Executive Committee Bios

 

LISA AMATO (Chair)

Lisa Amato is a mediator and the owner of Amato Mediation. She is a native Oregonian and graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 1991.

Lisa began her legal career in insurance defense and continued her litigation career through 2016. Prior to transitioning to mediation, she represented clients in employment litigation, commercial litigation, and personal injury, and litigated cases in Oregon and Washington to jury verdict in state and federal courts. Her mediation practice is founded on understanding the nature of the litigation or dispute from each party’s perspective, and creating a process through which they can craft a resolution that makes sense to them.

Lisa has mediated well over 150 cases covering a wide variety of substantive issues, including in employment, civil commercial, personal injury, probate and elder litigation, and closely held businesses and partnerships. When she is not mediating, she digs deep into mediation techniques and strategies, writes and creates presentations. When not absorbed in moving parties toward resolution, Lisa enjoys riding her mountain bike, hiking and fly fishing.


ARUNA MASIH (Chair-Elect)

Aruna Masih is a partner with the law firm of Bennett, Hartman, Morris & Kaplan LLP, where she practices civil rights and labor and employment law from the union/employee side. She was born in New York but raised in India by medical missionary parents. She earned her undergraduate degree in International Relations and French from Wellesley College and her law degree from Tulane University and Creighton University School of Law. She chose the area of civil rights and labor and employment law as a specialty to help working people and to promote international human rights and labor standards. Over the last decade, she has also been a part of her firm’s Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) team, representing the PERS Coalition of unions and public employees in their fight to preserve retirement benefits before the legislature and the courts. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Women Lawyers and has previously served as an Officer and on the Board of the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association and the Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation.


SARAH K. DRESHER (Past-Chair)

Sarah Drescher is a partner at Tedesco Law Group. She provides daily counsel to labor organizations and specializes in resolving labor disputes before labor arbitrators, the Oregon Employment Relations Board, and the National Labor Relations Board. In addition to advising clients on labor relations matters, Sarah handles contract negotiations, unit representation petitions, labor arbitrations, and unfair labor practice proceedings.

Sarah also regularly appears before the Oregon appellate courts and the Oregon Legislature as an advocate for labor organizations. She frequently speaks at labor relations conferences on a variety of labor topics, including employee discipline, grievance processing, union representation responsibilities, and unfair labor practices. Prior to joining Tedesco Law Group, Sarah practiced civil rights litigation.


KYLE ABRAHAM (Secretary)

Kyle Abraham represents management in both traditional labor and employment law matters. He works with businesses of all sizes, government entities, and not-for-profit organizations. Kyle’s labor practice includes negotiating collective bargaining agreements and representing employers before labor arbitrators, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Oregon Employment Relations Board. In his employment law practice, Kyle works closely with employers to develop effective workplace policies and provide proactive advice and counsel, and he defends employers involved in litigation. Kyle is an experienced litigator who has successfully represented clients before U.S. district courts, Oregon and Washington state courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries, and other state and federal agencies. Kyle leverages his experience to help employers anticipate and resolve problems at the earliest possible stage and in a cost-effective manner, with the confidence and experience to defend employers if the matter escalates to litigation.

Kyle also provides workplace training to human resource professionals, supervisors and employees, and regularly speaks at industry conferences on a variety of employment and labor issues.

In additional to his work with the Oregon State Bar, Labor and Employment Section, Kyle is a Director on the Portland Human Resource Management Association Board. Prior to joining Barran Liebman, he served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) and represented the Air Force in labor and employment matters around the world. Kyle continues his service as a JAG in the Oregon Air National Guard.


STEPHEN BRISCHETTO

Steve is a solo practitioner in private practice with a practice focused on employment and civil rights law. He practices in both the state and federal courts and handles both trials and appeals. He was admitted to the Indiana State Bar in 1977, the Oregon State Bar in 1978 and the Washington State Bar in 2002.


AMANDA GAMBLIN

Amanda Gamblin is a shareholder at Schwabe, Williamson and Wyatt where she offers practical advice for the unique employment issues that arise in the construction, transportation and maritime industries. Her advice integrates complex and often contradictory legal requirements with the business realities facing a workforce that may be deployed for extended periods, unionized, seasonal or transitory, and safety-conscious.

