Oregon State Bar Bulletin — FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

On Good Writing
Spotting a Samuel Johnson quotation in the January 2011 edition of the Bulletin’s Legal Writer column, I offer another three-pointer from Doctor J on how to write well: “Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.”

Tim Baxter,

Worth the Wait

I have just read the article “Rethinking Bar Admissions” by John Gear (January 2011), and I completely agree with him.

We are the only profession that graduates top level professionals without a single moment required in the actual practice of our craft. How much better to create an alternative route, a kind of AmeriCorps of law, where if you put in your one year (with a supervisor’s blessing) you automatically pass “the bar.”

I was one of those people who seriously struggled to pass the test. My blood sugar would tank and I would start to pass out, I was exhausted by the early hour (for me), and a physical problem made writing excruciatingly painful. Finally, with the help of a typewriter, peanut M&Ms and orange juice, and copious amounts of Dexitrim, I passed with flying colors.

During the time I was waiting I was law clerking. After I passed the bar I landed some great cases, in large part because I had two years of an “internship” after law school. I was a much better new lawyer for the wait than some of my peers were straight out of the bar exam.

Being the tradition-bound institution that it is, though, I doubt the Oregon State Bar will ever adopt the Mr. Gear’s proposal, but I believe it would be a win-win for the people of Oregon.

Thank you for publishing the article.

Susanne Feigum,

Energy and Passion

Thirty years ago, I was selling real estate in Chicago, Ill. I had graduated three years earlier with a degree in journalism but couldn’t seem to find my niche. A friend suggested law school and I contacted Steve Piucci for his advice. He encouraged me to take the plunge, telling me that I had the brains, heart and ambition to be a great lawyer. He was merely describing himself, of course.

Steve is a gentle, funny and wise man who will bring great energy and passion to the position of Oregon State Bar president (“The Art of Practicing Law,” January 2011). Throughout his illustrious career, he has been both an accomplished advocate and a dedicated servant to the organized bar. He is an inveterate joiner and leader. He truly cares about people. He is organized in the sense that you folks will not get bogged down in bureaucratic silliness that can slow an organization.

I could conclude by hoping that everybody in the OSB has a great year in 2011, but seeing Piucci’s smiling face against the backdrop of the lovely Oregon coast lets me know that I’m preaching to the converted.

Terrence J. Lavin,
Justice Illinois Appellate Court Chicago, Ill.

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