Christopher Cournoyer

Kivel & Howard attorney, Christopher CournoyerPractice Areas

Personal Injury, Products Liability, Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice

Christopher Cournoyer grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota and served in the U.S. Navy before attending law school in Boston. Chris lived in Anchorage and Juneau Alaska, working as a legal intern before moving to Portland in 1978 to take a law clerkship position with the Oregon Supreme Court.

Chris served as a Law Clerk to both Chief Justice Arno Denecke and Chief Justice Berkley Lent on the Oregon Supreme Court over a two-year period. After admission to the Oregon Bar Association in 1980, Chris began his career as a trial lawyer with the Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office in Portland. He also served as the original Director of the MPD’s Juvenile Law Section before joining the firm Pozzi, Wilson, Atchison, O’Leary and Conboy LLP in 1986.

At the “Pozzi firm,” Chris became a civil litigator. Civil litigation included the areas of medical malpractice, products liability, employment law, labor contract negotiation, worker’s compensation and personal injury. In 1989, he left the Pozzi firm to establish Cournoyer and Sussman LLC with law partner Mark Sussman, where Chris continued his civil litigation practice.

In August of 1994, newly married, Chris took the opportunity to realize a lifelong dream of sailing around the world on his own boat. He and his wife Susan sailed out of Portland to circumnavigate the world on their 38-foot sloop, the S/V Jenny Gordon.

Upon his return, Chris served as in-house counsel and CEO for a Portland real estate and investment firm. In this role, Chris worked closely with Scott Howard of Kivel & Howard LLP.

In 2009, Scott Howard asked Chris to join Kivel & Howard in an “of counsel” relationship. Today Chris runs his own practice within the firm. He evaluates personal injury, medical malpractice, wrongful death claims and product liability matters for Kivel & Howard, in addition to maintaining his own litigation caseload.

Bar Admissions


Northeastern University School of Law

Boston, Massachusetts
Juris Doctor, 1978 (top 10% of graduating class)

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota
BS in Political Science, 1975 (magna cum laude)
Minor concentrations in Psychology and Economics

Professional/Community Associations

  • The Multnomah Bar Association
  • Oregon Trial Lawyers Association
  • Past Member and Chair of the Oregon State Bar Indigent Defense Committee
  • Amnesty International
  • Gifford Pinchot Task Force
  • Oregon Food Bank
  • Sisters of the Road
  • Sierra Club
  • Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
  • North Portland Nursing Association, Board Member
  • Multnomah Defenders Inc.’s Board of Directors
  • Oregon State Bar Indigent Defense Committee, Past Member and Chairman

Awards and Honors

  • Recipient of the Oregon State Bar Meritorious Service Award