Oregon State Bar Bulletin — JULY 2007
Bar News

Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities Announced
All active OSB members will soon receive the Leadership and Volunteer Opportunities brochure and application form by mail. The brochure provides a description of each volunteer opportunity and outlines the time commitment required for each board appointed position. Application forms are due Sept. 7.

Rick Yugler, the incoming OSB president for 2008, is encouraging member participation in bar groups. Member involvement on boards, committees, and other bar groups keeps the bar responsive to the needs of its membership and is vital to the ability of the bar to provide services to its members and the public.

Most appointments are for terms of three years; however, if you are unable to make this lengthy commitment, you can consider volunteering on an episodic group. Serving on an episodic group allows you to determine the number of hours you give while continuing to enjoy the benefits of volunteering.

When submitting applications it is recommended that you attach a resume and a letter of interest describing why you are interested in serving. The Board of Governors is committed to ensuring that bar groups reflect the diversity of the membership and they make every attempt to place each applicant in a volunteer position.

Candidates must be active bar members and in good standing to be considered for appointment. More information and an application form can be found here, or contact Danielle Edwards, at (503) 431-6246, or toll-free in Oregon at (800) 452-8260, ext. 426, or e-mail dedwards@osbar.org.

Klamath Falls Legal Aid Office Celebrates Reopening
On May 11, the Klamath Falls community celebrated the reopening of the Klamath Falls Legal Aid Office, which was closed in 1996 when Congress made deep cuts to the Legal Services Corp. With the reopening of this office, low-income Oregonians in Klamath and Lake Counties will once again be able to get legal assistance from local legal aid lawyers.

Funding to reopen the office comes from a special grant made by the Oregon Law Foundation (OLF). The OLF distributes money collected from interest on lawyer trust accounts to legal aid and other programs. At the request and urging of the OLF, many Oregon banks have significantly increased their interest rates on lawyer trust accounts resulting in increased revenues and this special grant opportunity.

Chief Justice Paul De Muniz, Attorney General Hardy Myers, Klamath County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Cameron Wogan, Oregon Law Foundation President Lisa LeSage, OSB President-elect Rick Yugler and other leaders were on hand to call attention to the importance of equal access to justice for all Oregonians. As noted by Hardy Myers, "Studies show that the presence of a legal aid office in the community reduces the incidence of domestic violence." Tom Matsuda, executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oregon thanked the local community, the OLF and the local judiciary for their support in reopening the office.

Including Klamath Falls, Oregon’s legal services programs have offices in 16 communities statewide, with three additional satellite offices. There are over 600,000 low-income Oregonians who qualify for legal aid. These programs provide direct services to 20,000 clients each year and assist many more through self-help classes, telephone advice hot lines, pro bono assistance programs, and the legal aid website. However, under current funding levels, legal aid is able to serve only 20 percent of the legal needs of Oregon’s poor.The Campaign for Equal Justice, which takes a leadership role in increasing access to justice with state and federal funding initiatives, education and outreach, and an annual fundraising campaign from private lawyers, will continue to work to obtain additional funding for legal aid throughout the state of Oregon.

By Nancy B. Patton,
Campaign for Equal Justice

Campaign for Equal Justice.Foundation Seeks Lawyers for Board
The board of directors of the Oregon Law Foundation is looking for two lawyer members to serve four year terms on the OLF board beginning in January 2008.

Directors attend approximately four board meetings a year, as well as various committee meetings.

Interested person should send a brief resume by Sept. 1 to Judith Baker, Oregon Law Foundation, P.O. Box 1689, Lake Oswego, OR 97035.

Volunteers Needed For Clackamas, Lane County Fairs
Let the Oregon State Bar New Lawyers Division take you to a county fair. The division is sponsoring exhibit booths at both the 2007 Clackamas and Lane County Fairs. Volunteers are needed to distribute legal information and giveaway items to fair attendees. In exchange, you will receive free admission and parking.

Bring a friend and volunteer at either of the exhibit booths so members of the public can see lawyers outside of the traditional legal setting — in a law office or courtroom — and allow them to see what lawyers do, as people and members of the community. You can help provide an invaluable public service by helping to distribute legal information to the citizens of Clackamas and Lane counties.

Both fairs open on Tuesday, Aug. 14 and run through Sunday, Aug. 19. To
volunteer, contact Peggy Miller at 800-452-8260 or (503) 431-6384 or pmiller@osbar.org.

Volunteer Defense Counsel Sought
The Oregon State Bar is looking for members who are willing to volunteer their time to assist lawyers who are being investigated or prosecuted for disciplinary violations. Volunteers on this panel will provide pro bono representation for accused lawyers in disciplinary matters, as their time and availability permit. Accused lawyers are not guaranteed that a volunteer on the panel will be available or willing to take every case.

Volunteer defense counsel members are not screened, but they are expected to be familiar with the disciplinary rules and the disciplinary process. The bar does not require the volunteer defense counsel to provide any particular level of service. It is anticipated that most of the volunteer services will be of a consultative nature in the early stages of an investigation
or prosecution.

Volunteers serving as defense counsel in disciplinary proceedings are eligible to earn up to two MCLE ethics credits for each 12 months of service. Serving as voluntary defense counsel also meets the OSB pro bono aspirational standard. OSB Bylaw 13.1 details a category of pro bono work designed for those bar members who contribute valuable volunteer time to improve the law, the legal system and the legal profession.

If you are interested in participating on the Volunteer Defense Counsel contact Danielle Edwards, member services administrator, at (503) 431-6426, or toll-free in Oregon at (800) 452-8260, ext. 426, or e-mail dedwards@osbar.org

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