Michael Hanley

Michael Hanley

Michael Hanley

Principal Attorney

(802) 295-3151 ext. 102

Michael F. Hanley has been a lawyer in the Northern New England since 1976. He is admitted to practice in state courts of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, and the federal trial courts in Vermont, New Hampshire and the Northern District of New York. He is admitted the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. 

Mr. Hanley has an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, is selected for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America, U.S. News & World Reports’ Best Lawyers and New England Superlawyers. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Mr. Hanley has unusually broad experience. Although at the time he primarily represents patients in medical malpractice cases and parties to complex commercial litigation in Vermont, New Hampshire, over the years he has tried every kind of case including products liability cases automobile accidents, worker’s compensation matters, divorces, will contests, disputes over the title to real property, felony and misdemeanor criminal cases and many other matters.
Mr. Hanley was the lead attorney in a number of cases which significantly changed the law. He represented the plaintiffs in Russo v. Griffin, 147 Vt. 20 (1986), which made it significantly easier to recover for legal malpractice, Crump v. P & C Food Markets, Inc., 154 Vt. 284 (1990), which allowed employees to recover for significant emotional distress arising from wrongful termination, and Thompson v. Dewey’s South Royalton, Inc., 169 Vt. 274 (1999) which expanded the group of persons entitled to recover from persons who sell alcoholic beverages. He is particularly proud of a series of cases where he increased the ability of persons to recover for childhood sexual abuse, including Earle v. State of Vermont, 170 Vt. 183 (1999), which made it significantly harder for defendants to assert the statute of limitations as a defense, and a New Hampshire trial court decision which significantly expanded the group of persons who have a duty to protect children from this devastating misconduct. Mr. Hanley was lead counsel in two cases in federal courts in Vermont and New Hampshire which significantly reduced the ability of defendants to avoid the discovery of facts in medical malpractice cases by asserting the so-called “peer review privilege,” Robinson v. Springfield Hospital, 2010 WL 503096, Newland v. North Country Health Care, 2017 WL 6397723. A large portion of his practice arises from other lawyers who refer complex or difficult matters. His clients have recovered from some of the largest corporations in the world, e.g. Ulm v. Ford Motor Company, CITE, many large insurance companies, financial institutions and hospitals. 

His notable recoveries include: 

$2.25 million in a fraud and legal malpractice
$1.375 million in a dental malpractice claim
$1.3 million in a products liability claim
$1.275 million in an medical malpractice claim involving emergency room care
$1.25 million in a products liability claim
$1.175 million in a medication error case 
$1.1 million in a failure to recognize side of cancer treatment
$1.0 million in a medication error
In 2018 the Vermont Supreme Court appointed Mr. Hanley as the Chair of the Vermont Professional Responsibility Board. The Court created the Board to assist it in regulating the legal profession. The Board oversees the program which investigates and disciplines attorneys as well providing education, advice and referrals for the public as well as members of the bar.
Mr. Hanley graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1972, where he was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 1976.
Mr. Hanley and his wife Maureen have four children, two grandchildren and one dog. They are all above average, especially the dog. As a result of his failure to lower the toilet seat and other major infractions, he is regularly banished to “Bugs,” his “classic plastic” sailboat on the Maine coast. He continues to deny rumors that he is frequently lost or aground.