MICHAEL C. PETERSEN

“WHEN I GIVE ADVICE, I try to put myself in the [client’s] shoes. I try to understand the personalities of the parties and tailor my advice to each specific situation.”

About Me

I grew up in Great Falls, Montana, where I developed a love for outdoor activities. I met my wife during my freshman year at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. We started dating when we were 18 years old and have been together ever since. When I am not working, you will most likely find me with my wife cycling, downhill skiing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, or hiking.

I am also passionate about music, food, and travel. I love to play and listen to music. I have varied musical tastes, which run from hard rock to classical. With regard to food, I believe that Auguste Escoffier hit the nail on the head when he said, “Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.” I can find that happiness in great food from nearly any source—food cart to a five star restaurant. I am the chef in our household and love cooking.

My Legal Work

Management Side Employment Law

A main focus of my practice is providing employment law advice to employers. The employment relationship can be complex. It is governed not only by laws and regulations, but also personalities. When I give employment law advice, I try to put myself in the employer’s shoes. I try to understand the personalities of the parties and tailor my advice to each specific situation. I enjoy employment law because it gives me the opportunity to keep employers out of disputes and thereby add value to their businesses. When employers find themselves in legal disputes, I work hard to find creative solutions designed to resolve conflict quickly at the least amount of expense for employers. My work for employers ranges from human resources consultation and creation of policies and procedures to defense of employers at the Bureau of Labor and Industries, the United States Department of Labor, and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Business Law and Transactions

I assist clients in starting new business ventures whether they are corporations, partnerships, or limited liability companies.  I also provide advice to clients regarding governance of existing business entities.  Finally, I assist clients in purchasing or selling businesses.  My goal is to always find a solution that works for your business so that you can focus on making your business or specific transaction successful.

Real Estate Transactions

I regularly assist clients with sales, purchases, and leases of residential and commercial property in the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon.  As with my work for business clients, my goal is to put myself in the clients’ shoes and structure transactions how I would want them structured—as simple and straight-forward as possible.

Mediation and Arbitration

As the formal legal process becomes more time-consuming and expensive, alternative dispute mechanisms like mediation and arbitration continue to grow in popularity.  I perform work as a mediator helping parties reach settlement in employment cases, business cases, and real estate cases.  I also work as an arbitrator rendering decisions in contested matters relating to those areas of law.

Professional Activities and Community Involvement

Throughout my career, I have actively supported the local community. I recently helped start a non-profit for which I am a board member called the Salem Area Trail Alliance. Its focus is building sustainable multi-use trails in the Salem area. My other community activities have included the following:

  • Marion County Bar Association – Vice President
  • Salem Human Resources Management Association – Board Member
  • Salem Downtown Parking Advisory Board – Board Chair
  • Family Building Blocks – Board Member
  • Humane Society of the Willamette Valley – Board Chair
  • Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association – Board Chair
  • Capitol Velo Racing Club – Board Member

Education and Judicial Clerkship

  • Carroll College, Helena, Montana – B.A., magna cum laude (1991)
  • Willamette University College of Law – J.D., magna cum laude (1994), Class rank: 3.
  • Judicial Clerkship – The Honorable Rick Haselton and The Honorable Mary Deits, Oregon Court of Appeals, 1994-1996.