 years and has been the chief trial lawyer of the firm until he recently took on a more advisory role for the firm’s trial lawyers. Mike’s leadership brought a two-attorney law firm into the powerhouse it is today. Mike is also the author of Finishing Machine, a book about a client accused of murdering an unarmed man (a must read for anyone wishing to get a firsthand look at courthouse politics). He also has a steady presence in national media including a CBS 48 Hours episode entitled “Trail of Tears” (watch the full episode) and his high-profile public response to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Occupation through his representation of Ammon Bundy.
In 2017, Mike co-founded an agribusiness startup and raised $1,000,000 of investor money in less than four months, quickly launching his business as one of the top firms in Oregon in the cannabis space. He has utilized his unique brand of strategic thinking, his traditional Midwest farming skills and his legal knowledge to position his new enterprise “big ag” meets “big pharma” by quickly becoming one of the largest farm conglomerates in Oregon while also building a strong executive team with deep roots in traditional businesses and agronomy.
Attorney Practice PHILOSOPHY
Mike’s practice philosophy is simple: know more about the facts and law than the other lawyer, investigators, experts, and court. Hard work wins cases. Mike does not just ferry offers from the other side to his clients. He prepares every case for settlement as if it were going to trial.
Education and Background
Mike grew up in Parkville, Missouri, a small Midwestern suburb along the Missouri River, northwest of Kansas City. His father was a pipefitter and his mother a screen printer. He attended college at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, where he started all four years on Truman’s nationally-ranked rugby team and ultimately graduated summa cum laude.
After graduating from Truman State in December of 1997, he and Jacy Arnold moved to Eugene to attend law school at the University of Oregon where Mike was honored with a prestigious Wayne Morse Fellowship.
For two years during law school, he worked two jobs at once: one at a small personal injury firm and the other at the Lane County District Attorney’s Office. At the DA’s Office, he conducted grand jury, allowing him to see the inner workings of this secret body. He prosecuted many jury trials, including a felony Marijuana grow, DUIIs, assaults, driving crimes, etc.
In 2014, Mike was listed as one of Oregon’s top trial attorneys by the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers after a selection process that included peer nominations combined with third-party research (criteria includes reputation among peers, judiciary, public; previous year’s verdicts as a trial lawyer; etc.). In 2014, Mike was named in The Eugene Weekly‘s “Best of Eugene” awards as “Eugene’s Best DUI Lawyer.”
Mike is also rate “Distinguished” (4.4/5.0) by Matindale-Hubble’s attorney peer-review rating system.
After graduating from law school in 2001, he continued working at the litigation firm representing clients in personal injury jury trials and defending clients accused of crimes. In 2002, he joined his wife Jacy at Arnold Law Office, where he focused on personal injury litigation and prosecution for the city of Eugene.
During his first few years of practice he was averaging more civil jury trials per year than most seasoned plaintiff’s lawyers. He was also averaging a little over one criminal jury trial a month as well.
While preparing for and trying cases by day, at night he would sharpen his skills by reading and re-reading the Oregon evidence treatise, books on depositions, books on trial skills, expert materials (DSM-IV), etc. It is not called the practice of law for nothing. Mike realized early on that if you are not regularly trying cases and increasing your knowledge-base, your trial tools do not stay sharp.
Mike enjoys advising his attorney team in complex litigation, involving high stakes (financial or liberty interests), complicated legal issues or expert witnesses, confusing fact patterns with lengthy timelines, or multiple parties.
Mike enjoys meeting juries all around the state, particularly in the more rural counties. In the civil context, he has successfully resolved cases in Federal and state courts, including jury trials in Federal Court in Eugene and in state court in Lane, Marion, Linn, Lincoln, and Josephine Counties. He has successfully litigated business, personal injury and employment cases before juries.
In the criminal context, he has won dismissals for clients in federal court in Eugene and Spokane, Washington, and in state and municipal courts in many counties and towns, including Jackson County, Douglas County, Deschutes, Lane, Lincoln, Eugene, Cottage Grove, Springfield, etc.
In 2013, he won a 45-minute not guilty verdict in a Manslaughter in the First Degree trial. In May 2014, he won a not guilty jury verdict for a client falsely accused of driving under the influence of Vicodin and Marijuana in Jackson County Circuit Court in Medford. In December 2014 he won a 17-minute not guilty verdict of a client falsely accused of assaulting his adult stepson by throwing him into a truck’s mirror. In April 2015, Mike won a 14-minute not guilty verdict in a .09% BAC DUII. In February 2017, he won a seven-count not guilty verdict for a client accused of a marijuana DUI car crash (assault, reckless endangering, and reckless driving).
