Oregon State Bar Bulletin — FEBRUARY/MARCH 2003

Briefs

THE ULTIMATE ASSOCIATE

Not one to be left out of the current fascination of for reality programming, LexisNexis is staging the first ever reality-based contest where first-year associate attorneys compete in career-associated challenges to win the title of Ultimate Associate 2003. The winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip for two to a luxurious, tropical location.

Though the filing deadline has passed for this Survivor-like contest, you can still participate. LexisNexis judges are currently deciding upon 12 semifinalists. Four finalists will ultimately be selected by peer voting to compete in online 'challenges,' described by LexisNexis as 'career-building tasks designed to educate and entertain their virtual audience — and ultimately their judges — who will vote to crown the final Ultimate Associate.' The contest will run through July, with the finalist being announced July 30.

To follow the trials (no pun intended) and tribulations of the finalists, visit the 'Associate Community' at www. lexisnexis.com.

MISSED MANNERS

Law schools may want to add etiquette classes to their list of course requirements for would-be attorneys, a new survey shows.

Close to half (49 percent) of attorneys polled recently said the level of civility between lawyers has decreased over the past five years. Only 13 percent of respondents believe attorneys today are more courteous to their peers.

The survey was developed by The Affiliates, a staffing service for attorneys, paralegals and other legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 attorneys among the nation’s 1,200 largest law firms.

'Good manners have taken on greater importance, given the increased focus on project teams in legal firms,' said Kathleen Call, executive director of The Affiliates. 'When it comes to interacting with co-workers and clients, strong interpersonal or ‘soft’ skills are as necessary as education and legal experience.'

JURY AWARDS DOWN, THEN UP POST 9/11

Large jury verdict awards to individuals plaintiffs sagged considerably in the U.S. during the 12 months following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — but American juries’ frugality disappeared, especially in the last part of 2002. Overall, jury awards surged in the latter part of last year.

Topping the list: a record-setting $28 billion award to a smoker in California — nearly six times larger than the previous 2002 record verdict. A $225 million verdict against Ford was one of the largest personal injury awards in history against an auto manufacturer, according to Lawyers Weekly USA, a legal newspaper that tracks large verdicts.

'There was an obvious change in U.S. courtrooms following Sept. 11 — big-money cases were either settled or their trials were delayed. But that impact was relatively short-lived, as the year ended with record setting jury awards last year. An unprecedented six verdicts of $80-million-plus came down in the last quarter of 2002,' said attorney Paul Martinek, editor and publisher.


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'DIFFERENCES' MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Why are women so dramatically underrepresented in formal leadership positions-and what can be done to improve the situation? The Difference 'Difference' Makes: Women and Leadership takes up those questions in the crucial, practical contexts of law, politics, and business-the arenas in which women’s leadership has the most public influence. Bridging the worlds of theory and practice, this book brings news insights to long-standing questions about the difference gender differences make, both in access to leadership and in its exercise.

The publication is a collection of essays from a women’s leadership summit co-sponsored by the American Bar Association Office of the President, the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, and Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The summit was convened by then-ABA President Martha Barnett who said, 'We are obligated to finish the agenda started so many decades ago by true pioneers of our profession.'

Contributors to the collection include some of the nation’s most distinguished women leaders and most respected scholars on women and leadership, including former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder; former NOW president Patricia Ireland; and Judith Resnik, the Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School.

The Difference 'Difference' Makes: Women and Leadership is available in hardcover for $45.00 or paperback for $17.95, plus shipping, online at www.sup.org or by phone, (800) 621-2736.