Oregon State Bar Bulletin — JUNE 2003

Bar News

It’s a ‘fast forward’ to Seaside
Save the date for the 2003 Oregon State Bar Annual Meeting, Sept. 18-20 in Seaside.

Events will kick off on Thursday afternoon with a variety of CLE programs provided by the following OSB sections: Constitutional Law, Consumer Law, Environmental & Natural Resources, Health Law, Law Practice Management/Sole & Small Firm Practitioners and Securities Law. Afterward will be a dinner of steamer clams and microbrews at a 'Bonfire and Blues' event on the beach.

Friday’s focus will be on two educational tracks: litigation and legislation, including a keynote address by Gov. Ted Kulongoski in the afternoon. The President’s Awards Dinner will take place Friday evening, followed by a variety show and fundraising event to benefit the Oregon Law Foundation.

The 2003 Annual Meeting will conclude on Saturday with the House of Delegates meeting.

Events will take place at the Seaside Civic & Convention Center and Best Western Ocean View Resort. Look for updates in future issues of Bar News and on the bar’s website, www.oregonstatebar.org.

Many Oregon counties need volunteer mediators
Last March, the Oregon Judicial Department suspended processing all small claims cases statewide due to budget cuts and the failure of Ballot Measure 28. This summer, processing will resume for the delayed cases. Courts across the state are facing a substantial backlog, and many are recruiting volunteer mediators to help.

Volunteer mediation is a great way to take a break from your practice, hone your mediation skills and support your community. It will also qualify as 'Other Volunteer Legal Services and Community Service' for purposes of the voluntary pro bono report you will be asked to give on your 2004 membership fee statement.

If you have basic mediation training and are interested in learning more about small claims mediation in your area, please contact Erin Ruff, OJD ADR analyst at (503) 986-4539 or erin.ruff@ojd.state.or.us, or your local area mediation center or court.

Small claims mediation programs are available in: Benton, Clatsop, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Umatilla and Union counties.

PLF seeks lawyer for board position
The Board of Directors of the Professional Liability Fund is looking for one lawyer member to serve a five-year term on the PLF Board of Directors beginning January 2004.

Directors attend approximately six two-day board meetings a year, as well as various committee meetings, and are also required to spend a considerable amount of time reading board materials between meetings and participating in telephone conference calls. PLF policies prohibit directors and their firms from prosecuting or defending claims against lawyers. Interested persons should send a brief resume by July 11, 2003 to: Ira R. Zarov, Professional Liability Fund, P.O. Box 1600, Lake Oswego, Ore. 97035.

Discipline system needs volunteers
OSB members soon will receive the bar’s annual committee preference form, which contains several opportunities to serve as a volunteer in the lawyer discipline system. The discipline system had a shortage of volunteers, particularly outside of Multnomah County, in 2002. Please consider making your preference known for one of the following volunteer positions.

Local Professional Responsibility Committees (LPRCs)
There are 16 LPRCs around the state made up of from five to 20 members. Each committee is responsible for investigating matters assigned to it by the OSB disciplinary counsel’s office or the State Professional Responsibility Board. As an LPRC member you will be called on to act as a field investigator, interviewing witnesses, gathering documents and submitting written reports to the full committee on each case assigned to you. The effectiveness of the bar’s disciplinary system depends upon the quality and timeliness of LPRC reports. The number of investigations you may be assigned will vary depending on committee caseload.

Bar Counsel
These volunteers work together with disciplinary counsel staff in preparing and presenting formal charges against an accused lawyer. While staff does much of the litigation support, serving as bar counsel is nonetheless a significant time commitment. Litigation experience is required. You may be called upon to handle one or two cases each year.

State Professional Responsibility Board
This nine-member board acts as the grand jury in the discipline system, making probable cause decisions on all complaints. The board meets monthly and the workload is substantial. A very limited number of vacancies occur each year on the SPRB.

Disciplinary Board
Three-member hearing panels are selected from the disciplinary board, a group of Supreme Court appointees divided into six regions. Hearings typically take one to three days, after which written opinions must be promptly rendered. Workload varies by region.

All of these volunteer opportunities require a significant time commitment, and each part of the disciplinary process must be performed in a timely manner. If you are willing to devote the time and energy necessary to make our disciplinary process effective, mark your preference forms accordingly and send them back to the bar center. The discipline system needs your help.

For further information regarding LPRCs, bar counsel and the SPRB, contact Barbara Buehler at (503) 620-0222, ext. 370. For further information regarding the Disciplinary Board, contact Judy Coons, ext. 334.

