Volunteering Opportunities

OSB Governance

Board of Governors (BOG)

The Oregon State Bar is governed by an 18-member board. The BOG is responsible for determining the general policies of the Bar and approving its budget each year. Pursuant to ORS 9.080(1), the BOG is charged with the executive functions of the state bar and "shall at all times direct its power to the advancement of the science of jurisprudence and the improvement of the administrative of justice." The BOG has authority to "adopt, alter, amend and repeal bylaws and to adopt new bylaws containing provisions for the regulation and management of the affairs of the state bar not inconsistent with law." The board consists of 14 lawyer members elected from the seven bar regions, and four public members appointed by the board.

House of Delegates (HOD)

The House of Delegates is a governance forum for the membership through elected and ex-officio representatives. The HOD generally holds one meeting during the year; however, a special meeting may also be called. During meetings, delegates debate and decide matters of bar policy as provided in the House of Delegates Rules of Procedure, the Bar Act, the bylaws and other rules and regulations of the bar. Delegates are elected from regions and each region is allocated a number of positions according to the number of active members in the region. Occasionally a vacancy becomes available and the BOG may appoint a member to fill the vacancy. Members interested in an appointment to the HOD should indicate their interest in the volunteer questionnaire.

Oregon New Lawyers Division (ONLD)

Comprised of every Oregon lawyer who has practiced six years or less, or is 36 years old or younger (whichever is later), the ONLD is the only bar division which represents over 3,000 lawyers. The ONLD was created in recognition of the special interests of new lawyers. The division has its own bylaws, budget, programs, executive committee and subcommittees comprised exclusively of ONLD members. If you are an ONLD member and interested in serving on the executive committee or a subcommittee, indicate your interest on the volunteer questionnaire.

Committees and Councils

OSB committees advise the BOG on issues that require ongoing member oversight. Some committees work closely with OSB staff to ensure quality programs and services. Others work primarily on their own to address professional and practice concerns. Joint committees provide forums for the exchange of ideas and to promote cooperation among the professions; councils provide a similar service but do not have a governance role.

Unless otherwise noted, terms are three years.

346 – Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion

Meets the 2nd Monday of every month, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m., at the OSB.

Advise on programs designed to increase minority participation in the Oregon legal profession.

Staff liaison: Mariann Hyland, Ext. 337

304 – Bar/Press/Broadcasters Council

Meets 4-5 times a year on Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–noon at the OSB.

Enhance both quantity and quality of communications among bar members and print and broadcast journalists.

Staff liaison: Kateri Walsh, Ext. 406

306 – Client Security Fund

Meets every other month on a Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – noon, at various locations.

Investigate and recommend acceptance or rejection of claims for reimbursement of lawyer misappropriation of client money.

Staff liaison: Sylvia Stevens, Ext. 359

308 – Federal Practice & Procedure

Meets the 2nd Wednesday of every other month, noon – 1:00 p.m., at Perkins Coie.

Liaison between the membership and the federal judiciary.

Staff liaison: Martha Hicks, Ext. 322

311 – Judicial Administration

Meets the 1st Thursday of every month, 3:30 5:00 p.m., at the OSB.

Advise BOG on judicial selection and administration issues.

Staff liaison: Susan Grabe, Ext. 380

316 – Legal Ethics

Meets every other month on a Saturday, 9:30 a.m. in various locations.

Develop opinions interpreting rules of professional conduct; recommend changes to the rules of professional conduct.

Staff liaison: Sylvia Stevens, Ext. 359

301 – Legal Heritage Interest Group

Meets on Saturday 3-4 times a year, 10:30 a.m. – noon at various locations.

Preserve and communicate the history of the OSB to interested groups.

Staff liaison: Paul Nickell, Ext. 340

340 – Legal Services Program

Meets 3-4 times a year at various times and locations.

Responsible for reviewing and reporting to the Board of Governors on filing fee funds being distributed to legal aid.

Staff liaison: Judith Baker, Ext. 323

343 - Loan Repayment Assistance Program

Meets on various Saturdays, 2-3 times a year at the OSB.

