SALEM — Three ambitious current and former Republican state legislators have launched a new law firm in Bend.
Mike McLane, a legislator from Powell Butte who House Republicans recently re-elected minority leader, joined former Bend Rep. Jason Conger, Greg Lynch and Lori Murphy in starting the business. Outgoing Rep. John Davis, R-Wilsonville, also signed on as counsel.
McLane, Conger and Davis are well-known in state Republican circles and have shown an interest in higher elected office. In the meantime, the group has spun off from the larger firm Miller Nash Graham & Dunn to create Lynch Conger McLane, LLP.
The firm will focus on business law, taxes, trusts, land use law, real estate and litigation.
“We’ve all come out of (big firm) environments and I think gleaned the knowledge to be able to offer that level of service on the one hand with the nimbleness and economy of scale of being smaller,” Davis said, while also “offering a unique political perspective on what’s happening in Oregon and state and local politics.”
Davis served two terms in the House and was eyeing a challenge to Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum when he surprised colleagues and announced on the last day of the 2016 session he’d instead leave politics.
The 34-year-old said his decision was based largely on his desire to avoid a contentious election while also raising his two young sons, and that his departure from politics is most likely only temporary.
“I’ve got more things I want to develop in my own practice and skill set that I think later down the line would suit me well for running for attorney general or another seat,” Davis said.
Three months after Davis announced he’d retire, McLane, Conger and Lynch, who was a partner at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn, filed paperwork with the state to set up the new Bend firm.
Davis worked at Portland-area firm McEwen Griswold and will remain in the Willamette Valley. Shannon McCabe, a former associate attorney at Miller Nash, joined the others in the move.
McLane, who focuses on business clients and litigation, clerked for Oregon Supreme Court Justice Michael Gillette and later worked at the Portland-based Stoel Rives. He also continues to serve as a lieutenant colonel and judge advocate general in the Oregon Air National Guard.
He was mentioned in a Portland Tribune report as a possible pick for Oregon U.S. Attorney, the state’s top federal prosecutor. Oregon’s lone congressional Republican, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden would propose the state’s next U.S. attorney to President-elect Donald Trump. McLane and Walden are close friends.
He declined on Friday to comment, saying, “We’ll see how the next couple of months play out,” and offering praise for Walden’s election Thursday to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Conger was a two-term Republican representing Bend when he left the office to make a run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. He lost in the primary to Republican Monica Wehby, who later lost to incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley.
— Reporter: 406-589-4347, firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s note: This article has been corrected. The original version misstated the gender of Rep. John Davis’s two children, and misstated the organization for which Rep. Mike McLane is a judge advocate general. The Bulletin regrets the errors.