Rima (age 7) and her baby sister Dima
Rima and her husband Kelley
on their wedding day 1996
Rima and Kelley with their two sons, Adam (far left) and Julian (right) volunteering with refugees navigating the process of readjustment
Rima Ghandour, an Arab American, immigrated to the United States at 18 after experiencing life in several countries where the legal system was for the benefit of the rich and powerful only, if it existed at all. In America, Rima observed that the law at its best exists to serve everyone, and that it works only when impartial and fair. As a lawyer, Rima has been a leader in our legal community with a deep dedication to public service to advance the principles of justice she fell in love with. Early in her career as a Deputy Counsel with Orange County, she tried public safety cases nearly every day. Resident in Oregon since 2002, she worked in the insurance sector, first as a senior counsel with Safeco and then as a partner at a local firm. Today she owns her own law firm where the aim is to provide a flexible environment to all members of her team to encourage work – balance and provide clients with excellent services in state and federal courts on a wide range of civil issues for both Plaintiffs and Defendants.
In addition to her legal practice, Rima is committed to public service in the community. When the Federal government implemented the travel ban, Rima stepped up to provide free representation for travelers being detained by the federal government. This was nothing new for Rima, who has a long record of volunteer work. Rima is dedicated to strengthening the community around her, in word and in deed. Sometimes the help involves providing pro bono services for clients who can’t afford representation; or free help for Dreamers seeking to renew their DACA applications; or educating local high school students about equity and careers in the law. She has been recognized with an Oregon State Bar President’s Diversity & Inclusion Award, with AILA Richard M. Ginsburg Outstanding Leadership for Immigrant Rights Award and with a Community Service Award by the Muslim Education Trust.
Legal access is often a physical matter as well. Rima served on committees to identify and improve physical access for the differently-abled in the old courthouse, and has actively worked to improve access as the new courthouse has been constructed.
Rima currently serves as a board member and past president of both the Multnomah County Bar Association and the Queen’s Bench (the Multnomah County chapter of Oregon Women Lawyers). She has served on the Executive Committee of the Oregon State Bar’s Diversity Section. Rima is also a founding member and Past President of the board for the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon.
Rima lives in Southwest Portland with her husband and son and will celebrate 24 years of marriage this Spring. She is a graduate of Colgate University and the University of San Diego Law School. She has two children attending school, one at Western Washington University and the other at Wilson High School. The other members of the family are three gorgeous mutts who rule the house.
Rima and volunteers at the
Arab American Cultural Center Festival,
collecting donations to offset free entry