Clarification is Needed
I am writing to complain that the OSB Bulletin did not do more to clarify that I, Garry L. Kahn, OSB #62042 (to be distinguished from Gary Kahn, OSB #81481) was not being disciplined with a public reprimand for engaging in conflicts of interest. As a trial lawyer, I have spent my career in trying to zealously represent the interests of my clients within the bounds of the law, ethical conduct and professional responsibility. I hope I have succeeded. Because of the published report relating to the other Gary Kahn, some of my colleagues and others who only know me by reputation may conclude that I was the subject of the discipline report. This confusion could have easily been clarified in the Bulletin.
It seems to me the Bulletin could have referred to the fact that I had an almost identical name, but could be distinguished by printing biographical information, such as the fact that I had served as a member of the OSB Board of Governors from 1986-89; was president of the Oregon State Bar from 1988-89; and had served as a Circuit Court Judge in the state of Oregon for Multnomah County from 1992-93.
Although it is self-serving, the following biographical data could have been listed so my colleagues and other members of the bar would know I was not being disciplined:
Distinguished Graduate of Northwestern School of Law, 1999.
OTLA Distinguished Trial Lawyer Award, 1991.
Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers since 1986.
Western Trial Lawyers Association (President) 1972-73.
Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (President) 1968-69.
American Trial Lawyers Association (State Delegate) 1982-85.
Litigation Section - Oregon State Bar (Chairperson) 1982-83.
OSB Committee on Procedure and Practice (Chairperson) 1970-71.
In fact, the Bulletin didn’t even indicate that the other Gary Kahn’s office was on S.E. 52nd Avenue and my office is on S.W. Sixth Avenue, in downtown Portland.
Perhaps the Board of Governors and/or staff can come up with a better way to give further clarification in articles relating to disciplined attorneys when they have the same or very, similar name to other members of the bar. A Washington lawyer informed me that the Washington State Bar makes it very clear as to who is being disciplined when there is a name sameness or similarity. In other words, every reasonable means should be used to distinguish between those who are the subject of a disciplinary report and those who are not. It would also have been nice to have known that this matter was going to be in the January Bulletin before it was printed and mailed, so that I could have made these suggestions before I read the Bulletin.
I apologize to Gary Kahn, OSB #81481, for causing more attention to be brought to this matter, but I feel it necessary to clarify the situation.
Garry L. Kahn
I was sad to learn of Judge Mercedes Deiz’s death, and found the article about her life extremely interesting ("A Life of Firsts," December 2005). In spite of having appeared before her some years back on a routine basis, I learned even more reasons to have considered her an inspiration to female attorneys. Of course I was always struck by the similarity between her voice and speech and that of my mother’s (also a Hunter College graduate) and would walk away exclaiming that I could swear I was listening to my mother. But more importantly Judge Deiz was always kind, personal in a professional manner and thoughtful in her legal work.
I am a tiny bit surprised that her photo was not front cover, but always appreciate the good work of the OSB and the Bulletin.
Linda Friedman Ramirez
St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Crime of Dissent
I graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1993 and have spent the past 12½ years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. Whenever anyone asks me what it was like to go to school in Oregon, I always tell them that, as far as my classmates and professors at the U of O were concerned, I may as well have joined the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazi Party as serve my country — such was their disdain for military service. I remember one classmate in particular who, during Operation Desert Shield, proudly stated that she refused to give blood because doing so would ultimately support the military!
So you may imagine my surprise when I saw a soldier on the cover of the Bulletin and read Janine Robben’s article which focused a good deal of attention on the Military Assistance Panel and pro bono work being done for military service members. "Things have changed in Oregon!" I thought to myself. Then I read the letters to the editor supporting the OSB’s shameful but largely irrelevant decision to ban military advertising. I was wrong.
I could swear I learned something in Con Law about viewpoint-based restrictions on speech being bad...
Anyway, I’m gratified to know that there are still a few proud Americans in the Oregon legal community willing to give so generously of themselves for service members in need. Frankly, though, I’m surprised that the thought police at OSB allow it. Maybe it was just an oversight on their part. I’m sure they’ll get around to banning it sooner or later. Since Oregon attorneys who assist military service members pro bono are ultimately assisting the military services themselves (force multipliers in military jargon), shouldn’t such attorneys be disciplined? And shouldn’t Oregon lawyers like myself who don’t buy-in to OSB’s moral stances be disbarred or at least sent to re-indoctrination camps? I demand that my name appear in the next disciplinary section of the Bulletin! The crime? Dissent!
You can keep your ban (though you’d drop it in a heartbeat if it affected your funding). As long as men and women of character continue to be admitted to the practice of law, a precious few of them will find their way to our ranks. That’s all we need.
In a recent editorial in The Oregonian (Dec. 9, 2005), reference was made to the suggestion of several members of the U.S. Supreme Court that Oregon’s appellate court system needs fixing as it applies to post-conviction proceedings in Oregon death-penalty cases.
In Vol. 81 of the Oregon Law Review, an article authored by the undersigned entitled "Does Oregon’s Appellate Court System Need Fixing?" was published. Following publication of that article, the OSB issued a report on Oregon’s appellate process. In both the published article and the bar’s report, the subjects of death penalty review and streamlining post-conviction appeals were discussed.
We call these efforts for legislative action on the issues discussed by the U.S. Supreme Court, and previously discussed in both the law review article and the bar report, to your attention in the hope that the legislature, at its next session, will take steps to correct the impression that the current procedures need "fixing."
Norman J. Wiener
A Matter of Self-Respect
Under separate cover, I have submitted my resignation from the Oregon State Bar. This action is a direct result of the Board of Governors’ decision to ban military advertising in your publication.
The governing board of an organization based on compulsory membership has a higher duty than other governing boards not to insult, misuse or take advantage of those members. To fail to acknowledge that duty and act accordingly is an abuse of power. The bar was created to be a professional organization, not a politically partisan one.
As a former member of the military, a former military spouse and a former civilian employee of the Department of Defense, I am offended by the board’s failure to keep its personal politics out of the professional arena and its failure to honor true diversity in the area of political opinion.
As the board disdains to associate with the likes of me, my family and my closest friends, so it mortifies me to be even an involuntary member of an entity "led" by the irresponsible and intellectually dishonest.
I am walking away from the Oregon State Bar out of self-respect, and on behalf of those other members of the bar who remain indentured in order to practice their profession.