Select LRAP participants, amend and set program policy guidelines as needed, and raise funds to achieve programmatic objectives if necessary.

Staff liaison: Catherine Petrecca, Ext. 355

341 – Minimum Continuing Legal Education

Meets four times a year on a Friday, noon –1:30 p.m at the OSB Center.

Provides input, analysis, and evaluation of the program that accredits educational programs for Oregon attorneys.

Staff liaison: Denise Cline, Ext. 315

345 – New Lawyer Mentoring Committee

Meets the 3rd Wednesday of every other month, 9:00 a.m. at the OSB Center.

Advise on development and administration of the New Lawyer Mentoring Program, a new requirement for most 1st-year members of the OSB

Staff liaison: Kateri Walsh, ext 406

318 – Pro Bono

Meets the 1st Tuesday of every other month, noon –1:00 p.m. in varioius locations.

Assist with expansion and support of free legal services to low-income clients in civil matters.

Staff liaison: Catherine Petrecca, Ext. 355

320 – Procedure & Practice

Meets every month on the 1st, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. at the OSB Center.

Study, monitor, and recommend changes in procedures governing civil cases in Oregon.

Staff liaison: Mathew Shields, Ext. 358

322 – Public Service Advisory

Meets quarterly on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – noon at the OSB.

Provide volunteer opportunities to increase understanding and respect of the justice system by adult Oregonians.

Staff liaison: George Wolff, Ext. 418

303 – Quality of Life

Meets the 2nd Thursday of every other month, 12:30 2:00 p.m. at the OSB.

Educate lawyers and firms about the benefits of balancing personal life and career obligations.

Staff liaison: Stacy Hankin, Ext. 347

314 – State Lawyers Assistance

Meets on the 4th Thursday every month, 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the OSB.

Investigate and resolve complaints about lawyers whose conduct impairs their ability to practice law. Terms are four years.

Staff liaison: Amber Hollister, Ext. 312

324 – Uniform Civil Jury Instructions

Meets the 3rd Thursday of every month, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in various locations.

Develop uniform jury instructions for use in civil trials.

Staff liaison: Linda Kruschke, Ext. 415

325 – Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions

Meets monthly either on Saturday morning or a Wednesday evening at the OSB.

Develop uniform jury instructions for use in criminal trials. The committee requires a split in membership between prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Staff liaison: Dean Land, Ext. 306

326 – Unlawful Practice of Law

Meets the 2nd Friday of every month, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the OSB.

Investigate complaints of unlawful practice; recommend prosecution where appropriate. Terms are four years.

Staff liaison: Amber Hollister, Ext. 312

OSB Programs and Regulatory Boards

Bar Counsel in Unlawful Practice Litigation

These volunteers represent the bar in lawsuits to obtain injunctive relief against persons and entities accused of engaging in the unlawful practice of law. Litigation experience is required. Although this service can involve a significant time commitment, these volunteers are generally not called upon for assistance on more than one case every several years.

Staff liaison: Amber Hollister, Ext 312

Board of Bar Examiners (BBX)

This 14 member board, composed of 12 attorneys and 2 members of the public, oversees the licensing of all lawyers in Oregon. The BBX develops, administers and grades the bar exam. It investigates and screens the character and fitness of all applicants. In appropriate cases, it interviews applicants and conducts evidentiary hearings. BBX members are appointed by the Supreme Court and act on behalf of the Court. The BBX meets 8-9 times per year, plus two 10-day grading sessions. BBX members also present information to law students and faculty at the Oregon law schools. Typically, new volunteers first serve as co-graders for the July bar exam.

Staff liaison: Charles Schultz, Ext. 310

Counsel for Client Security Fund Claimants

On occasion a person will request assistance in presenting a claim to the Client Security Fund. The CSF maintains a list of members who are willing to assist CSF claimants on a pro bono basis.

