Michael Beckman has been practicing law since 1982. With a focus on parole law, he has represented over 2000 inmates serving life sentences in California, many of whom have been granted parole. As of fall 2019, 214 of his lifer clients have paroled out of prison.
Beckman earned his B.A.with Distinction and Honors, in Literature and American History from the University of Michigan in 1979. He earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1982. During his time as a law student in Ann Arbor, Beckman was a Quarterfinalist in the Campbell Moot Court Competition and a participant in the Child Advocacy Law Clinic.
Beckman was admitted to the California State Bar in December 1982. After many years as a civil litigator, in 2000, he became a mediator, and has mediated cases for the Los Angeles Superior Court, the United States Equal Opportunity Commission, United States Bankruptcy Court, and special education due process cases as an Administrative Law Judge. In 2004, he joined the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and arbitrates disputes between brokerage firms and investors. His pro bono work has ranged from representing abused children through the Child Advocate’s Office and Children’s Institute International, to mediating small claims court cases, to representing elderly and indigent renters through Bet Tzedek Legal Services. In 2003, he was nominated for Volunteer Mediator Of The Year for Los Angeles County.
Since 2005, Beckman has represented inmates sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in parole suitability hearings before the California Board of Parole Hearings and petitions for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in state and federal courts challenging denial of parole. He argued a seminal parole law case to the California Supreme Court. With the passage of SB260, Beckman expanded his parole practice to representing youthful offenders. In 2014, he began representing inmates serving Life With The Possibility of Parole (LWOP) for crimes committed as juveniles in their attempts to be resentenced to Life With The Possibility of Parole. In 2016 he began representing inmates convicted of murder but not as the actual killer in resentencing petitions. With SB1437 becoming effective in January 2019, Beckman will be representing even more inmates convicted of murder who were not the actual killers.
In August 2016, Beckman became Adjunct Professor of Law at Southwestern University School of Law, where he co-taught the Youthful Offender Parole Clinic. Temporarily suspended due to lack of funding, Beckman hopes to help reopen the clinic very soon.
On the side, Beckman writes screenplays, some of which have been placed in major screenplay competitions, including the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Competition. He has had several scripts optioned. For fun, he spends quality time with his beautiful wife Ewa and their daughter Hannah and two dogs, Aphrodite and Nelson. He travels, works out, and skis. He’s also a champion amateur Texas Hold-em Tournament player and a champion fantasy basketball and football player, and an advocate for children and animal rights.