Kurt May is a veteran public defender, having served a total of 29 years as both a State and Federal Public Defender. Kurt currently serves as Senior Litigator for the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Texas. In addition to his Senior Litigator role, Kurt maintains an active relationship with the local judges, private bar, and the continuing legal education needs of his Federal District. Kurt was invited to serve for a year from 2015-2016 in the prestigious role as Detail Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Judiciary Committee through a special program in the National Office of the Federal Public Defender. He worked on Criminal Justice Reform legislation and other legislative initiatives involving Crime and Counter-Terrorism issues. In 2008, Kurt was honored by the National Association of Federal Public Defenders as Public Defender of the Year, an honor recognizing his outstanding service distinguishing him among Federal Public Defenders nationwide.
Kurt was raised in a small Kansas town; his parents, a high school chemistry teacher and bookkeeper greatly valued education and reading. Kurt earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Kansas State University and participated in intercollegiate competition with the K-State Varsity Debate team. He also served in various leadership positions on campus and in his fraternity. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa, he was awarded a scholarship to pursue post-graduate work at the University of Michigan in Twentieth Century American history.
After graduating from Brigham Young University law school, he spent four months in Washington, D.C. before returning to Kansas to accept a position as a briefing attorney for a triple murder case in Wichita. That experience, working with the Chief Public Defender, was transformative and led to a career advocating for the rights of individuals who are indigent.
When not working, Kurt enjoys serving his alma mater as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Council. He also serves his fraternity at KSU on the Board of Directors, and his national fraternity as a member of the Board of Trustees. Other interests include sports, fitness training, studying Spanish and travel. However, Kurt has a passion for reading and book collecting, owning a personal library with over 6,000 volumes.