With a diverse professional and educational background, Kevin Sali is well-suited to carry out the broad spectrum of tasks needed by clients facing challenging legal circumstances.

Mr. Sali received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wheaton (Ill.) College. Following graduation, he taught high school chemistry for four years in Miami, Florida, and then earned a Master of Science degree in biochemistry from Duke University. Mr. Sali also earned his law degree from Duke University, where he was one of three students in his graduating class awarded the “highest honors” recognition.

After graduating from law school, Mr. Sali began his practice as a civil litigator in Perkins Coie LLP’s Portland office. After several years at Perkins Coie, Mr. Sali left to incorporate a criminal defense element into his practice. He opened his firm in 2014, and since then has continued to represent clients in civil, criminal, and regulatory matters.

The results Mr. Sali has secured for his clients include the following (although each case is a matter of public record, names have been withheld out of respect to these clients):

  • —- v .Pacific University (Washington County, Oregon). Mr. Sali sued Pacific University on behalf of a student who had been expelled following misconduct allegations. The case went to trial, where the jury awarded Mr. Sali’s client nearly $4 million in damages—more than 20 times the size of any previous verdict in the United States for this type of case.
  • State v. —- (Klamath County, Oregon). Sali’s client was charged with aggravated murder in connection with the death of her ex-husband.  In a pretrial motion hearing, Mr. Sali comprehensively demonstrated the weakness of the State’s case through a thorough cross-examination of the lead detective and the presentation of evidence discovered through the defense team’s investigation.  After this hearing, the client was released from custody and the State moved to dismiss the case.
  • United States v. —- (United States District Court for the District of Oregon). This was an environmental felony case involving allegations of a major conspiracy extending for more than seven years.  When Mr. Sali took on this representation, his client had just been indicted after a wide-ranging, multi-agency, four-year governmental investigation.  Sali undertook a comprehensive factual investigation, including an extensive investigation of key prosecution witnesses and a reconstruction of more than ten years’ worth of his client’s business operations, and presented his findings to the prosecutors as the parties were preparing for trial.  After this presentation, the government dismissed all of the charges and agreed to return all of the money it had seized from the business.
  • State v. —- (Multnomah County, Oregon). This double attempted murder case arose when six shots were fired at close range through a window into an apartment.  Sali’s client, an acquaintance of the primary target, was identified by that target as the shooter, and a pistol found in the client’s bedroom immediately after the shooting was forensically matched to the casings at the scene.  The trial ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked on all counts.
  • United States v. —- (United States District Court for the District of Oregon). The United States Department of Justice described this case—involving a multi-state, multi-industry scheme with alleged tax losses of over $200 million—as “by far the largest criminal tax fraud case in the history of Oregon.”  Throughout the proceedings, which resolved through a guilty plea followed by contested sentencing proceedings, the government sought a substantial prison sentence.  To counter this request, Mr. Sali prepared a comprehensive sentencing submission that addressed the numerous factual and legal matters at issue while also highlighting his client’s exemplary life history.  The court sentenced the client to a term of probation with no prison time.
  • State v. —- (Hood River County, Oregon). This case began as one of the flagship environmental felony prosecutions in the regime of a newly elected Oregon Attorney General who had made such prosecutions a key emphasis of his campaign.  The case progressed through several rounds of pretrial litigation, including a five-day hearing on the admissibility of the prosecution’s scientific evidence.  The prosecution eventually agreed to drop all 36 felony charges in exchange for a misdemeanor plea with no jail time.

Mr. Sali is a frequent speaker at local, regional and national events, and his written work has appeared in various professional and other publications.

Selected speaking engagements

  • “Pacific University Jury Trial and Verdict,” Ninth Annual Symposium: Representing Accused Students, Washington, D.C. (November 2023)
  • “What to Expect when They’re Inspecting: Counseling Clients Through the Civil Inspection and Criminal Enforcement Process” (panelist), American Bar Association webinar (June 2021)
  • “They’re Not Allowed to Do It Either: Fighting Governmental Witness Tampering”, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Las Vegas, Nevada (October 2020)
  • “Scientific Issues in Litigation: Prosecution and Defense Perspectives” (co-presenter), California District Attorneys Association, Long Beach, California (February 2020)
  • “Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain: Addressing Prosecutions Driven by Hidden Actors” (panelist), National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, West Coast White Collar Conference, Santa Monica, California (June 2019)
  • “Science for Lawyers and Judges,” University of Oregon School of Law, O’Connell Conference:  Issues at the Intersection of Law and Science (January 2017)
  • “Science for Lawyers,” Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, Annual Forensics Seminar, Houston, Texas (October 2016)
  • “Fighting the Exclusion of Defense Experts,” Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Annual Conference (June 2016)
  • “Science for Lawyers:  Understanding How Scientists Think,” National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Annual Forensic Science and the Law Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada (May 2016)
  • “Using Federal Law to Challenge State Wiretaps and Warrants,” Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association Winter Conference (December 2014)
  • “Investigating Evidence from Both Sides of the Bench” (panelist), Multnomah Bar Association (April 2014)
  • “Being a Skeptic in a Credulous World,” New Mexico State Bar, Albuquerque, New Mexico (March 2014)
  • “A Forensic Trilogy:  Lessons from Three Cases,” Oregon State Bar (July 2013)
  • “The Professional Edge:  Working with (and Against) Experts” (panelist), National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, West Coast White Collar Conference (June 2012)
  • “Scientific Evidence in Oregon Courts,” Multnomah Bar Association (December 2011)
  • “Scientific Evidence Issues in Environmental Litigation,” Oregon State Bar Environmental & Natural Resources Section (April 2011)

Selected writings

  • Scientific Evidence:  A Manual for Oregon Defense Attorneys (published in 2012 by the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association)
  • Fighting Governmental Witness Tampering (Or, You Can Have Our Defense Witnesses When You Pry Them From Our Cold, Dead Hands) (The Champion, monthly magazine published by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, June 2017; click here for pdf)
  • Challenging State Wiretaps:  Who Asked for the Order?  The Answer May Support Suppression (The Champion, March 2015; click here for pdf)
  • Memory vs. Reality:  A Landmark Oregon Case May Be Key to Answering Fundamental Questions About Handling Eyewitness Identification Evidence (Oregon State Bar Bulletin, January 2014; click here for online version)
  • Scientific Evidence in Environmental Litigation (American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Natural Resources & Environment quarterly magazine, Winter 2016; click here for pdf)
  • Third Arms, Scottish Sheep, and Jurassic Park:  Understanding Scientific Evidence (The Championclick here for pdf)
  • The Case for Police Body Cameras Grows Stronger (guest column, The Oregonian, April 2015; click here for online version)
  • Former regular contributor to The Huffington Post’s “Crime” section