Oregon State Bar Bulletin — JUNE 2002


Given that the fall political season will not be in full swing for several months, it is difficult to make many predictions about the 2003 Legislature. It looks as if the number of lawyer-legislators will double, going to about 20, according to recent filings and election results.

Lawyers of all philosophies are running. The OSB's government relations staff notes that lawyers generally make excellent legislators 'because of their court and governmental experiences, legal knowledge and broad-based analytical abilities.' The bar's public affairs director, Bob Oleson, also points out: 'An influx of lawyers may also help the judicial branch of government get better treatment within the state budget.'

The Clackamas County Family Law Group recently published two tools for Oregon family law practitioners: 1) The Resource Guide for Divorce Lawyers, a 176-page catalog containing the names of more than 200 experts ready to help prepare and try divorces, with detailed resumes of 113 of them; and 2) The Spousal Support Survey, an inventory of all spousal support results agreed to and ordered in Clackamas County from June 1-May 31, 2001.

These carefully researched results are categorized by income, amount, length of marriage and other relevant factors. The resource guide is available for $15; the spousal support survey costs $35; and a deluxe resource guide (containing both) is available for $45.

To order, make check payable to CCFLG and mail to P.O. Box 1146, Lake Oswego, OR 97035.

Electronic transcripts for the Arthur Andersen trial are available through the website, www.exemplaris. com. This will be a lengthy closed-courtroom trial that is expected to include weekend sessions.

Media and other interested parties can access the electronic transcripts round-the-clock.

The New York State Bar Association has sued the Federal Trade Commission to stop enforcement of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act as it applies to lawyers.

The suit argues that practicing lawyers should be exempt from issuing recently mandated privacy notices to clients because the Code of Professional Responsibility provides far more protections for consumers of legal services. 'Lawyers are already subject to strict ethical rules … requiring us to keep client confidences and secrets. It is bureaucratic, unnecessary and inefficient to require that we send out so-called 'privacy notices' as well,' said NYSBA President Steven C. Krane.
The complaint alleges: 1) that the GLB Act (or the 'Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999') is unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment; and 2) that the FTC has acted arbitrarily and capriciously in refusing to exempt lawyers from compliance with the act - that there is no evidence that Congress intended to apply to act to lawyers.
In the FTC's opinion, lawyers engaged in such practice areas as tax planning, estate planning, real estate closings and bankruptcy (at a minimum) are covered by the new law. An estimated one million lawyers affected nationwide by the GLB requirement would risk civil sanctions of up to $10,000 per violation for failure to properly notify past, present and future clients.

The Bulletin is always on the lookout for quality manuscripts for publication on these pages. If you have a manuscript, suggestion or idea, contact us at (503) 620-0222, ext. 340 (Paul Nickell) or ext. 348 (Julie Hankin); or by e-mail at pnickell@osbar.org and jhankin@osbar.org.

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In April a California State Bar task force unanimously recommended that the bar's board of governors authorize the bar's conference of delegates to reconstitute itself as a separate non-profit entity. Representatives of both groups were reportedly pleased with the step, which will most likely lead to a 'divorce' between the two organizations by next fall.

The conference will incorporate as a non-profit professional or trade association with the ability to lobby without limit. The conference has come under fire from lawyers, legislators, the governor and even the U.S. Supreme Court - in the Keller v. State Bar of California decision, which prohibits use of member dues for political lobbying - for taking positions considered too liberal. Conversely, the delegates have chafed at the limitations placed on their freedom of speech.
Watch this interesting development in the months to come at www.calbar.org.