MARGARET S. OLNEY
I have always believed in the power of collective action to make a difference. From an early age, I have rooted for the underdog and empathized with those who are in pain or trouble, even when they are unpopular. So when I graduated from law school, I identified my ideal job as one where I could practice employment, labor and family law – three areas that have a very real and immediate impact on people, both personally and collectively.
I’ve been fortunate to have a practice that fulfills that vision and more. For nineteen years, I had my own firm, practicing labor, employment and family law. Over the years, I added a unique expertise in election law, advising unions and other progressive organizations like Basic Rights Oregon, Planned Parenthood and Our Oregon on a variety of issues arising out of Oregon’s initiative process. In 2009-2010, I left private practice to serve as Special Counsel to Attorney General John Kroger where I advised the Attorney General on election and administrative law issues and oversaw the Department of Justice’s work in the areas of child support and child welfare.
I returned to my roots in 2011, joining Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan to restart my election, labor, employment, and family law practices. I enjoy being engaged in policy discussions, while at the same time helping resolve concrete problems. I listen well, get the big picture, and then provide practical, strategic advice that seeks to resolve the immediate dispute in a manner that maintains long term relationships, whether between labor and management, or between parents with children. I not only provide the effective advocacy that the people I work with need, I also let them know that I care about them – it’s as important as the law.
Admitted to Practice
- Oregon State Bar: 1988
- Washington State Bar: 1988
- Northeastern University School of Law (J.D., 1987)
- Williams College, B.A., Political Economy 1981
- Special Counsel, Office of the Attorney General Oregon Department of Justice (2009 – 2010)
- Private Practice (1988-2009)
- Partner, Smith, Gamson, Diamond & Olney (1994-2008)
- Judicial Clerk for Judge Jonathan Newman, Oregon Court of Appeals (1987-88)
Oregon State Bar Labor and Employment Section
Oregon State Bar Family Law Section
Oregon Administrative Law Section
Oregon Women Lawyers
Washington Labor and Employment Law Section
AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee
Oregon Law Commission
Government Ethics Workgroup (2005-2007)
Juvenile Law Workgroup (2009-2010)
Oregon State Bar – Parenting Plan Workgroup; (2010)
State Family Law Advisory Committee (2009-2010)
Foster Care Review Team (2009-2010)
Joint Legislative-Judicial Task Force on Child Welfare (2009-2010)
- “Oregon Campaign Finance & Ballot Measure Guide,” Alliance for Justice; http://bolderadvocacy.org/navigate-the-rules/state-resources
- Legislative Update, OLI Annual Employment Law Update, 2013, 2014
- “Election Law and Government Ethics,” OSB Oregon Legislation Highlights, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008.
- “Meeting the Challenge of Inclusion: Strategies & Resources” Oregon Education Association, 1997, updated 2003.
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