The House of Delegates consists of 1) the Board of Governors; 2) the chairperson or a designated alternate of each state bar section; 3) the elected president of each county bar association; 4) elected delegates from each of the seven in-state regions and from the region consisting of all areas outside the state of Oregon; 5) and one public member from each in-state region appointed by the Board of Governors. The enclosed roster shows the distribution of delegates. By a vote of the majority of the delegates attending a meeting, the House of Delegates is authorized to direct the Board of Governors as to future action, and modify or rescind an action or decision of the Board of Governors (subject to certain restrictions described below). The Board of Governors is bound by decisions of the house, pursuant to ORS 9.139(2). The types of matters historically presented to the House of Delegates (and to the membership prior to the creation of the HOD) have included: 1) disciplinary rule changes; 2) bar positions on major legislative and policy issues; 3) member resolutions on a variety of topics; and 4) fee increases. The Board of Governors has authority under ORS 9.142(2) to set the time and place for the annual meeting of the House of Delegates and to submit to the house reports of the proceedings by the board since the last meeting of the house, reports of the officers and committees of the state bar, and recommendations of the Board of Governors.
The power of the House of Delegates to direct, modify, or rescind an action or decision of the Board of Governors does not include the power to: 1) invalidate payments previously made at the direction of the Board of Governors; 2) direct, modify, or rescind any assessment by the board for contributions to the Professional Liability Fund; or 3) direct, modify, or rescind any other action or decision by the board that is subject to control, approval, or review by the Supreme Court ORS 9.139(3). The latter restriction does not affect the ability of the House of Delegates to approve disciplinary rules under ORS 9.490. ORS 9.490(1), which states that "[the] Board of Governors, with the approval of the House of Delegates given at any regular or special meeting, shall formulate rules of professional conduct, and when such rules are adopted by the Supreme Court, shall have power to enforce the same. Such rules shall be binding upon all members of the bar."
The Board of Governors, the House of Delegates, or the membership, by initiative petition, can call for a vote of the membership by mail ballot. An initiative submitted by active members must be accompanied by a petition signed by at least five percent of all active members. The board has authority to determine if the question or measure submitted by initiative petition is appropriate for a vote of the members. The Board of Governors has submitted eight issues to the membership vote since that process was established in the early 1980s: 1) whether to establish a minimum continuing legal education program (1987 – approved); 2) whether to establish a mandatory interest on lawyer trust accounts program (1988 – approved); 3) whether to establish a specialization program (1988 – rejected); 4) whether the bar should place greater emphasis on unlawful practice of law (1992 – approved); 5) whether to sponsor legislation establishing the Oregon State Bar House of Delegates (1992 – approved); 6) whether to place CLE Publications Online (2005 – approved); 7) an advisory vote to discontinue the MCLE Elimination of Bias requirement (2006 – passed); and 8) whether to allow the military to advertise in the Bulletin (2007 – passed).
A member of the House of Delegates may submit a question or measure for the house agenda by delivering a copy of the full text of the item to be presented, including a description of any financial impact, to the Executive Director at least forty-five (45) days in advance of the meeting.
A bar member who is not a delegate may submit a resolution by a petition signed by at least two percent of all active members.
All active members of the state bar may participate in the discussion of matters before the house; however, pursuant to ORS 9.148(1), only delegates or alternates who are present at the meeting may vote. The House of Delegates is permitted by statute to establish rules restricting participation by members of the bar who are not delegates or alternates.
The president of the state bar presides at all meetings of the House of Delegates (ORS 9.070(1)) and may, pursuant to ORS 9.142(1), call special meetings of the house. The president must call a special meeting of the house if 25 or more delegates make a written request for a special meeting. A majority of the total number of delegates constitutes a quorum for any regular or special meeting of the house.