Theresa M. Kohlhoff – Experience

Theresa M. Kohlhoff – Experience

Theresa M. Kohlhoff has going on 43 years of experience in almost every area of law from personal injury, criminal law, domestic relations to real estate, lien foreclosure to probate.  She has previously been in practice in Philomath-Corvallis, Wilsonville and Lake Oswego.  Her law practice is currently located in North Portland and has been since 2006.


High School:

1965: Graduate of Holy Child Academy, Portland, Oregon.


1974, 1976:  Outstanding Scholar, Portland State University.

1976:  Graduate of Portland State University, Portland, OR, BA with high honors.

1969-1971:  Completed coursework at the University of Alaska, Ketchikan and Anchorage.

Law School:

1980:  Graduate of Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR, JD.  I commuted from my home in Corvallis, and then Philomath, Oregon to Portland State University and then to Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College, night division while raising four daughters.

Bar Admissions:

1980:  Oregon State Bar, Supreme Court for the State of Oregon, OSB 803981.

1981:  United States District Court for the District of Oregon.

1990-1996:  Specially admitted before the Labor and Industries administrative tribunal, Superior Court, and the Court of Appeals for the State of Washington.


1980-1986:  Sole practitioner, Philomath, OR.

1984-1986:  Partner, The Legal Clinic, Philomath and Corvallis, OR.

1986-2001:  Sole practitioner, Wilsonville, OR.

2001-2006:  Sole practitioner, Lake Oswego, OR.

2006-2015:  Partner with my youngest daughter, Elizabeth Welch, Kohlhoff & Welch, Portland, OR.

2015-present:  Sole practitioner, Portland, OR.

I have done trials, jury and bench, motions, including summary judgment motions, arbitrations, mediations and have researched, written the briefs for and personally argued in the appellate courts of both Oregon and Washington.  I have made several appearances in the bankruptcy court, one very extensively and co-counseled one civil rights trial in federal court.  In addition, I am an active arbitrator in Multnomah and Washington County.  I have been a mediator.

I own or have ownership interests in several real estate investment properties, which I personally manage and oversee, including building three ADUs in Portland, Oregon.


I currently belong to the National Lawyers Guild and the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.  I am on the Advisory Committee for the Avel Gordly Center for Healing.  Kohlhoff & Welch has twice helped sponsor the ACLU conference at Lewis & Clark Law School. I will sometimes get referrals for pro bono work from the local National Lawyers Guild.  Over the years I have belonged to and participated in numerous organizations from the Rotary to La Leche League.

Legal and Community Involvement:

I have done volunteer work for the Oregon State Bar, St. Andrews Legal Clinic, Roosevelt High School, the Campaign for Equal Justice, Catholic Lawyers for Social Justice and now conduct free monthly legal clinics and seminars at my office.  I volunteer for the legislative committee of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association which analyzes and advises on proposed legislation.  I have made Continued Legal Education presentments on a variety of legal matters, as well as legal presentments to groups and schools.

As of January 1, 2012, I was elected by my peers for a four-year term to be on the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar.  In the final year, I was the chair of the Budget & Finance Committee.

Kohlhoff & Welch participated in local events like the St. Johns Parade and the St. Johns Farmers Market.  I donate to local drives at Holy Cross and Holy Redeemer schools as well as the Metropolitan Learning Center.  I was active in fundraising for one of my granddaughters who is disabled, having taken a leadership role in three major events.

Over the years I have worked in and for a variety of groups and causes including political campaigns such as the recent one for health care and for Bernie Sanders, been on the board of Fear No Music, and volunteered for Planned Parenthood.  I was a PCP and neighborhood leader for the Clackamas County Democratic Party. I am a capable project manager.  For example, I was the coordinator of a three day Board Meeting, including all social events, in Portland for the Board and spouses of the United States Tennis Association.

I am a 2015 graduate of EmergeOregon which is a training program for Democratic women seeking to assume leadership roles in the community.  I also trained with PCCC in Washington DC.

I was a Board Member of Health Care for All Oregon which advocates for single payer.

Nature of Practice:

The nature of my practice is general with a concentration now in wills, probate, and court-appointed arbitrations.  I also handle some civil matters including protective proceedings such as conservatorships and guardianships.  I have handled over 319 appeals including one as recently as 2013.  Until January 1, 2015 75% of my practice was litigation.  I have had the opportunity throughout my practice to analyze business and organizational management, profit and loss statements, budgets, and complex real estate and business transactions.

