Oregon State Bar Bulletin — DECEMBER 2014


Let’s Improve House of Delegates Meeting

The House of Delegates serves an effective deliberative body for the bar. All bar members can speak at House of Delegates meetings whether they are delegates or not. There are often good debates on serious issues. Resolutions are amended from the floor. When a mere membership poll is conducted on a matter, we don’t receive the benefit of the debate and amendment process. Less than 20 percent of bar members respond to polls, and they generally do so in isolation without the give and take of discussion and the information imparted by the delegates to one another at a meeting.

But the House of Delegates should be improved. At our last meeting, a full hour passed of speeches, introductions, and other matters while the delegates sat trapped like cattle on a train. There is no reason introductory matters at a House of Delegates meeting should take more than half an hour. The president’s report and other Board of Governors business can be communicated in large part in writing before the meeting. There is no reason the names of all bar members who have died in the last year need to be read slowly aloud. There should be a moment of silence to remember those who have left us, but the delegates have read those names before we arrive.

In sum, the House of Delegates should begin taking up issues to be voted on within 30 minutes of the time the meeting is scheduled to begin — not an hour. The lawyers who run for a seat on the House of Delegates do so in order to participate in a process. They should not be treated as a captive audience.

I do not mean to criticize Tom Kranovich, the Board of Governors or OSB staff. They have done a great job. And the meeting this year overall was very well run and was relatively short; it was conducted as meetings in the past have been. But the House of Delegates meetings can be made better.

Charles R. Williamson, Portland


Adverbs vs. Adjectives

In November’s “The Legal Writer” column entitled “Think Different,” the author’s third example under the heading “Grammar 101” as an example of an adverb modifying an adverb is wrong. The word “rapid,” which the author says is an adverb, is not but is an adjective that modifies the noun “reader.” Every dictionary that I have checked concurs that “rapid” is an adjective and not an adverb. The adverbial form of the word “rapid” is “rapidly.” Obviously, a sentence that stated, “She is a relatively rapidly reader” would be obviously grammatically incorrect. Actually, this sentence is an example of an adverb modifying an adverb; “obviously” (an adverb) modifies “grammatically” (another adverb), which in turn, modifies “incorrect” (an adjective).

Ms. Rowe’s column is first thing I turn to when I get my OSB Bulletin and enjoy reading it very much since I consider myself well versed in proper English. I am constantly dismayed at how many trial attorneys (and non-lawyers as well) whose briefs I read in my work apparently slept through English 101 in college. This is the first time that I have noticed that Ms. Rowe made a grammatical mistake.

FYI, I am member of the OSB (member #65094) and a graduate of the University of Oregon (B.S. ’61 — Go Ducks!) but received my legal education at Harvard Law School and Willamette College of Law (J.D. ’65). After serving as a military judge and administrative law judge for several years, I now live in Phoenix, where for the past 30 years I have earned my living writing as a legal writer, analyst and consultant for other attorneys in addition to serving as a FINRA arbitrator.

Lou Parker, Phoenix, Ariz.


Suzanne Rowe responds: Several astute readers pointed out this error. Obviously, the second use of “adverb” is a typo, pure and simple.

She is a relatively rapid reader. (The adverb relatively modifies the adverb rapid.)

The explanation in parentheses should have said this: The adverb relatively modifies the adjective rapid.

I’m happy to know that readers enjoy The Legal Writer despite occasional slips by the author.


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