Oregon State Bar Bulletin — OCTOBER 2005


A majority of the nation’s lawyers provide free legal assistance to people of limited means and organizations serving the poor, volunteering an average of 39 hours of pro bono service a year, according to a new survey conducted by the American Bar Association.

"Supporting Justice," the first national survey of lawyers’ pro bono activity, shows 66 percent of attorneys provide some type of pro bono work during the year. Nearly half, 46 percent, met the ABA’s goal of providing at least 50 hours of free legal services in a year.

Asked about factors affecting their decision to engage in pro bono work, 70 percent of participants reported a sense of professional responsibility and personal satisfaction, while 34 percent cited recognition of the needs of the poor. When asked about the factors that discourage pro bono service, 69 percent of respondents reported a lack of time. Another 15 percent named pressure to work a minimum of billable hours and 12 percent reported cost concerns.

The report was released by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. The survey was conducted by an independent polling organization and is the first to poll lawyers from every state, in every practice area, and of every age and experience level.

For more information about the survey, go to www.abaprobono.org/report.pdf.

There is no right way to interview child witnesses but there are several wrong ways, according to a new guidebook published by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

Children in the Courtroom: Challenges for Lawyers and Judges by forensic psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter offers tips on navigating the often thorny landscape of child witness litigation. The book covers: common legal arguments that arise in child witness cases; proper and improper child interview methods and approaches; legally relevant child development issues; and helpful procedures when children testify in the courtroom. The appendix includes a child witness questioning guide for competency to testify assessment and child sexual abuse cases.

For more information, go to www.nita.org.

The employment market for new law graduates has remained relatively strong during the last seven years, standing close to or above an 89 percent employment rate, according to NALP – The Association for Legal Career Professionals.

The stable rate differs dramatically from the early and mid-1990s, when employment rates were in the 84-85 percent range. The median starting salary for full-time jobs was $55,033, essentially unchanged from the class of 2003.

These are among the findings reported in NALP’s study Jobs & JDs: Employment and Salaries of New Law Graduates – Class of 2004. The 31st annual report, compiled from the responses of 178 ABA-accredited law schools, provides employment information on 92 percent of all graduates of the class of 2004. Among the findings:

Of the graduates for whom employment status was known, 73 percent obtained a job for which bar passage is required. An additional 7.5 percent obtained jobs for which a JD degree is preferred, or may even be required, but for which bar passage is not mandatory.

Public service employment, including government jobs, judicial clerkships and public interest positions, accounted for 27.7 percent of jobs taken by employed graduates, and compares with 26.9 percent for the prior year.

For more information about the study, contact NALP at info@nalp.org.

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Oregon's First Murder
Trial brought to Life

In 1846, Nimrod O’Kelly was one of the first settlers to stake a claim in the Willamette Valley, and in a property boundary dispute in 1852, the elderly recluse freely admitted shooting Jeremiah Mahoney to death. The famous, frontier murder trial, the first in Oregon to be widely publicized, comes to life in a new book published by Washington State University.

Written by WSU and Lewis & Clark professor Ron Lansing, Nimrod: Courts, Claims, and Killing on the Oregon Frontier details the investigation, trial, death sentence and highly public battles for clemency associated with the incident. In addition, the book provides an intimate look at law on the frontier.

For more information, call WSU Press at (800) 354-7360 or go to www.wsupress.wsu.edu.