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Oregon Lawyer Online

An Influential Woman

Patricia Buchanan ’90 expresses her gratefulness by giving back

Patricia “Patty” Fenske-Buchanan says that if her life were a movie, the title would be “Lucky.” She fondly remembers her time as an Oregon Law student sitting in the sun on the steps of the old law center, McKenzie Hall, chatting with friends, reading, and resting her eyes and learning, “to savor the moment; to savor all moments. They matter.”

A founding principal for the law firm Patterson Buchanan Fobes Leitch & Kalzer with offices in Seattle and Portland, the 1990 Oregon Law alumna garnered a great deal of praise as the 2010 recipient of the Women of Influence Award. The Women of Influence program, established in 2001, is sponsored by the Puget Sound Business Journal. The award honors noteworthy female leaders in the business community who are progressive in their industry, who mentor others, and raise the level of civic debate. It also acknowledges women who have the authority and power to move the needle in their business, who are respected for accomplishments within their industries, give back to the community, and are sought out as respected advisors and mentors within their fields of influence.

“This is a wonderful and much deserved honor for Pat,” Oregon Law Dean Margie Paris said. “Oregon Law women have been and continue to be viewed as leaders in their professions.”

Buchanan says the award has opened the door to more opportunities and has allowed her to meet many new people. “It has caused me to pause to stop and think about my past, present and future; to cherish my close relationships and acknowledge that I am one of the luckiest people I know. I am also one of the hardest-working people I know,” she said.

Admitted to practice in both Washington and Oregon, Buchanan opened her firm in June 2007. It initially began with twenty-two staff members and has since tripled and expanded regionally. She credits her colleagues with giving her the tools she needs for success.

“I am privileged to have business partners who challenge me everyday to be a better person and who accept me when I am not. I am blessed to have over sixty employees who are among the best and brightest in Seattle and Portland. I am honored to work for and serve wonderful clients,” Buchanan expressed.

Buchanan tries not to stress over accomplishing a singular grand goal but instead strives each day to make small advances that she hopes will make a positive difference in the lives of each individual she encounters. “Over a lifetime,” Buchanan says, “the cumulative impact of which will indeed be more than grand.”

Buchanan notes that her own background, through struggles and positive experiences, has made her the person she is today. “My point is that roots matter. Roots can be an excuse for holding you back or they can be a reason motivating you forward. For me they were an inspiration to succeed. Suffice it to say, I overshot my mark.”

She’s an exceptional example of what young lawyers and women can succeed and aspire to be. Everyone can only hope one day to be as “lucky” and gracious as Buchanan is for her success.


Oregon Law » Oregon Lawyer Online » Summer 2011 » An Influential Woman