Minority lawyers to hold auction
The Oregon Minority Lawyers Association (OMLA) will hold its Fourth Annual Auction and Raffle on Thursday, June 19, at 5:30 p.m. The event will be held at the World Trade Center, 121 S.W. Salmon St., Portland.

OMLA is a 501(c)(3) organization committed to making the legal community of Oregon a welcoming environment where people of all colors, races and ethnic backgrounds can excel academically, professionally and personally. Auction proceeds are applied to the OMLA Oregon Bar Examination Preparation Course Scholarship which is intended to contribute to the bar passage rate of ethnic and racial minorities taking the Oregon bar exam.

Corporate sponsors of this year’s auction include Spirit Mountain Casino and Standard Insurance Company. There is no charge for admission. For more information or to RSVP, contact Anastasia Yu Meisner at aym@guyermeisner.com or (503) 697-1035.

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Spotlight on
OSB volunteers

Christine Meadows

What types of volunteering for the bar have you done? Member of Law-Related Education, and Public Service and Information committees, Diversity Section and Oregon New Lawyers Division (ONLD) executive committee; active in numerous ONLD activities (e.g., high school essay contest, state fair booth, mock trial coach and judge, 'lawyer in the classroom,' representative to ABA’s Young Lawyers events); and presenter at CLE seminars and Bulletin author.

Why does it make a difference to serve as a bar volunteer? 'It gives me an opportunity to be a participatory member of the profession. It gives us a better public image — I’ve had people come up to me at the state fair or a Community Law Week legal information booth and actually tell me they felt better about lawyers knowing we were doing things like that. It gives me an opportunity to provide information and increase awareness and understanding of our legal system through direct interaction in the community as a ‘representative of lawyers.’ It helps connect me to the concept of a ‘profession’ instead of just a job.'

What was your most memorable volunteer experience? 'Working with a high school class, I picked two of the most quiet and withdrawn students to act as attorneys and argue a case. We studied the law that applied and they seemed to comprehend the issues, but I was concerned. Was I expecting too much by asking them to apply this new knowledge and think on their feet, speaking to a room full of people? When the day came, they were both amazing! They were quick on their feet and gave answers that were insightful and had an excellent comprehension of the law. On my last day, I asked the class what they felt they got out of the experience. One of the formerly withdrawn students raised her hand and said she had started to actively participate in all her classes because she had thought nothing could be more frightening than taking a position and having to defend it to lawyers, but since she had done it, she could do anything.'

How do you find time to volunteer? 'Time has become more and more precious as my practice has grown. Now I have to be more selective in where I put my energy, and try to focus on those things where I can make the most difference with the amount of time I put in.'

How did volunteering for Bar activities impact you? 'Five things: 1) It keeps me informed of what is happening in the bar; 2) It gives me opportunities to meet people I might otherwise not get to know, which has led to friendships, business and networking opportunities; 3) It gives me an opportunity to express myself in ways that aren’t possible in my daily practice; 4) It gives me an opportunity to connect directly with the community and people who don’t interact with the legal system; and 5) It helps to make me a better lawyer.'

MCBA CLE raises funds
Marion County Bar Association raised funds for Fanconi Anemia Research Foundation from profits from its May 9, two-hour general CLE seminar with Dave Frohnmayer, 'How the Trial Lawyer Can Benefit From the Discipline of Appellate Advocacy.'

Approximately $1,000 was raised by admissions and donations. If you wish to purchase a CD, DVD or VHS recording of the program, contact Kirk Kindle of Capitol City Video, 335 Grove N.E., Salem Ore. 97303; phone: (503) 371-7044; e-mail: ccvp@comcast.net. Cost for the recording and handout is $40 for MCBA members, $50 for non-members. The cost is $25 is you attended the seminar.

For more information, contact Tom Elden at (503) 378-4732.

CPA/Attorney seminar
The Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Oregon State Bar Joint Attorney/CPA Committee plan a continuing legal education seminar, 'Professional Conduct & Ethics—Building Bridges and Understanding Between the Accounting and Legal Profession' on June 24.

The course, designed for both CPAs and attorneys, offers an opportunity to contrast the differing ethical considerations and obligations of the two professions, including conflict of interest rules, privilege and confidentiality. This CLE will provide information that will help participants to understand the perspective of the other profession and better serve clients.

The program will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the Kingstad Meeting Center in Beaverton. Application has been maide for 2 general and 3 ethics CLE credits.

For more information on this CLE and to register, please contact the Oregon Society of CPAs at (503) 641-7200 x 3 or register online at www.orcpa.org/cpa/ prodev.asp. The cost is $135.