Nelson Hall

Contact Information:

Phone: (503) 227-4600
Fax: (503) 248-6800

Email: Click here »

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For those readers interested in traditional “bio” information, feel free to skip to the end. Otherwise, please enjoy the following bits and pieces of personal background that shed some light on who I am and how I practice law.

I was born in Crescent City, California (the nearest hospital) and raised in Curry County, Oregon the fourth of six sons of attorney and Judge Samuel A. Hall and schoolteacher Jeanie Trice Hall. I drove tractor and moved irrigation pipe at fourteen and set chokers in the woods at eighteen. I worked construction and in the woods to pay for my college education. Being raised in rural Oregon influences my work ethic as a lawyer and my ability to understand and appreciate my clients and their claims.

My work as a lawyer began in Portland in 1985, with my first jury trial in Federal court just weeks after becoming a new lawyer. My practice has always focused on representing individuals in personal injury cases and employment related claims. I write and argue cases in Oregon courts. I am a trial lawyer. I have represented hundreds of clients with workers’ compensation claims, cases involving injuries on the job caused by the negligence of third parties, vehicle accidents, medical malpractice lawsuits, “slip-and-fall” cases, and disability claims. These cases include serious permanent injury and death. I represent firefighters all across Oregon and take great pride in having drafted legislation that provides professional firefighters with a legal presumption that certain cancers are covered as work related claims. I work with doctors and specialists every day. Whether it is educating myself about a particular cancer or the forces applied to the human spine in a motor vehicle collision, I am motivated by the opportunities to learn. Getting to know my clients as individuals, educating them so they understand what is being done and why, and bringing them some degree of peace of mind – and, of course, justice – is why I do what I do every day.

I graduated from Oregon State University in 1977 and attended graduate school at Bowling Green State University, Ohio on a teaching assistantship. I met my wife, Patti Hennessy there. We have been married since 1979 and have two sons. We lived in Bakersfield, California for two years; Patti worked as a speech pathologist and I worked for the high school district in a “drop out” recovery program, then for a non-profit within the state prison system, as well as a bit of part-time teaching at the community college. Though I loved teaching and counseling, I grew up planning to be a lawyer, so in 1981 we moved “home to Oregon” where I attended Northwestern School of Law at night while working full time as a law clerk for a personal injury trial firm. I graduated with my law degree in 1985.

I practiced law with the personal injury firm until 1993 when I opened my own law practice. The ink had not even dried on my new stationary when Governor Barbara Roberts appointed me to the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board, where I served for five years, including two years as the Chair. I returned to the practice of law in 1998, joining my partners here at Bennett Hartman Morris and Kaplan. Not wanting to give up teaching altogether, I taught workers’ compensation law at my alma mater as a member of the adjunct faculty between 1994 and 2002.

Outside of work, I spend as much time as I can with my family; yard work is my chance to get my hands in dirt; I try to be self-sufficient and take care of my own home repairs and chores. I love baseball, though I was a lousy baseball player as a kid, and drive to Seattle to watch a few games each year. We still find a few weekends to camp and canoe each summer and we try to get down to my childhood home a time or two each year. As they say, you can take the kid out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the kid.

Admitted to Practice

Oregon Bar 09/1985


  • Northwestern School of Law Lewis & Clark College (J.D. 1985)
  • Bowling Green State University (Graduate studies and teaching assistantship, 1978-79)
  • Oregon State University (B.S., Speech Communication, 1977)

Prior Experience

Workers’ Compensation Board, Salem, OR
Appointed by Gov. Barbara Roberts
Member/Chair 1995-97
11/01/1993 to 10/01/1998

Pozzi, Wilson, Atchison, Attorneys at Law
Portland, OR
1981-85 – Law clerk
1985-93 – Attorney at Law

Professional/Volunteer Activities

Northwestern School of Law
Adjunct Faculty/Workers’ Compensation Law
1994 to 2002

Oregon State Bar:
Local Professional Responsibility Committee (Multnomah County)

Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
1997-2000 (Treasurer 1997, Chair 1999-2000);

Judicial Administration Committee
1996 (3-year term);

Workers’ Compensation Section
Treasurer 1992-93
Indigent Defense Task Force III

Multnomah Bar Association:
Ad hoc Committee on Professionalism 1986-1988

Oregon Dispute Resolution
Commission/Advisory Committee

Kids’ Chance of Oregon
Board of Directors


  • Oregon State Bar Torts, “Claims Arising from Employment”, 2000 Supplement and 2005 Revision
  • “Elements of Balance in a Worker’s Comp/Personal Injury Case” – Trial Lawyer Magazine, Fall 2013 Click here »

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