|Oregon State Bar Bulletin JANUARY 2011|
Oregon Law Foundation Awards $1.4 Million in Grants
The Board of Directors of the Oregon Law Foundation has awarded $1.4 million in grants to a variety of nonprofit organizations around the state who provide legal services to persons of lesser means, promote diversity in the legal profession and educate the public about the law. A complete list of organizations who receiving 2011 OLF grants can be found at www.osbar.org/barnews/OLFGrants.html/.
The OLF receives funds from the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, which requires Oregon attorneys to keep certain client funds in a pooled interest-bearing trust account. The interest from these accounts is remitted by the financial institutions to the OLF. Since its inception, the OLF has awarded approximately $27 million for charitable, law-elated purposes.
Oregon Supreme Court to Webcast Oral Arguments
As one of its efforts to make the work of the court more accessible, the Oregon Supreme Court plans to initiate webcasting of oral arguments beginning with the cases docketed for argument in March 2011.
For a number of years, the court has conducted oral arguments in numerous sites around the state to bring the operations of the court to members of the public. Webcasting of oral arguments is one more step in that direction.
Work is currently under way to allow the court to webcast oral arguments. Initially, the plan is to webcast only arguments presented to the Oregon Supreme Court. Policies for webcast arguments are being developed to establish how notice will be provided to the parties and counsel and to establish procedures for raising any issues about particular cases.
First-of-Its-Kind Sustainable Future Section Going Strong
Nearing the end of its first year, the OSB Sustainable Future Section continues to lead the nation as the only state bar section focused specifically on the intersection of sustainability, the law and the practice of law.
Over the past year, the section has offered compelling programs, provided thought-provoking information on topics related to sustainability, and has worked with the state bar on sustainable practices.
The section’s program committee has begun plans for the 2011 line-up, and is exploring such topics as the precautionary principle, 2011 legislative outlook, corporate sustainability reporting, eco-psychology, steady state economy, and the FTC “green guides.” The section is also developing a sustainable partners program to provide information, standards and recognition to law offices that meet sustainable operating standards.
The section’s study groups will continue to explore barriers to filing double-sided documents under current trial court rules and the inclusion of sustainability criteria in requests for proposals for legal services. One objective is to stimulate dialogue within the bar on how the law and the legal profession interface with the needs and interests of future generations. To that end, the section is in the process of forming a study group to explore judicial and administrative tools that may be used to analyze and speak for the interests of future generations.
Current and past issues of the section’s newsletter, The Long View, are available on the section’s website: http://osbsustain ablefuture.org.
New MCLE Rule Amendments Now in Effect
MCLE Rule amendments recently approved by the Oregon Supreme Court were effective Jan. 1. The amendments include changes to rules about CLE teaching activities, legal research and writing, legislative service and other MCLE issues.
For a complete listing of the amendments to the MCLE Rules and Regulations, see http://www.osbar.org/_docs/mcle/ 2011MCLEAmendmentsNotice.pdf.
Pro Bono Reporting Deadline Extended to Feb. 15
Every year the OSB collects voluntary information from members regarding pro bono work. This information is important to the field of law, as it is used to educate the public about good work lawyers do around the state. So that its information is complete, the bar’s Pro Bono Committee is urging members to report pro bono hours from 2010.
The reporting deadline has been extended to Feb. 15 to allow members more time to gather information following the busy holiday season. To report your 2010 hours or for more information, visit www.osbar.org/probono/reporting.html.
Request for Comment on Proposed UTCR Changes
The Uniform Trial Court Rules committee met Oct. 15, 2010, to review proposals to amend the UTCR and to make preliminary recommendations to the chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court. A description of the proposals and action taken by the committee is posted at: http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/programs/utcr/utcrrules.page and will be published in the Oregon Appellate Courts Advance Sheets.
Proposals of special note include new rules on electronic exhibits, court visitor reports and confidential information in protective proceedings; amended rules on resignation of attorneys, arbitrator qualifications and defective electronic filings; and an amendment to the revised uniform support declaration regarding veteran benefits.
The committee encourages all interested parties to submit comments on these proposals. Comments can be posted at the web address mentioned above, mailed to the UTCR Reporter at the Office of the State Court Administrator, Supreme Court Building, 1163 State Street, Salem, OR 97301-2563, or e-mailed to email@example.com.
The committee will make final recommendations on these proposals at the next UTCR meeting on March 11, 9 a.m., Office of the State Court Administrator, Salem. Those proposals approved by the chief justice will become effective Aug. 1, 2011.
St. Andrews Legal Clinic Expands Services
St. Andrew Legal Clinic has expanded its services to needy Oregonians by adding the Community Development Law Center, which provides legal services to nonprofit community based organizations serving low-income people.
The clinic provides low-cost family law services to people who otherwise could not afford them. Many of these people also are served by the nonprofit organizations that depend on CDLC’s low-cost legal services, including community development organizations that develop affordable housing.
“The families we serve also need housing, food and other services that CDLC clients provide,” said Laura Maffei, president-elect of the St. Andrews Legal Clinic board and an attorney with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. “Adding CDLC supports our goal to serve more Oregonians.”
St. Andrews provides legal help to 2,000 low-income Oregon families each year, most of whom are headed by single mothers living at or below federal poverty guidelines. For a family of three, that means living on less than $18,310 a year. Client fees, which are charged on a sliding scale, pay for about half of the clinic’s costs. The remainder comes from local donations and foundation grants. It receives no government funding.
CDLC has helped community development corporations, housing authorities, community action agencies, community treatment programs, and community land trusts with projects that include more than 3,200 affordable homes and apartments throughout Oregon, several weatherization programs, Head Start schools, two regional Food Bank warehouses and other community facilities serving low-income Oregonians.
CDLC’s two staff attorneys also coordinate donated legal services from local lawyers and law firms, and train law school students to work with nonprofit community organizations. During the past 10 years, CDLC has assisted more 100 organizations with help from 80 lawyers, 20 summer law school interns, and 70 Lewis and Clark Law School students. Visit www.cdlcweb.org.