Laura is equally adept at advocating for her clients in the courtroom and advising them in the boardroom. She brings a trial lawyer’s perspective to employment disputes, which enables her to quickly get to the heart of legal issues and develop a strategy to solve often-complex problems. A natural “people person,” Laura communicates effectively with business owners, opposing counsel, and judges. One of her clients recently said "Laura provided good counsel in the negotiation of a complicated retirement agreement. Her assistance was done in a timely manner, on budget, with outstanding client service. Her advocacy led to a successful outcome for my case." Another business owner Laura represented in enforcing a noncompetition agreement commented, "We got a speedy resolution that met our objectives. I am so impressed with the help she provided." Laura is also an ardent advocate. As one client put it "When life throws you a curve ball, grab a bat and swing! Thanks Laura for being our bat."
Laura has significant experience in state and federal courts, mediations, and arbitrations. She has first-chair jury trial experience, has taken and defended numerous depositions, and has argued key pretrial and dispositive motions.
Laura has given more than 50 presentations and continuing education courses on various topics, including general employment law, anti-discrimination and harassment, social media in the workplace, and pay equity. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, named a Rising Star by Oregon Super Lawyers for the past six years, honored by the University of Oregon School of Law as an Outstanding Young Alumnus in 2016, selected by the Portland Business Journal as a “Forty Under 40” in 2018, and recognized as a Women of Influence by the Portland Business Journal in 2019.
- Lead plaintiffs' counsel in equal pay and gender discrimination class action against Nike, Inc.
- Lead defense trial lawyer in wage and hour case tried to a jury
- Appointed by federal Judge Anna Brown to represent the jury in the high-profile litigation, United States v. Bundy, when, following the October 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation trial, a group of media moved the Court to learn the identities of the jurors
- Lead counsel on corporate espionage case, successfully obtaining injunctive relief to protect client’s trade secrets and enforce terms of nonsolicitation agreements
- Represented group of salespeople in challenging terms of their former employer’s noncompetition/ nonsolicitation agreements
- Represented numerous executives in negotiating severance packages or terms of employment agreements
- Successfully enforced numerous noncompetition agreements on behalf of employers and challenged restrictive covenants of behalf of employees
- Filed and defended numerous agency complaints filed with the Bureau of Labor and Industries
- Represented clients in judicial and private mediations and arbitrations
- Defended national agribusiness and food producer in two Oregon class actions brought by workers alleging violations of wage and hour laws related to donning and doffing protective equipment
- Defended national debt collection agency in defense of wage and hour class action
- Conducted interviews of numerous putative class members in connection with defense of state agency in multiple class action suits brought by the U.S. Department of Labor alleging overtime violations
Awards and Honors
- Women of Influence Honoree, Portland Business Journal, 2019
- Forty Under 40 Honoree, Portland Business Journal, 2018
- Best Lawyer, Best Lawyers in America, 2017 – present
- Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, University of Oregon School of Law, 2016
- Rising Star, Oregon Super Lawyers magazine, 2012 – present
- Member Services Award, Oregon State Bar New Lawyers Division, 2013
- Up & Coming Lawyer Honoree, Daily Journal of Commerce, 2012
- Volunteer of the Year Award, Oregon State Bar New Lawyers Division, 2012
- National Service to the Bar Award, American Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, 2012
In the News
- Laura Salerno Owens Talks #MeToo at the One-Year Mark
- Meet the Portland Lawyer Who is Taking on Nike's "Boys Club" Culture
- Portland Employment Lawyer on Navigating the Compliance Labyrinth
- Agreement Bars Animal Rights Protests at Skanska Executives' Homes
- Oregon Supreme Court Rules Against Broadway Cab in 'Independent Contractor' case
- Employee or Contractor? Dispute over Uber Drivers Raises Familiar Oregon Issue
- Oregon Bill Would Make Paid Sick Leave Mandatory
- Portland Lawsuit Alleges White Man Fired Because of His Race: Q&A on Discrimination
Experience and Affiliations
- President, Federal Bar Association, 2016-2017, Executive Committee, 2014 - present; Treasurer, 2013 - 2014; Membership Co-Chair, 2012 - 2013; Younger Lawyers Division Co-Chair, 2010 - 2012; Board of Directors, 2009 – 2010
- Chair, Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives, 2012 - 2014; Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative, District of Oregon, 2011 – 2017
- Member, Attorney Admissions Fund Committee, U.S. District Court, Oregon, 2016 - Present
- Executive Committee, Owen M. Panner Inn of Court, 2012 - present; Member, 2008 - Present
- Chair, Oregon Women Lawyers Rainmaking Dinner Committee, 2014 – 2015
- Member, Rose Haven Board of Directors, 2016 - present
- Coach, Jefferson High School Mock Trial Team, 2008 – Present
- Mentor, University of Oregon School of Law, 2016-2017
- Advisory Committee, Campaign for Equal Justice, 2017 - present; Co-Chair, Large Firm Associates Committee, 2011 - 2014; Member, 2007 – 2014
- Member, St. Andrew’s Legal Clinic Race for Justice Steering Committee, 2008 - 2013
- University of Oregon School of Law — J.D.; Finalist in the Western Regional Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition
- University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) — B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Admitted to Practice
- U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
Taking the #MeToo Movement to the #WeToo Movement
Accomplished trial lawyer Laura Salerno Owens’ presentation focuses on the importance of recruiting men to join women in the MeToo movement, and empowers listeners to make the case that gender equity is good for men, women, and the bottom-line.
EcoTrust Building, 721 NW 9th Avenue, Portland
Legal Aspects of Pay Equity
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will discuss the Oregon's new pay equity law and what it means for you and your company.
