Oregon State Bar Bulletin — APRIL 2002

Bar News

Awards nominations due soon
The Board of Governors is seeking nominations for the 2002 Award of Merit and President's Awards. This call for nominations is made to the leaders of the Oregon State Bar committees, sections, councils, divisions, task forces, boards, local bars and Oregon attorney/legal organizations.

Please take this opportunity to honor a member of the Oregon State Bar who deserves special recognition - nominate him or her for one of the following awards: Award of Merit; or President's Awards for Affirmative Action, Membership Service or Public Service.

To obtain an awards brochure along with a nomination information form, or if you have questions, contact Teresa Bowen at twenzel@osbar.org.

Deadline for receiving nominations is 5 p.m., April 19. Award recipients will be honored in October at the annual meeting in Eugene.

Learn how to organize a Law Day event on May 1
For more than 25 years, Oregon's legal community has celebrated National Law Day on May 1 (or near then) and has used Law Week to educate the community about the justice system and the importance of law in protecting rights.

The occasion of Law Day 2002 is a terrific opportunity for bar associations, courts and other legal groups to reach out to the community. Involve schools and colleges, law enforcement groups, the media, service organizations, the elderly, business groups - the possibilities are endless. The wider the outreach, the greater the impact will be.

For general information and assistance, contact Peggy Miller in the OSB Member Services Department, (503) 620-0222 or (800) 452-8260, ext. 384.

Volunteer opportunities available
Member volunteers are vital to the ability of the bar to provide both member and public services and to keep the organization responsive to the needs and desires of its membership. Volunteer opportunity forms are accepted throughout the year for use in filling resignations and other vacancies. The OSB will keep your form on file for future vacancies.

Interested in vacancies? Fill out the volunteer opportunity form today. It can be filled out online and then printed and mailed to the bar center: Oregon State Bar, Jane Gillespie, Member Services, 5200 S.W. Meadows Road, Lake Oswego, Ore. 97035. The forms are available online at www.osbar.org.

Forms will be accepted throughout the year for use in filling future vacancies on all OSB volunteer opportunities. If you have any questions, contact Jane Gillespie at (503) 620-0222 or (800) 452-8260 ext. 308 or jgillespie@osbar.org.

Notice of reinstatement application
Two persons have filed applications for reinstatement as an active members of the Oregon State Bar pursuant to Rule of Procedure (BR) 8.1.

Michael W. Seidel of Bend, OSB #87146, was suspended Nov. 19, 1998 from the practice of law for 120 days, pursuant to an order of the Disciplinary Board. See In re Seidel, 12 DB Rptr 201 (1998). On March 31, 2000, he was suspended for six months, pursuant to an order of the Disciplinary Board. See In re Seidel, 14 DB Rptr 47 (2000). Seidel did not seek reinstatement after the expiration of the six-month suspension.

Brent M. Crew of Beaverton, OSB #92268, transferred to inactive status on Jan. 31, 1996 because he had purchased a manufacturing business and was not practicing law. Presently, Crew is general manager for an exhibit and trade show company in Beaverton. After reinstatement, he will be employed by Cooney & Crew as an associate attorney.

The Rules of Procedure require the Board of Governors to conduct an investigation of BR 8.1 reinstatement applications to determine whether applicants possess the good moral character and general fitness to practice law and that the resumption of the practice of law in this state by applicants will not be detrimental to the administration of justice or the public interest. Any person with information relevant to this inquiry is asked to contact promptly the Regulatory Services Division at the Oregon State Bar, P.O. Box 1689, Lake Oswego, Ore. 97035; phone: (503) 620-0222 or (800) 452-8260, ext. 343.

Reciprocity applications listed
The OSB Code of Professional Responsibility imposes on each member of the bar the duty to aid in the guarding against the admission of candidates unfit or unqualified because of deficiency in either moral character or education. To aid in that duty, the following is a list of applicants for reciprocal admission or house counsel admission to the bar, received by the Bulletin between Feb. 1, 2002 and March 15, 2002.

The Board of Bar Examiners requests that members examine this list and bring to the board's attention in a signed letter any information that might influence the board in considering the moral character of any applicant for admission. Send correspondence to Marlyce Gholston, Oregon State Board of Bar Examiners, 5200 S.W. Meadows Road, Lake Oswego, Ore. 97035.

Applicants for Reciprocity Admission: Joseph Michael Ahern, Sharon Ambrosia-Walt, Debra Chambers Buchanan (Chambers, Rake), William Ellison Carl, Eric Carl Einhorn, Tawnya Tangel Eller, William Leo Eller, Ninamaria Kenyon Fuller (Strickland), Ronald Wayne Greenen, Jonathan Brent Gunnell, Michael Edward Kelly, James K. Miersma, Stephen J. Olson, Larisa Rasskazova (Shabbina), Michael V. Riggio, Benjamin A. Schwartzman, Christine E. Tavares (Snortum, Osburn), Michael Edward Taylor, Howard John Thiersch, Pamela J. Wilson.

Applicant for House Counsel Admission:Mary Ann Greenawalt (Koester, Huckestein).