In addition to marijuana DUII trials, Mike has also advised marijuana businesses and is a member of the Oregon State Bar Cannabis Law Section.
In May of 2015, Mike resolved a Murder case involving a retired professional mixed martial artist who shot and killed an unarmed man with an AR-15 after a traffic collision. After over 15 months of litigation, the case settled with a criminally negligent homicide plea. He and co-counsel Emilia Gardner wrote a highly-reviewed book about the case called Finishing Machine (available in paperback and eBook on Amazon.com).
When asked by newer lawyers about practical advice in the practice of law, Mike offers the following: “All you need to do to be a good lawyer is return all of your phone calls, treat people as you want to be treated, work hard until there are no hours left in the day and then hire more staff, and destroy liars and exaggerators in cross-examination.”
Listen to Mike Cross Examine a Lying Witness & Make Closing Argument
- Murder charge reduced to accidental death: Mike fought for a Marine Corps veteran falsely accused of murder for over a year in a firearm self-defense case
- Eugene’s Best Law Firm: Arnold Law was voted the Readers’ Choice 1st Place Law Firm
- Mike Arnold Wins 14-Minute Not Guilty DUII Verdict: Jury trial victory in a .09% DUII
- 45-Minute Not Guilty Manslaughter Verdict: Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey won not-guilty verdicts for Manslaughter I and Evidence Tampering after a two-year battle in Linn County
- Helping Out a Potential Olympian – July 2016
Hobbies and Interests
Mike works hard and plays hard. After work, by the light of his headlamp, he enjoys tending to his herd of rare American Guinea Hogs, raising poultry (chickens, turkeys, and quail), and fixing fence on their small farm outside of town. He and Jacy also have a large garden and small orchard.
They can their garden produce and often turn their grapes, apples and pears into wine, hard cider and hard perry. They also have a moderate-sized beekeeping operation which assists in higher-than-average yields in the garden and orchard due to having hundreds of thousands of pollinators in their backyard. That also allows his family (and clients) to enjoy a spoonful of honey in their coffee and gives them plenty of raw materials for their homemade mead. At the Lane County Fair, Mike earned a blue ribbon for his wine making.
After retiring a second time from Eugene Rugby Club in 2008, he began devoting his scarce free time to whitewater. When not relaxing on the farm, Mike now enjoys spending his time rafting class IV and V rivers in the Pacific Northwest. A photograph of him and his rafting partner dropping off of 30-ft. Big Brother Falls on the Upper White Salmon was featured in Canoe and Kayak Magazine’s Whitewater Annual in 2011.
Professional Organizations & Activities
- Oregon State Bar
- Federal Bar (United States District Court for the District of Oregon & United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit)
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
- Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA)
- Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA)
- Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA)
- Lane County Bar Association (LCBA)
- Roland K. Rodman American Inn of Court
- Trial Practice Instructor, University of Oregon School of Law (2003, 2005, & 2006)
- Alumni Member, Eugene Rugby Football Club
- Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon
Representative Cases & Testimonials
Manslaughter I – Measure 11 charge not guilty jury verdict
Complex two-week DUI motorcycle fatality case involving over thirty witnesses was a good example of Arnold Law’s ability to distill complicated cases down to something manageable for a jury. A reporter noted that “Hancock’s chances, his odds, were significantly improved the moment he hired Michael Arnold….Michael Arnold and the Hancock trial, does show that some lawyers are just better.” Read case report here.
Sodomy I (Jessica’s Law) – 3 Measure 11 counts dismissed after innocence proved
This was a Jessica’s Law case where, if convicted, Client was facing a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 to 75 years in prison. Client passed a polygraph in the case and his attorneys Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey conducted an investigation illustrating his actual innocence. Michael Arnold, stated, “Our client is thankful for his release and dismissal of these terrible false accusations against him. He was a wrongfully accused innocent man who had three months of his life stolen from him due to lies and an incomplete investigation. Arnold Law’s investigation showed a lack of motive and lack of opportunity to commit the acts alleged against him.The Government’s incomplete investigation turned what should have been an uncomfortable family matter involving a very troubled child into an unjustly incarcerated man and placed unthinkable stress on his family...”
False Domestic Violence Allegation
“Mike Arnold is an aggressive attorney that doesn't mess around. I would recommend him to anyone. Thanks for helping me. I don't think I have ever been so scared or felt so helpless. You and your wife are good people, and I'm thankful I know you guys.”
