Oregon State Bar Bulletin — APRIL 2006


The Association of Legal Administrators, Oregon chapter announces its 2006 Survey of Attorney and Support Staff Compensation and Benefits.

Several improvements are incorporated in this year’s survey, including the optional online submission of responses, more clearly defined benefits questions and the addition of a fourth firm size division. Bar graphs and pie charts will be added to the final report, comparing benefits offerings.

Questionnaires will be mailed to managing partners and legal administrators on March 20. The participation of all firms is strongly encouraged (the more information collected, the more valid and useful the results).

Survey reports will be available June 1. For additional information, contact Kristine Thomsen at (503) 226-7677.

The Portland firm of Dunn, Carney, Allen, Higgins & Tongue has joined the fray of law-related web logs on the Internet with a new "blog" focused on insurance coverage matters.

David Rossmiller, a litigator who specializes in insurance coverage and a former investigative newspaper reporter, will be the primary author and managing editor. He will write about recent cases in insurance coverage matters, as well as industry developments and news.

The blog address is www.Insurancecoverageblog.com.

Preston, Gates & Ellis has announced the launch of its government contracts litigation blog, www. govcontractslitigation.com, devoted entirely to matters pertaining to government contracts litigation.

It will give subscribers and visitors access to the latest news and trends in government contracts litigation and allow them to stay abreast of the ongoing developments in the legislative process. Visitors can also find information about upcoming events and additional external resources relating to government contracts litigation.

Jazz musician Skip Elliott Bowman will present a program guaranteed to bring down the house in his second return (by popular demand) at A Class Act, the 12th annual benefit for the Bill & Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Fund of Equity Foundation. It takes place on Friday, April 28, at The Old Church, 1422 S.W. 11th Ave. in Portland.

Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. curtain time. The reception following showcases pastries from Portland’s sweeteries, including Joseph’s Dessert Co., Piece of Cake and Holiday Essence Quality Cake. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door. Tickets are available at Balloons on Broadway, 617 S.W. Washington St., or by calling (503) 286-1752.

Shepherd Scholars, the beneficiaries of the benefit, are third- and fourth-year law students dedicated to donating part of their legal expertise to fighting bigotry and discrimination, particularly against sexual minorities.

Despite years of discussion of cost controls and alternative billing arrangements, the status quo still rules in most corporate law departments, according to the newly released Altman Weil Law Department Management Benchmarks Survey (2005 edition).

"Law department expenditures and staffing remain largely unchanged," says Altman Weil principal Daniel J. DiLucchio. "And hourly rates remain the predominant law firm method of billing corporations, with the number one alternative billing technique reported as ‘reduced hourly rates’ — which ends up being no alternative at all in many cases."

Total law department expenses in all companies surveyed averaged $847,599 per lawyer in fiscal year 2004, virtually unchanged from the previous year. More information is available at altmanweil.com.

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Portland Lawyers
Earning Less

In contrast to their other West Coast law firms, Portland firms are getting bargains from their first-year associates, according to a Feb. 17 report in the Portland Business Journal.

The business newspaper reports that some firms in Seattle pay up to $135,000 to new lawyers. In Portland, on the other hand, largest firms have kept their starting salaries beneath the six-figure mark. Portland’s largest firms say they don’t expect the city’s rate for first-year associates to accelerate to Seattle levels anytime soon, according to the report. One of the reasons for the difference: Portland’s sluggish economy and slow recovery from the dotcom boom and bust.

Read the report at www.bizjournals.com/portland/ stories/2006/02/20/