It is with profound sadness that Gallagher & Kennedy announces the passing of its senior shareholder, Mike Gallagher, on October 26, 2022. We honor our dear friend, mentor, colleague, and leader in Arizona’s legal and athletic community. Mike’s big heart and tenacity helped build our firm into a truly unique, nurturing environment in which we are proud to work.
In 1978, Mike and co-founder, Mike Kennedy, had the vision and determination to form Gallagher & Kennedy because they believed that “there was more to practicing law than just practicing law.” The two Mikes attracted like-minded legal professionals who wanted to practice law differently, and over time they built one of the premier law firms in the Southwest.
In the ensuing years, Mike honed his unparalleled skills as a trial lawyer for a vast array of clients and made time to actively participate in innumerable Bar, civic, and charitable activities. He befriended and counseled many of the individuals responsible for the dramatic growth in the Phoenix metropolitan area, particularly regarding professional sports. At the same time, Mike nurtured and mentored many young lawyers who to this day continue to thank him for teaching them what it means to be a true professional. In later years, Mike was honored to serve on the boards of directors of many of the companies he had counseled.
That long list of accomplishments does not capture the true essence of Mike Gallagher. He was a big man in all respects; a big presence; a big personality; a big smile; and perhaps most importantly, a very big heart. Mike truly loved his Gallagher & Kennedy family, from the most senior lawyers to the newest file clerks. All who knew Mike will forever remember the twinkle in his Irish eyes, the smile on his lips, and the kind words he had for everyone with whom he came in contact.
It is not too trite to say that there will never be another quite like Mike Gallagher.
From those who have been with the firm since its inception to the newest member of our team, all of us at Gallagher & Kennedy thank the many colleagues and friends who have expressed condolences.
The ASU Law community is saddened to learn of the passing of alumnus Michael Gallagher. Michael, a member of one of the inaugural classes of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, received his JD in 1970. pic.twitter.com/VttEDDbjRS
— ASU College of Law (@ASUCollegeOfLaw) November 3, 2022
Articles and releases covering Mike’s passing:
- Gallagher & Kennedy’s Public Statement
- Whitney Murphy Obituary
- Phoenix Business Journal
- Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
- Sun Devil Athletics
- Tom Sadler, president and CEO of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, sent the following statement to the Business Journal:
“The Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority extends its condolences to the friends and family of Mike Gallagher. We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Gallagher, who was an influential and well-respected leader in the Valley sports sector. Mr. Gallagher had a passion for Sun Devil athletics, first as a baseball student-athlete and then as a strong supporter of his alma mater’s endeavors. Mr. Gallagher was a community champion whose insights and experience will be greatly missed.”
- Kathy Munro, an executive coordinator with Dignity Health and a board member with Pinnacle West Capital Corp. and Arizona Public Service Co., sent the following statement to the Business Journal:
“Mike was a great business colleague and even better friend. We served together on the board of directors for Pinnacle West/APS. He contributed greatly to the success of the company during his 20 plus years of service. He really was one of the best.”
- Don Bocchi, Sun Devil Hall of Famer
“Mike brought joy to every room he walked into. He loved Arizona State. Through his entire life, and all the success he had, the most admirable part about him was that he never forgot where he came from. He was always thinking about ASU and how everyone here was doing.”
- Mike Polachek, Sun Devil Baseball Historian
“Mike was so good at everything he did. He energized everyone he was around. Part of what made him such a good litigator was his ability to talk with no preparation. He could get up in front of a room of people on whim and talk for hours.”
- Willie Bloomquist, Head Baseball Coach
“Mike Gallagher is what all Sun Devils should aspire to be. To use this experience as a student-athlete to proudly represent ASU, compete for championships, and prepare for a life of service and positive impact on others – towards your family, a profession, and an entire community in Mike’s case. I can’t think of another Letterwinner who loved ASU more than Mike, and I am proud to have known him.”
- Steven Gervais
“Mike was always kind and willing to help from our first meeting when I was a student at ASU Law School. We later became business associates while I was the General Counsel for SunCor and he was on our Board. He always provided great advice and counsel. Most importantly, Mike lead by example in the Community.”
- Helene S. Fenlon
“Mike was-hands down-the best boss I ever had. Despite his larger than life personality, he was the “salt of the earth,” and had the rare skill of putting life’s triumphs and defeats in perspective.”
- Mike Shiaras
“Each day before he left the office during those early years , Mike would throw open the door to my office and boom out: ‘Well, kid, what did you learn today?’ If he asked me that question just one more time, I would say: ‘Quite a lot–thanks!'”
- James Loeb
“I have fond memories of Michael Gallagher and Mike Kennedy when they were just launching their firm and with Snell and Wilmer. Wonderful story of our trial involving baseball. Mike G got Rick Monday and other experts to testify! It dazzled the jury! We learned a lot during that trial and ended with a defense verdict! It’s what happened during the trial that is so amazing! Michael and Mike were highly respected and honorable men! I’m so honored to have known them.”
- Jerry Geiger
“I was truly fortunate to have crossed paths with Mike over the years through my time responsible for working “Professional sports” for the City of Phoenix. We shared many meetings and discussions together as the then “America West Arena” project unfolded and almost any other City of Phoenix sports-related project commanded attention. Although sports was our common denominator, my respect and admiration for Mike came from how Mike handled his profession as an Attorney. Mike just exuded RESPECT in whatever he did and he was one of the most reputable Attorney’s I ever had the privilege to work with. I always got a chuckle seeing him again over the years sitting in his Diamondback seats behind home plate. God bless you Mike and thanks for the opportunity to see you at work in person.”
- Michael Thompson
“Where I never actually had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Gallagher on a personal basis, his company Gallagher & Kennedy has been an amazing support to my career for decades. It hurts my heart that such an amazing man is gone. But he will not be forgotten.”
Gallagher was a staunch supporter of ASU Law, serving on the campaign committee to build the Beus Center for Law and Society on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. pic.twitter.com/KBf7waBvax
— Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU (@ASUCollegeOfLaw) November 3, 2022