|Oregon State Bar Bulletin — OCTOBER 2011|
Mocking Our Own Profession is Counterproductive
I was surprised and disappointed when I opened the August/September 2011 issue of the Bulletin — the house organ of the integrated bar supported by the bar dues paid by all Oregon lawyers — only to find a cartoon seeking to entertain all Oregon lawyers at the expense of a segment of those lawyers, “personal injury lawyers” representing those who have been injured in person, property or reputation on the highways, in the workplaces, by consumer and industrial products and by professional negligence and financial fraud. And more importantly, at the expense of public confidence in our civil justice system.
The cartoon depicts two mice discussing a nearby mousetrap that bears a warning label, “Warning: Any attempt to take cheese may result in injury.” One mouse is saying to the other, “They are now required to put that up ever since some personal injury lawyer got a jury to find in favor of the mouse.” Emphasis added.
This cartoon is an insult to all personal injury lawyers and, more critically, to the hardworking judges and citizen-jurors who commit their time and energies to make important and often difficult decisions every day in the courtrooms of our state.
While such “cartoons” are the stock in trade of the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and other right-wing “fair and balanced” media, they are anathema to the Bulletin and to the -Oregon State Bar. Instead of promoting false and divisive stereotypes, the bar (and all its members) should be promoting access to justice. Mocking our own profession is not only counterproductive, it is simply shameful.
Charles S. Tauman
Small World Department
Michael Morris writes about Chess with Lawyers and tells about William Prosser as a chess player (“The Great Leveler: A Game of Correspondence Chess with Lawyers,” July 2011). The story brought up a memory of an occurrence many, many years ago.
I was attending a law conference of some sort, somewhere. At noon, the program broke for lunch. The dining room which I entered was not yet filled with attendees, and I found a suitable, almost empty table, one of those large round ones that seats eight or 10. One other man also approached that table. As we came closer, I extended a hand in greeting and said, “Bob Weiss, Portland.” He shook mine and responded, “I’m Prosser on Torts.”
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