Barran Liebman

Paula Barran

Paula A. Barran

Barran Liebman LLP
601 SW 2nd Avenue, Suite 2300
Portland, Oregon 97204

Direct Dial: 503-276-2143
Fax: 503-274-1212

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Paula Barran, a founding partner at Barran Liebman, has been practicing labor and employment law since 1980. She has written extensively on management law and is a national speaker and trainer. In addition to providing employer advice, Paula handles employment litigation in state and federal courts, and labor disputes and employment arbitrations. Additionally, she develops and presents "train the trainer" programs to introduce comprehensive and cost effective, training programs into workplaces. Since the first publication of the Oregon Super Lawyers magazine in 2006, Paula has repeatedly been named as a "Top Ten Lawyer" in Oregon. In 2008 and 2010, she was honored as the "Top Point Getter" for the year. Since 2003, Paula has been ranked #1 (with partners Ed Harnden and Rick Liebman) for Labor and Employment Law defense in the State of Oregon by Chambers & Partners USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers. She is also a fellow of The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and has been named in US News' Best Lawyers' directory since 1995. Best Lawyers named Paula as their 2014 Portland, Oregon Employment Law - Management "Lawyer of the Year." She is currently admitted to practice in Oregon and Washington. Before, she was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; U.S. District Court, District of Oregon and U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Washington. Paula received her B.A. from the College of William and Mary, M.A. from Cornell University, Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, J.D., with honors, from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, and M.B.A. degree from the University of Oregon Executive program. Paula has also earned an ATIXA Title IX Coordinator Certificate. In addition to her labor and employment practice, she represents colleges and universities on wide ranging compliance issues including institutional obligations under Title VI, Title IX, and VAWA.

Representative Matters

  • Counsel, Nike v. City of Beaverton. We represent the City in litigation over the largest public records request known to date.
  • Counsel, Baynton v. Port of Portland. We represent the Port in litigation related to its 2004 reduction in force.
  • Counsel to The Oregonian in Byer v. Oregonian. Summary judgment was granted on claims of wrongful termination, fraud, and retaliation and a defense verdict after a jury trial on claims of gender discrimination.
  • Lead counsel to Tri-County Metropolitan Transit District in Midgett v. Tri-Met. Summary judgment was granted on claims relating to accessibility under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Counsel to Rexam Graphics in AWPPW v. Rexam Graphics. Judgment was granted in favor of our client in a suit to vacate an arbitration award under a labor agreement.
  • Co-counsel in Bonnichsen et al. v. U.S. Department of Army Corps of Engineers (Kennewick Man), representing eight anthropologists opposing efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repatriate a 9,300-year-old skeleton and seeking study rights to the remains.

Professional Experience and Affiliations

  • Portland Human Resource Management Association, General Counsel (2016)
  • Super Lawyers National Advisory Board (2014-present)
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Senior Fellow
  • American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • American Bar Association, Individual Employment Rights Section
  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow of the College, Inducted 2005
  • Education Law Association (2014-present)
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys (2013-present)
  • Association of Title IX Administrators, Member (2012-present); Northwest Chapter, Board of Directors, Member (2015-present)
  • National Association of Professional Women (2015-present)
  • NW EEO/Affirmative Action Association, Member (2015-present)
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Society for Human Resources Management, Northwest Chapter, Counsel (1998-1999)
  • Pacific Printing and Imaging Association
  • Oregon State Bar, Labor Section
  • Oregon Women Lawyers, Member, 2012 Rainmaking Mentoring Circle
  • American Association of University Women, Member
  • U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society, Member
  • Willamette University, Adjunct Professor - Labor Law (2000-2001)
  • Children's Cancer Association, Board Member (2009-present)
  • Canadian American Bar Association (2009-present)


  • Included in Human Resource Executive magazine’s “Nation’s Most Powerful Employment Attorneys” list (2015)
  • Listed in Chambers & Partners USA, ranked #1 for Labor and Employment Law defense in the State of Oregon (2003-present)
  • Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers In America (1995-present); Named Portland, Oregon Employment Law - Management Lawyer of the Year (2014)
  • Listed in Oregon Super Lawyers, Top Ten Lawyers in Oregon (2003-present); Top Point Getter (2008 & 2010)
  • Listed in Human Resource Executive/Lawdragon 500 as a 100 Most Powerful Corporate Employment Lawyer (2011-present)
  • Portland Business Journal Orchid Award Recipient and Woman Executive of the Year, Entrepreneur Category Winner (2009)

