Oregon State Bar Bulletin — JUNE 2006


Free Digital Briefs Service
The Washington County Law Library has been scanning Oregon appellate court briefs since January 2006. The State Law Library will soon digitize the briefs on an OJD database, but in the meantime, Laura Orr, the Washington County Law Librarian, and her staff have set up their own briefs imaging database. More than 5,000 briefs are available and searchable by keyword and docket/case numbers, including:

  • 138 Or App to present: selected briefs;
  • 179 Or App and 201 Or App: complete volumes;
  • 315 Or to present: selected briefs;
  • 332 Or: complete volume;
  • All briefs for PERS, Measure 37, Li, and O’Donnell-Lamont cases.

The database is not publicly accessible. Call or email them with your request for specific briefs, which can be sent to you via email or CD. Contact: lawlibrary@ co.washington.or.us or telephone (503) 846-8880. There is currently no charge for this service.

Support for Legal Project Management
Principles of project management would be well-received in the legal world, according to results of a recent survey. The survey of general counsel was conducted by Morris, Manning & Martin, in conjunction with a luncheon roundtable legal project management.

Among the survey’s findings:

  • 44 percent of the general counsel responding to the survey said outside counsel remains within budget only half the time.
  • 47 percent say they receive no updates or status reports from outside counsel.
  • 55 percent were unfamiliar with the concept of project management.
  • Only 6 percent doubted that project management would be an improvement.
  • 82 percent of the respondents say they are responsible for managing the budget for their company’s outside legal services.

Survey respondents also indicated they felt project management could be applied positively in litigation, patents and intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions and real estate.

A recent Altman Weil Flash Survey of AmLaw 200 law firms reports that 85 percent of responding firms have a designated general counsel, up from 69 percent in 2005 and 63 percent in 2004. Seventeen percent of the firms without a general counsel plan to designate one in the next 12 months.

As in prior years, 100 percent of the designated law firm general counsel are in-house. Eighty-nine percent are partners in the firm. Eighty percent come from a litigation background.

Over one-third are full time in the general counsel position with average cash compensation over $500,000. Part-time law firm general counsel report higher cash compensation ($612,000)

Read about the survey at www.altmanweil.com.

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"Da Vinci" Judge’s Secret Code Cracked

"Jackie Fisher who are you Dreadnought."

While that cryptic sentence might not mean much to you, it has a lot of meaning to fans of the popular novel, The Da Vinci Code.

It turns out that this obscure reference to a British admiral and a warship is the "coded message" tucked away into a court opinion by England’s Justice Peter Smith, who ruled several weeks ago that author Dan Brown did not plagiarize other sources when penning the bestseller. Since The Da Vinci Code is all about puzzles and word trickery, the judge figured two could play at that game and he embedded a code of his own into the decision. (See Briefs, May 2006).

The code has now been cracked. With a few hints from the judge, a London lawyer and an intellectual property and media lawyer took on the task of deciphering the jumble of coded letters. The key was page 255 of Brown’s novel, which discusses the "Fibonacci Sequence," a way of reordering the alphabet into code.

The jumble of italicized letters eventually spelled out the cryptic message about British Admiral John Arbuthnot "Jackie" Fisher and the Dreadnought, a famed ship. Justice Smith wouldn’t reveal why he did it, telling Bloomberg only that he did it for "a bit of fun."

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, describes John Arbuthnot (Jackie) Fisher as "the second most important figure of British naval history, after Lord Nelson. The admiral was known for his efforts at naval reform and had a huge influence on the Royal Navy in a career spanning more than 60 years, starting in a navy of wooden sailing ships armed with muzzle-loading cannon and ending in one of battle cruisers, submarines and the first aircraft carriers.

Case solved.