Oregon State Bar Bulletin — FEBRUARY 2006

Bar News

Volunteer defense counsel sought
The Oregon State Bar is looking for members who are willing to volunteer their time to assist lawyers who are being investigated or prosecuted for disciplinary violations. The OSB Board of Governors believes that offering lawyers accused of professional misconduct an opportunity to obtain professional assistance would greatly benefit not only individual lawyers but the disciplinary system as a whole. And like many citizens, lawyers are often unable to afford counsel, leaving them no alternative but to proceed pro se.

Volunteers on this panel will provide pro bono representation for accused lawyers in disciplinary matters, as their time and availability permit. Accused lawyers are not guaranteed that a volunteer on the panel will be available or will take every case. Volunteer defense counsel are not screened, but are expected to be familiar with the disciplinary rules and the disciplinary process. The bar does not require the volunteer defense counsel to provide any particular level of services. It is anticipated that most of the volunteer services will be of a consultative nature in the early stages of an investigation or prosecution. Volunteer defense counsel and their clients will determine by agreement the scope, nature, and charges for defense services to be provided. Volunteers are not prohibited from requesting or accepting compensation for extended representation in contested disciplinary trials or appeals.

If you are interested in volunteering to assist lawyers in disciplinary proceedings, please contact Jane Gillespie at (503) 620-0222, ext. 308, or (800) 452-8260, ext. 308, or by e-mail jgillespie@osbar.org.

Legislation deadline looms
If your bar group intends to propose legislation for the 2007 legislative session, proposals should be submitted to the board’s Public Affairs Committee through the Public Affairs Department by April 1 for approval and pre-session drafting and filing.

Providing a legislative proposal summary and actual language for your bill by the April 1 deadline is the best way to preserve your options. The longer your bar group waits the fewer options it will have to pursue during the session.

Contact David Nebel (503) 431-6317) or Sally LaJoie (503) 431-6358 in the OSB public affairs department if you have any questions.

Elections to be held in April
The 2006 House of Delegates election, a judicial poll for the state primary election and an advisory vote on an MCLE rule change will utilize online elections and electronic ballots.

All active members with e-mails registered with the OSB will receive an e-mail on March 30 with a link that guides them through the voting process via an electronic ballot. Members will have online access to the candidate statements. Site security will register only one vote per member.

Members can only vote in their respective region’s election. Once the voter is satisfied with his/her selection, they click the "Record Your Vote" button. It is not possible to return to the voting page once the vote is final.

Members without an e-mail address registered with the OSB will receive candidate statements and paper ballots in the U.S. mail.

Votes must be recorded/received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, April 14, 2006. Results will be posted on the bar’s website on Monday, April 17.

***LINKUP????(See page 9 for coverage of the election. See page 13 for the official ballot notice.)

Benefits hotline seeks referral lawyers
Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Oregon Law Center run a statewide Public Benefits Hotline for low income Oregonians. The hotline receives many calls from clients seeking representation in Social Security and SSI cases, and these cases are generally referred out to the private bar. The programs are now in the process of updating the referral list.

If you are interested in handling these cases, or if you have any questions, contact Karen Berkowitz by phone at (503) 473-8321 or by e-mail at kaberko@yahoo.com. Include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address, and indicate if you are willing to represent clients throughout the state, or in a more limited geographic area. In order to be on this referral list, you must be an active member of the Oregon State Bar.

Family law conference set for April 7-8
The Oregon Judicial Department and the State Family Law Advisory Committee, in co-sponsorship with the Oregon State Bar and the Juvenile Court Improvement Project present the Fourth Family Law Conference to be held on Friday and Saturday, April 7-8, at The Riverhouse in Bend.

The theme for this year’s conference is "Out of the Frying Pan: Burning Issues in Access to Justice," focusing on issues presented by the increase in self-represented litigants in Oregon’s courts and the practical aspects of how best to interact with, and serve, this population both in and out of the courtroom.

The conference’s keynote speaker will be Richard Zorza, national writer and speaker on issues of access to justice and the judicial response to self-represented litigants. The Saturday plenary presentation will be by Kathryn Kuehnle, assistant professor, University of South Florida, frequent speaker and writer on allegations of child sexual abuse in child custody litigation. Several workshops are also planned.

Details about the conference, including lodging and registration information, are available here

Notice of reinstatement applications
The following attorneys have filed applications for reinstatement as active members of the Oregon State Bar pursuant to Rule of Procedure (BR) 8.1.

