“At Ater Wynne, our mix of people gives clients a lot of expertise to draw on. We’ve got attorneys who’ve been practicing in the same place for 35 years, and smart young attorneys. That makes us venerable, yet cutting edge. Together, we’re a group of COMPETENT, SUCCESSFUL, STRATEGIC ADVISORS.”

– Jonathan Ater, Partner Emeritus

Jonathan A. Ater

Partner Emeritus

With more than 50 years legal and practical experience, Jonathan Ater is a trusted strategic and policy advisor to firm clients and to the lawyers in the firm.  He also serves as a neutral third-party mediator and arbitrator in selected cases. 

Jonathan is best known for his work as a health care lawyer and health policy expert.  His expertise is highly relevant given the challenges to the health care finance and delivery systems in the current political environment.  He has been listed in Best Lawyers of America and SuperLawyers.  The Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland has honored Jonathan 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, Jonathan served as vice-chair of both the Oregon Health Fund Board and the Oregon Health Policy Commission. He was a 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. 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, Jonathan 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, Jonathan has 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.

Jonathan is a director of Axio Research LLC, which provides biostatistical 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 has served as moderator of the First Unitarian Church and a steward of the church's foundation. 

Jonathan and his wife, Deanne, are joint recipients of the 2010 Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award from the Oregon Chapter of the National Association on Mental Illness.

In 2013, Jonathan 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 Experience

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  • Yale Law School, LL.B, 1965; Order of the Coif; Yale Law Journal; Thomas Swan Barrister’s Union
  • Yale University, B.A., 1962

Admitted to Practice

  • Oregon

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

Community Activities

  • Oregon State Commission on Children & Families, Chair, 1994 to 1998
  • Hazardous Waste Steering Committee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Region X), 1987 to 1988
  • Oregon Board of Higher Education, 1976 to 1980
  • Member of various civic and charitable organization boards of trustees; participant in political campaigns and activities; pro bono legal service to individuals and community service organizations

Representative Matters

  • 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.