About Kelly Clark
Kelly Clark is a trial and appellate lawyer representing individuals, families and businesses against large or powerful institutions, public and private. He is recognized for his courtroom skills, for his knowledge of public and constitutional law, and for his tenacious and creative litigation strategies. A former two term legislator, as of 2009 Mr. Clark has practiced before or against some 85 federal, state and local government agencies. He has brought cases in state and federal court on civil rights, voting rights, education rights—including pioneering wins for charter schools—as well as cases on religious liberty, free speech and property rights. He has been legal counsel to numerous political campaigns, including legislative, congressional and gubernatorial candidates.
Kelly has frequently handled cases of public interest: in 2007-08, capping over a dozen years of work on the Catholic priest abuse scandals, representing over forty sexual abuse survivors with claims in the Portland Archdiocese bankruptcy; Since 2005, challenging the expansion of casinos in Oregon, including the Florence casino and the proposed Columbia Gorge casino—and winning a key victory at the Oregon Supreme Court in 2009 in the Florence case; and, in 2004, in the volatile “gay marriage” controversy, Kelly represented those opposed to Multnomah County’s redefinition of marriage —not because of any anti-gay animus, but because of the clearly illegal process used by the County– and earned a unanimous win before the Oregon Supreme Court.
Most centrally, Kelly Clark for over 15 years has been one of the West Coast’s leading advocates for victims of child abuse: first while in the Legislature, co-authoring Oregon’s child abuse statute of limitations and the ban on child pornography, and since then representing over 200 individuals abused as children by trusted adults, including priests, ministers, coaches, Scout leaders, teachers and police officers. The 1999 win against the Archdiocese of Portland in the Oregon Supreme Court gained national attention for its landmark theory of liability for “institutions of trust” whose employees abuse children. A 2008 win in the Supreme Court against a local police agency agency was significant for its elimination of special immunities in the law for governmental child abusers and their employers.
Mr. Clark is active in community and charitable endeavors, is a sometime adjunct Professor at
Often asked to lecture and teach effective public speaking, Mr. Clark is frequently in demand as a speaker and writer on law and public policy.