City of Madison

City of Madison Attorney
City Attorney Michael May

MICHAEL MAY, CITY ATTORNEY BIO

Michael P. May is the City Attorney for Madison, Wisconsin. The City Attorney is a statutory position charged with providing legal advice and representation to the City of Madison as an entity. As City Attorney, Mike is in charge of the Office of the City Attorney (OCA), where he supervises a Deputy City Attorney, 14 Assistant City Attorneys and support staff. He and the OCA represent Madison on a variety of legal matters, including:
  • prosecuting ordinance violations.
  • drafting ordinances.
  • providing legal advice and issuing formal legal opinions to City departments and officers (including the Mayor and Alderpersons).
  • appearing at meetings of the Common Council and other City boards, committees, and commissions.
  • drafting and review of contracts with the City.
  • representing the City in court and administrative litigation.

Michael became City Attorney in May, 2004, following his appointment by Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and confirmation by the Common Council. He has been re-appointed three times, by Mayor Cieslewicz in 2009, by Mayor Paul Soglin in 2014, and by Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway in 2019. Prior to beginning work at the City, Mike was in private practice for 25 years with the Boardman Law Firm in Madison. Mike's private practice focused on representing municipalities on complex matters, particularly utility law and litigation. Mike was chair of the Boardman Law Firm's Executive Committee prior to becoming City Attorney.

Mike serves on the Board of Directors of the Government Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Board of Directors of the Senior Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and the Board of Visitors of the University of Wisconsin Law School. He is a member of the Downtown Madison Rotary Club, and previously served on Downtown Rotary's Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees of the Downtown Rotary Foundation.

Mike is a native of Madison. He was valedictorian at Holy Name Seminary High School in 1972, obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the UW–Madison in 1975, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated with honors from the UW-Madison Law School in 1979. He has three grown children, and is married to Briony Jean Foy, a local artist.