Oregon State Bar Bulletin NOVEMBER 2015
Thanks for Important Article
Thank you for publishing Jennie Bricker’s article “Where No One Has Gone Before: Practicing Law in the Digital Age” (August/September 2015). It’s easily the most important article I’ve read all year. The spread of the Internet is a change on par with the spread of literacy 500 years ago. New technology is disruptive. The role our profession plays in society is important. We promote the rule of law and facilitate the peaceful resolution of disputes. We must use technology as a tool to accomplish these goals. Deep thinking, reflection and person-to-person dialogue must remain an important part of the everyday practice of law. With each new technological development we must measure not just what we gain, but also what we lose. We must not allow instant communication to reduce understanding.
Brent H. Smith, La Grande
The Law: To Whose Benefit?
The October 2015 issue of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin contains an article by Cliff Collins entitled “Outside the Urban Box,” which among other things quotes Scott T. Bailey as saying “Underserved areas are ripe. A new lawyer coming out of law school would have a better opportunity to have a successful law practice in a smaller area.” True, but what about the clients? Are the clients in a small area to serve as trial and error for a new lawyer to learn how to practice law? Are they so advised?
We all know that law school does not teach one the practical aspects of the practice of law. In fact, of the professions of medicine, architecture and law, law is the only one that does not require an apprentice program. I have always assumed that the practice of law is for the benefit of clients, not lawyers who could not get a job. Is that not true in smaller areas?
Peter M. Appleton, Salem
Moved Outside the Urban Box, No Regrets
I read “Outside the Urban Box” (October 2015) and agree whole heartedly with the article. I have never practiced anywhere else.
After graduating from Lewis & Clark in 1984, I came to Coos Bay and worked as a legal aid lawyer for Oregon Legal Services for 12 years. I was immediately accepted as a full member of the Coos/Curry Bar Association and tried my first jury trial two weeks after being sworn in, albeit in the Reedsport Justice Court. After only two years, I argued and won a case in the Oregon Supreme Court, Dennis v. Employment Division, that stood for and still stands for the proposition that state administrative law judges have the responsibility to assist unrepresented claimants in state administrative hearings.
After 12 years, I went into private practice and within a year tripled my income and within a few years after that became the co-owner of an office building in downtown Coos Bay.
Shortly after moving here, I met and married my wife who was just coming to town and beginning her career as an elementary school teacher in the Coquille School District. She just retired after a wonderful 30-year career. We have lived out in the woods on eight acres with a great garden, peace and quiet.
In the 1990s, I was chair of the county Democratic central committee, I’m a past president of my Rotary Club and was president of the Coos County Bar Association in 2013.
As I am nearing the end of my career, I can truly say that coming to Southwestern Oregon and practicing my entire career here was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
David S. Tilton, Coos Bay
Second Amendment Not That Ambiguous
The militia clause of the Second Amendment is not, as Roger B. Ley insists in his letter (October 2015), “difficult to interpret”; it is the reason the Second Amendment was adopted. There was no mention of a right to bear arms during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and no mention of it in the Constitution as submitted to the states for ratification. Several of the states ratified on the understanding that the first Congress to meet under the new Constitution would consider adoption of a bill of rights. Virginia proposed almost two dozen amendments; Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania had lists of their own. All four included amendments that would keep the new federal government from taking permanent control of the state militias.
On March 4, 1789, the first Congress, meeting in New York, proposed by the requisite two-thirds vote of both houses 12 articles or amendments for approval by three-fourths of the state legislatures. The fourth article or amendment read: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.”
For more than 150 years, the Second Amendment was understood to prohibit infringement of the right to bear arms by Congress, but not by the state governments. Presser v. Illinois, 116 U.S. 252 (1886). It was also understood that Congress itself could regulate firearms that did not have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia …” U.S. v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939).
Whatever the wisdom of how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Second Amendment in recent years, no one can argue that anything like what Mr. Ley suggests was ever in the minds of those who insisted on the amendment, or that anyone then thought the people needed to be armed against the first government ever created through the free and voluntary choice of its citizens.
D.W. Buffa, Carmel Valley, Calif.
Don’t Blame the Phrase
Your correction in this month’s Bulletin (October 2015) contains one of the more irritating, although popular, mis-uses of language common today. You say that the unfortunate last line in a source reference “went missing.”
Indeed, did that last line just decide not to participate? Did it find another paragraph more interesting to pursue? Or did the author of a neighboring article seize it for its own? “Went missing” implies that the absent object, person or — in this case, phrase — had something to do with its nonappearance. This is both wrong and absurd. You just omitted it. Confess error, but don’t blame the phrase!
Susan Elizabeth Reese, Newport
Editor’s note: What can we say? The missing line was present in the final page proofs, but absent in the printed product — what the Oxford English Dictionary allows as “disappeared” or “went missing.” We have our suspicions (way too technical to ponficate about here), but we’re sticking to our story!
We Love Letters
The Bulletin welcomes letters. In general, letters should pertain to recent articles, columns or other letters and should be limited to 250 words. Other things to keep in mind:
Letters must be original and addressed to the Bulletin editor. We do not reprint letters addressed to other publications, to other individuals, to whom it may concern, etc. Preference is given to letters responding to letters to the editor, articles or columns recently published in the Bulletin.
Letters must be signed. Unsigned or anonymous letters will not be published. (There are exceptions. Inquire with the editor.) Letters may not promote individual products, services or political candidates. All letters must comply with the guidelines of Keller v. State Bar of California in that they must be germane to the purpose of regulating the legal profession or improving the quality of the legal services available to the people of Oregon.
Letters may be edited for grammatical errors, style or length, or in cases where language or information is deemed unsuitable or inappropriate for publication. Profane or obscene language is not accepted.
We strive to print as many letters as possible. Therefore, brevity is important, and preference will be given to letters that are 250 words or less. Letters become the property of the Oregon State Bar. Authors of rejected letters are notified by the editor.
Send letters to: Editor, OSB Bulletin, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281.