David Elkanich is a partner in Holland & Knight's Portland office where he practices primarily in the areas of legal ethics, risk management and discipline defense. Mr. Elkanich advises lawyers and law firms on an array of issues, including but not limited to client and matter intake, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, engagement and disengagement issues, internal investigations, law firm dissolutions and litigation issues (e.g., withdrawal and disqualification motions, or fee disputes). He draws upon his background as a former criminal defense attorney and civil litigation attorney to provide practical solutions to client matters.

Mr. Elkanich also represents students, lawyers and other professionals in front of regulatory authorities and bar associations on licensing, admissions, reciprocity, character and fitness, unauthorized practice of law and disciplinary matters.

Mr. Elkanich frequently counsels lawyers and law firms regarding how they can innovate through legal technology and the creation of new policies and firm structures to address client needs and the changing legal landscape. In particular, Mr. Elkanich is interested in how lawyers navigate an "electronic" practice, including cloud computing mining metadata, social media, data privacy and security issues particular to lawyers. He shares his insights on Twitter.

Among his representative experience, Mr. Elkanich briefed, argued and prevailed in the recent precedent-setting state court case involving lawyer mobility and the rules of professional conduct:

  • In re Conduct of Harris, 366 Or. 475, 466 P.3d 22 (2020): holding that attorney did not violate rules against unauthorized practice of law when he acted as in-house counsel in Oregon pending his reciprocal admission to the bar because he was engaged in the provision of legal services on a temporary basis (even though he had accepted permanent employment in Oregon). See Oregon RPC 5.5(a), (c).

Mr. Elkanich is active in his community and the legal profession. He is an avid speaker and has been a member of groups looking to advance the practice of law. Mr. Elkanich was the chair of the Anti-Bias Rule Drafting Committee in Oregon, which drafted an anti-bias ethics rule that was ultimately adopted as RPC 8.4(a)(7), making it professional misconduct for a lawyer to, "in the course of representing a client, knowingly intimidate or harass a person because of that person’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status or disability."

Mr. Elkanich spent three terms (nine years) on the Oregon Legal Ethics Committee and is also an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, where he has taught ethics since 2012.

Further, Mr. Elkanich continues to maintain a civil litigation practice, where he represents clients in professional liability matters, consumer protection disputes and commercial cases. He regularly practices in state and federal court in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Elkanich worked as an attorney with Metropolitan Public Defenders, Inc., where he practiced in the Major Felony Unit. During law school, Mr. Elkanich was the operations editor of the Oregon Law Review and a graduate teaching fellow.


  • University of Oregon School of Law, J.D.
  • University of Arizona, B.A., magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Washington
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho
  • Oregon State Bar New Lawyer Mentoring Program
  • Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL)
  • American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibilities
  • Multnomah Bar Association
  • Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners Fitness Task Force, former Member
  • Uniform (Civil) Jury Instructions Committee, Oregon State Bar, 2005-2007
  • Oregon State Bar Discipline System Review Committee, former Member
  • Legal Ethics Committee, Oregon State Bar, former Member and Chairperson
  • RPC 8.4 (Anti-Bias) Rule Drafting Committee, former Chairperson
  • Advisory Panel, American Bar Association, former Panelist
  • Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, Washington State Bar Association, former Member
  • Oregon State Bar, Unlawful Practice of Law Task Force, former Member
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, 2016-2021
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Portland Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law Lawyer of the Year, 2021
  • Oregon Super Lawyers magazine, 2017-2020
  • Rising Star, Oregon Super Lawyers magazine, 2012-2013
  • Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, University of Arizona  


Speaking Engagements