Barbara A. Brainard

Attorney, Portland Office

Direct Dial: 503.499.4420

Practice Areas

Bar Admissions

  • Oregon, 1980
  • Washington, 2004 (inactive)

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon


  • Willamette University, College of Law - J.D., cum laude, 1983
  • Rutgers University - B.A., with high honors, 1976
  • Middlebury College
  • Wheaton College

Practice Experience

Barbara Brainard practices in all areas of employment law with an emphasis on Disability Discrimination and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) Compliance. Barbara represents private and public employers in all aspects of employment law, including class actions, wrongful discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, Sarbanes-Oxley and OSHA whistleblower charges, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs systemic cases and affirmative action compliance reviews, and administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, and Washington Labor and Industries Department of Labor wage/hour compliance agencies.

Barbara's clients include Fortune 500 manufacturing companies, retailers, technology companies, forest products companies, construction and supply defense contractors and subcontractors, hospital and health care institutions, agricultural companies and educational institutions.

Barbara employs a pro-active and business-oriented approach to reducing or eliminating her clients' risk of employment litigation. In each case, Barbara begins with a careful exploration of her client's business objectives, and her strategies emphasize preventative counseling, early settlement, and mediation planning.

Barbara has been named one of Oregon's top labor and employment lawyers by Chambers USA. In 2011, Chambers noted, "she really works with the client and helps to guide them towards good solutions." In 2010, Chambers said sources consider her "a hardworking attorney who dispenses sound advice." In 2009, they noted clients acknowledge "her great presence at hearings where she's always well prepared and respected." In 2006, Chambers she has "outstanding consulting skills . . . personable nature and thorough, flexible and professional approach."

Prior to entering private practice, Barbara was a Special Assistant Attorney General  and lead trial counsel at SAIF Corporation from 1980-1987.

Professional and Civic Involvement

  • American Bar Association (Member)
  • Multnomah Bar Association (Member; Former Board Member, Professionalism Committee)
  • Oregon Association of Defense Counsel (Member)
  • Federal Bar Association (Former National Board Member, Labor and Employment Section)
  • Oregon State Bar (Former Board Member, Disability Law Section)
  • Portland State University (Adjunct Faculty Member, Professional Development Center, Manufacturing 21 Coalition – Advanced EEO Law)
  • Oregon and Southwest Washington Industry Liaison Group (Chair)
  • Resource Media (Secretary, Board of Directors; Chair, Audit Committee, 2007-2013; Member, Management Committee)
  • Oregon Volunteers of America (Board of Directors, 2001-Present)
  • Middlebury College (Chair, Oregon Alumni Admissions Committee, 1998-2004)
  • St. Mary's Cathedral (Active Member)
  • Good Samaritan Hospital (Spiritual Outreach)
  • Pacifica Institute (Member, Board of Directors, 2009-Present)

Awards and Honors

  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© (2012, 2013 & 2014— Employment Law - Management)
  • AV® Preeminent™, Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named one of Oregon's top labor and employment lawyers by Chambers USA (2006-2016)

Publications and Presentations

For more than 30 years, Barbara has served as a frequent local and national lecturer on employment law issues at national client retreats, professional seminars, academic symposia, and college and university classes. Recent examples include:

  • Speaker, "OFCCP Compliance Update: From Regulations to Reality," Stoel Rives LLP Seminar (2013)
  • Speaker, "Responding to Agency Complaints," SHRM Oregon State Council Tenth Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference (2012)
  • Speaker, "The Bermuda Triangle: ADA, FMLA, Workers Compensation," Stoel Rives LLP Seminar (2011)