Bill Barton Trial Attorney

Bill is, by anyone’s description, one of the best plaintiff’s litigators in the country. He began his significant mark on the legal landscape by bringing the first suit against the Boy Scouts of America that did not settle out of court but went to trial—a landmark case that helped to break open the field of psychological injury. He went on to become the first attorney to sue the Vatican for sexual abuse by the clergy. Then he authored the book on psychological injury, sharing his knowledge and experience to the benefit of countless lawyers and their injured clients. He has practiced law for 45 years, continuing to try difficult and challenging cases, while remaining highly active in the professional community, serving on many boards, writing, and teaching. He has lectured on trial advocacy in 35 states and four countries, and testified as an expert witness in legal malpractice cases.

“I consider Bill to be one of the best, if not the best, trial attorney in the state of Oregon. And frankly that includes myself.”

—Bill Wheatley, Jacqua & Wheatley

Bill is a respected and admired adversary, receiving referrals from, and even being associated by, his past opponents. They say it’s because of his results, but also his commitment. “I’m angered and motivated most by the indifference of powerful interests,” he says. “I’m going to work my hardest to present the best case to the jury to get a good financial result for my client, first and foremost. They deserve nothing less. But it’s also about creating positive change. A big verdict sends a message that changes public policy and prevents others from being hurt.”

Bill and his wife, JoAnn, enjoy living on the Oregon Coast, escaping periodically to their downtown Portland condominium, and spending time with their adult children. He rides a custom-built chopper; supports myriad youth sports teams, schools, and scholarships, as well as nonprofits focused on kids, the environment, and the arts; and is the volunteer Life Coach to Portland State University’s men’s basketball team. test



  • Author, Recovering for Psychological Injuries, 3rd Edition


  • Certified by the Oregon Supreme Court as an Oregon Trial Courts Judge Pro-Tempore.


  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Oregon Chapter, Past President
  • Western Trial Lawyers Association, Past President
  • Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, Past President
  • American Association for Justice, Past Board of Governors, Past Chairman of the Child Abuse Litigation Group
  • American Bar Association, State Delegate, Oregon
  • Willamette University College of Law, Former Adjunct Faculty Member
  • Center for International Legal Studies, Faculty

Peer Recognition