In the summer of 1965, Jonathan and Deanne Ater drove a Volkswagen bus from New Haven to Portland, where Jonathan had a clerkship with Chief Judge Gus Solomon. The next year, Jonathan started his law practice with the firm today known as Ater Wynne LLP. The firm’s history goes back to the legendary Portland lawyer, CES Wood, whose famous words surround the Skidmore Fountain: “Good citizens are the riches of a city.” Ater Wynne, under Jonathan’s chairmanship, is today one of Portland’s most celebrated law firms, with a long tradition of public service.
Two years into his law practice, Jonathan co-authored with Dick Nahstoll a 63-page City Club report “Racial Justice in Portland.” 1968 was not a good time for race relations in America. The City Club report was published two months after Martin Luther King was assassinated. It challenged the city’s political and business leadership in direct and blunt language that it was time to move past Oregon’s difficult race history and to create a new civic commitment to equality and opportunity.
That same year, when Barack Obama was 7 years old, Jonathan and Deanne - who already had three sons - adopted the first of their four mixed-race children, making their own personal commitment to racial equality. Today, the Ater children are artists, professors, businessmen, and civic activists in their own right. And, there are a posse of grandchildren who look like a Benneton commercial..
Jonathan grew up in Texas, where the schools were legally segregated until he entered high school and where he saw first hand the injustices of Jim Crow. He made a seamless transition from Amarillo High School to Yale College. He and Deanne met on a blind date when he was a freshman and she a senior in high school. They married at 20. He continued into the Yale Law School, where he was on the Law Journal and elected to the Order of the Coif, the legal equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa.
When Jonathan was 36, Governor Straub appointed him to the Board of Higher Education, where he served on the finance committee and traveled throughout Oregon to understand the important role of Oregon’s colleges and universities, and took a special interest in the future of OHSU, health care, and community organization.
In 1992, Governor Roberts’ appointed Jonathan to chair the newly chartered Commission on Children and Families, and he continued in that role under Governor Kitzhaber. Once again, he traveled throughout the state – to each of the 36 counties – to learn the importance of community organizations to meet the needs of Oregon’s families.
Governor Kulongoski turned to Jonathan to become co-chair of the Governor’s 2004 Mental Health Task Force and simultaneously become the vice-chair of the Oregon Health Policy Commission.
And, when SB 329 was passed by the 2007 Legislature, Governor Kulongoski again turned to Jonathan to join the Health Fund Board, where he is one of two vice chairs.
Jonathan also serves as a board member and former chair of the Albertina Kerr Foundation and the Metropolitan Public Defender. He is a board member of Axio Research LLC, a biostatistical and medical research company headquartered in Seattle. He continues an active law practice at Ater Wynne LLP, which is widely recognized as one of Oregon’s most admired professional firms.
Licensed since 1966
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|Award Name||Grantor||Date Granted|
|Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award||National Alliance on Mental Illness - Oregon Chapter||2010|
|Leadership Award||Oregon Business Association||2009|
|Presidential Citation for Leadership in Health Care||Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland||2007|
|Order of the Coif||Yale Law School||1965|
|Board of Editors||Yale Law Journal||1963|
|Best Lawyer, Health Care||Best Lawyers in America||N/A|
|SuperLawyer, Health Care||SuperLawyers||N/A|
|Partner and Chairman||Ater Wynne LLP||1966 - Present|
|Law Clerk||US District Judge Gus J. Solomon||1965 - 1966|
|Association Name||Position Name||Duration|
|Albertina Kerr Foundation||Chair||2007 - 2008|
|Oregon Health Fund Board||Vice-Chair||2007 - 2009|
|Axio Research LLC||Board Member||2006 - Present|
|Oregon Health Policy Commission||Vice-Chair||2004 - 2009|
|Oregon Governor's Mental Health Task Force||Co-chair||2003 - 2004|
|First Unitarian Church Foundation||Board Member||2003 - 2009|
|Metropolitan Public Defender, Inc.||Board Member||2002 - Present|
|Albertina Kerr Centers||Board Member||2002 - 2009|
|Oregon Commission on Children and Families||Chair||1994 - 1998|
|Oregon State Board of Higher Education||Member||1976 - 1980|
|Board of Bar Examiners||Vice-Chair||1973 - 1974|
|Board of Bar Examiners||Member||1971 - 1974|
|Oregon State Bar, Energy, Telecommunications & Utility Law Section||Member||N/A|
|Oregon State Bar, Affirmative Action Committee||Member||N/A|
|Oregon State Bar, Corporate Finance Section||Member||N/A|
|Multnomah Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|Oregon State Bar, Health Law Section||Member||N/A|
|American Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|The Oregonian||A double-edged win for all Oregonians||2009|
|Washington Healthcare News||Fixing Health Care: The Oregon Health Fund Board at Work||2008|
|Yale Alumni Class Notes||"Social Security and Medicare: Where's The Pony?"||2005|
|Yale Law School||N/A||LL.B - Bachelor of Laws||1965|
|Yale University||N/A||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1962|