Oregon State Bar Bulletin JUNE 2015
Engage in the Legislative Process
It’s legislative season in Oregon: Salem is buzzing with proposed bills, amendments, lobbyists, emails from and to constituents, work group and public meetings, and the reality that there is too much to do and too little time to do it. Fairly new to Oregon’s legislative process, I write to express my sincere appreciation for the countless hours that the Oregon State Bar staff spend on facilitating productive discussions with legislators, bar members and committees, seeking to move appropriate legislation forward to benefit Oregonians. Susan Grabe, Matt Shields, Amy Zubko and the rest of the diligent OSB team are impressive not only for their concerted efforts to aid the process but also for their tenacity in dealing with sometimes very well paid professional lobbyists that have nothing but money and time to bend the ear of legislators looking to keep their campaign budgets on track. This is not meant to imply that paid lobbyists are inherently evil or to wallow in political cynicism, but just to point out that the OSB can easily get out-funded and out-staffed in the lobbying department.
And that is where the main point of this letter comes in — as attorneys, who better to participate in the legislative process? Many of the bar sections follow proposed legislation and report relevant updates to their members. Please read the updates and express your opinion, offer suggestions and follow bills online at www. oregonlegislature.gov. When the request goes out for you to reach out to your legislators on a particular issue, please take a few minutes of your already overbooked day to send an email. All of this makes a difference.
So to all of you who have made an effort, through emails, work group meetings and/or testifying in Salem, we owe you a very large and heartfelt thank you! And for those of you that think that “someone” will make sure it all ends up working in the end, this is to encourage you to step up and engage.
Victoria Blachly, Portland
A Reason to Give Pause
While reading Simon Whang’s article “Don’t Be That Guy” (February/March 2015), I was thinking, “Why didn’t Simon call me?” I have a story about a 2006 email written by an Oregon DOJ attorney that made it all the way to the Wall Street Journal.
When I was an elected member of the OSB House of Delegates, a DOJ attorney whom I had never met, wrote me a nasty email, during office hours, on the state email system, insulting what he perceived to be my ethnicity, simply because he disagreed with me about a political issue that was “on the table” at that time. He was not interested in exchanging ideas with me. He wanted to insult me, but didn’t know anything about me that he could use to hurt me, other than his bigoted notion about my ethnicity based upon my name. And he wasn’t even clever about it.
I was so amused by his idiocy that I forwarded it to a handful of attorney-friends so they could get a laugh. One didn’t find it funny, so she contacted his boss without first checking with me.
To make a very long story short: 1) he received a written reprimand in his personnel file and was forced to write me an apology letter even though I repeatedly told them I was not filing a complaint; 2) Steve Duin somehow got wind of it and made a whole article out of it in his Oregonian column (Duin not only quoted the asinine email, but named names); and 3) the Wall Street Journal picked it up with a short blurb, again naming names.
No, I was not the one who contacted Steve Duin. The ease with which emails can be forwarded literally anywhere, anytime should give us all pause. And that pause should come just before we push “send.”
Diane L. Gruber, West Linn
Be a Positive Problem Solver
I just attended the Fifth Annual Conference of the Oregon Association of Collaborative Professionals, “Secrets of a Satisfying Family Practice,” in Portland. What a breath of fresh air to be in a room full of family law attorneys committed to problem solve and not participate in litigation at all. We learned about collaborative law, mediation and unbundling legal services.
There were brand new attorneys and also very experienced attorneys present, and each of us loves to practice family law. It was such a pleasure to be around professionals who are committed to the law and serving people in times of crisis. The attorneys are fulfilled because they are passionate about their work and practice wellness in their personal lives, too. It was an energizing event. I want to encourage attorneys to consider changing the way you practice family law; be a positive problem solver. It is the wave of the future.
Lillian Quinn, Bend
In the table of contents of our May 2015 issue, we credited the article “Embezzlement Happens” to the wrong author. The article’s author is Sheila M. Blackford, practice management adviser for the OSB Professional Liability Fund. We regret the error. —Eds.