Skip to main content

About me

For nearly as long as I can remember I have been drawn to far away places. I have vivid memories of standing on the couch in the first house I lived in in Eugene, Oregon, looking out the window at hills in the distance and imagining China was just on the other side. I wanted to go there.

The first trips I remember were train trips from Eugene to Berkeley where we would get off the train and then onto a ferry boat to take us to San Francisco. The story I was told was that when the ferry docked in San Francisco I grabbed a hold of a deck staunchion and refused to let go because I did not want to get off the boat.

My first real travel came in 1959 when my dad was lucky to get  a three-month sabbatical from his medical practice and took my mother, my sister and me to Europe for the summer. We flew via prop plane to New York, boarded the USS Independence bound for Naples, Italy. What a summer! We traveled from southern Italy through Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Scotland and England. In London we boarded a JET to travel back to Portland. That was just about the most exciting thing imaginable back then. On the flight home we saw the northern lights.

My next exciting adventure came after graduation from high school. My friend Michael McBurney and I received a graduation present that was just the best - a summer in Europe. It was a reprise of the trip I took three years earlier with my family. We flew to New York, boarded the USS Independence, this time bound for Genoa, Italy. There we picked up VW Beetle and drove through Europe. Needless to say it was quite an adventure for a couple of teenagers. We slept in all kinds of places and never spent more than a dollar or two for a nights lodging.

Four years later after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, still hungry for travel and adventure, I joined the
Peace Corps. I joined India 40 and was sent to India in 1966 where I
served for two years in a town called Vaijapur.  Instead of attending the final conference with the group I hopped on plane in New Delhi and flew to Kabul, Afghanistan. That remains the most exotic city I have ever seen. Surrounded by soaring peaks, making a smooth glide path impossible, the plane had to circle down to reach the airport. Signs painted on shop windows were in Greek, Sanskrit (Hindi), Farsi (Persian), English, and Chinese. I was told that there were still people of Greek heritage living in and around the city who claimed ancestry dating back to the time of Alexander the Great!

After a brief stay in Kabul, I flew back to Bombay. Since reading a series of books in junior high school written by Howard Pease about young men who travelled the world on tramp steamers during the depression I dreamed of becoming a merchant seaman. Being in Bombay provided the opportunity to fulfill that dream. There, I signed on a merchant ship as a "messman"
and worked my way back to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By paying union dues in Philadelphia, I became a member of the Seafarer's International Union and was able to get "seamans papers" from the United States Coast Guard.

I then flew back
to the West Coast and shipped out of Seattle, Washington and San
Francisco, California to a number of Pacific ports including Saigon, Cam
Ranh Bay, and Da Nang in Viet Nam, White Beach, Guam, Hong Kong,
Yokohama, Japan and Anchorage, Alaska. Ireally loved San Francisco and settled there briefly. Through a lucky connection I was able to get a job managing a waterbed store at
the corner of Bay and Hyde Streets. I don't think there was a better product to be selling in 1970 than water beds or a better place to be selling them than San Francisco. The store was only a few blocks from the famous Buena Vista Cafe where I often went for lunch (and an Irish coffee). I also worked as a bartender and
waiter at The Refectory in Walnut Creek. But by then I was tired of the nomadic life and ready to settle down and pursue more satisfying and meaningful life's work.

I entered law school at the
University of Oregon in Eugene in 1972. That was the end of travel and adventure but it did provide a whole different avenue of exploration.

I graduated with my JD in June of 1975. Thinking I would return to San Francisco to practice, I took the train to the San Francisco and studied for the California Bar. The day after taking the bar exam, I left the City and returned to Eugene and then quickly moved to Portland. Unfortunately the mellow atmosphere of the late 60's and early 70's had vanished with the advent of hard drugs like heroin and speed. The mood of the City had turned dark and violent. I quickly felt at home in Portland and in December 1975 I was notified that I had passed the California Bar Exam. At the time I was staying with an old friend Jim Kenin. His neighbor Charlie Crookham just happened to be a judge and he was kind enough to walk over and swear me in to the California over a glass of good Scotch.  

Waiting to take the Oregon bar I took a job working for the Civil Rights Division of the Bureau of Labor. Oregon offered a winter bar exam for the first time in February 1976. I took it, passed and was admitted to practice in Oregon in February 1976. I has been a
litigator since beginning work with the Metropolitan Public Defender
Services in July 1977. After three years trying cases in the state court
system, I moved to the Federal Public Defender's office. In
addition to a case load of federal criminal cases and state habeas corpus
cases, I was responsible for opening the first branch office of the Federal Defender in Eugene
and I was named Chief Deputy of the Federal Public Defender for the
District of Oregon in 1983.

I joined the law firm of Markowitz and Herbold in
1986 where  tried complex civil cases for thirteen years before
leaving to go "in house" with a Markowitz client to manage that client's
litigation nationally. Managing litigation was challenging and fun but
lacked the excitement and satisfaction of representing clients and
helping them solve problems through litigation so I returned to
private practice with another Portland firm. I am now a solo practioner
and continue to handle business litigation and counsel clients
regarding a variety of business issues.



Photos and videos

278010 1308328949

278010 1308327017

Practice areas


  1. Litigation: 50%
    39 years, 400 cases
  2. Lawsuits & Disputes: 25%
    41 years, 200 cases
  3. Arbitration: 15%
    30 years, 20 cases
  4. Contracts: 8%
    15 years, 90 cases
  5. Federal Crime: 2%
    36 years, 100 cases



Hourly ($310-340/hour), contingent (15-40%), Fixed (sometimes), Retainer (sometimes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

No endorsements

Endorsements from fellow lawyers are an important consideration for many when selecting the right attorney. Be the first to endorse your colleague!

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

Contact info

Hollis K McMilan, PC

805 SW Broadway, Ste 1900
Portland, OR, 97205


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Rated AV/PreeminentMartindale-Hubbell1996
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Founding PartnerHollis K. McMilan, P.C.2005 - Present
Special CounselFarleigh Wada Witt2000 - 2005
Director of LitigationHollywood Entertainment1999 - 2000
PartnerMarkowitz, Herbold, Glade & Mehlhaf, P.C.1986 - 1999
Chief DeputyFederal Defender for the District of Oregon1980 - 1986
Staff AttorneyMetropolitan Public Defender1977 - 1980
ConciliatorOregon State Bureau of Labor1976 - 1977
Waiter, Bookkeeper, BartenderRefectory Restaurant1970 - 1971
Merchant SeamanVarious Shipping Companies1968 - 1970
Volunteer India 40United States Peace Corps1966 - 1969
Association namePosition nameDuration
Thomas A. Edison High SchoolBoard of Directors2007 - Present
Multnomah Bar AssociationBoard of Directors2001 - Present
Oregon State BarN/A1976 - Present
State Bar of CaliforniaN/A1975 - Present
State Professional Responsibility BoardChairperson1999 - 2002
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Seaborg v. City of PortlandMediated favorable settlement
Skylane v. SteffeyNegotiated favorable settlement
The Hoffmann Group v. Khoo et al.Case dismissed
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Corporation Section of the OSB NewsletterCo-editor2007
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of TexasN/AOther - BachelorsN/A
University of Oregon School of LawN/AJD - Juris DoctorN/A