Susan’s practice focuses on litigation and appeals in state and federal courts. For more than 30 years, she has successfully represented business organizations, individuals, and governmental clients in disputes involving contracts, shareholder disputes, and many other areas.
How I Serve Clients
I believe a lawyer’s job is to take on our clients’ concerns and make them our own.
That means learning all about our clients’ world – their goals, their concerns, the ins-and-outs of their business, and the laws that affect them. It often requires the lawyer to master a body of complex technical or industry-specific information. An avid and lifelong learner, this is one of my favorite aspects of being a lawyer. Whether it’s diving into an esoteric area of technology to assist a client on an appeal, or learning the ways a policy or legislative action affects a client’s interests, a comprehensive understanding of the details enables us to bring our legal expertise to bear on the problem and to serve as the client’s voice. We focus on what is most important from a legal perspective and distill and simplify the message to make it understandable to the decision makers – the trial judge, jury, or appellate judges.
To be the best advocates, we work closely with our clients every step of the way—learning from them, hearing their concerns, and keeping them fully informed about their legal case—so they can exercise informed judgment about important decisions, safe in the knowledge that they are in good hands.
I consider it a great privilege to be a lawyer, to have the opportunity to get to know clients and to appreciate their expertise and accomplishments, and to help them achieve their goals.
- Oregon State Bar
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
- The Federal Circuit
- The United States Supreme Court
Professional RecognitionThe legal community has recognized Susan’s expertise, commitment to improving the legal profession, and service to the community with honors that include:
- The Hon. James M. Burns Federal Practice Award, given by the Oregon Chapter of the Federal Bar Association in recognition of her work to improve the practice of law in the United States District Court of Oregon
- The Award of Merit, given by the Multnomah Bar Association in recognition of Susan’s pro bono work in the disaster recovery centers on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina
- Named Best Lawyers® 2021 Appellate Practice “Lawyer of the Year” in Portland, Oregon
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for appellate practice and commercial litigation every year since 2009
- Designation as a Lifetime Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
- Inclusion in Super Lawyers® for business litigation or appellate law every year since 2006
- AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5.0 Peer Review Rated with Martindale-Hubbell®
- J.D., University of California – Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall) (1977).
- B.A. (Arts and Letters, minor - Economics), Portland State University (1974)
- After earning an Arabic Language Certificate at the Bourguiba Institute of Modern Languages in Tunis, Tunisia, Susan served as Associate Country Director for the Peace Corps in Yemen.
Representative Publications and PresentationsSusan has written numerous articles and has given various presentations, on matters of law at the trial court and appellate levels, and public policy. A few examples include:
- Writs of Review and Proceedings in Quo Warranto, Oregon Civil Pleading and Litigation, Oregon State Bar Legal Publications (© 2020) (with Erica R. Tatoian).
- Horton: The Remedy Clause and the Right to Jury Trial Provisions of the Oregon Constitution, 96 Or. L. Rev. 561 (2018).
- Presentation on “Business Break-ups,” for the Oregon State Bar’s Business Law Section CLE (November 5, 2015).
- Statutes of Limitations and Statutes of Repose, Torts, Oregon State Bar Legal Publications (© 2012).
- Presentation on “The Anatomy of a Derivative Action,” a Multnomah Bar Association Continuing Legal Education program (October 4, 2012).
- Special Writs: Writ of Review and Quo Warranto, Oregon Civil Pleading and Practice, Oregon State Bar Legal Publications (© 2012).
- Presentation on “Valuation Disputes in Commercial Cases: Litigation Strategy and Expert Advice,” a Multnomah Bar Association Legal Education program (June 8, 2011).
Professional Involvement & Community Service
- She served as a member of the amicus committee of the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel for more than a decade.
- She has served on the boards of the Lawyers Campaign for Equal Justice, which raises money to support legal aid services for indigent Oregonians, and the national Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Multnomah Bar Association, and the Multnomah Bar Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the Multnomah Bar Association.
- She served on the Local Rules Advisory Committee for the US District Court of Oregon for a decade and chaired the committee for three years.
- Susan served as Chair of the US Magistrate Selection Panel for the US District Court of Oregon in 2015.
- Save ACCESS Academy v. Multnomah County School District No. 1J, USDC (Oregon) case no. 3:18-cv-00928 (2018). Successfully defended the Portland Public Schools in federal court against motion for preliminary injunction based on claims under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other state and federal laws.
- City of Eugene v. Comcast of Oregon II, Inc., 359 Or 528 (2016). Successfully represented City of Eugene in obtaining Oregon Supreme Court ruling affirming the city’s right to collect a fee for using the public rights-of-way to provide broadband Internet access.
- James v. Clackamas County, 353 Or 431 (2013). Successfully represented Clackamas County in obtaining Oregon Supreme Court ruling affirming the right of the county to exercise its contractual right to modify retirement benefits.
- FLIR Systems, Inc. v. Gambaro, 486 Fed Appx 878 (Fed Cir 2012). Successfully represented publicly traded company in obtaining Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ affirmance of trial court judgment dismissing patent infringement claim.
- Confidential arbitration (2010). Successfully represented closely held company in arbitration of dispute over business valuation in forced buy-out of shareholder under ORS 60.952.
- Ram Tech, Inc. v. Koresko, 346 Or 215 (2009). Successfully represented closely held business and its owners in obtaining Oregon Supreme Court’s reversal of trial court judgment dismissing fraud claim.
- Fields v. Coe Manufacturing Company, USDC (Oregon), No. CV 02 1025 AA and Fields v. Three Cities Research, Inc. et al., No CV 02 975 AA (2005). Successfully represented former CEO and sole shareholder in federal court trial of dispute over his sale of the company.