Joe R. Traylor

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Joe is a civil trial attorney who focuses his practice on defending catastrophic injury claims, product liability claims, claims against automobile insurers and their insureds, and claims of every nature against employers.  Over the past 23 years, Joe has successfully defended and tried wrongful death claims, employers’ liability act claims, trucking accidents, liquor liability claims, construction defect claims, claims against medical professionals, landlord tenant disputes, as well as premises liability, race discrimination, foodborne illness and false arrest claims for retail establishments across Oregon and Washington.

Law Practice Continued

Joe’s undergraduate degree in Financial Management provides a strong foundation for defending claims against business professionals including accounting malpractice defense and claims against officers and owners.  He also frequently serves as a mediator and arbitrator, helping others to resolve their disputes.

Joe is admitted in state and federal courts in both Oregon and Washington and has been admitted pro-hac vice in Idaho, Nevada, Montana and California.  Joe takes pride in immediately involving himself in his clients’ cases and has a keen ability to evaluate liability and damages exposures in the early stages of litigation before substantial fees are incurred.  His work ethic and around the clock accessibility make him popular among his diverse range of clients who need prompt answers to complex legal problems.

Joe was selected by his peers as one of the top lawyers in Oregon by being named a Rising Star in Super Lawyers magazine in both 2008 and 2010.  In 2017, Joe was selected by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys as one of the 10 best attorneys in Oregon for exceptional and outstanding client service.  In 2017 Joe received the lifetime achievement award from America’s top 100 attorneys. Joe also has a specialized certificate of alternative dispute resolution from Willamette University Law School.

In his spare time, Joe enjoys hunting, fishing, boating, golfing and spending time with his wife Shanna and two sons Bryson and Jake.

Representative Cases
  • Defense verdicts in catastrophic injury cases for contractors and heavy equipment manufacturer.
  • Successful defense of employers, including several summary judgment awards in employer liability act claims.
  • Successful defense of manufacturers and sellers of products who were sued under Oregon’s product liability statutes.
  • Successful defense of underinsured and uninsured employers who faced multi-million dollar exposures which would cause them to close their businesses in the event of an adverse verdict.
  • Successful representation of Oregon and Washington retailers including Bi-Mart, Fred Meyer, Ross Dress for Less, Walgreens and Costco in premises liability, race discrimination and wrongful arrest actions.
  • Defense verdicts in construction defect cases including general contractors, sub-contractors and design professionals.
  • Successful defense of cause and origin disputes involving property damage caused by fire and arson.
  • Successful defense of Automobile Insurers, both private and commercial in UIM and PIP actions.
  • Successful defense of excavators who unknowingly damage underground utilities when performing directional drilling and other complex excavation activities.
  • Defense verdicts in dog bite cases involving bites to other dogs and a police officer bitten by the department’s police dog.
  • Numerous defense verdicts in automobile accident cases where medical treatment was suspected to be fraudulent in nature.
  • Numerous defense verdicts for individuals involved in automobile accidents, including SIU and MIST actions.
Trial Experience

Joe has taken more than 50 cases to jury verdict and continues to try several cases each year.


Willamette University College of Law
J.D., 1996
Certificate of Dispute Resolution, May 1996
High Paper Award – Insurance, Spring 1996

Oregon State University
B.S., Financial Management, 1993
President – Mortar Board National Honor Society


Hart Wagner LLP
Partner, since 1996

Shetterly, Irick and Shetterly
Certified Law Clerk, 1995-1996

Admitted To Practice

Oregon State Courts

Washington State Courts

U.S. District Court: District of Oregon; Eastern and Western Districts of Washington

Awards and Recognition

Best Lawyers in America
Litigation – Construction, 2023, 2024
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, 2024

Super Lawyers
Rising Star – Personal Injury General: Defense, 2008, 2010

America’s Top 100 Attorneys
Lifetime Achievement (2017-present)

Professional Activities and Associations

Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
Defense Research Institute
Oregon State Bar
Washington State Bar Association
Multnomah Bar Association