Judge Michael T. McHugh Takes Office as Chief Judge of the Twentieth Circuit
On July 1st, 2015, the Judges of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit along with the Administrative Office of the Courts welcomed Judge Michael T. McHugh as Chief Judge of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit.
Judge McHugh has been a Circuit Court Judge since 2006 when he was appointed to the bench by former Governor Jeb Bush. He started his legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in Fort Myers where he worked from 1992 to 1995. After leaving the State Attorney's Office, Judge McHugh served as managing attorney for Allstate's Staff Counsel Offices in Fort Myers and Tampa. He received his B.A. in Accounting and his Law Degree from the University of Florida.
Judge McHugh is currently assigned to the Civil Division in Lee County. He has previously served in the Felony, Juvenile and Family Law Divisions. Judge McHugh has served as the Administrative Judge in both the Family Law Division and Civil Division.
After being on the bench for only four years, Judge McHugh was selected as "Jurist of the Year" by the American Board of Trial Advocates Southwest Florida Chapter. He is the second Judge from the Twentieth Circuit to receive the award.
Judge McHugh began preparing for his role as Chief Judge long before taking the bench with positions as both an administrator and attorney. "I thought that with my background I would be effective with dealing with people and working with people," said Judge McHugh. "I saw it as an opportunity to hopefully effectuate positive change and put things in place that would be good for the judges and circuit and would most importantly be good for our clients which are the public and attorneys who represent them."
While in his position as Chief Judge, one of his goals is to have the judiciary more involved with the public whether it's through bar activities or other activities. He believes it is important that Judges are seen as more accessible and more approachable.
When he isn't on the bench, you might find Judge McHugh teaching undergraduate legal courses at Florida Southwestern State College. Judge McHugh is also very active in community activities, including twice serving as Chair for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, Habitat for Humanity, Uncommon Friends Foundation, Greater Fort Myers Soccer Club and Fort Myers American Little League. He is married to Liane McHugh and has two sons and one daughter.
Judge McHugh is also an avid runner. He ran for the team at Fort Myers High School and at the University of Florida. He recently ran in the Eugene Marathon, will participate in the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon, and has qualified for the 2016 Boston Marathon.