Oregon State Bar Bulletin — DECEMBER 2005


REPORT: 80 Percent of
Civil Legal Needs Unmet
At least 80 percent of the civil legal needs of low-income Americans are not being met, according to a new study released in October by the Legal Services Corp. "Documenting the Justice Gap in America: The Current Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans" also finds that many potential clients are being turned away.

The report was a culmination of a year-long study by LSC to document the extent to which current civil legal needs of low-income Americans are not being met, taking into account all the changes in the civil justice system in the last decade, including both LSC-funded services and non-federal resources.

"There is a serious justice gap in America. Stagnant federal funding and an increased poverty population have served to increase the unmet demand. The LSC ‘Unable to Serve’ study, the first comprehensive national statistical study ever undertaken, established that for every client who receives service, one applicant was turned away, indicating that 50 percent of the potential clients requesting assistance from an LSC grantee were turned away for lack of resources on the part of the program," said LSC President Helaine M. Barnett.

The analysis for the report was concluded in August 2005. As a result, none of the data in the report reflects the increased need for legal assistance that resulted from the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

The report is available for download at www.lsc.gov.

2005 Spousal Suppurt Survey Released
With the underwriting of the Oregon Academy of Family Law Practitioners and the Clackamas County Family Law Group, data was gathered from all of the general judgments in the 1,161 spousal cases decided between May 1, 2004 and April 30, 2005 in Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah Counties.

The data is now available in the "2005 OAFLP/ CCFLG Spousal Support Survey" (368 pages, three-ring binder).

Charts, sorted by length of marriage and obligor income, note the length of marriage, incomes and ages of both parties, the number and ages of children, and the child support, spousal support and step-downs, among other factors. The results are analyzed in a 16-page summary. As a special feature, attorney Bill Schulte has included his "Spousal Support Appellate Case Analysis" for 132 appeallate cases from Grove in 1977 through Kollman in 2004.

Order from John Lundeen at P.O. Box 1146, Lake Oswego, OR 97035 (checks payable to "CCFLG"). Cost is $50 for the report, or $75 for the report and a disc containing charts for each county and the tri-county area as a whole.

Change in
IOLTA Account Reporting
All Oregon lawyers are required to certify annually that they are in compliance with the Oregon RPC 1.15-2, which requires that lawyers holding client funds that cannot earn "net interest" deposit those funds in an Interest on Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) account.

The IOLTA Annual Certification of Compliance will be included on the 2006 membership fee statement, on the reverse side of the portion of the statement that is returned to the bar with the fee payment. This form must be completed by every active member of the bar, regardless of whether or not the lawyer has a trust account. If a lawyer pays fees online it will also be possible to report IOLTA account information online.

The fee statement forms were mailed to every OSB member about Dec. 1.

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De Muniz will be next Oregon Chief Justice

The Oregon Supreme Court announced Nov. 2 the election of Justice Paul J. De Muniz as chief justice to succeed Justice Wallace P. Carson, effective Jan. 1. Carson will remain on the court until his term expires in 2007.

By a unanimous vote, De Muniz was elected to serve as Oregon’s 37th chief justice. Under the state constitution, justices on the Oregon Supreme Court elect the chief.

"I am profoundly honored by the trust placed in me by my colleagues to help lead the judiciary in Oregon," De Muniz said. "To follow Judge Carson is both challenging and humbling. He is a great jurist and I value his advice, counsel and friendship greatly."

Justice De Muniz has served on the state supreme court for five years since his election in 2000. He was a judge on the state court of appeals for 10 years, including serving as a presiding judge on one of the three appellate court panels. De Muniz practiced law in Salem and was a partner with Garrett, Seideman, Hemann, Robertson & De Muniz, P.C. A graduate of Portland State University and Willamette University College of Law, De Muniz is a Vietnam War veteran. He lives in Salem with his wife, Mary. The couple has three grown children.