Oregon State Bar Bulletin — MAY 2014


Inspiring Advice

Bravo for “How to Be Happy and Practice Law” (Parting Thoughts, April 2014). I’ve tried to practice much of this advice during my career, and it has served me well. Mr. Griffith’s essay made me smile and brought tears to my eyes — very inspiring and well written.

Celia Leber, Bend


The Steps to True Wealth

Right on, Steve! Your definition of “wealth” is a clear and accurate description of my own philosophy, and I’ve never seen it expressed as well (Parting Thoughts, April 2014).

I knew when I was a hard-working legal secretary for many years at Stoel Rives (where I sometimes watched you race the clock) that being an associate or even a partner at fill-in-the blank law firm was no guarantee of either wealth or happiness.

I had lots of encouragement and inspi ration from lots of Stoel Rives folks while I toiled through college and law school. Afterwards, though, I didn’t reach for any big-firm gold ring. Instead, knowing that only having horses would make me happy, I headed to beautiful Eastern Oregon, where land is cheap and horses are plentiful. I’ve had a solo practice for about 13 years now. No matter how stressed and tired I am and how challenged my budget, going home to my little horse ranch and nine equines on the Walla Walla River every day makes me feel rich and blessed.

Steve is right. Figure out what you need to be happy. That’s the first step to true wealth.

Kittee Custer, Milton-Freewater


Models for Good Writing

Regarding Megan McAlpin’s article, “Finding a Good Book” (The Legal Writer, April 2014), I was amused that anybody would suggest Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays as helpful to legal writers.

Since Emerson hangs on a branch in my family tree, I have slogged through as much as I could of Uncle Ralph’s works. He refused to let either Henry David Thoreau or Margaret Fuller edit his writing, so his flashes of literary brilliance lie buried in opaque, meandering essays. Mark Twain objected that Emerson’s grammar “all at once arrests the flow of your serenity for a moment, like gravel in the bread.”

Although Emerson is remembered as a Transcendentalist who published The Dial magazine, he was most famous in his day for his commanding presence as a public speaker; tall, with piercing eyes, and a dynamic, pulpit-pounding style from having been a preacher.

On the other hand, I heartily agree that Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is must reading. For trial attorneys, Gregory Peck’s courtroom scenes in the film version are also mandatory. And journalists who instantly reveal the “who, what, where, when and why” of a story are excellent models for succinct writing.

Constance Emerson Crooker, Portland


Wrong Alphabet

With reference to the article by James Hargreaves about courts in the post-Soviet era (“Becoming An Effective Brance of Government,” April 2014), I’m sure it is not Mr. Hargreaves’ doing, but your article title is disrespectful in its deliberately incorrect use of letters from the Cyrillic alphabet. This kind of misuse of Cyrillic letters serves to mock or diminish those languages using the Cyrillic alphabet, when Cyrillic letters like “ya” are used as a backwards R, “i” as a backwards N, etc. It suggests a kind of U.S. cultural superiority, bordering on racism. More suitable for a high school publication, this kind of mockery is about on a par with, say, an article about Chinese legal practices entitled “Raw in China.”

I believe you owe your Russian speakers an apology.

Geoff Cooper, Tigard


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The Bulletin welcomes letters. In general, letters should pertain to recent articles, columns or other letters and should be limited to 250 words.

Send letters to: Editor, OSB Bulletin, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281.


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