Gonzaga Alumnus Appointed to the Bench in Wisconsin

September 21, 2017

On August 28, 2017, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker appointed Shaughnessy P. Murphy to the bench in Eau Claire County Circuit Court. Murphy earned his J.D., cum laude, from Gonzaga Law in 2010. Before his appointment, Murphy practiced in the Eau Claire office of Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C. where he worked with businesses of all sizes as well as financial institutions and municipalities. His primary practice included counseling clients in various types of matters including mergers, acquisitions, entity conversions, and lease and sale agreements. Before working in private practice, Murphy served as a senior leadership aide in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Before coming to Gonzaga Law, Murphy, a natural redhead, worked as a child actor and by the time he was 10 years old he had appeared in numerous nationally syndicated and local television commercials, programs, and movies. But the bright lights of Hollywood were no competition for a life in Wisconsin. Murphy retired from acting leaving him plenty of time to time to build a life a lawyer, father, husband, and active member of the Eau Claire community.

In true Zag Law fashion, Murphy views his judicial appointment as a way to give back to the community where he grew up. “I think Eau Claire is going through a generational revitalization, and a big part of that is it’s such a great place to raise a family, go to work, go to school and run your business, and the judiciary and the Eau Claire County Circuit Court plays a big part in that,” Murphy said. “There’s no better opportunity to help keep the community safe and keep it growing.” His goal as a judge? “[T]o every day give people a fair and equal opportunity to be heard, and to follow the law and apply the facts to the law as it is,” he said, adding that he has always liked trying to help people solve problems and believes his position on the bench will give him ample opportunity to aid residents “who are in a pretty dark spot in their lives.”

Circuit Court Judge Steven Gibbs wrote in support of Murphy saying “Shaughnessy Murphy possesses the common sense Eau Claire values which will serve the citizens of Eau Claire County well.” Gonzaga Law Professor Kevin Shelley fondly recalled Murphy as “a good student, and a great guy. I’m very pleased to hear of his appointment, but I can’t say that I’m surprised.”