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 and state and federal court.

Business Disputes

Sometimes the best laid plans go astray and business find themselves at odds with competitors or other parties they deal with. Sometimes co-owners of businesses find themselves in disputes. I have helped many businesses and their owners resolve conflict when it arises. My goal is to find a solution that works for your business so that you can focus on making your business successful. My work in this area includes dispute resolution (negotiation and mediation) to contested proceedings in arbitration or court.

Real Estate Transactions and Litigation

My real estate work encompasses transactions and disputes. On the transaction side, I help clients with sales, purchases, and leases of residential and commercial property. On the dispute side, I represent landlords, tenants, sellers, and buyers when problems arise. I have always found my familiarity with both real estate transactions and disputes to be very beneficial. My knowledge of real estate disputes helps me avoid problems when putting together transactions. My knowledge of real estate transactions helps me find solutions to real estate disputes.

Collection Matters for Creditors

Collections problems can arise for even the best businesses. My goal when representing creditors is to make sure that they do not throw good money after bad. No one wants to spend more on collection efforts than they can realistically expect to collect. I try to design collection efforts to achieve the maximum return for the least amount of expense. My work in this area includes demand letters, litigation, enforcement of judgments with garnishment and other proceedings, and representing creditors in bankruptcy matters.

Appeals

Appellate practice is a very specialized area of law. My experience in clerking for two years at the Oregon Court of Appeals gave me rare insight into the appellate process. During that time, I helped two different judges research issues and decide cases. I am very familiar with the appellate process and the types of arguments that judges find persuasive.

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.