|Oregon State Bar Bulletin JANUARY 2007|
Another Choice for Pro Bono
I read with interest the article "Here Come the Judges" in the December issue of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin outlining judges’ concerns for pro bono litigants in domestic relations cases. I wanted to inform you that our organization, Child Centered Solutions, is a nonprofit that was formed by one family law attorney with the help of mental health therapists and the support of Judge Susan Svetkey to address part of this problem.
We have only been operating for three months, so you may not have been aware of our organization when you published your article. Our mission is to provide court-appointed pro bono legal representation to children in high conflict domestic relations/custody cases where the parents are unrepresented. We will also provide education to the various groups that deal with these children. Judge Svetkey and the entire Multnomah County bench now have an avenue to appoint our organization to represent the interests of the children when their parents cannot afford their own legal representation. Now the judges have another avenue to appoint attorneys for kids other than requesting attorneys from the judge’s list to take cases pro bono. The children that we are appointed to represent now will have a voice in the process. We currently have five active domestic relations cases that Judge Svetkey appointed us to represent the interests of children.
We anticipate many more appointments in the future, but at this juncture I am the only attorney that the organization has hired to represent the children. I am also the executive director, so my caseload must be limited at this point. Our goal, however, with the proper funding, is to hire additional attorneys to accept court appointments for children in Multnomah County and eventually other counties within the state. I truly believe in our mission and know that we have the support of most of the Multnomah County family law judges.
Our website is www.childcenteredsolutions.org. We also send out a monthly newsletter, and if you are interested, we will add you to our mailing list. If you have any questions about our organization, please let me know.
Executive director and program attorney,
Child Centered Solutions
A Golden Opportunity
The fine article written by Janine Robben concerning the retirement of Chief Justice Carson ("Here Come the Judges," JANUARY 2007) and the article by Judge Edward Jones ("Justice on Trial," JANUARY 2007) are timely in light of Governor Kulongoski’s opportunity to appoint a judge to the Oregon Court of Appeals. Chief Justice Carson was the last trial judge remaining on the Oregon Supreme Court. It is time for the governor to look at the vast pool of talent of trial court judges rather than looking to the appellate section of the Oregon Department of Justice for a replacement for Judge Linder.
Governor Kulongoski has a golden opportunity to fill the open position on the Oregon Court of Appeals with a qualified person from outside of the Willamette Valley. I am sure there are well-qualified applicants whose appointment would allow the governor, the Oregon State Bar and those whose commitment to affirmative action has recently been demonstrated to commit to the support of an out-of-valley attorney or judge. An appointment of this novelty would greatly discourage the grassroots movement to change the way that appellate judges are selected in Oregon.
William P. Haberlach