Oregon State Bar Bulletin — DECEMBER 2008

E-Discovery Materials Available
Recently the Oregon Department of Justice and Oregon Department of Administrative Services jointly provided a timely forum on E-Discovery Issues. You can obtain the agenda from the forum, presentation materials, contact information and additional resource information the state’s E-Discovery Internet website at oregon.gov/DAS/EISPD/ITIP/e_discovery.shtml.

New FDIC Rule Creates Unlimited Protection for IOLTA Accounts
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced Nov. 21 that effective immediately client funds deposited in IOLTA accounts at participating financial intuitions are eligible for unlimited deposit insurance coverage as part of the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program (TLGP).

All funds in an IOLTA account, regardless of size, will now be insured in full by the FDIC and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, as part of the Temporary Account Guarantee (TAG) provisions of the TLGP. Financial institutions opting out of the TAG coverage must display a notification to customers. The additional coverage is in effect until Dec. 31, 2009, unless extended.

Full text of the final rule can be found at: www.fdic.gov/news/board/08BODtlgp.PDF.

Join the ‘Celebrate Pro Bono’ Planning Committee
The American Bar Association has designated Oct. 25-31, 2009 as Celebrate Pro Bono Week. Law-related groups across the United States are making plans to spend this week celebrating the positive impact of pro bono work in local communities.

A new committee is being formed to plan activities in Oregon and its needs your help. If interested in serving on the planning committee, contact Catherine Petrecca at (503) 431-6355 or cpetrecca@osbar.org.

Relief Nursery Offers Respite for Parents in Lane County
The Relief Nursery in Eugene invites attorneys working with families in and around Lane County to spread the word about a new service: free childcare in the basement of the downtown county building. Relief Nursery care is available for children ages 0-6 while relatives take care of county business or court issues.

The Relief Nursery is open from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and by appointment. For more information, visit the organization’s website at www.reliefnursery.org/program/relief-nursery-downtown.

New Handbook Published for Attorneys With Deaf or Blind Clients
Sharon Caserta of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Legal Advocacy Program in Jacksonville, Fla., has published a handbook on how attorneys can effectively communicate with deaf or blind clients. The handbook was written specifically for Florida attorneys, but the information it contains is applicable anywhere an attorney is dealing with a client with disabilities.

Economy Hasn’t Yet Fully Hit Law Firms
The large majority of law firms remain sound financially and on a steady footing with their banks, according to the newly released Altman Weil Flash Survey on the Law Firm Credit Crunch. The survey of the 700 largest US law firms was conducted in November 2008.

"We expected to see more distress from law firms," says Altman Weil principal James D. Cotterman. "But it appears that market conditions have not yet fully hit law firm balance sheets. Where we do see some softening, it is more likely to be in large law firms with over 250 lawyers and in major legal markets, defined for the survey as New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles."

The survey asked what internal steps law firms had taken or were considering in response to the recessionary environment. The top five answers were: reduction in operating expenses (81 percent), deferred capital expenditures (76 percent), terminating staff (51 percent), terminating associates (38 percent) and increasing partner capital (38 percent).

A quarter of all firms surveyed believe that there will be little or no change in their 2009 revenues compared with 2008; 8 percent anticipate revenue increases next year, while 66 percent are expecting lower revenues in 2009. Of the latter group, about half expect a reduction of 1 percent to 5 percent and half expect to be down 6 percent to 10 percent.

Fifty percent of all respondents indicated that their firms would make minimal or very selective increases in billing rates in 2009, and an additional 4 percent will make no increases. Fourteen percent of firms plan to adjust rates to the Consumer Price Index only. Thirty-two percent will continue their historical pattern of rate changes. None of the firms surveyed had plans to decrease their billing rates.

The full report appears on the Altman Weil website at http://www.altmanweil.com/LFCreditCrunch.

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