Craig R. Berne


Craig Berne has an active litigation practice including numerous large and small-scale trials, appeals and arbitrations (court-ordered and by private agreement) relating to business and commercial disputes. He is A/V rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Craig has handled a wide variety of employment matters, including discrimination cases, wage and hour disputes, wrongful discharge claims and trade secrets/unfair competition cases. His employment work also involves advising clients on employment issues and drafting employment documents, including employment contracts, employee handbooks, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements and independent contractor agreements. Craig also handles a wide variety of real estate matters, including foreclosures, disputes with homeowner associations and cases involving commercial and residential landlord-tenant disputes. In addition, he has worked on numerous collection, construction and insurance coverage cases. Craig has litigated a number of cases involving disputes over family trusts and claims of wrongdoing by trustees and executors.

Craig is married and has two adult children. He is involved in the activities of his synagogue, serves as the Chairperson of the Oregon Council of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and has volunteered on the boards of the Portland Jewish Community Relations Council and the Israel Advocacy Committee. Craig’s interests include hiking, traveling, reading, spending time with his family, and getting out of the office as much as possible.

Recent Representation

  • Successfully handled claims against foreign technology company accused of misappropriating trade secrets and copyrighted information in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, including defeating motions to dismiss and motions to limit discovery.
  • Prevailed for the second time on appeals in the Oregon Court of Appeals on a business dispute in 2020, ending ten years’ worth of litigation.
  • Negotiated satisfactory settlements for employers and employees in wage and overtime cases in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
  • Defended trustees of family trusts from breach of fiduciary duty claims in Clackamas County Circuit Court in 2018 and 2019.
  • Resolved commercial and residential landlord-tenant disputes in 2019, 2020, and 2021.
  • Negotiated resolution of claims involving non-competition and confidentiality clauses in 2019.
  • Prevailed on motions to dismiss lawsuit by Oregon company against its Canadian supplier in Washington County Circuit Court in 2019.
  • Defeated claims against a trustee of a family trust after a three-day trial in Multnomah County in May 2015.
  • Prevailed in a trial over ownership of farm equipment in Gilliam County in April 2015.
  • Successfully moved to enforce arbitration clauses in a case involving employment and wage claims, which led to the claims being dismissed, in Washington County in December 2014.
  • Won several hearings that led to a favorable settlement of four related lawsuits involving trust, estate, elder abuse, real estate and business issues in Douglas County over several months in 2013 and 2014.
  • Negotiated successful settlements of multi-million dollar lawsuits by several banks against a Washington real estate developer in 2013 and 2014.
  • Won judgment of more than $500,000 after trial for reconstruction contractor in Washington County in December 2012.
  • Defeated fraud and breach of contract claims of more than $1,000,000 against real estate developer after trial in Lane County in April 2011.
  • Prevailed on summary judgment on disputed contract claims for real estate developer in October 2010 and August 2012 in Deschutes County.
  • Prevailed on arbitration hearing of dissolution of limited liability company in June 2012.
  • Defeated breach of fiduciary duty claims against trustee of family trust after trial in San Bernardino County, California, in early 2008.
  • Reached favorable settlements of breach of fiduciary duty claims against trustees in several cases in 2010 and 2011.
  • Defeated restraining order and injunctive relief motions in case involving claims of unfair competition, trade secrets and non-competition agreements in Clackamas County in August 2008.
  • Prevailed on breach of contract claims for reconstruction contractor at trial and on appeal.
  • Prevailed on summary judgment motion of claims against trustee for breach of fiduciary duty, then prevailed again on appeal at the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court.


  • Oregon State Bar, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1987
  • State Bar of California, 1989
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, 1989
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon, 1995
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California, 2015
  • U.S. Tax Court, 2016

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member of Litigation, Business Litigation and Employment Sections of Oregon State Bar and Litigation Section of California State Bar
  • Member of Multnomah County Bar Association
  • Attended Two-week National Program of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy
  • Co-author, Chapter 4, Course Handbook, Practicing Law Institute 28th Annual Institute on Employment Law


  • Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, J.D., 1987
  • University of Washington, B.A., Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1984