Oregon State Bar Bulletin — OCTOBER 2007

LAF-OFF Returns by Popular Demand
The Campaign for Equal Justice invites you to the third LAF-OFF (Legal Aid Fundraiser Originated by Fios and Friends). Oregon attorneys and legal professionals are joining forces to support the 2007 LAF-OFF Comedy Competition, using humor to support Oregon’s legal aid programs. The event takes place Friday, Oct. 26, 2007, at McMenamins Mission Theatre in Portland. Tickets are available for two shows, one at 6 p.m. and the second at 9 p.m. Kerry Tymchuk, state director for Sen. Gordon Smith, will return as emcee.

Corporate sponsors will be treating the comedy patrons to beverages and snacks — appetizers or desserts, depending on the time of the show. The Mission Theater is a full-service McMenamins pub with a full menu available for those who would like to purchase dinner during the show.

"Oregon has a lot of really funny lawyers, no joke," boasts CEJ board chair Ed Harnden. "The last two LAF-OFF competitions have brought out a talented group of armchair comedians, some of whom could quit their day jobs of practicing law and join the comedy club circuit. This is a really fun way to support Oregon’s statewide legal aid programs."

The money raised through this year’s LAF-OFF will help provide legal counsel to hundreds of people in need each year.

More information about LAF-OFF, the Campaign for Equal Justice, and legal aid can be found by visiting www.cej-oregon.org. Click on the event link to find out which lawyer-comedians are performing during the early and late shows. Or e-mail laf-off@cej-oregon.org for more information and to order tickets.

Judge Ashmanskas to Retire
U. S. Magistrate Judge Donald C. Ashmanskas has announced his retirement, effective Jan. 31, 2008. Judge Ashmanskas has served as a federal judge for 15 years. Prior to his federal service, he served as a state district and circuit court judge for Washington County for 17 years. The vacancy created by his departure will be filled by appointment.

Invitation from U.S. District Court Historical Society
The Oregon U.S. District Court Historical Society invites bar members to attend its annual meeting and dinner on Oct. 30, 2007, at the Governor Hotel in Portland, featuring a presentation by former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Betty Roberts. A social hour will begin at 5:30, to be followed by dinner at 6:30. Additional details, including the flyer with reservation information, will be posted on the society’s website at: http://www.usdchs.org/events.php.

Are Appointed Judges Better Than Elected Judges?
According to the faculty blog for the University of Chicago Law School, everyone assumes that the answer is yes, but the evidence perhaps suggests otherwise. The paper under discussion, called "Professionals or Politicians: The Uncertain Empirical Case for an Elected Rather than Appointed Judiciary," is available online at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1008989.

Tidbits from the abstract: "Although federal judges are appointed with life tenure, most state judges are elected for short terms. Conventional wisdom holds that appointed judges are superior to elected judges because appointed judges are less vulnerable to political pressure. However, there is little empirical evidence for this view … The empirical results do not show appointed judges performing at a higher level than their elected counterparts. Appointed judges write higher-quality opinions than elected judges do, but elected judges write many more opinions, and the evidence suggests that the large quantity difference makes up for the small quality difference. In addition, elected judges do not appear less independent than appointed judges. The results suggest that elected judges are more focused on providing service to the voters (that is, they behave like politicians), whereas appointed judges are more focused on their long-term legacy as creators of precedent (that is, they behave like professionals)."

Louis Brandeis Documentary
The national TV marketing department at Oregon Public Broadcasting thought the Oregon legal community would enjoy knowing about an upcoming program about the life and times of an interesting Supreme Court justice. "Louis Brandeis: The People’s Attorney" will air on OPB on Monday, Oct. 22 at 10 p.m.

Law Life Imitates Comic Art
Beginning this month, the OSB Bulletin is pleased to add a new cartoon, called "Jest Is For All," which is drawn by Massachusetts attorney Arnie Glick. Glick, a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, says that there are similarities between creating an effective cartoon caption and writing a cogent legal argument: "In both you need to carefully focus on the precise message that you want to communicate, so that the reader will react in the way that you’ve intended." Of course, adds Glick, "The trick is to make sure that, of the two, it’s the cartoon that gets the laugh."

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