Oregon State Bar Bulletin — JANUARY 2006


New Survey on Diversity Managers
Some 45 percent of participating large U.S. firms have a designated diversity manager or director, according to a recent survey by Altman Weil. The "flash survey" also finds that 94 percent of participants report having a diversity committee in their firm.

The survey, developed with input from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association canvassed AmLaw 200 law firms. Survey data is based on 74 responses (38 percent) received in the fall of 2005.

According to the survey, 53 percent of diversity managers are lawyers in their firms, and of those lawyers, 78 percent are partners. In the balance of firms, the position is held by an administrator or there is shared responsibility between lawyers and administrative staff. Fifty percent of diversity managers work full-time in the position.

The full report of the tabulated data appears on the Altman Weil website at www.altmanweil.com/news/DiversitySurvey.cfm.

ABA Revising Judicial Conduct Code
The final complete draft of proposed revisions to the American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct was posted on the association’s website (www. abanet.org) in December.

Among the most substantial revisions are those covering judicial and judicial candidate political activity. Those provisions, in Canon 5 of the draft revised code, suggest different restrictions on political activity when judges are selected by partisan election, non-partisan and retention election, and appointment. For example, they would prohibit a candidate in a nonpartisan election from completing a questionnaire if the candidate knows the purpose of the document is to help a political organization determine whom it will endorse. Commentary to the draft code says completing such questionnaires would otherwise be permitted but cautions candidates to make clear that despite their answers addressing controversial issues, they will keep an open mind while on the bench.

The proposed revision retains that prohibition both in a canon, as a statement of policy, and in a specific rule.

Access the draft code at www.abanet.org/judicialethics/finaldraftreport.html. Comments are being taken until February, and should be submitted to George Kuhlman, ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, 321 N. Clark St., Chicago IL 60610, or via e-mail at gkuhlman@staff.abanet.org.

Starting Salaries Projected to Increase
Average starting salaries for legal professionals in the United States are expected to rise 6.1 percent in 2006, according to the just-released Robert Half Legal 2006 Salary Guide. This compares with starting salary increases of 3.4 percent forecast this time last year.

The research indicates that law firms and corporate legal departments are optimistic about the long-term employment outlook for their field. Growth in practice areas such as real estate, compliance, intellectual property and litigation, in particular, is fueling demand for legal services.

"Legal hiring managers appear to be more confident about a sustainable economic recovery and, as a result, they are adding staff and planning for new business opportunities," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "

Read more at www. roberthalflegal.com.

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Client Service Key to Long-Term Success

What's the best strategy for lawyers who want to get ahead in their field? Make a good impression on clients, say attorneys surveyed recently. Forty-three percent of those polled said focusing on client service is the area most critical to success. Becoming more specialized within a practice area and networking to market one's services followed, each receiving 21 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in attorneys, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 200 attorneys among the 1,000 largest law firms and corporations in the United States and Canada. All respondents have at least three years of experience in the legal field.

Attorneys were asked, "If you could offer someone advice on how to be a successful lawyer five years from now, which one of the following areas would you recommend they improve?" Their responses:

Focus more on client service: 43 percent.

Become more specialized within your practice area: 21 percent.

Network more to market your services: 21 percent.

Become familiar with emerging technologies in the legal field: 9 percent.

Other/don't know: 6 percent.

Read more at www.roberthalflegal.com.