Oregon State Bar Bulletin — JULY 2009

Suggested Language
If the Bulletin continues to address proper usage or effective use of language, I offer the following:

People often use the following phrase: “I don’t think … blah, blah, blah.”

They lost me at the beginning by admitting they aren’t thinking: totally negative, wishy-washy, end of conversation.

I prefer the positive approach: “I think such is not …” That gets my attention. The speaker is thinking, is focused on the topic and has confidence in her/his thought/observation process.

George Stevenson

Thankful for Assistance
In the May 2009 Bulletin, Attorney Rogers criticizes the ethics staff and client assistance office (Letters, “The Height of Chutzpah”).

I can only assume that Attorney Rogers has some personal reason for venting in this manner.

I have on a periodic basis contacted the attorneys who provide ethics advice on numerous occasions over the last 20 years and have found them to be very helpful, very experienced and very forthright. When they do not know the answer, which is uncommon, they will tell you so. When I call them on the telephone and ask for advice, I do not expect them to “stand behind” their advice. For those of us who have been in the business of giving legal advice on the telephone, we know, all too well, the foibles inherent in that. Even when clients come into our office, we often do not hear all the facts, but rather just the facts our clients want us to hear.

I, for one, want to express my thanks and gratitude to Sylvia Stevens and others who provide assistance to the bar.

Norman Malbin

Ed Peterson Got it Right
I want to thank the Bulletin for bringing to public notice in its April 2009 issue the remarks of Hon. Edwin Peterson (“Wanted: A Few Good Mentors”) about lessons about professionalism he had learned from a former military colleague of mine in the U.S. Army reserve, the late Lamar Tooze Sr.

Mr. Peterson has it right, from my experience serving under command of General Tooze in the 1950s, that among the lessons he taught were “Treat with courtesy, complete tasks on time, and do good, careful, thorough work.”

It may well have been that my admiration of Lamar’s professionalism was one of the factors that resulted later in my becoming a member of the legal profession.

Karl S. Landstrom
Arlington, Va.
Retired member, Virginia and D.C. bars

Questioning Original Intent Analysis
On May 15, 2009, I attended the Oregon Law Institute program no the Oregon Constitution, which I found fascinating.

What I found particularly remarkable was the proposition that the Oregon Supreme Court relies heavily on the doctrine of “original intent” in interpreting the Oregon Constitution. It was reported that a lawyer arguing an automobile guest rule issue suggested that the rule be invalidated because there were no cars in 1857 when the constitution was adopted.

I suggest that the environment today (politically, socially and technologically) is so different from what existed in 1857 that the court abandon the “original intent” interpretation method (we were wrong and we admit it) and adopt some other method of interpretation that takes into account modern conditions. The court’s current hidebound stance only makes it a laughing stock, and the situation will only get worse as we go further into the future and differences between our current environment and 1857 exacerbate.

Peter M. Appleton

Adams Profile Appreciated
Just writing in response to the “Family Man” profile in the June 2009 Bulletin about Banks attorney Scott Adams and adoption. It is by far the most compelling article I have read in the Bulletin in a very long time.

It is refreshing to read such a positive article about a member of the bar who has persevered through personal adversity, and who uses his training, experience and passion to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Please pass along my praise to the article’s author, Melody Finnemore. Thank you for the inspiring article. To all of you — excellent work!

Caroline L. Smith

Small Comfort
Disciplinary Counsel’s response to two recent letters was more chilling than it was consoling. The letters complained of the poor judgment exhibited by the drafter of a recent discipline case summary, in disclosing personal details about the accused that were not necessary to an understanding of the case.

In the response we learn 1) that the summaries are drafted by the prosecutor’s office and 2) that the chief prosecutor doesn’t see the problem. Drafting of the summaries should be undertaken by Bulletin staff or the general counsel’s office and not by the prosecutors.

Mark Johnson

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