Oregon State Bar Bulletin — JUNE 2003


An undetermined number of new lawyers recently sworn in around the country are finding out they are not lawyers after all. And some who think they failed the bar exam, instead may have passed.

The National Conference of Bar Examiners, which produces the 200-question multistate portion of the bar exam taken in almost every state, in early May warned bar officials in 48 states, including Oregon, that the scores of all 20,204 law students who took the test in February are being recalculated because of a clerical mistake.

In Oregon, the error may result in the changes of two scores, one from passing to failing, the other from failing to passing. The affected parties were notifed in May, and the supreme court is yet to announce a final decision.

'The scoring error was detected and every jurisdiction is affected,' said Erica Moeser, president of the national conference told law.com. 'The error is being corrected' and states are being notified, she said.

Because of a 'keying error,' credit was not given for a correct answer on one multiple-choice question. Hence, people who passed the bar exam by a narrow margin may actually have failed, and some who appeared to have failed may actually have passed.

The scores on the multistate tests, which have been administered since 1972, are being recalculated by American College Testing Inc., which made the original error. The tests are produced by the national conference and administered in 48 states. Unaffected are the essay portions on the bar exams; which are scored by state bar examiners.

As the fighting phase of the war in Iraq comes to an end, military reservists are being called back home. In addition to warm hugs and grateful tears, many will also find complex legal issues awaiting their return.

To assist the military’s legal assistance network in meeting the needs of mobilized reservists, the American Bar Association is renewing its call for lawyers across the country to help provide free legal assistance to the men and women called to serve their country. 'The lawyers of America are ready, willing and able to assist our men and women in uniform and their families during this challenging time,' said ABA President Alfred P. Carlton Jr. For information on the ABA Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) program, visit www.abanet.org/ legalservices/lamp/home. html or contact Robin Rone, (312) 988-5106.

A court committee has proposed easing the rules prohibiting out-of-state lawyers from practicing in the Golden State without a California bar license, reports the Recorder, a San Francisco-based legal newspaper.

On May 12, the court’s Multijurisdictional Practice Implementation Committee asked for feedback on whether to let four categories of lawyers practice in California without being licensed there. The categories are in-house counsel, public interest lawyers and attorneys practicing temporarily in the state on both specific litigation or non-litigation matters. Public responses must be submitted to the court by July 7.

The Recorder reports that California has been under growing pressure to eliminate barriers to outside lawyers, particularly in light of today’s increasingly global economy. At issue is a rule created in 1927, long before the Internet and other technology, to say nothing about today’s interstate and multinational commerce. As recently as 1998, the California Supreme Court upheld the 1927 law, in Birbrower, Montalbano, Condon & Frank v. Superior Court, 17 Cal.4th 119.

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Did you take any photos of the bar staff the year you served on the Board of Governors? Or the PLF board?

The editor of Serving Justice: The History of the Oregon State Bar is looking for staff photos from the years before 1990. Contact Carolyn Buan at cbuan@teleport.com or (503) 224-8024.

Meanwhile, your help is also needed for another section of the upcoming history book, its appendix of organizational listings. Dozens of OSB and speciality bar groups will be featured in the member and officer rosters. Presently, these lists are posted here, as they will be published. Your help is needed to catch any errors before publication.

Note also that there’s a seven-year gap in the record for Oregon Black Attorneys. The editor has been unable to locate the records for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association or any other Asian speciality bars in Oregon. If you’ve caught an error or can fill in any blanks, please contact Marlyce Gholston at mgholston@osbar.org.