Cheryl Coon, AAL, Biography

Spread the love

Cheryl Coon previously led the social security disability section of Swanson Thomas Coon & Newton of Portland, Oregon, where she represented disabled individuals seeking benefits, at all stages of the process from application to federal court appeals.

She graduated from Bryn Mawr College magna cum laudein 1974; from Boston University School of Law cum laude in 1977; and from the University of Washington School of Law with a LL.M in 1981. During her thirty-eight years practicing law, she has litigated in state and federal courts and administrative tribunals; spent six years working on public policy issues in the United States Congress as legal counsel and staff director of committees of the Congress; practiced for a decade as a senior assistant attorney general in the Oregon Attorney General’s office; and taught as an adjunct at the Lewis and Clark Law School. 

Cheryl previously chaired the Disability Law Section of the Oregon Bar and is the immediate past chair of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, a past member of the Board of the Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon and a past founding member of the Children’s Diabetes Network. Cheryl presents frequently on disability issues, most recently at the Oregon Health Sciences University Psychiatry Grand Rounds (2015); the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Department Annual In-Service (2014); the Oregon Women Lawyers Association (2014); and the Joint Conference of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association and the Brain Injury Association of Oregon (2014).  She has published numerous articles.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Certificate of Appreciation, Oregon Labor Law Conference (2014)

  • Certificate of Appreciation, Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College (2012)

  • Certificate of Appreciation, Oregon Paralyzed Veterans and the Brain Injury Organization of Oregon (2012)

  • Certificate of Appreciation, Oregon Labor Law Conference (2012)

  • Certificate of Appreciation, Brain Injury Alliance of Oregon (2011)

  • Outstanding Service Award, Oregon Department of Justice (1994)

More about Cheryl Coon


Using my experience in state government, the private sector and Congress I represent disabled refugees seeking social security disability benefits, at all stages of the process, with competent, kind and courteous care.

Aceptamos clientes de habla hispana para beneficios por incapacidad de Seguro Social. Con gusto le ayudaremos.


Executive Director, Attorney

Refugee Disability Benefits Oregon

– Present (7 months)Portland, Oregon Area

Founded by Cheryl Coon, RDBO takes a unique approach in which attorney Cheryl Coon works closely with health care providers, case managers and counselors, as well as the refugees they serve, to ensure that refugees’ cases are presented competently and compassionately. We handle cases at every step of the disability process, from initial application to hearing to federal court.

The social security disability process can be frustrating. We believe it is important for potential applicants to be realistic about their chances for approval. We carefully evaluate the merits of each person’s case and suggest alternatives when we do not believe their case is strong. These alternatives may range from vocational assistance to waiting until a stronger medical record has been established.

Refugee Disability Benefits of Oregon
Refugee Disability Benefits of Oregon

Managing Attorney, Social Security Disability Section

Swanson Thomas Coon & Newton

(5 years 9 months)Portland, Oregon Area

Provide legal representation to clients with social security disability claims.


Oregon State Bar, Disability Section

(1 year)

Lead activities of the Disability Section of the Oregon Bar; offer CLEs on Social Security Disability

Senior Assistant Attorney General, Natural Resources Section

Oregon Department of Justice

(10 years)

Handled litigation related to endangered species, including spotted owls and salmon; provided advice to client agencies, boards and commissions on fish and wildlife issues and marine reserve issues

Associate Attorney

Ball Janik LLP

(1 year)

Land use litigation

Staff Director, Investigations Subcommittee of House Science, Technology and Space

U.S. House of Representatives

(2 years)

Congressional hearings, reports, authorizations

Staff Counsel, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation

U.S. Senate

(3 years)

Congressional hearings, reports

Assistant Attorney General

Department of Law, Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands

(2 years)

Responsible for all natural resource issues, including litigation and rulemaking for the three U.S. Virgin Islands

Associate Attorney

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

(1 year)

Litigation associate

Advice for Contacting Cheryl

Cheryl F. Coon
Refugee Disability Benefits Oregon
1137 SW Broadway
Portland OR 97205

Phone: 971-270-0755