Featured Presentations

  • 03/30/2016 - We Have Your Interests at Heart: Teaching Memoir in the Era of Mandatory Reporting - 2016 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference & Bookfair - Los Angeles, CA - Invited
  • 10/23/2015 - Legal Mandates for K-12 through Higher Education - Northwest Association of Title IX Administrators Fall 2015 Annual Conference
  • 10/20/2015 - Panelist, A New Paradigm for Paying Part-Time Coaches: FLSA Law and Small College Athletics - Athledify Masterminds Live Online
  • 10/14/2015 - Medical & Recreational Marijuana: A "Budding" Workplace Safety Issue - 2015 Southern Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Conference - Ashland, Oregon
  • 10/06/2015 - Do It Yourself HR: Complaints & Investigations - NHRMA 2015 Conference & Tradeshow
  • 09/24/2015 - The Empire Strikes Back: Five Rebels, Five Stories, Five Lessons - Barran Liebman Annual Seminar
  • 08/06/2015 - Recreational Marijuana and the Workplace - Oregon State University Alumni Association
  • 05/28/2015 - Employment Practices CLE - Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund
  • 05/07/2015 - Challenges for Employers: Legalized Marijuana, Impairment Concerns and Workplace Safety - SAIF's Annual Agent Education Symposium
  • 04/08/2015 - Legal Triage - University of Oregon Professional Development Center
  • 02/18/2015 - Marijuana Legislation Affecting Employers - National Association of Women in Construction, Salem Chapter
  • 02/18/2015 - Medical and Recreational Marijuana in the Workplace - American Association of Occupational Health Nurses Webinar
  • 02/12/2015 - Religion, Disability & Accommodation - NW EEO/Affirmative Action Association
  • 10/24/2014 - Hot Topics: Legal Updates for HR Professionals in Higher Ed - CUPA-HR Fall Conference
  • 10/14/2014 - Domestic Violence in the Workplace: An Approach for School Personnel Administrators - American Association of School Personnel Administrators Annual Conference
  • 09/26/2014 - Stairway to Heaven: Keeping the Faith at Work - Barran Liebman Annual Seminar
  • 08/21/2014 - Court Decisions for Public Employers - Local Government Personnel Institute
  • 07/18/2014 - Title IX - Oregon Community Colleges Professional Development Conference
  • 06/19/2014 - Meeting the Training Obligations of the VEVRAA (Veterans) & 503 (Disability) Regulations: A New Train the Trainer Program for Federal Contractors - Barran Liebman Seminar
  • 04/07/2014 - Mentor, Portland Business Journal Bizwomen Mentoring Event
  • 11/13/2013 - Why Sports Fans Everywhere Should Care About Title IX - Rotary Club of Vancouver
  • 10/22/2013 - Leadership Lessons: Bridging the Gap - Southwest Washington Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference
  • 10/16/2013 - Legal Whack-A-Mole Panel on Student Privacy and FERPA - National Scholarship Providers Association Annual Conference
  • 10/11/2013 - Drugs In The Workplace: What Every Employer Needs To Know - National Human Resource Management Association 2013 Conference & Tradeshow
  • 09/26/2013 - Managing Telework - Barran Liebman Annual Seminar
  • 09/19/2013 - Panelist - DJC Women's Business Expo & Conference
  • 08/22/2013 - Annual Employment Law Update - Local Government Personnel Institute Annual Conference
  • 06/11/2013 - Misconduct Caused by Disabilities and Settling Disputes - Strategic HR Peer Groups Roundtable Discussion
  • 05/31/2013 - Workplace Violence - Oregon Law Institute of Lewis & Clark 2013 Annual Employment Law Update
  • 05/22/2013 - Moderator, Don't Shoot the Messenger: When You Need to Deliver Difficult News -Barran Liebman Seminar
  • 05/15/2013 - eDiscovery - A Symantec Webinar
  • 05/15/2013 - Leadership Lessons: Bridging the Gap - Portland Human Resource Management Association 2013 Strategic HR Management Conference
  • 04/05/2013 - HR's Role Within Title IX - Oregon Chapter CUPA-HR Spring Conference
  • 11/02/2012 - How to Settle Cases and Complaints and Still Come Out Ahead - Willamette Valley Higher Education HR Consortium
  • 11/02/2012 - Discipline, Discharge & Documentation - Willamette Valley Higher Education HR Consortium
  • 10/26/2012 - Marijuana: A Workplace Perspective - Portland Employer Drug-Free Initiative Breakfast Forum
  • 10/17/2012 - Bullying in the Workplace - Annual Business Health Services Workplace Health & Safety Conference
  • 09/27/2012 - Bad Conduct Caused By a Disability - Barran Liebman Annual Seminar
  • 08/22/2012 - Recent Court Decisions for Public Employers - Local Government Personnel Institute (LGPI) Annual Conference
  • 03/21/2012 - Settlement Strategies and Agreements: How to Settle and Still Come Out Ahead - Southwest Washington Human Resource Management Association
  • 03/13/2012 - Settlement Strategies and Agreements: How to Settle and Still Come Out Ahead - Southwest Washington Human Resource Management Association
  • 03/06/2012 - How to Settle & Still Come Out Ahead - Barran Liebman Food For Thought Breakfast Seminar
  • 11/07/2011 - Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - The Mark & Dave Show on KEX 1190
  • 11/04/2011 - Understanding Employee Rights - Northwest College of Construction: Construction Law Clinic
  • 10/17/2011 - Unions and Other Concerted Activity - Northwest College of Construction: Construction Law Clinic
  • 10/14/2011 - Medical Marijuana in Oregon - OARP Fall Conference "Venturing Outside the Norm"
  • 10/06/2011 - Regulatory Reform - Associated Oregon Industries: Oregon Business Policy Forum
  • 09/22/2011 - Barran Liebman Annual Seminar - Policies That Don't Belong in Your Handbook.
  • 08/24/2011 - Everything I Know About Employment Law I Learned in Kindergarten: Lessons From The Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals - 36th Annual Local Government Personnel Institute Conference
  • 06/24/2011 - Whither Women of Wal-Mart, as heard on OPB's Think Out Loud
  • 06/15/2011 - Train the Trainer: Bullying in the Workplace - The Southwest Washington Human Resource Management Association (SWHRMA) Meeting
  • 06/06/2011 - Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act: An Employer's Guide to Compliance -Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) Conference
  • 06/01/2011 - Medical Marijuana: Abuse and Key Legal Issues - Risk & Insurance Management Society: Oregon Chapter's Managing Risks Amidst Economic Chaos Education Day.
  • 04/05/2011 - Bullying in the Workplace - Metro East Employer Council - Oregon Employment Department
  • 03/07/2011 - Drugs, Alcohol, and Medication in the Workplace - The Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety & Health (GOSH) Conference
  • 01/11/2011 - Bullying In The Workplace - Southwest Washington Human Resources Management Association Luncheon Seminar
  • 12/07/2010 - Train the Trainer Program: Bullying in the Workplace - Barran Liebman LLP Food For Thought Breakfast Seminar
  • 12/02/2010 - Back to Basics - An Update On Human Resource & Employment Law Issues - SAIF Webinar
  • 02/13/2010 - Substance Abuse in the Workplace - Oregon Employer Council Annual State Conference for Business
  • 12/01/2009 - Understanding the New Limitations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act - Barran Liebman LLP Food for Thought Breakfast Seminar
  • 11/11/2009 - A Roadmap to a Clean & Sober Workforce
  • 11/09/2009 - Workplace Substance Abuse
  • 11/03/2009 - Train the Trainer Program: How to Train Supervisors About Leave Laws - Barran Liebman LLP Food for Thought Breakfast Seminar
  • 10/29/2009 - Privacy and Security Issues of Employers
  • 10/28/2009 - Making Sense of Alcohol Policies & Testing
  • 10/22/2009 - Alcohol & Mediation: A Roadmap to a Clean & Sober Workplace - Pacific Printing Industries Webinar
  • 10/16/2008 - Privacy and Confidentiality in the Workplace
  • 09/30/2009 - NHRMA 71st Annual Conference & Tradeshow
  • 09/17/2009 - A Compass to Steer By: Avoidance and Early Resolution - Barran Liebman Annual Seminar
  • 09/09/2009 - From the Courts: Employment Law Update - 2009 LGPI Annual Conference
  • 08/19/2009 - Drugs, Crime and Medical Marijuana
  • 06/15/2009 - Legal Aspects of Workplace Violence
  • 05/01/2009 - Mistakes to Avoid When Firing an Employee
  • 04/28/2009 - How to Manage During a Downturn
  • 04/02/2009 - Managing Prescription Drugs & Medical Marijuana in the Workplace
  • 03/10/2009 - CHO Group Series
  • 01/13/2009 - Central Oregon Breakfast Seminar Series
  • 09/25/2008 - 2008 Barran Liebman Annual Seminar
  • 09/12/2008 - Drugs, Alcohol, & Medications: A Roadmap to a Clean & Sober Workforce
  • 09/11/2008 - How to Reduce Liability with Employee-Related Matters & Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace
  • 01/16/2008 - Navigating Substance Abuse: The Need for a Legislative Solution
  • 10/23/2007 - Bend Chamber Series Interactive Training
  • 10/18/2007 - National Restaurant Association Executive HR Conference
  • 10/03/2007 - Case Law Update - LGPI Annual Conference

