Oregon State Bar Bulletin — FEBRUARY 2006


The new Oregon Uniform Trust Code, which became effective Jan. 1, 2006, significantly changes the law of trusts in Oregon. The Willamette Law Review plans to publish a special issue this month that contains both the code itself and detailed comments that provide background and explanations for the provisions of the new law.

This law review will be the only source for comments that reflect the actual language of the new law and the assigned ORS section numbers. Copies of this special issue can be obtained at a cost of $10 by contacting ksimmons@willamette.edu.

Recent research from NALP, a legal placement association, confirms that women and attorneys of color continue to make slow but steady progress in their representation in U.S. law firms.

Data from 2005 reveals that attorneys of color account for 4.63 percent of the partners in the nation’s major law firms and that women account for 17.29 percent of the partners in these firms. This compares with 4.32 percent and 17.06 percent, respectively, in 2004. These numbers suggest that, relative to the attorney population as a whole, and relative to the demographic composition of law school enrollment, women attorneys and attorneys of color continue to be under-represented among partnership ranks at these firms. Thus, the presence of women comes nowhere near to matching their presence among law school graduates, which has ranged from 40 percent to almost half since the late 1980s. Similarly, the percentage of minority graduates has doubled, from 10 percent to 20 percent during the same time period. Moreover, although the presence of women and attorneys of color at firms has increased each year since 1993, the first year for which NALP compiled this information, the total change since 1993 has only been marginal. At that time attorneys of color accounted for 2.55 percent of partners and women accounted for 12.27 percent of partners.

These are among the findings of NALP’s recent analyses of the 2005-2006 NALP Directory of Legal Employers, the annual compendium of legal employer data published by NALP.

Total legal spending in corporate law departments in the United States increased six percent during 2005, according to a new survey. Hildebrandt International, legal consulting firm, made the findings in its 2005 U.S. Law Department Survey.

According to the survey, the same median percentage increase was reported in the 2004 Survey.

The 2005 survey includes 140 companies, of which 97, or 69 percent, are $5 billion or more in revenues. The profile of the median participant in the 2005 Survey is a company with approximately $9 billion in revenues, over 20,000 worldwide employees, and a U.S. law department with over 30 lawyers and 60 total staff, incurring over $27 million in total legal spending.

The Hildebrandt Survey provides extensive benchmarking data on corporate legal spending and staffing levels, ratios and trends. Among all participants, spending and staffing metrics include the following median values:

Total legal spending as a percent of U.S. revenues was 0.48 percent.

Total legal spending per attorney is over $1.1 million.

As a percent of total legal spending, the median company spends 39 percent on inside and 61 percent on outside legal resources.

Read more about the survey at www.hildebrandt.com.

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A New Book from a former Bulletin Editor

Longtime readers of the Bulletin may remember John Soennichsen, who edited these pages during the 1980s. For the last several years, Soennichsen has toiled in the publications department at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. That was until about a year ago, when, he reports, "I started having good luck with my freelance writing. So I am doing that full time now."

His newest project is his first book, a non-fiction collection of essays called Live! From Death Valley —Dispatches from America’s Lowest Point (Sasquatch Books, Seattle; $21.95). It can also be ordered from online booksellers.

Soennichsen has spent nearly two decades hiking and exploring Death Valley, keeping journals during his many travels. The book relates his experiences and examines the history, geology and philosophical implications surrounding the area. Amazon.com calls the collection of essays "an intriguing glimpse into a monumental landscape that is simply too big to be completely understood in one visit."