William Davis

shareholder | portland | LICENSED IN Oregon & Washington

“I strive to be the best possible lawyer and work with others in the firm to be the same.”

A breadth and depth of experience

Co-founder Bill Davis has worked as an insurance defense trial attorney for over 40 years. During those years he has litigated and tried cases in virtually every area the firm practices.

While excellent results in particular cases have been exhilarating, Bill’s most satisfying professional experience has been working with the attorneys and staff who have chosen to spend their careers at Davis Rothwell. Their singular focus on client service, with total commitment to professionalism, has created an environment where excellence is the norm.

Bill and his wife, Meredith, have two grown children. Bill spends much of his leisure time pursuing outdoor activities, including skiing, rafting, hiking, and golf.



  • University of Oregon – J.D. (Order of the Coif), 1977
  • Stanford University – B.A., 1974

Bar / Court Admissions

  • Oregon State Bar, 1977
  • United States District Court, District of Oregon, 1977
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1977
  • Washington State Bar, 1984
  • United States District Court, Western and Eastern Districts of Washington, 1989

Professional & Civic Involvement

  • Multi-year terms as a member of the Oregon State Bar Uniform Civil Jury Instruction Committee, the Oregon State Bar Client Security Fund, and the Local Professional Responsibility Committee

Articles / Case Notes

  • Wrote earlier versions of the “Lost Profits” chapter of the Oregon Damages CLE and the “Compromise and Settlement” chapter of the Oregon Civil Practice and Procedure CLE

Organizational Memberships

  • Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute

Notable Trial & Appellate Victories

Bill has been the lead lawyer in cases which have helped establish the law of Oregon in a number of areas. These include:


  • Allowing punitive damages in defamation cases violates the Oregon constitution

Products Liability:

  • Animals can be considered product for the purposes of strict products liability (was the lead case of an ALR annotation)
  • Disclaimers and Limitation of Remedies are enforceable in commercial transactions

Defense of Professionals:

  • Captive insurance agents do not generally owe a duty of reasonable care to their customers
  • When non-clients can bring actions against lawyers


  • When indemnity is allowed in Oregon (superseded by a 2015 Oregon Supreme Court case)

Insurance Bad Faith:

  • What factors are considered in determining when an insurance company acts in bad faith?
  • Duties owed by a primary insurer to an excess insurer