Featured Publications

Bar Admissions

  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court, District of Western Washington
  • U.S. District Court, District of Eastern Washington
  • U.S. Supreme Court



  • University of Oregon (M.B.A., Oregon Executive MBA Program, 1991)
  • Osgoode Hall, York University (J.D., with honors, Silver Medal, 1979)
  • University of British Columbia (Ph.D., 1976)
  • Cornell University (M.A., 1973)
  • College of William and Mary (B.A., summa cum laude, 1971)
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • ATIXA Title IX Coordinator and Administrator Certificate
  • Certificate, Title IX Investigator Training School (2013)

Be sure to visit the Daily Journal of Commerce, where Paula Barran is a contributing writer on current employment law issues, trends and changes in the law.

Click here to read an article from the Gresham Outlook where Paula Barran discusses Medical Marijuana laws.

Paula Barran has been named to Best Lawyers Our 5 founding partners have practiced together for over 35 years.

Paula’s "reputation in this state is as good as it gets." She is “excellent” and “outstanding.

- Client Interview
Chambers & Partners USA

“Paula has strong knowledge, gives good common sense advice, is smart and has a great sense of humor. She is timely and passionate, and she delivers all this for a fair price. I would give her 5 out of 5 stars."

- Client Interview
Best Lawyers

Barran Liebman LLP

601 SW 2nd Avenue | Suite 2300 | Portland, Oregon 97204 | Tel. 503.228.0500 | Fax 503.274.1212

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