|Oregon State Bar Bulletin FEBRUARY/MARCH 2008|
Council As Counsel
The choice between council and counsel reminded me that on at tour of the South Carolina state capitol, I noted the offices of the legislative council, in contrast with Oregon’s legislative counsel.
On further research, it appears that the South Carolina Legislative Council is responsible for the organization and operation of the research, reference and bill drafting facilities to serve the General Assembly. The council also codifies and publishes the general and permanent statutory laws of the state in appropriate supplements and volumes. And it is responsible for the state library and the state register.
Consistent with the advice in "The Legal Writer," the South Carolina practice is to have an advisory council and the Oregon practice is to have legal counsel. The South Carolina Legislative Council is similar to the Oregon Legislative Counsel Committee of the Legislature.
Peter H. Wells,
Re: Paying It Forward
Thanks for your coverage of the Domestic Violence Clinic at Lane County Legal Aid and Advocacy Center ("Paying It Forward," December 2007).
I have been involved with the clinic since its inception in 1999, first as a consultant/mentor, and, since January 2007, as director. Our main purpose is to give law students exposure to domestic violence and sexual assault situations by representing clients in protective order cases. This serves both clients and the court, since most of these clients would not have legal representation.
As Cass SkinnerLopata stated, the need far exceeds available resources. All of our funding comes from grants, although recent legislation will provide partial funding from court filing fees. The program experienced a funding crisis in 2005-2006 when a major grant was lost and we almost had to close, resulting in a cut of 50 percent of our staff. Even when staffed at its highest level, the need far exceeded resources.
Besides attorneys for protective order cases, we often need referrals for representation in related divorce and custody proceedings. We are very thankful to Lane County bar members who have stepped forward to take on cases. But we need to expand our pool of pro bono attorneys in order to serve our clientele and assure that we do not overtax those who currently step forward and volunteer.
We hope to develop a free OLE training for attorneys who volunteer to do this work. If you are a Lane County Bar member and wish to help with this vital work, please contact me.
Patricia Vallerand, director
Domestic Violence Clinic, Eugene
The Point of Being ‘Super’
I very much enjoyed the intellectual gymnastics of Super Lawyers publisher William C. White’s response to Daniel Re’s article "A Super Standard of Care?" (Letters, October 2007). Mr. White posits, "A lawyer stating the truthful, verifiable fact that a third party has awarded them the Super Lawyers honor is not tantamount to a self-anointed claim of superiority." He further asserts, "Following Mr. Re’s logic, these lawyers are holding themselves out as somehow superior to other lawyers who lack these credentials."
Wait a minute. Isn’t that precisely why lawyers are inducted into Super Lawyers magazine — because they are superior, as judged by their professional colleagues?
The magazine describes in detail its rigorous peer evaluation and selection process. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that lawyers are recognized in Super Lawyers because their skill, expertise and results excel above other members of the bar. Further, Mr. White blatantly disregards the obvious — and inevitable — effect of being honored in a magazine entitled Super Lawyers: That the honoree will be identified as a "super lawyer."
For Mr. White to argue otherwise, calling it a "misuse" of their trademark, merely discounts the honor of being recognized in his magazine.
Andrew Michael Wang
P.S. I am not a Super Lawyers honoree, nor do I profess to be a super lawyer.
A Wonderful Leader
Tolbert McCarroll (Profiles in the Law, December 2007) was in law school in Eugene a couple of classes ahead of my class. He was a wonderful leader with a firm handshake, a deep and resonating voice and the reality of being a friend to underclassmen.
Toby’s mother was a supervisor at the Eugene cannery a few blocks from the law school. She helped many needy students obtain a job at the cannery so they could stay in school.
Toby shepherded us all into knowledge of the U.S. District Courts and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by leading an after-hours trip to the district court in Portland.
An Express Warranty
The letter-writing contest over a possible higher standard of care for lawyers who advertise themselves as "super" between William C. White, publisher of magazine (December 2007), and Daniel C. Re (October 2007 and January 2008), misses the mark. A plaintiff’s lawyer suing these "super lawyers" on behalf of an unhappy client will likely make much more hay asserting a breach of express warranty theory than he or she would in attempting to impose a higher standard of care within the elements of a negligence claim. Who in the lawyer-consuming public would not perceive "Super Lawyer" as an express warranty, especially since Mr. White has gone to such lengths to carefully ensure the integrity of his magazine’s selection process? Surely the defense of "mere puffery" fails, and although warranty claims hang from the contracts branch of the law and are therefore not insured or even insurable, the pockets of the Oregon lawyers that have appeared in Mr. White’s magazine appear plenty deep.
Brent G. Summers