Kurt May has joined the firm Goldstein & Orr as their Senior Associate beginning January 16, 2020. Prior to this he was the Senior Litigator for the Office of the Federal Public Defender, Western District of Texas in San Antonio for 28 years. He is a veteran public defender, with a legal career that spans 32 years. Special assignments during his career include treaty transfer cases to Mexico, capital death penalty representation, and serving as detail Counsel to the United States House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary. In this capacity he worked on drafting legislation for Criminal Justice Reform, managing a Legislative Committee hearing on the Opioid Epidemic, and working on legislation for funding for mental illness treatment in the criminal justice system.
In addition, Kurt maintains an active role with the local federal judges, private bar, and the continuing legal education needs of his District. Since 2012, Kurt has served on the local Federal Courts Committee, working collaboratively with federal judges, federal agencies, courts, private attorneys and the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, to resolve criminal justice issues. In that capacity, he also serves on the sub-committee charged with making CJA Panel Attorney selections, and responding to unique needs that may arise involving advisement to the private bar. Kurt continues to serve as Faculty for a variety of legal training courses.
Preparation for Kurt’s public law career began in the 1960’s, growing up in a small Kansas town of about 4,000 people. Observing the dynamic tension between the needs of the community and individual rights provided the backdrop for his formal education. While earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Kansas State University (1983), he acquired communication skills debating for the K-State Varsity Debate team, and served in various leadership positions on campus and in his fraternity. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa, he was awarded a full scholarship to pursue post-graduate work at the University of Michigan in Twentieth Century American history (1983-1984). After a year in Ann Arbor, and before attending law school, he experienced Washington, D.C. while serving as an intern for United States Senator, Nancy Landon Kassebaum. This cemented a
life-long interest in public policy, defending the rights of individuals, and finding ways for government to better serve citizen’s interests.
Throughout his college years, Kurt worked both during the school term and summers to pay for tuition and expenses. He worked for the University, over holiday breaks, and in the summers as a swim coach, pool manager, and swim instructor. He worked during law school as a graduate teaching assistant and in the law library. Kurt understands the value of hard work and individual responsibility.
After graduating from Brigham Young University law school (1987), he returned to Kansas and accepted a position as a briefing attorney for a triple murder defense trial team in Wichita. That experience, while leading to the client’s
acquittal, launched a highly accomplished legal career. He was awarded national recognition in 2008, as the Outstanding Assistant Federal Defender by the National Association of Federal Defenders, and local recognition in 2017, with the Outstanding Lawyer Award which is given by the San Antonio Business Journal.
Kurt has continued his education, in developing relationships with those in the local business community. In 2016, he completed an Executive Training course at the Harvard Business School, which focused on Organizational Management, Innovation, Leadership Skills, and understanding the importance of relationships between business, the community, and government entities. In 2017, he completed the Leadership San Antonio program.
Kurt’s work in the community spans the local, state, and national spectrum. In addition to his leadership roles in the San Antonio legal community, he served for 15 years on the San Antonio Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association Board of Directors, and is a past president. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Book Festival. He is a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Advisory Council at Kansas State University, and is a Trustee on the National Board of Directors for the Theta Xi Fraternity. In each of these roles he has successfully worked in nonpartisan ways to problem solve and serve the broader community.
In November of 2019, Kurt ran and was elected to serve as Alderman of Castle Hills, Texas. It was his first time to seek public office.