On those occasions when the employment relationship breaks down, Amanda represents employers in litigation, arbitration and administrative proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board and other state and federal agencies. Amanda has litigated large, complex class actions including wage and hour, race discrimination and Title III ADA disability cases.
Amanda also helps businesses create strategies that incentivize productivity while protecting company assets. These programs ensure her clients experience maximum value from future transition to a buyer or the next generation of employees.

Taking a proactive approach to employment problems, Amanda trains executives, managers, and directors to understand their legal obligations, recognize high-risk situations and balance the needs of the business with the rights of employees. Whether in litigation, strategic planning, or employment advice, Amanda is known for creative strategies that lead to positive business solutions.


SCOTT N. HUNT

Mr. Hunt started with the firm in 1992. A partner since 1997, he represents employees in wrongful discharge claims and all types of discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistleblowing actions as well as medical leave claims and unpaid wages.

In 1999 he argued Albertsons v. Kirkingberg, a seminal disability discrimination case, before the United States Supreme Court. Since then his primary focus has been on disability law. He has also argued before the Washington Supreme Court, the Oregon Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Many of those cases have resulted in significant appellate court rulings, including Head v. Glacier Northwest, 413 F.3d 1053 (9th Cir. 2005). His practice ranges from negotiating separation agreements for present employees, through all phases of state and federal trial litigation, to appellate work at all levels of the state and federal courts.

Mr. Hunt graduated from Northwest School of Law, Lewis and Clark College, magna cum laude, in 1992. Since then he has exclusively represented employees and former employees in civil litigation of employment law matters.

Mr. Hunt has been listed in The Best Lawyers In America for Labor and Employment Law, since 2007. He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in Oregon Super Lawyers from 2007 to the present, which is limited to only 5% of the attorneys in Oregon. Starting in 2010, he has been listed in Oregon Super Lawyers Top 50 attorneys each year. Martindale-Hubbell has awarded him an “AV rating”, its highest for legal ability and ethics.

In addition to his trial and appellate practice, Mr. Hunt is active in the Oregon State Bar continuing legal education program. He co-authored the “Reinstatement Rights of Injured and Disabled Workers” chapter of Workers Compensation (Oregon CLE, 1994), with his now partner, Richard C. Busse.

He is a frequent speaker on civil rights and employment law issues in general, with an emphasis on disability law. In addition to speaking at continuing legal education seminars, his bar activities include service on the following committees: Disability Section Executive Committee (2000-2002); Uniform Civil Jury Instructions Committee (2004 through 2006); the Civil Rights Section Executive Committee (2007 to 2009); and the Labor and Employment Section Executive Committee (2005 through 2006 and 2008 to the present). In 2010 he was appointed to The Bench and Bar Commission on Professionalism.


SALLY LAJOIE

Sally LaJoie is a State Mediator with the Oregon Employment Relations Board (ERB). As one of three mediators for the board, she assists public employers and employee organizations throughout Oregon resolve disputes concerning labor relations. She mediates cases to help resolve collective bargaining disputes, grievances under collective bargaining agreements, unfair labor practice cases and State Personnel Relations Law appeals. Sally also provides joint trainings for labor and management representatives, both for interest-based bargaining and Labor Management Committees, and provides facilitation services as needed.

Prior to joining ERB, she worked in labor relations for the Oregon Nurses Association, a professional nursing organization, representing nurses in collective bargaining and contract administration matters. Sally worked as a public affairs attorney at the Oregon State Bar in the law improvement and government relations program. She started her legal career in private practice representing clients in individual and class action claims for Wage and Hour, Family Medical Leave Act, Title VII and other employment related cases.
She received both her BS and JD from Willamette Law School in Salem.


PAUL M. OSTROFF

Paul M. Ostroff is a shareholder at Lane Powell PC where he provides advice and counsel to employers in all phases of labor and employment law, including collective bargaining, labor arbitration, union organizing campaigns, employment discrimination, discipline and discharge, wage and hour, employee benefits, drafting of policies and handbooks, ADA, FMLA, employment contracts, covenants not to compete, and occupational safety. He represents and advises clients in a variety of industries, such as retail, manufacturing, software, computer technology, health care, transportation, public utilities, hospitality, financial services and apparel. Paul regularly represents employers before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor. He received his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law, his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Paul is a member of the Oregon, California and Supreme Court bars.


