Michael E. Upchurch
Admitted: 1983, Alabama
Practice: Complex Commercial and Business Disputes; Environmental; Professional Liability; Product Liability; Admiralty; Personal Injury; Employment; Contract.
Education: University of Virginia, J.D., 1983; James Madison University. B A, 1980, Summa Cum Laude, ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate.
Military Service: Officer, United States Army National Guard (Artillery) 1980-1986.
Experience: Mr. Upchurch has been trying lawsuits, primarily for defendants, since 1983. He has tried many cases of all types to jury verdict in state and federal court, including product liability, professional liability, commercial, white-collar criminal, environmental, medical negligence, personal injury, maritime and breach of contract. Mr. Upchurch has successfully defended clients in many high-exposure lawsuits, including toxic tort cases, admiralty cases and personal injury cases involving death and catastrophic injury, including quadriplegia, brain damage and amputation. Mr. Upchurch has broad experience representing companies and individuals in high stakes complicated business and commercial lawsuits. Mr. Upchurch also has extensive experience in serious medical and healthcare cases, and has defended every type of individual and corporate healthcare provider. Mr. Upchurch represents professionals in licensing and disciplinary matters. Mr. Upchurch also has tried and won a variety of plaintiff personal injury cases.
Recognition: In 2020, Mr. Upchurch received the J. Anthony McClain Professionalism Award from the Alabama State Bar. Mr. Upchurch is a perennial Super Lawyer (Business Litigation), Best Lawyer (Personal Injury Litigation) and Benchmark Litigation Star. Mr. Upchurch has been Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year, (Personal Injury Defense, Mobile, AL)” Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year (Mediation, Mobile, AL)” and Super Lawyers “Top 50 Attorneys in Alabama”. Mr. Upchurch has been recognized by Alabama Legal Services for “Outstanding Support”.
Legal Activities: Mr. Upchurch is a fellow/member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Alabama Law Foundation, the International Society of Barristers and the United States Supreme Court Historical Society.
Mr. Upchurch is currently a Judge on the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, a member of the Alabama Supreme Court Commission on Dispute Resolution and has served as Co-Chair of the Alabama State Bar Rules and Enforcement Committee. Mr. Upchurch is the past President of the Mobile Bar Association (2013), past President (2015-2016) and Director (2011- 2015) of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, and was the original Co-Chair of the Mobile Bar Association Diversity Task Force. Mr. Upchurch served as the Chair of the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama (2016), as Co-Chair of the Alabama State Bar Bench and Bar Task Force (2019-2019) and has been a member of the Alabama Lawyers Hall of Fame Selection Committee, the Alabama State Bar Diversity in the Profession Committee, and the University of South Alabama Deep Brain Stimulation Ethics Panel. Mr. Upchurch was also a member of the 2020-2021 Alabama State Bar Executive Director Search Task Force. Mr. Upchurch is a former Trustee of the Alabama State Bar Association Health Plan and has served on the American College of Trial Lawyers Alabama State Committee. Mr. Upchurch also has been a certified Title IX Advisor (Higher Education) and Title IX Decision Maker (Higher Education) and has served as a Hearing Officer and Advisor for the University of Alabama System.
Mr. Upchurch has been a frequent faculty member of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association Bibb Allen Trial Academy held in Birmingham, Alabama. For many years Mr. Upchurch wrote a column with advice for young lawyers in the Alabama Defense Lawyer’s Association Journal. Mr. Upchurch’s article “Are We the Problem?” was published in the Alabama Lawyer magazine. The International Association of Defense Counsel published a series of Mr. Upchurch’s articles in its Trial Techniques and Tactics Newsletter.
Mr. Upchurch is a regular speaker at seminars and meetings on a variety of topics associated with litigation, including trial tactics, mediation, arbitration, and healthcare defense. Mr. Upchurch has twice been a featured speaker at the Defense Research Institute “Diversity for Success” Seminar in Chicago. He also has been a speaker at the Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting. Mr. Upchurch has given many presentations including “Trying the Unwinnable Case,” Litigation Council of America, Renaissance Symposium II; “How to Be a Good Lawyer,” Alabama Defense Lawyers Association Annual Meeting; and Cross-examination, Alabama Young Lawyers State Meeting. Mr. Upchurch also has been the keynote speaker for the Congress of Clinical Rheumatology.
Mr. Upchurch has been mediating cases since 1993 and has mediated over 1600 cases of all types. He has been selected Best Lawyer in Mediation and Best Lawyer “Lawyer of the Year (Mediation, Mobile, AL).”
Mr. Upchurch is also an experienced commercial arbitrator, including for the American Arbitration Association and is a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.
Personal: Mr. Upchuch is the son of a Marine Corps pilot and schoolteacher. Mr. Upchurch is married and has three children. Mr. Upchurch belongs to St. James Episcopal Church in Fairhope and serves as Treasurer of the Fairhope Single Tax Corporation, a non-profit charitable civic organization.