Oregon Reported Cases:

Hughes v City of Portland, 296 P.3d 642, 255 Or. App. 271 (2013); Kibble v Baldwin, 322 Or 572, 909 P2d 874 (1996); State ex rel State Office for Services to Children & Families v Chapman (In re Chapman), 169 Or App 168, 8 P3d 243 (2000); State ex rel State Office for Services to Children & Families v Mendez (In re Mendez), 162 Or App 601, 986 P2d 670 (1999); State ex rel State Office for Services to Children & Families v Ulbricht (In re Ulbricht), 159 Or App 117; 974 P2d 799 (1999); State ex rel State Office for Services to Children & Families v Armijo (In re Armijo), 151 Or App 666, 950 P2d 357 (1997); State ex rel Juv Dept v Cowens (In re MMC), 143 Or App 68, 922 P2d 1258 (1996).

Cases Reflecting Range and Capacity:

I co-counseled a civil rights wrongful death case involving Benton County and a foreign national.

I recently represented a contractor who was able to successfully foreclose on and now has a franchise for a fiber optic conduit in the public right away.  The case arose out of a statutory construction lien and the opposing parties were the City of Portland and many major cable companies.  The owner of the conduit went into bankruptcy and later one of the other potential owners went into bankruptcy, involving me in an association with a New York bankruptcy firm.

In a case against the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, I was the lead counsel. The case began in 1990 as an appeal of a safety citation and went through an administrative trial, a petition to the Board, another appeal to Superior Court, and finally in 1996 to the Court of Appeals of the State of Washington, Division II.

I have done the negotiation and review of innumerable real estate transactions.  Recently I worked on a foreclosure rescue fraud.

I have represented clients in misdemeanor and felony criminal cases.

I have done many terminations of parental rights cases, both at the trial level and through appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Supreme Court.

I represented an incapacitated woman before the Department of Health & Human Services, Social Security Administration.  This Medicare case began with an administrative trial, an unfavorable decision by the administrative judge, then an appeal to the Departmental Appeals Board where it was reversed and remanded.  A second administrative trial was held and a decision favorable to the claimant was rendered.

I obtained visitation rights for a non-biological parent, who had become a psychological parent to his girlfriend’s daughter.

I have handled conservatorships and other protective proceedings acting as the attorney for the conservator or guardian.  Some of these proceedings grew out of settlements for personal injury or other tort claims for both minors and other incapacitated persons.  I have handled elder abuse litigation but also worked hard to prevent it.  I have been the trustee for a number of special needs trusts, including one I am still on for my disabled granddaughter.

I have done many probates, acting as the personal representative or the attorney for the personal representative with a full range of legal and extra-legal duties, including conducting the estate sale, selling the residence, and supervising other practical aspects of liquidation.

I have done countless marital dissolution and modification cases with almost every conceivable issue. (Always something new though.)

Although I am normally a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney, I was once on the defense side as coverage counsel for a client who was being sued for activities that took place at what the plaintiff called a company party.  This case certainly was a perspective stretcher.  In partnership with my daughter, I was in a traumatic brain injury case which also included a complex asset preservation piece.

I successfully concluded a sidewalk case against the City of St. Helens and the mortgagee bank where the owner of the house had abandoned the property and discharged his debt but the bank had not foreclosed.

In the last few years, many of the probates have included complex real estate matters which I can handle because of my broad experience in many areas of the law.

Government Experience:

In the general election of 2016, I ran for and was elected in a contested race to the city council in Lake Oswego. (Lake Oswego includes the counties of Clackamas, Multnomah, and two voters in Washington.) This is a nonpartisan position but I made it clear that I was a progressive. One of the issues I raised in the campaign, affordable housing, became a council goal in 2017, 2018, and again in 2020. We did as a council a number of code changes to address this issue.

I worked extensively in the areas of housing and transportation. As a councilor, I was on a number of committees:Metro Policy Advisory Committee (MPAC), Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation (JPAC), Clackamas County Coordinating Committee (C4), C4 Metro Subcommittee, Region 1 Area Commission on Transportation (R1ACT) and League of Oregon Cities (LOC). I was also the council liaison to the Diversity Equity and Inclusion task force. In the years on council, I was active in the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Oregon League of Cities as well. I was a candidate to become mayor of Lake Oswego.

I am a Democratic PCP and Neighborhood Leader in Clackamas County.


I have six grandchildren, and am married to Mike Kohlhoff.  Together we have six grown children – my four daughters and his two sons.

I weightlift and previously have done multiple marathons, including Big Sur, New York, and Portland, and several bike centuries including one through all the New York boroughs.  One of the best weekends of my life was biking Seattle to Portland.

I love to travel! and have had the opportunity to see lots of the United States, but also Japan, the Soviet Union, England, France, Austria, Italy, Brazil, Australia, Egypt, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.  In the fall of October 2022 I did a three week Rick Steves the Best of Europe tour and went to a wedding in Mexico.  Great fun, including dancing in the moonlight.  This year I’m looking forward to Scandinavia, South East Asia and Costa Rica.