OLIO offers good opportunities for increasing diversity
By Frank Ravelo, Kellie Coleman-Johnson, Monica A. Smith
Members, OSB Affirmative Action Committee

The January 2002 edition of the Bulletin contained an alarming piece of information: Hidden away in the 'Briefs' section on page 7 was a short report on the gender and racial composition of major law firms focusing especially on the partnership level. According to the National Association of Law Placement, attorneys of color made up only 3.55 percent of the attorneys in partnership positions in major law firms in the year 2001. The Portland area figure was slightly lower at 2.66 percent. The national figure had improved only slightly in the past eight years: In 1993, the reported number was 2.55 percent.

Is there anything that can be done to improve on this number? Is there a way to attract minority law students to Oregon, to provide support through school and to ensure that they survive and thrive as fully employed members of the bar? As members of the bar's Affirmative Action Committee, we believe that we have such a program already in place. Unfortunately, the future of the program is in jeopardy unless we can secure continuing funding.

The program to which we refer is commonly known as OLIO: Opportunities for Law in Oregon. It is a program that was started by the Oregon State Bar in 1998 and was designed to attract and retain minority law students in Oregon. OLIO supplies support at important junctures in a student's passage through law school and into bar membership. Activities include a summer orientation before law school begins; workshops on study skills, legal writing, time/stress management and orientation to the bar exam; an employment retreat; and social events with members of the bar.

Is OLIO helping to improve the success of minority law students, both in school and on the bar exam? Although only one class has completed law school under the program, we believe it is clear that the program does work.

Statistics show that both the number and percentage of minority bar members has recently reached an all time high. As of December 2001, there are 564 minority bar members constituting 4.8 percent of the total bar membership. Although this percentage is still low relative to the population of Oregon, we believe OLIO is firmly putting us on the right track. Of particular interest is the fact that the number of minority lawyers jumped from 526 to 569 in the past year, the largest yearly increase ever. This substantial increase can largely be attributed to OLIO.

The class of 2001 was the first class to benefit from OLIO. Perhaps even more telling of the success of OLIO is the number of minority applicants from that class that took and passed the Oregon bar exam in July 2001. A record 69 minority applicants took the exam with more passing than ever before. Statistics support the conclusion that OLIO is contributing to increased minority representation in the legal field.

We believe that the success of OLIO can also be judged anecdotally. Listen to the stories of some law students who have benefited from the program's services:

Meet Akira Heshiki, an alumna of Lewis and Clark Law School and currently a judicial clerk for Judge Janice Wilson. 'I am proud to say that I have been to every single OLIO.' Akira candidly expressed her appreciation for the positive impact OLIO has had on her experience as woman of color and law student. The law school experience can often be alienating and isolating to minority students. However, Akira found that OLIO created a space and a format where it was 'okay to acknowledge that you were a person of color' and in fact being a person of color 'affects your experience at law school.'

Factors like being an immigrant, being the first to obtain a college education in the family and cultural differences contributed to and at times exacerbated an already challenging experience like law school. She admits, 'OLIO did make a huge difference to me.' When asked if the OLIO program impacted her decision to remain in Oregon and practice law, Akira affirmatively answered, 'It is my goal to give back to the legal community that made me feel welcomed.'

Jeremy Aliason, a graduate Lewis and Clark Law School and a staff attorney with Legal Aid Services of Oregon, comments that OLIO was more than a program to offer strategies and provide resources it was 'an avenue that offered networking opportunities.' In OLIO he was able to meet minority law students from all three Oregon law schools, and moreover he was able to connect with Oregon attorneys. The network created by OLIO allowed Jeremy to connect with future employers as well as provide clerking opportunities that ultimately prepared him for his first legal job. However, Jeremy says, 'By far the most important benefit I derived from OLIO is a sense of belonging.'

The OLIO program is more than just a support group it is a program that makes a commitment to diversity and diversifying the Oregon State Bar. Jeremy freely admits, 'I feel like I choose to stay in Oregon and become part of the bar, because it made a commitment to me, as an individual and as a person of color.'

Laura Baxter a student at University of Oregon Law School, believes OLIO 'significantly' impacted her ability to successfully complete law school. The OLIO experience provided her with the skills and the 'tools to survive.' For example, the workshops on legal writing assisted her in getting a better understanding of what briefing a case was like. The career interview workshops improved and enhanced her skill of interviewing.

In addition to the challenges of legal study, minority students often face the struggle of confronting racial tension and stereotypes. Laura recalls, 'I was crying in class as I tried to explain how I felt about an issue concerning the Indian community. I was the only Indian in my class of 160-plus and I stand out.' These experiences can often leave minority students feeling alone and unsupported. However, OLIO provided Laura a supportive environment to continue her legal education and obtain her goal of being an attorney. She happily shares, 'I am graduating in May, I have a wonderful job with the Trust for Public Land, and I am staying in Oregon!'

After a year of funding and two years of grants from the Oregon Law Foundation, OLIO is now challenged to operate based entirely on grants and loans. We call on the members of the bar to rise to the challenge of continuing this very important program through private donations. Racial under-representation in the bar is a complicated problem, but we have at least part of the solution already in our hands. Let's make sure OLIO continues.

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