Charles A. Galford of Portland, OSB #72092. In 1996, Galford transferred to inactive status because he was not practicing law. Since 1995, he has been employed by various groups developing and marketing casinos. Upon reinstatement, he will continue with his present employer, Tepa EC, LLC, a California company, providing strategic planning and business management from a Portland office.

Clifford Levenson of California, OSB #95036. Levenson seeks reinstatement after a one-year reciprocal disciplinary suspension effective April 15, 2003. In re Levenson, SC S50223 (2003). (Prior to that suspension, he went inactive in 1997, and in 2000 was suspended for failure to pay dues.) Levenson is presently employed as a paralegal for a Fountain Valley, Calif., law firm, and is seeking admission to the Arizona bar.

Kathryn Ann Stebner of California, OSB #93126. In 1997, Stebner transferred to inactive status because she had moved to California, where she was admitted to practice law. In 2003, she established her own firm in the San Francisco area, where she will continue to live and work. Her reinstatement to active status will allow her to assist clients with Oregon business ventures.

Andrew Toth-Fejel of Portland, OSB #84102. Toth-Fejel is seeking reinstatement following a five-year disciplinary suspension effective December 3, 2000. In re Toth-Fejel, SC S46875 (2000). While suspended, he has been employed as a paralegal with a Portland law firm.

The Rules of Procedure require the Board of Governors to conduct an investigation of BR 8.1 reinstatement applications to determine whether applicants possess the good moral character and general fitness to practice law, and that the resumption of the practice of law in this state by these applicants will not be detrimental to the administration of justice or the public interest. Any person with information relevant to these applications is asked to contact promptly the OSB Regulatory Services Division, PO Box 1689, Lake Oswego, OR 97035; (503) 620-0222 or (800) 452-8260, ext. 343. 

return to top
return to Table of Contents

Court of Appeals
issues annual report

The Hon. David V. Brewer, Chief Judge of Oregon Court of Appeals, announces the issuance of the court’s 2005 Report. Brewer explains: "The Court of Appeals is committed to providing open communication about how it performs its work. This report is intended to make the work and the people of the Court of Appeals more visible and understandable to the bar and the public."

The report reviews the structure of the court and examines the nature and volume of its workload, including factors that have recently led to an increase in the number of cases before the court. The Oregon Court of Appeals continues to be one of the busiest state appellate courts in the country, with between 3,200 and 4,600 appeals filed in each of the last 10 years. The report outlines how the court processes cases, and notes that, for the past three years, the court has steadily increased its volume of written opinions.

In addition, several of the court’s special programs are highlighted. Included are details about the court’s very successful appellate settlement conference program, the court’s commitment to holding oral arguments at schools throughout Oregon as often as possible, and the court’s "trading benches" program, which allows its judges periodically to sit as trial court judges in the circuit courts, while circuit court judges periodically sit with the Court of Appeals.

The report also sets out some of the court’s current projects and goals. For example, the court is developing a modern Appellate Case Management System (ACMS) that will allow the court to better serve lawyers and the public by identifying and resolving inefficiencies, responding quickly and accurately to external reporting needs, and–ultimately–creating the potential for future system add-ons that are currently beyond the court’s budget, such as e-filing and document management. In conjunction with the ACMS project, the court–in consultation with specialists from the National Center for State Courts–is identifying meaningful appellate court performance measures to apply to its work.

View the complete report here.

Debtor-Creditor Section opens chapter of CARE program

The OSB Debtor-Creditor Section has begun a local chapter of the CARE Program founded by Judge John Ninfo of Rochester, New York. CARE stands for Credit Abuse Resistance Education. The goal of the program is to provide high school students with information about how credit cards work. The presentations will be made by a bankruptcy judge and an attorney. Presentations last 45 minutes to one hour and include a 10-minute video. Gary Scharff and Judge Randall Dunn recently made four presentations at Grant High School. Judge Trish Brown and Dan Rosenhouse have scheduled presentations at Aloha High School. Additional presentations have been scheduled for Dayton High School, McMinnville High School and Sunset High School. Judge Al Radcliffe and Becky Kamitsuka are heading up the effort in the Eugene area.

An informational meeting for volunteers was held last November to provide materials and tips for training. You can participate as a speaker even if you were unable to attend the training session. We can provide copies of the materials for the training program. Additional information about the program is available on the web site started by Judge Ninfo, and on the website that Judge Hargrove started for the Southern District of California.

If you are interested in participating in the C.A.R.E. Program, contact Laura Walker in Portland at (503) 224-3092 or by email: lwalker@chbh.com, or Becky Kamitsuka in Eugene, (541) 343-8060, e-mail becky@gcbpc.com.