Heathman Lodge, Vancouver, WA
Women in Academic Medicine
Laura Salerno Owens will serve as the keynote speaker for OHSU's annual Women in Academic Medicine Conference. This year's conference theme is "Advancing Diversity and Equity: Making it Meaningful to Your Life and Work." The conference addresses issues of concern that affect women faculty including career advancement, career satisfaction, participation by women on decision-making bodies at OHSU, pay equity, discrimination, and parenting and schedule flexibility issues.
Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)
Basics of Wage and Hour Law
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will discuss the basics of Oregon wage and hour law at the MBA YLS Employment Law Fundamentals Series.
Standard Insurance Center, 900 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, OR
Private Sector, Public Good: Grounding Your Career in the Community
Markowitz Herbold Shareholder Laura Salerno Owens will be part of a panel discussing one's career and the community during the Art of the Possible: Harnessing Innovation and Creativity to Unlock Professional Potential conference in Eugene.
Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse, Eugene, OR
Discrimination Because of Sex Under Title VII in the 21st Century
What does "because of sex" mean in 2017? Since its addition to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the prohibition on workplace discrimination "because of sex" has been constantly evolving.
World Trade Center, Mezzanine, 26 SW Salmon St
Opportunities for Law in Oregon (OLIO) Annual Employment Retreat
Markowitz Herbold shareholder Laura Salerno Owens will participate in a panel discussion for law students aimed at helping them develop on-the-job as a law clerks, and highlighting the different career paths available to Oregon attorneys.
Oregon State Bar Center, Tigard, OR
Motions in Limine
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will be presenting on motions in limine. She will cover their purpose, authority, scope, timing, and standard examples.
Oregon State Bar, 16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd., Tigard, OR
Business Law 101
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will be lecturing on employment law basics at Washington State University's Business Law Course.
Washington State University, Vancouver Campus, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave., Vancouver, WA
Collecting on Judgments
If your client is sued, what could be at stake? What assets are subject to collection upon entry of a judgment in Oregon state court? This talk, by Markowitz Herbold Shareholder Laura Salerno Owens, will be a brief overview of how collections of judgments work in Oregon and will highlight the property that could be a risk in a lawsuit.
State Farm Office in Lake Oswego, OR
Civil Procedure: Discovery
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will be speaking in Professor Lydia Loren's 1L Civil Procedure class on the topic of discovery.
Lewis & Clark Campus, 10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219
Oregon Women Lawyer's Annual Rainmaking Dinner
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will be emceeing the annual OWLS Rainmaking Dinner, designed for all lawyers interested in learning strategies and tips for rainmaking from experienced leaders in Portland's legal and business communities.
Courtyard by Marriott, 505 SW Oak Street, Portland
Washington State University, Business Law 210
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will be lecturing on employment law basics at Washington State University's Business Law course.
Washington State University, Vancouver Campus, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave, Vancouver, WA 98686
Oregon New Lawyers Division SuperSaturday CLE
The Oregon New Lawyers Division is pleased to invite you to its annual SuperSaturday CLE event. The program includes three concurrent tracks of programs including Markowitz Herbold attorneys Laura Salerno Owens and Emily Teplin Fox presenting on Drafting Complaints and Answers.
Oregon State Bar Center, 16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd, Tigard, OR
How to Conduct Your Own HR Audit/Portland and Oregon Sick Leave Law Updates
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will present on how to conduct your own HR audit as well as give an update on Portland and Oregon sick leave laws. For more information visit DDI Benefits.
Hotel Eastlund, 1021 NE Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97212
Employment Law: New Practices and New Problems
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will serve on a panel discussing new employment practices and issues.
Lewis & Clark Law School, 10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd., Portland, OR 97219
Oregon Association of Defense Counsel Annual Convention
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will join six other presenters to deliver a short, 5-6 minute discussion on hot-button civil litigation topics at OADC's Annual Convention.
Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, Oregon
Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Litigation
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens will be speaking on the topic of avoiding litigation during WIFS monthly Coffee Conversations event.
Markowitz Herbold, 1211 SW Fifth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
Preparing Clients for Depositions
Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens discusses preparing your client for depositions.
World Trade Center, Portland, Oregon
OWLS Rainmaking and Career Development Dinner
Join Markowitz Herbold attorney Laura Salerno Owens as she moderates a panel of women rainmakers, including Markowitz shareholder Shannon Armstrong.
Hotel Monaco, Fifth Avenue Room, Portland, OR
Oregon New Lawyers Division SuperSaturday CLE
Markowitz Herbold attorneys Laura Salerno Owens and Emily Teplin Fox will be speaking at the OSB's annual ONLD SuperSaturday CLE.
Oregon State Bar Center16037 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd., Tigard, OR
Top 5 Common Mistakes in Employing Staff
Laura Salerno Owens will present at the Ameriprise Franchise Owners Meeting regarding the top five common mistakes in employing staff.
Serratto, 2112 NW Kearny St., Portland, OR
Social Media in the Workplace
Laura Salerno Owens will present at the Association for Orthopaedic Executives Fall Conference about social media in the workplace.
Salishan Spa & Golf Resort, Gleneden Beach, OR
Employment Law Basics
Laura Salerno Owens will present on the subject of employment law basics at the Oregon State Bar New Lawyers Division SuperSaturday event.
Oregon State Bar Center, Tigard, OR
Hiring to Elevate Your Income
Laura Salerno Owens will discuss the differences between W-2 and a 1099 employees and best practices for hiring at the Women in Financial Services Lunch & Learn.
Portland City Grill, Portland, OR
Harassment in the Workplace: Five Portland Employment Lawyers on How Businesses Need to React