Nellie Barnard

Of Counsel

How I represent clients at Schwabe

As an experienced litigator, I provide legal ethics and risk management advice to lawyers, law firms, law students, and in-house legal departments. I also represent Oregon and Washington lawyers in attorney discipline matters and character and fitness proceedings, including on appeal. Capable of defending complex business or financial services litigation disputes, I guide my clients toward successful resolutions from inception through appeal, if necessary.

I appreciate the obstacles that lawyers and law firms face in the practice and the business of law, and I work collaboratively with clients to minimize the risk of liability, including issues involving conflicts of interest, sanctions, privilege, client confidentiality, engagement and withdrawal procedures, multi-jurisdictional practice, lawyer-client relationships, fee disputes, and practice planning and management. I help lawyers and law firms address the boundaries involving attorney advertising and marketing, including issues particular to social media, client solicitation, business relationships with non-lawyers, and fee sharing. I advise law firms and lawyers on ethical and fiduciary issues related to lateral hiring, law firm dissolution, and expulsion matters, and I serve as outside ethics counsel to law firms. I also serve as Assistant General Counsel to the firm.


  • Provided outside general counsel services and risk management advice to lawyers, law firms, and in-house legal departments on the topics of conflicts, engagement and withdrawal procedures, privilege, client solicitation, client confidentiality, lawyer-client relationships, social media, and more.
  • Defended sanctions motions, disqualification motions, fee disputes, and complex privilege disputes.
  • Represented lawyers and students before bar associations on disciplinary matters, licensing, admissions, reciprocity, character and fitness reviews, and unauthorized practice of law issues.
  • Defended complex business disputes and consumer financial services litigation in state and federal court at both the trial and appellate court levels, including successfully arguing dispositive motions and appeals.


  • Lewis & Clark Law School, Juris Doctor degree, cum laude (2012)‎


  • Oregon State Courts
  • Washington State Courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court - Western District of ‎Washington


  • Multnomah Bar Association: Treasurer (2021-2022), Board Member (2019-2022), Professionalism Committee (2016-2019)
  • Oregon Women Lawyers (2011-present)
  • Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (2015-present)
  • American Bar Association, Center for Professional Responsibility (2015-present)


  • Best Lawyers in America Award: Ones to Watch, Professional Malpractice Law (2022-2023)
  • Oregon Rising Star List, Professional Liability (2020-2022)
  • Campaign for Equal Justice, Associates Award (2021 & 2022)

Additional Publications

The Ethics of Investigations: Managing the Assorted Risks, January 27, 2023

Ethical Issues in Litigation (Defense), December 15, 2022

So You Think You’ve Made A Mistake, Managing Errors and Minimizing Risk, December 2, 2022

Thoughts on Law Firm Engagement Letters, January 6, 2022

Efforts Toward Improved Diversity and Inclusion Through the Anti-Bias Rule, The Federal Lawyer, Winter, 2021

Additional Events

Multnomah Bar Association, Professionalism, and Ethics, March 16, 2023

Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Ethics Seminar, December 15, 2022

Ethics Hour: Top Ten Ways Lawyers Get Into Trouble, Legal Ethics and Loss Prevention for every lawyer, December 2, 2022

Coping with Burnout and Staying Ethical While You Do It, Multnomah Bar Association, October 2022

Social Media and Lawyers: Raising Your Profile Without Jeopardizing Your License, The Seminar Group, CLE Bootcamp, December 2021

Confidentiality, Conflicts and COVID, The Seminar Group, 25th Annual Oregon Land Use Seminar, December 2021

Confidentiality, Conflicts and COVID, Federal Bar Association, Oregon Chapter, December 2021

Current Risk Management Issues in the Practice of Law, Multnomah Bar Association Young Litigators Forum Winter Series, March 2021

Ethical Considerations in Land Use Law, 24th Annual Oregon Land Use Law Conference, December 2020

Ethical Considerations in Construction Law, 25th Annual Oregon Construction Law Conference, September 2020

45th ABA National Conference on Professional Responsibility, Rule 8.4(a) and Attempted Rule Violations, American Bar Association, May 2019

Lewis & Clark Law School Ethics and Professionalism Panel, Multnomah Bar Association, October 2018

Legal Ethics for Nonprofit Lawyers, Oregon State Bar, September 2018

No Three Strikes, but The Lawyer is Still Out Panel: Discipline for Attempted Ethics Violations under RPC 8.4(a), Moderator, Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers Annual Meeting, August 2018

Legal Ethics for Contract Lawyers, Oregon Women Lawyers, Contract Lawyers Section, July 2018

A Day in the Ethical Life of a Tax Lawyer, 18th Annual Oregon Tax Institute, Oregon State Bar, June 2018

21st Annual Oregon Land Use Law-the Ethical Land Use Lawyer: Five Issues Worth Your Time, The Seminar Group, December 2017

Community Activities

  • Harpole Committee (2011-present)
  • Campaign for Equal Justice, Associates’ Committee (2015-2022)

Outside Interests

Nellie loves hiking, biking, ski mountaineering, whitewater ‎rafting, cooking, and spending time with her family. ‎

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