In 1920, Pat Ness, a World War I veteran from the Canadian city of Victoria, British Columbia, got a job selling printing presses in Seattle, WA. On a visit to Portland, he sold a press to Laurence Stevens and his partner, who sold new and used law books, printed stationery and legal forms, catering to the legal profession. After some time, he visited Portland again and dropped by to see how the press was working out. As it happened, Stevens and his colleagues were having trouble running it, so they offered Ness a stake in the company if he would come and run the press. When he accepted the offer, Stevens-Ness Law Publishing Co. was born – Stevens ran the front office, while Ness oversaw the printing side of the business.
Not long after the company was founded, Stevens-Ness began printing blank real estate forms in addition to its line of legal forms. Current versions of these forms – contracts, listing agreements and earnest money receipts – are still being produced today, and are used daily by real estate professionals.
As demand for Stevens-Ness legal forms grew throughout Oregon, the company developed a network of retail dealers to make the forms available across the state. Thanks to this distribution method, Stevens-Ness forms are usually available at a stationery or office supply store in every county seat in the state. In those locations where a local dealer is not available, the forms can of course be ordered directly from Stevens-Ness through this website.
Over the years Stevens-Ness broadened its product mix to add business products, signs and seals, stock certificates, rubber stamps, and even business furniture. By maintaining a close relationship with its customers in the legal community, the company worked hard to be responsive to their evolving needs – and eventually, the needs of the general business community of metropolitan Portland.
In May of 2006 Stevens-Ness purchased Washington Legal Blank, the oldest and largest publisher of legal forms in the state of Washington. The company's products include everything from the most current legal and business forms to professionally-designed award and gift certificates. Thanks to this acquisition, Stevens-Ness now offers a complete line of both Oregon and Washington legal forms and related products.
At the end of 2020, after 100 years as a downtown Portland fixture, Stevens-Ness closed its retail store, stopped selling office supplies and made a transition to an online business selling its forms in electronic versions only. In 2021 the company launched a redesigned and streamlined website focused on this new business model.
Stevens-Ness Law Publishing Co. is a third-generation family-owned and operated business, with Pat Ness' granddaughter currently serving as president. Stevens-Ness provides essential services to law firms, title companies, government agencies, and many other companies of all types and sizes – as well as the individual who simply needs one copy of a land sale contract. Today, just as in 1920, the company's goal is to serve our customers' needs as completely and conveniently as possible.