Staff liaison: Cassandra Stich, Ext. 334

Fee Arbitration Panel Members

Fee arbitration provides clients and lawyers an informal method to resolve disputes regarding the reasonableness of lawyer's fees. Volunteer arbitrators generally sit in panels of three, which includes a public member, to hear evidence and decide the dispute. In cases involving less than $7,500, a single lawyer-arbitrator is appointed. Hearings typically take between two and four hours and some preparation may be required. The panel chair prepares a written award.

Staff liaison: Cassandra Stich, Ext. 334

Fee Mediation Panel

Fee mediation panel members provide clients and lawyers with an informal method to resolve disputes the reasonableness of lawyer's fees. Mediations typically take between 2 and 4 hours and some preparation may be required. If the parties reach an agreement, the parties may ask the mediator to prepare a mediation agreement upon completion of the session.

Staff liaison: Cassandra Stich, Ext. 334

New Lawyer Mentoring Program

The New Lawyer Mentoring Program is a new 1st-year requirement established by the OSB and Oregon Supreme Court in 2011. The NLMP will provide new lawyers a mentor to guide and support them in their transition from student to practitioner, and to instill core values of competence and professionalism to those just entering the profession. The curriculum includes six components, and emphasizes flexibility in allowing mentor and new lawyer to create a tailored Mentoring Plan. Volunteer mentors are expected to meet monthly with their new lawyer, and be available throughout the year as a resource as questions arise. The mentor will then certify that the new lawyer has completed their Mentoring Plan at the end of the year. Although it may vary, the average time commitment is expected to be about 90 minutes per month. Mentors will receive eight (8) CLE credits at the completion of the program. Full program information, handbook and curriculum are available on the OSB web site.

Staff liaison: Kateri Walsh, ext. 406

Oregon Law Foundation (OLF)

The Oregon Law Foundation is an independent non-profit organization that grants funds ($980,000 in 2012) to programs providing legal aid to low income Oregonians and other law related charitable programs. OLF's major source of income is the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program, through which OLF receives the interest paid on deposits of client funds which are too small to generate interest for the individual client. The 11 members of the Oregon Law Foundation Board of Directors serve four-year terms. They are selected by the Board of Governors of the Oregon State Bar, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Oregon, by the membership of OLF and the OLF itself. In addition to nine attorneys, there are two public members on the Board.

Executive Director: Judith Baker, Ext. 323

Professional Liability Fund (PLF)

The Oregon State Bar Board of Governors created the Professional Liability Fund in 1977 pursuant to statute and with approval of the membership. The Fund first began operation on July 1, 1978, and has been the mandatory provider of primary malpractice coverage for Oregon lawyers since that date. Nine members, two of which are public members, appointed by the Board of Governors serve on the Board of Directors for five-year terms. The PLF Board meets approximately six times and holds an additional 5-10 telephone conferences per year.

Executive Director: Ira Zarov, 503-639-6911

Disciplinary Programs

All of the volunteer opportunities related to the disciplinary process require a significant time commitment, and each part of the disciplinary process must be performed in a timely manner. The discipline system has a shortage of volunteers, particularly outside of Multnomah County. Consider serving the bar in one of the following areas:

Bar Counsel in Disciplinary Matters

These volunteers work together with disciplinary counsel staff in preparing and presenting at hearing formal charges against an accused lawyer. While staff does much of the litigation work, serving as Bar Counsel is nonetheless a significant time commitment. Litigation experience is required. You may be called upon to handle one or two cases each year.

Staff liaison: John Gleason, Ext. 319

Disciplinary Board (DB)

The Disciplinary Board is another component of the disciplinary process. If the State Professional Responsibility Board authorizes formal charges, members of the DB act as the hearing or trial panel for each contested case. A DB panel is also appointed to hear contested reinstatement cases at the trial level. Each trial panel consists of two lawyers and one non-lawyer member of the DB. Hearings typically take one to three days, after which written opinions must be promptly rendered. Workload varies by region. The Supreme Court appoints the DB from lawyers and public members nominated by the Oregon State Bar Board of Governors. Terms are for three years and members may be reappointed. Lawyer members must be residents of Oregon and admitted to practice in Oregon for at least three years. DB members are appointed by region and members of each regional panel must either maintain their principal office in the region or maintain their residence therein. There are 8 to 24 open slots per year. After submitting a volunteer form a supplemental application and resume will need to be submitted for this position. Trial Panels are typically held Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Staff liaison: Cassandra Stitch, Ext. 334

