OSB Legislative Policy Guidelines

The Board of Governors has determined that the use of bar dues to participate in shaping legislation involving the regulation of the legal profession and matters concerning the improvement of the quality of legal services available to the people of Oregon is germaine to the state bar's legitimate role and is in the public interest.

A. Oregon State Bar legislative or policy activities shall be limited to those reasonably related to any of the following subjects:

1. The regulation and discipline of attorneys;

2. The improvement of the the functioning of the courts, judicial efficacy and efficiency;

3. The availability of legal services to society;

4. The regulation of attorney trust accounts;

5. The education, ethics, competence, integrity, and regulation as a body, of the legal profession; or

6. Other activities where:

a) The issue is recognized as being of great public interest;

b) Lawyers are specially suited by their training and experience to evaluate and explain the issue; and

c) The subject matter affects the rights of those likely to come in contact with the judicial system.

B. The Bar will make every reasonable effort to inform members of legislative positions taken by it or its committees or sections and encourage as wide a participation as possible in formulating positions on legislative issues.

C. General Guidelines for Section/Committee Legislative Positions

If a bar group such as a section or committee decides to request to take a position on a proposal, the Public Affairs Committee of the board may:

1. Adopt it as a state bar position, thus activating full Public Affairs Committee support, including lobbying efforts. Issues that are appropriate for this treatment under BOG policy §11.800(A) include:

a) Amendments to the Bar Act or related laws (political or policy emphasis);

b) Bills that regulate the legal profession or ones involving related public protections;

c) Bills that improve legal services offered by the majority of the membership;

d) Bills that have a major impact on the practice of law (taxation, pro bono, indigent defense, etc.); and

e) Bills that relate to the functioning of the judicial system.

2. Designate it as a Section or Committee Position thus activating Public Affairs Committee monitoring and staff assistance to volunteers.

Issues that are appropriate for this treatment under BOG Policy §11.800(A) include law improvement bills within the scope of activities of section or committee with an emphasis on technical expertise.

The following notice requirements apply to positions receiving this treatment:

a) If there is a conflict with other sections or committees that fact must be disclosed in a timely fashion to the Public Affairs Committee so it can coordinate legislative efforts more efficiently and avoid undue conflict. §11.800(C)(2);

b) If there is a conflict with other sections or committees that fact must be disclosed in a timely fashion to the legislature and the affected section or committee so legislative efforts can be coordinated more efficiently and avoid undue conflict. §11.800(C)(2);

3. Refuse to approve a section or committee position request thus activating no support by bar, section, or committee.

This response is appropriate if:

a) The proposed position violates §11.800(A);

b) The issue is highly divisive within the bar. §11.800()(2); or

c) The position would have a very negative and critical impact on the rest of the bar’s legislative program.

Every effort is made to avoid this third option and to not interfere with the routine law improvement work of bar groups.