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About me

I am a civil trial attorney and have litigated well over 150 cases through either jury trial or arbitration in State and Federal court.  My practice emphasizes municipal defense and consultation and general liability defense.  I regularly defend government entities including cities, counties and school districts.  My municipal practice includes defending law enforcement agencies -- both police officers and corrections officers -- in all manners of claims, but primarily for claims of civil rights violations. I defend school districts in all types of claims brought by students, parents of students, and others.  I also defend government entities in employment-related matters involving claims for violations of Federal, State or common law.  In the area of general liability defense, I regularly defend cases involving wrongful death, brain injuries, and other catastrophic injuries.

In my community, I have been very active in youth sports, serving as either head or assistant coach for approximately 20 girls’ soccer, softball and basketball teams, and have served on the boards of a number of community associations.


Practice areas


  1. State, Local And Municipal Law: 30%
    1 year
  2. Litigation: 30%
    1 year
  3. Wrongful Death: 20%
    1 year
  4. Employment & Labor: 15%
    1 year
  5. Arbitration: 5%
    1 year

Attorney endorsements

1 total 

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  • Ronald W Downs

    I have overseen a number of cases that Steve has defended on behalf of our public entity members. The members consistently report that Steve is thorough and keeps them up to date on strategy and issues. I have been very comfortable in his representing our members even when necessary to proceed to trial. Steve knows the courtroom and is not afraid to try a case; a rare trait these days.


    Ronald Downs Car Accidents Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

Contact info

Hart Wagner LLP

1000 SW Broadway
Suite 2000
Portland, OR, 97205-3070


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Best Lawyer - Personal Injury Litigation: DefendantsBest Lawyers in America2016
Oregon Super LawyerSuper Lawyers2015
Best Lawyer - Personal Injury Litigation: DefendantsBest Lawyers in America2015
Oregon Super Lawyer - Persona Injury Defense: GeneralSuper Lawyers2014
Best Lawyer - Personal Injury Litigation: DefendantsBest Lawyers in America2014
Best Lawyer - Personal Injury Litigation: DefendantsBest Lawyers in America2013
Oregon Super Lawyer - Personal Injury Defense: GeneralSuper Lawyers2013
Oregon Super Lawyer - Personal Injury Defense: GeneralSuper Lawyers2012
Oregon Super Lawyer - Personal Injury Defense: GeneralSuper Lawyers2011
Oregon Super Lawyer - Personal Injury Defense: GeneralSuper Lawyers2010
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Attorney and PartnerHart Wagner LLP1993 - Present
AttorneyCosgrave, Vergeer & Kester1988 - 1993
Police OfficerClackamas County Sheriff’s Office1981 - 1988
Police OfficerCity of Hubbard1979 - 1981
Association namePosition nameDuration
American Board of Trial AdvocatesAssociate Member2012 - Present
Portland City Club, Committee on Law and Public SafetyMemberN/A
Portland City Club, Subcommittee on Public SafetyChairmanN/A
Cascade Summit Homeowner’s AssociationMember, Board of DirectorsN/A
West Linn LibraryMember, Board of DirectorsN/A
Oregon State Bar, Civil Rights SectionExecutive Committee MemberN/A
Defense Research InstituteMemberN/A
Oregon Association of Defense CounselMemberN/A
Multnomah Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Oregon Police AcademyInstructorN/A
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Lewis & Clark Law SchoolN/AJD - Juris Doctor1988
Portland State UniversityN/ABS - Bachelor of Science1984
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Citycounty Insurance Services Annual Meeting & Risk Management ConferenceLegal Updates (General)2010