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Contact Michelle

3400 U.S. Bancorp Tower
111 S.W. Fifth Avenue
Portland, OR 97204
T: 503.224.5858

Michelle Barton Smigel


Michelle Barton Smigel is a partner and trial lawyer specializing in business litigation, employment law, and education law. Michelle has extensive experience arguing substantive motions such as motions for summary judgment and regularly represents clients in state and federal jury trials. She has also taken and defended approximately 100 depositions. Michelle believes in helping clients reach business solutions for legal disputes whenever possible but is passionate about being willing and able to represent clients aggressively and efficiently in the legal process up to and including trial in order to defend their rights.

Michelle has a breadth and variety of litigation experience in complex commercial disputes involving insurance coverage, contracts, energy, patent, and products liability. She has additional expertise in representing both K-12 and higher educational institutions and a special interest in working with Portland's vibrant and growing tech community.

Michelle has been recognized in Oregon Super Lawyers magazine as a Rising Star. She previously clerked for the Honorable Frederick J. Martone, United States District Court, District of Arizona.

Representative Experience

Michelle successfully represented the University of Oregon in the jury trial of a Title IX claim in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and obtained a directed verdict in favor of the University on the third day of trial.
Our client, a state university, won a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which held that a tenured professor failed to establish a constitutionally protected property right to continue as Project Director of a federal grant. The Ninth Circuit upheld the decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington. Michelle argued the matter in front of the District Court.
Our client Portland Public School District won a jury verdict after a four-week trial, defeating claims by a former administrator who alleged "whistleblower" retaliation, defamation, "false light," battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress when her position was eliminated after she raised concerns about safety in special education programs.
Successful defense of federal court action to recognize and enforce arbitral award rendered by a provincial Chinese arbitration institution. Foreign arbitration awards are enforceable in the United States under the New York Convention and their enforceability is difficult to challenge. Defended on the basis of lack of due process because all communications from the arbitral proceeding were in Mandarin, a language that the client did not know. This was a very significant decision nationally and internationally. Michelle argued the matter in front of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.
Obtained jury verdict in favor of employer in lawsuit asserting disability discrimination, workers' compensation discrimination, and violation of whistleblower statute.