Thank you for publishing Sarah Kellogg’s article, “Web Wars,” (August/September 2005). It was an excellent description of the world of legal publishing and how it affects small law firm practitioners. Your readers may want to know that there is one segment of their local legal research community that has been serving the solo and small law firm practitioner community for a very long time.
In Oregon, more than a dozen county law libraries provide their attorneys with access to Lexis, Westlaw or both, in addition to a wide range of print resources. Some of the law libraries also have online RIA, PACER, Shepard’s and ILP. Granted, most of these must be used in the library, but documents can be e-mailed to attorneys upon request. And if your law library doesn’t have what you need, Oregon law librarians exchange information through their statewide list-serve and could likely find just about anything the attorney is seeking.
Here in Washington County, we also offer all residents remote access (i.e., from their home or office computer) to the HeinOnline legal database. While the mainstream legal publishing world has made it impossible for small law libraries to provide third-party remote access to their lawyer patrons, a few independent vendors are well aware of the need for this type of service to small law firms. They know it makes no sense for attorneys outside academia or large firms to subscribe to multiple databases that are used only once or twice a year, and that providing service through the local law library helps the publisher and the attorney. These specialized databases serve as a valuable complement to the OSB’s Casemaker.
Law Librarian, Washington County Law Library
Talk to the Animals
Antonia Giedwoyn’s article (“Martin Turns 50,” August/September 2005) caused me to locate in my desk drawer a memorandum titled “Martin v. Reynolds Metals Company.” It’s been in my desk drawer for nearly 50 years. It quotes from the transcript of the testimony of a Mr. Robert Strebin, a farmer and neighbor of the Martins, given in a Multnomah County Circuit Court case brought by Martin arising out of the same fluoride emissions from the Reynolds plant as were involved in the federal district court case that was the subject of the Geidwoyn article.
I was then an associate in King, Miller, Anderson, Nash & Yerke (now Miller Nash). Fred Yerke, a young partner, was defending Reynolds.
The following is a copy of the memorandum circulated within the firm:
MARTIN V. REYNOLDS METALS COMPANY
Filed in the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for the County of Multnomah
“Mr. Robert Strebin, a farmer, called as a witness on behalf of plaintiff, during the course of his testimony analogized the condition of his own livestock to the condition of plaintiffs’ livestock, which had been allegedly injured by fumes from defendant’s plant. On cross-examination the attorney for defendant, Mr. Yerke, attempted to show that, because of the difference in the size of plaintiffs’ and the witness’s respective operations, the witness was able to give better care of his own livestock than plaintiff gave to his.
The following is quoted from the transcript of testimony:
Mark C. McClanahan
Disappointed in Ad Ban
I am very disappointed in the decision of the Board of Governors to ban advertising by the Oregon National Guard’s Staff Judge Advocate Corps. I find it astonishing that an organization dedicated to the support of our Constitution and its ideals would choose to exercise its authority to stifle the voices of those with whom it disagrees.
The OSB’s own Affirmative Action Program states that its mission is support the Oregon State Bar by promoting respect for the rule of law and by increasing access for justice. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy has been affirmed by the nation’s highest courts, and yet that’s not good enough for the Board of Governors. So much for respect for the rule of law.
By denying access to information about job opportunities in the military the Oregon State Bar seeks to limit the armed forces’ ability to find and hire qualified attorneys to represent the interests of the hundreds of thousands of men and women serving in the military. So much for increasing access to justice.
Ideally, those who disagree with military policies should be free to write all the letters to the editor or purchase all the ads they want, just as those who wish to encourage lawyers to join the military should be free to advertise and advocate their position. That’s an open forum and a free exchange of ideas within the meaning of the First Amendment, and a concept that the Board of Governors appears to find distasteful.
Gregory T. Day
Don’t Exclude Heterosexuals
I was surprised by the letter to the editor in your November 2005 issue that found the following position neutral: “Sexuality is a private matter between consenting adults so just keep it to yourself.” This position was offered in support of the “innocuous” military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I was surprised, in fact, by how much I agreed with it. The only problem is heterosexuals shouldn’t be excluded from such a fair and reasonable policy. Therefore, the military really should ban wedding and engagement rings and other advertisements of sexuality. And lord knows nobody wants to see pictures, for example, of a soldier and his girlfriend, much less hear about any letters from home with those appalling terms of endearment. Hand-holding? Forget it. And if you’re thinking of having a baby, get out of the military now. I certainly don’t want to see clear evidence of the dirty things you do, since — as the famously heterosexual Woody Allen has noted — sex is dirty, but only if done correctly.
The World Turned Upside Down
Let me see if I have this right. The Oregon National Guard, whose men and women routinely risk their lives protecting the citizens of Oregon from such things as forest fires and floods at home and international terrorism abroad, is prohibited by the Oregon State Bar from advertising in the bar Bulletin, yet the National Lawyer's Guild, a long-time pro-Soviet organization which apparently never met a communist dictator it didn't like or wouldn't support, is the subject of an OSB infomercial (October 2005, p. 47).
To refresh the Board of Governors’ memory, it was the U.S. Congress which declared that homosexual conduct was incompatible with military service. And it was that well-know homophobe, Bill Clinton, who implemented the “don't ask, don't tell” policy to which the bar leadership apparently objects. Perhaps the OSB would be happier with a military that ignored or disobeyed Congress and the president, but I suspect the majority of U.S. citizens would not.
Legend has it that when Cornwallis surrendered to Washington following the battle of Yorktown the British band played the tune “The World Turned Upside Down.” The Oregon State Bar choir may want to brush up on the words and perhaps entertain the membership with the song at the next annual meeting.
Charles T. Ketchel Jr.
Ramstein Air Base, Germany