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About me

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.


Practice areas


  1. Sexual Harassment: 40%
    8 years
  2. Wrongful Termination: 35%
    8 years
  3. Civil Rights: 15%
    8 years
  4. Discrimination: 10%
    8 years


Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

2 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Kate Stebbins

    Matt is both an approachable and savvy counselor as well as a tenacious and fearless advocate for his clients.


    Kate Stebbins Personal injury Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Michael Owens

    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 and labor Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Law Office of Matthew C. Ellis

621 SW Morrison, Suite 1050
Portland, OR, 97205


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Rising StarSuper Lawyers2015
Rising StarSuper Lawyers2014
Rising StarSuper Lawyers2012
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyLaw Office of Matthew C. Ellis2013 - Present
AttorneyKell Alterman & Runstein, LLP2007 - 2013
Content Manager / ConsultantPfizer Pharmaceuticals2001 - 2004
Music WriterGigmania.com1999 - 2000
Association namePosition nameDuration
Multnomah Bar Association, Professionalism CommitteeMember2014 - Present
Oregon State Bar, Civil Rights SectionExecutive Committee Member2012 - Present
Owen M. Panner American Inn of CourtN/A2008 - Present
Oregon Trial Lawyers AssociationN/A2007 - Present
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Hunt v. City of PortlandN/A
Britton v. City of CanbyN/A
Kroninger v. Federal ExpressN/A
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Lewis & Clark Law SchoolLawJD - Juris Doctor2007
Emerson CollegeActingOther - Bachelors1998
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
OTLA Employment SectionTheater Tricks for Trial Lawyers2015
MBA Professionalism SectionProfessionalism for Newer Lawyers-Speaker2015
Professionalism for Newer LawyersProfessionalism for Newer Lawyers- Panel Moderator2014
Oregon State Bar, Civil Rights Section - Brown Bag LunchFair Housing Act Overview2014
Fair Housing Counsel of OregonFair Housing Act Design and Construction2014
Understanding Community Mental Health: Perspective from Courts, Advocates and ProvidersMental Health2013
Oregon Trial Lawyer Association, Employment CommitteeEverything 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 LunchFair Housing Design and Construction Overview2013