At first glance, it might not seem like the most natural transition. Shakespearean actors tired of the low pay are supposed to become graphic designers or teachers, not lawyers, right?
Not necessarily, says employment law litigator, Matthew Ellis. The Emerson College graduate - who followed his 1998 BFA in acting with a five-year stint in New York - says the progression from acting to litigation was remarkably fluid. "Actors are at their best when they're authentic and believable," the Seattle-raised Matthew explains. "I think that's also what makes a good trial lawyer. ... It's not just being conscious of your voice and movement, it's about telling a story that resonates with people on a very basic, true, and honest level."
Just as importantly, Matthew boasts a receptive, open-minded approach that makes him popular with clients. "A lot of times, people come to attorneys when they are at their worst," he says. "Often, no one has truly listened to them. I try to focus on listening and being present, because everyone has a story to tell."
Matthew's conversion from actor to attorney wasn't immediate. While trying to put together a piecemeal acting career in New York and Boston, performing mainly Shakespearean roles, he worked as a writer at a rock music website in Brooklyn that went under during the tech crash, and as a content manager/technical project manager in the marketing group at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. After a post-September 11th bout of soul searching, he and his modern dancer wife moved to Portland so he could attend law school and she could pursue a career as a high school counselor.
Specializing in employment law and civil rights law, Matthew and his wife spend much of their spare time at their home in Northeast Portland trying to get their kids to each their vegatables and brush their teeth.
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Matt is an intelligent, insightful, and generous professional. In addition to the excellent service he provides his clients, he contributes his time and energy to improving the overall state of the legal community and our system of justice. Both his colleagues and his clients are lucky to have his guidance.
Michael Owens Employment & Labor Attorney
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Rising Star||Super Lawyers||2015|
|Rising Star||Super Lawyers||2014|
|Rising Star||Super Lawyers||2012|
|Attorney||Law Office of Matthew C. Ellis||2013 - Present|
|Attorney||Kell Alterman & Runstein, LLP||2007 - 2013|
|Content Manager / Consultant||Pfizer Pharmaceuticals||2001 - 2004|
|Music Writer||Gigmania.com||1999 - 2000|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Multnomah Bar Association, Professionalism Committee||Member||2014 - Present|
|Oregon State Bar, Civil Rights Section||Executive Committee Member||2012 - Present|
|Owen M. Panner American Inn of Court||N/A||2008 - Present|
|Oregon Trial Lawyers Association||N/A||2007 - Present|
|Hunt v. City of Portland||N/A|
|Britton v. City of Canby||N/A|
|Kroninger v. Federal Express||N/A|
|See all legal cases|
|Lewis & Clark Northwestern Law School||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||2007|
|OTLA Employment Section||Theater Tricks for Trial Lawyers||2015|
|MBA Professionalism Section||Professionalism for Newer Lawyers-Speaker||2015|
|Professionalism for Newer Lawyers||Professionalism for Newer Lawyers- Panel Moderator||2014|
|Oregon State Bar, Civil Rights Section - Brown Bag Lunch||Fair Housing Act Overview||2014|
|Fair Housing Counsel of Oregon||Fair Housing Act Design and Construction||2014|
|Understanding Community Mental Health: Perspective from Courts, Advocates and Providers||Mental Health||2013|
|Oregon Trial Lawyer Association, Employment Committee||Everything you've always wanted to know about First Amendment Rights for Public Employees but were Afraid to Ask.||2013|
|Fair Housing Council of Oregon Attorney Lunch||Fair Housing Design and Construction Overview||2013|