ELIZABETH SEMLER

Elizabeth Semler assists clients in a broad range of business and employment matters. Elizabeth’s employment practice includes representing employers in court and before administrative agencies. She also provides advice, training and counsel to employers on a wide range of employment-related topics including: employee discipline and termination; issues related to competition and solicitation, and confidentiality; appropriate and effective employee documentation; harassment and discrimination investigations; medical, disability, and sick leave, wage and hour issues, and severance agreements. Elizabeth also represents parties in business disputes in federal and state courts and in arbitration, including disputes arising from contracts, restrictions on competition, franchises, intra-corporate relationships, and lender liability.

Elizabeth frequently writes and speaks on issues relating to employment law including, the federal and Oregon Family Leave Acts, Title VII and Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act (and corresponding Oregon statutes), and issues relating to independent contractors versus employees.


JENNIFER SUNG

Jennifer Sung currently serves as a member of the Employment Relations Board. Before joining the Board, she was a partner at McKanna Bishop Joffe, LLP, where she represented labor organizations and employees in civil litigation, arbitration and agency proceedings, contract negotiations, policy development, and professional licensing matters. Jennifer also worked for several years as a labor and employment attorney at Altshuler Berzon LLP, based in San Francisco, where she gained significant experience in class action and constitutional litigation. Jennifer served as a law clerk to Judge Betty Binns Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and completed a Skadden Fellowship at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she helped community organizations to advance economic justice policies. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked for several years as a union organizer, helping workers win union representation primarily through National Labor Relations Board elections. Jennifer is a graduate of Oberlin College and Yale Law School.


NATHAN A. S. SYKES

Mr. Sykes is the Deputy Metro Attorney in the Office of Metro Attorney located in Portland Oregon. Mr. Sykes represents the Metro regional government and the venues governed by the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission including the Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Expo Center. Mr. Sykes practices in the areas of labor and employment law, entertainment law, general government contracting and litigation. Mr. Sykes previously worked at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt in their Portland office and as an Attorney Advisor at the U.S. Department of Labor in San Francisco. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law.


DENNIS WESTLIND

Dennis Westlind is Senior Labor and Employment Counsel with Providence St. Joseph Health. As in-house counsel, he provides daily labor and employment advice, manages litigation, and acts as spokesperson during collective bargaining negotiations. Dennis also litigates grievance arbitrations, appears in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, and responds to charges and investigations before federal and state administrative agencies.

Dennis received his law degree from the University of Michigan in 2000. Prior to joining Providence, Dennis was a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group at Stoel Rives, and before that was an attorney with Tonkon Torp, both in Portland. Dennis received his Ph.D. from Lund University, Sweden in 1996, where his doctoral thesis analyzed the rhetoric of fringe political movements using discourse analysis techniques derived from continental post-structuralist thought of the 1960s and 1970s; the resulting period of unemployment explains why he went to law school two years later.


CHRISTINE FORD (Bar Liaison)

Christine Ford is the Director of Human Resources for the Oregon State Bar. She earned her BSBA and MBA from California State University – Hayward, focusing on HR Management and Economics. During her 35-year HR career, Christine worked in the music, manufacturing, education, entertainment, software development, insurance, and defense-related industries in California’s Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. She also worked as a consultant for large and small organizations in the USA and the United Kingdom, including Nike and Musicians Institute.

Ms. Ford volunteers her time as a Trustee for the Multnomah Bar Association Group Health Insurance Board of Trustees, as a Board Member for a non-profit organization, a mentor for young HR students and professionals, a teacher of job search skills for at-risk youth, and a dinner server at the Portland Rescue Mission. She has been asked to speak about HR-related topics for a variety of organizations including the ABA Lawyer Referral Service Workshops, the National Association of Bar Executives, the School of Business Administration at Portland State University, and the Convocation on Equality.

Christine has worked for the Oregon State Bar and served as the Bar Liaison for the Labor and Employment Section since moving to Portland, Oregon in 2003.