Harassment – Self-defense after being threatened by baseball bat and pepper spray – NOT GUILTY VERDICT
A Eugene Municipal Court jury found client not-guilty of physical harassment after 21 minutes of deliberations. Client accused of tackling a man in his estranged wife’s home and throwing him into the bushes after man confronted client with baseball bat and pepper spray. Accusations stemmed from a child custody dispute between the client and his estranged wife. Client did not testify.
Assault, Harassment, and Reckless Endangering – Self-defense against gas station owner at the coast – NOT GUILTY VERDICT
Client accused of assaulting gas station owner and running over woman’s foot while leaving the scene. Vigorous cross-examination of the state’s six eye witnesses and two police officers, showed flaws in the investigation, a rush to judgment, biases of the witnesses, and faulty memories or lies. Client did not testify. After 47 minutes of deliberating, a Lincoln County jury found him not guilty of all charges.
Sex Abuse Case dismissed
Client charged with sexually abusing his employee. After an investigation showed that some of the complaining witnesses recanted their statements and motives for false accusations discovered, case dismissed before trial.
Product Liability – Zooma Scooter
Lawsuit against stand-up gas-powered scooter after handle bar welding failed, causing crash with elbow fracture. Plaintiff received a poor offer and then a dismal arbitration award. Plaintiff appealed to a jury trial. Jury trial result 25 times the arbitration award. Sometimes it takes a jury to sort out a case.
Product Liability/Wrongful Death – G-Max Motorcycle Helmet
Husband and wife were on their motorcycle when negligent driver pulled out in front of them. Wife’s helmet strap webbing failed and her helmet came off. She died of head trauma. Six figure settlement with G-Max distributor.
Nursing Home Death
Complex litigation involving a for-profit nursing home where a CNA who failed to give anti-seizure medication to Vietnam War veteran several times. He died from seizure. Status: confidential settlement.
Wrongful Death – Drunk Driver Kills Teenage Girl
After a party in the hills, a drunk driver rolls his car off of an embankment, seriously injuring his passengers and killing our client’s teenage daughter. The car’s severely intoxicated owner and surviving passengers claim the decedent was driving. Our investigation uncovered a possible conspiracy between the kids to blame the girl who couldn’t speak for herself. The DA’s Office convicted the car owner for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor but refused to have the blood in the car analyzed for DNA to establish who was driving. Arnold Law was able to seize the blood evidence, had DNA tests performed, and hired a passenger kinesiologist to determine the locations of the occupants based on blood location. The discovery of the car owner’s blood on the steering column led to a negotiated settlement between the injured occupants and the owner’s insurance company.
DUII – Springfield Tavern Collision - NOT GUILTY VERDICT
Client accused of driving his truck into the side of the bar causing damage and then fleeing scene. Law enforcement arrested him later at his home after he had some drinks at home. After a two-day Springfield Municipal Court jury trial, where cross-examination focused on the police officers’ flawed investigation (by failing to investigate client’s claims of drinking at home AFTER driving), and after less than thirty minutes of deliberation, the jury found him not guilty of DUII. Client did not testify.
Sexual Harassment Defense – Hospital Administrator Stalking
Mike Arnold defended the administrator of a hospital who pursued a relationship with a young woman who was apparently giving him mixed signals. Before contacting our firm he was convicted of a criminal stalking charge and lost a stalking order trial. She then sued him for $500,000 claiming sexual harassment, assault, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In a Marion County jury trial after a brutal cross-examination of the plaintiff and picking apart their psychologist expert, we won a defense verdict.
Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings Defense – Elder Abuse Gone Bad
Mike Arnold defended a woman in United States District Court who as accused of wrongfully initiating an elder abuse case in state court. Plaintiff was wife of client’s brother. Brother stole substantial assets from their father while he was infirm. Client received a large verdict against brother in state court but sister-in-law received a defense verdict. Sister-in-law then sued in federal court. We won a defense verdict after a jury trial in federal court.
Product Liability – Cattle rancher’s livestock killed from defective feeding pellets
We represented an Oregon rancher whose cattle were killed by endophyte poisoning from grass seed screening pellets. We were able to retain the best expert in the world on endophytes who just happened to be a professor at OSU. Extensive and highly technical discovery was conducted and ultimately the case settled for damages before trial.
Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings – False Stalking Order to Gain Custody
Received a $50,000 judgment through bankruptcy adversarial proceeding due to mother lying to get a stalking order.
Stalking Order – Lying about Rape to Gain Custody
We won a dismissal after trial. Court made findings of fact that stalking order was brought for an improper purpose.