Oregon State Bar Bulletin APRIL 2013
Zealousness and Professionalism
I have read the article “Is Some Behavior Ethical But Improper?” by Arden J. Olson (February/March 2013).
Mr. Olson wrote in part: “… ultimately professionalism is not about what the courts tell us we must do but what we together choose to contribute to our society. … The public too often judges our profession based on the conduct of lawyers who care little about aspirational behavior.”
The problem is with the adage that as advocates we ought to zealously represent our clients. That adage may conflict with the goal of acting professionally (i.e., aspirationally). Some lawyers appear to think that acting professionally is not acting zealously. No one wants a lawyer who fights with one hand behind his/her back. Such a lawyer would likely starve to death.
We are still a relatively small bar and we have to convince people in general (including lawyers) that for a lawyer to act professionally not only makes that lawyer feel good but it is good for the client. Perhaps we can still do that by publicizing (and thereby punishing) bad behavior. I hope so. If not the practice of law here is doomed to be just another business like in Los Angeles and New York.
Peter Appleton, Salem
Cheers for Profile
Thank you for your profile of paralegal Amanda Ulrich in the February/March 2013 issue of the Bulletin(“Impacting Lives Half a World Away”). This extraordinary woman, in addition to her full-time job as a “top litigation paralegal,” has pursued with tenacity two important international environmental issues: 1) the illegal cutting and export of alerce (an endangered hardwood) from Chile; and 2) the mining of “conflict minerals” (used in electronic devices) in the Eastern Congo, which has resulted in millions of civilian deaths.
In addition to employing her considerable abilities as a paralegal, Ms. Ulrich has gone well beyond that initial skillset to learn Spanish, organize fundraisers, set up a political action coalition and contact industry and politicians to gain their support. As a sometime environmental activist, I am truly humbled by her efforts and inspired by her success in addressing these issues.
I hope that these and similar articles in the Bulletin will likewise inspire members of the Oregon legal profession to devote some of their time to causes larger than themselves that they feel passionately about. I encourage the Bulletin to continue highlighting individuals and organizations representing the best efforts of our profession in Oregon.
Karen Sjogren, Salem
We Love Letters
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