Local Professional Responsibility Committees (LPRCs)

Most investigations of ethics complaints are done by Disciplinary Counsel's Office. However, there are times when the bar calls upon a bar member to carry out an investigative assignment. These volunteers are members of local professional responsibility committees. They conduct interviews, gather and analyze records and ultimately prepare written findings in reports that are submitted back to Disciplinary Counsel and the State Professional Responsibility Board (SPRB) for evaluation and action.

Staff liaison: John Gleason, Ext. 319

State Professional Responsibility Board (SPRB)

This ten-member board, composed of eight resident attorneys and two members of the public, acts as the grand jury in the discipline system, making probable cause decisions on complaints. The SPRB meets monthly on either Friday or Saturday for several hours and the workload is substantial. A very limited number of vacancies occur each year on the board.

Staff liaison: John Gleason, Ext. 319

Volunteer Defense Counsel for Bar Disciplinary Proceedings

Volunteers on this panel 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 willing to take every case. Volunteer defense counsel members 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 members to provide any particular level of service. 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 and nature of defense services to be provided.

Staff liaison: Danielle Edwards, Ext. 426

Task Oriented Opportunities

Short-term Member Groups
Throughout the year, volunteers are needed for a variety of short-term member groups. These opportunities are task oriented and do not require a long-term time commitment. If you are interested in providing input to help make a difference, indicate on the questionnaire the topic areas that interest you.

Program Support
The OSB often utilizes interested members in program support volunteer positions. Indicate your interest and practice areas on the questionnaire if you would like to contribute as a Bulletin author, CLE seminar speaker, CLE publication author, or an expert source for Oregon journalists.

Affiliated Commissions and Bodies

Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability

The purpose of the Commission is to investigate complaints against judges and to recommend to the Oregon Supreme Court whether disciplinary action is necessary. A judge of any court may be removed or suspended from judicial office or censured by the Supreme Court under the Oregon Constitution, Article VII, section 8.

Staff liaison: Danielle Edwards, Ext. 426

Council on Court Procedures

The Council was created by the Legislature to review the Oregon laws relating to civil procedure and coordinate and study proposals concerning the Oregon laws relating to civil procedure advanced by all interested persons. Members serve four-year terms.

Staff liaison: Danielle Edwards, Ext. 426

Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

The Judicial Conference of the Ninth Circuit meets annually to consider the business of the courts in the Ninth Circuit, to advise means of improving the administration of justice, and to assist in implementing decisions made by competent authority as to the administration of the business of the courts in the Ninth Circuit. Candidates will be expected to fully participate in the Conferences for the Ninth Circuit and the District of Oregon as well as participating in continuing education activities. Candidates assume a leadership role in preparing, organizing speakers, and promoting attendance for the annual conference. Recommendations of the Board Governors are sent to the Chief Judge. Terms are three years and the workload is substantial.

Staff liaison: Danielle Edwards, Ext. 426

Oregon Law Commission

The Oregon Law Commission conducts a continuous program of law revision, reform, and improvement. The Commission is composed of four legislators or their designees, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, the Attorney General, a Governor's appointee, the deans or representatives from each Oregon law school and three representatives from the Oregon State Bar. See ORS 173.315. Commissioners are expected to chair one or more Work Groups. Work Groups generally meet monthly during the interim year before a Legislative Session.

Staff liaison: Danielle Edwards, Ext. 426

Professionalism Commission

The Professionalism Commission promotes education opportunities for lawyers, judges and the public. It also promotes professionalism and designs and develops creative approaches to the promotion of professionalism and equality. This commission includes state and federal court judges, lawyers and a public member. Appointments are made by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and the President of the Oregon State Bar.

Staff liaison: Kateri Walsh, Ext. 406