Meet Portland Family Attorney Ronald Allen Johnston

Fighting for Fathers for Nearly Three Decades

Attorney Ronald Allen JohnstonPortland family attorney Ronald Allen Johnston is a native Oregonian. Mr. Johnston has over 40 years of litigation and counseling experience in his family law practice. He has handled family law matters throughout his career, but in the past 29 years, he has concentrated 95 percent or more of his professional practice time to family law. Mr. Johnston handles most aspects of family law, but he has a special interest in custody, joint custody and interstate custody matters.


  • Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
  • Honors Degree, Political Science, 1972
  • The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
  • Juris Doctor, 1976

Mr. Johnston graduated in the top 15 percent of his law school class at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. While in law school, Mr. Johnston worked for Congressman Wendell Wyatt on Capitol Hill, worked for a major federal and state agency, and clerked for Arnold & Porter, a prestigious Washington, D.C. law firm. Among his other distinctions in professional school, Mr. Johnston researched and published four scholarly papers in nationally known law journals.

Fathers’ Rights Practice

Mr. Johnston represents both fathers and mothers in custody disputes, but he has a special reputation for father rights litigation. He was legal advisor for Dads, Inc.; Dads PAC., the former Fathers’ PAC; and the former Parents Association for Custodial Equality. He is a family law arbitrator for Multnomah and Washington Counties and formerly was a Family Law Reference Judge in Washington County. Mr. Johnston is often consulted for confidential second opinions in family law matters, especially on fathers’ rights matters.

Family Law Professional Activities

Mr. Johnston was admitted to practice in Oregon in 1976 and is a member of the Oregon State Bar and its Sections on Family Law and Creditor-Debtor Practice. He also is a member of the Oregon Academy of Family Law Practitioners and of the ABA Family Law Section. He has delivered legal education presentations on a variety of subjects, including “Interstate Custody Litigation under the PKPA,” “Negotiating and Litigating Joint Custody,” “Forensic Custody Evaluations,” “Self-Help Custody Litigation,” and “Winning Dissolution Trials.”

Mr. Johnston was lead appellate counsel in Kozlowsky and Kozlowsky, 88 Or. App. 294 (1987) and State ex rel AFDC v. Buethe, 307 Or. 89 (1988). The latter case established a precedent for paternity procedure in Oregon. In 1987, Mr. Johnston was lead counsel in Etlin and Etlin, which was the first case tried in Oregon under the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.

In the mid-1980’s, Mr. Johnston was a member of the Oregon State Bar Family Law Section Task Force on Joint Custody. This Task Force drafted the law on joint custody, some of which is based on Mr. Johnston’s experiences, that was adopted by the Oregon Legislature and is still in effect today. He similarly was appointed to the Oregon State Bar Committee on Combining Family and Career. In April 1999, Mr. Johnston was asked to speak on this subject at the ABA Family Law Section Conference in Miami, Florida. These experiences give Mr. Johnston the breadth and depth of experience to recognize good parenting and effectively portray it to a judge in a courtroom setting.

In 1998, he was asked to serve on the Domestic Relations Work Group of the Oregon Supreme Court Task Force on Gender Fairness. From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Johnston served on the Executive Committee of the Oregon State Bar Family Law Section. This body advises the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar on matters of law and policy in the area of family law, and conducts legal education seminars in the area of family law. Mr. Johnston was Chair of the Family Law Section in 2005.

In 2008, Mr. Johnston was appointed to the Standing Legislative Committee of the Oregon State Bar Family Law Section. This committee drafts new and amended family law legislation for the Family Law Section.

What Does This Mean As a Fathers’ Rights Attorney?

In his 40 years of law practice, Portland custody lawyer Ronald Allen Johnston has learned what works in the court system and in the courtroom. He knows how to win custody cases. He knows how to favorably settle custody and parenting matters. He knows what mistakes to avoid in father rights litigation. He also knows what cases not to take to trial, and he knows how to advise clients when they want something the law and the legal system likely will not provide.

If you are facing divorce or need help with a child custody matter, contact Mr. Johnston right away for a confidential consultation. He is fighting for fathers, and he will fight for you.

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