Attorney Emeritus

Ronald A. Johnston

As of December 2020, Ronald Johnston has retired as a family law attorney after 40 years in the legal field. McKean Smith is honored to have been able to work with Mr. Johnston and gain from his professional demeanor and wealth of knowledge. We wish Mr. Johnston the best of luck and a very happy and well-deserved retirement.

A native Oregonian, Ronald Johnston has been a seasoned family lawyer with a long history of being at the forefront of divorce, child custody, and other family law matters spanning across many counties within central and northern Oregon since 1976. With 44 years in family law and litigation experience, Ronald has specialized in child custody, child support, and child relocation matters. Representing both mothers and fathers in divorce and child custody matters, he has held a reputation as a father’s rights advocate, served as a legal advisor for Dad’s Inc., Dad’s PAC (formerly Father’s PAC and Association for Custody Equality.) Ronald believes that both mothers and fathers should be given equal opportunities to be the custodians of their children in divorce and he is a champion of fighting for each of his client’s parenting time with their children.

Ronald was lead appellate counsel in Kozlowsky and Kozlowsky, 88 Or App 294 (1987) and State ex rel AFDC v. Buethe, Or 307 Or 89 (1988), which set the precedent for paternity procedures 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, Ronald was a member of the Oregon State Bar Family Law Section Task Force on joint custody legislation, which drafted the law on joint child custody adopted by the Oregon Legislature and is still in effect today.

“I have raised and educated two children into adulthood; I have personally dealt with mental illness in my family; I have been in marriage counseling; and I endured separation and divorce after a very long marriage. When I deal with you as a client, I understand much of the pain and emotions that you feel. Although I will have empathy, my job as a family law lawyer is to remain objective and to give you the very best disinterested legal advice that I can in order to help you get the best result that the law allows.”

Ronald Allen 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.

By joining the firm, McKean Smith is benefited by Ronald Johnston’s recognized experience and professionalism in the Oregon family law community.

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