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Jonathan A. Ater

Jonathan A. Ater

Partner Emeritus


  • Corporate Law
  • Energy & Natural Resources Law
  • Land Use
  • Health Care Law

WSG Practice Industries


Oregon, U.S.A.


Preceding his retirement in 2020, Jonathan A. Ater had more than 50 years of legal and practical experience, Mr. Ater served as a trusted strategic and policy advisor to clients and lawyers in the Firm. He also served as a neutral third-party mediator and arbitrator in selected cases. As an active pro bono member of the Oregon State Bar, he provides legal advice exclusively to indigent clients referred by pro bono programs certified under Section 13.2 of the Bar’s Bylaws.

Mr. Ater is best known for his work as as a health care lawyer and health policy expert. He has been listed in Best Lawyers of America and Super Lawyers. The Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland has honored Mr. Ater with a Presidential Citation for his work on health reform issues. He served four Oregon governors as a member of public bodies with both policy and operational responsibilities.

Between 2004 and 2009, Mr. Ater served as vice-chair of both the Oregon Health Fund Board and the Oregon Health Policy Commission. He was co-chair of the Governor’s 2004 Mental Health Task Force whose report led to changes in both the culture and facilities of the Oregon State Hospital, greater investment in community mental health services, and more recently the start of integration of mental and physical health services and financing.

From 1994 to 1998, Mr. Ater served as chair of the Oregon Commission on Children and Families, a body focused on integrating community social services, including health services across the state. He also previously served as a member of the State Board of Higher Education and the Board of Bar Examiners.

In addition to his public policy work, Mr. Ater worked on commercial and policy matters with senior managers, boards of directors, and professionals in health care delivery systems, insurance, and finance, and with a broad array of enterprises on strategic and policy issues, including corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, executive personnel matters, business turnarounds, energy and raw material supply, and environmental and legislative matters.

Mr. Ater is a director of Axio Research LLC, which provides bio-statistical services for pharmacology and health care research. He served three terms as a director of Metropolitan Public Defender, Inc., the largest professional public defender firm in Oregon. He is past chair of the Albertina Kerr Foundation and served as moderator of the First Unitarian Church and a steward of the church’s foundation.

Mr. Ater is a recipient of the 2010 Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award from the Oregon Chapter of the National Association on Mental Illness.

In 2013, he received the Learned Hand Lifetime Achievement award from the Oregon Area Jewish Committee. The award recognizes professional excellence and contributions to the legal community.

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Oregon State Bar, Health Law, Corporate Finance and Energy Sections; Affirmative Action Committee, 1992 to 1994
  • Board of Bar Examiners, Vice Chair, 1973 to 1974; Member, 1971 to 1974
  • Bar Examination Review Board, 1986 to 1988; Chair, 1987 to 1988
  • Multnomah Bar Association


  • Principal author of the conceptual paper behind the creation of the Oregon Health Authority and the emergence of Coordinated Care Organizations to improve the quality of care offered to members of the Oregon Health Plan

Bar Admissions


  • Yale Law School
  • Yale University
Areas of Practice

Corporate Law | Energy & Natural Resources Law | Health Care Law | Land Use

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

  • Representation of physician practices in various specialty and multi-specialty groups of all sizes
  • General Counsel to large Medicaid managed care organization
  • General Counsel to Medical Society
  • Counsel to various manufacturing, energy and communications enterprises
  • Principal negotiator and lead counsel in various merger, acquisition, and financing transactions in various industries

WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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