GOD LOVES MEDIATION, BUT OREGON LAWYER LEADERS LOVE MONEY
GOD Loves Mediation
OREGON’S LEGAL PROFESSION NOT SO MUCH!
OREGON’S LEADERS ARE PLAYING CITIZENS FOR FOOLS
Mary Forst, a mediation guru in Oregon told us in the 1980’s that Mediation would save the world. I was a skeptic, but was open to the idea. But, let’s start with GOD’s concept.
King Solomon tells us how God resolves a dispute between two harlots. The issue was which one was the mother of an infant child. Solomon heard both of their stories and called for a sword. He declared to divide the living child in two; a half for each woman. (1 Book of Kings 3:16-28) One woman beseeched him not to do it and told him to give the living child to the other. That act of compassion allowed the real truth to be instantly discernible. Such is the magic of mediation.
Mediation began in earnest in Oregon in the early 1980’s. Oregon’s Mediation Association (OMA) began in 1986. Oregon’s legislature established the Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission (ODRC) in 1989. The Oregon Court of Appeals began a pseudo-mediation program in 1995. This is when politics replaced Oregon’s adventure into meaningful and benign conflict resolution for Oregon’s citizens.
Former Oregon Governor Kitzhaber signed an executive order implementing alternate dispute resolution (ADR) systems including mediation statewide in 2000.
I began as a volunteer mediator for Washington County State Circuit Court in 1988 after being trained by Ms. Forst and her Neighborhood Mediation crew. We became the charter mediation organization in local Oregon Courts. Many state agencies, county courts and municipalities began local mediation programs all over the state in the ensuing years.
Oregon’s statutory mandate on dispute resolution is:
“36.100 Policy for ORS 36.100 to 36.238. It is the policy and purpose of ORS 36.100 to 36.238 that, when two or more persons cannot settle a dispute directly between themselves, it is preferable that the disputants be encouraged and assisted to resolve their dispute with the assistance of a trusted and competent third party mediator, whenever possible, rather than the dispute remaining unresolved or resulting in litigation. [1989 c.718 §1; 2003 c.791 §9]” (Oregon Revised Statutes)
But, mediation was not good for the pocket books of local downtown law firms. It allowed regular citizens to procure regular citizens to help resolve disputes outside of the current legal operating venues: Oregon Courts. Lawyers are not needed in ADR. The downtown law firm chiefs had a better idea.
Oregon Complex Litigation Court
History and Description
The Oregon Complex Litigation Court (OCLC) is part of an ongoing initiative by former Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz and the Oregon Judicial Department to promote efficiency and statewide sharing of judicial resources. It was established by Chief Justice Order No. 10-066, effective December 2, 2010. The order adopted the rules governing the OCLC, which are contained in Chapter 23 of the Uniform Trial Court Rules. The OCLC is available for circuit court civil cases across the state that are complex due to a variety of factors, including subject matter, number of parties, factual issues, legal issues, discovery issues, and length of trial.
The net result was the mediation programs disappeared to be replaced by complex litigation courts. Mediation out. Litigation in.
Leave it to Oregon’s stellar Governor Kitzhaber to confuse things up and complete the circle. Governor Kitzhaber proposed legislation in 2013 that would reduce the number of medical malpractice lawsuits by giving the doctor or patient a chance at mediation first. What was immediately apparent is stated by Chief Financial Officer for St. Charles Health System Karen Shepard said they already use mediation. Why new legislation?
Meanwhile, Governor Kitzhaber is mad as hell against ‘Cover Oregon’ vendors, Oracle, and sued them for fraud following their suit for services rendered. This lawsuit would fit nicely in those Complex Litigation Courts. Alas, Governor Kitzhaber doesn’t want to go to the negotiating table on this one, by gosh. Nor ADR!! No……this taxpayer-paid dispute will be fought out in not one, but two courts, State court AND Federal court. The attorney fees have already topped $3 million with over a third coming from taxpayers to a private Portland, Oregon downtown law firm:
Oregon's Department of Justice hired outside Portland law firm Markowitz Herbold Glade & Mehlhaf PC to litigate against Oracle. The local downtown law firm has a team of lawyers and staff who are paid hourly. Rates range from as low as $75 an hour to as high as $650 an hour for lead litigator, David Markowitz.
Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Justice has more than 1200 dedicated employees, including 300 excellent attorneys looking for something to do. Why are we hiring outside counsel when 300 excellent attorneys work for Oregon and for the Department of Justice; there to protect the legal interests of the citizens of the State of Oregon??
Where is the wisdom of King Solomon when we need him??
By Lauren Paulson
16131 W. Hoffeldt LN #38
Brookings, OR 97415
541 412 1390
Monday, June 15, 2015
Governor Kate Brown
900 Capitol Building NE, 160
Salem, OR 97301
Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
Oregon Department of Justice
1162 Court Street NE
Salem, Oregon 97301-4096
Re: Sunlight and Open Records
Louis Brandeis made his famous statement that "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants" in a 1913 Harper's Weekly article.
Dear Governor Brown and Attorney General Rosenblum:
This letter has three objectives. One is to bring to your attention the State of Oregon’s doleful record on complying with Open Records requests. The second is to assert several new Open Records requests.
The third objective is to alert you to the pathetic status of the foreclosure issue in Oregon, only partially exemplified by my story. In a word, Oregon’s handling of the issue of foreclosure in the state is barbaric.
OPEN RECORD REQUESTS (PAST)
In the last few years I have made the following enclosed Open Records requests to Oregon officials with the stated results:
- 1/18/10 — Open Records request to the Oregon State Bar.
- 9/6/10 — Open Records request to the Oregon Circuit Court Judges Association
- 5/7/11 — Follow-up request to Hon. Karsten H. Rasmussen on the Open Records request to the Oregon Circuit Court Judges Association. The June 6, 2011 Response by Nori J. McCann Cross yielded no documents.
- 5/19/11 — Open Records request to the Washington County Circuit Court Twentieth Judicial District Oregon, Oregon Judicial Department. The Trial Court Administrator responded without documents.
- 8/17/11 — Open Records request to the Oregon Office of the State Court Administrator.
- 8/2/12 — Open Records request to Legal Aid Services of Oregon
- 12/10/12 — Open Records request to the Oregon Law Foundation/OSB Legal Services Program: They responded with documents.
- 7/8/13 — Open Records request to Oregon’s Commission on Judicial Fitness
- 7/10/13 — Open Records request to Hon. Chief Justice Balmer
- 8/11/13 — Open Records request to Marc Abrams, Oregon Department of Justice
- 8/12/13 — Open Records request to Hon. Thomas Balmer
- 2/28/14 — Open Records request to Scott A Morrill, Assistant General Counsel to the Oregon State Bar.
- 8/1/14 — Open Records request to former Governor Kitzhaber
- 8/14/14 — Open Records request to the Oregon Housing and Community Services
- 2/15/15 — Open Records request to the Oregon Housing and Community Services
- 3/12/15 Oregon Housing and Community Services Open Records Response with one page addressing the Request.
- 6/2/15 — Open Records request to Multnomah County Circuit Court for the State of Oregon regarding their “Consensus” panel on foreclosure matters.
Legal Aid for the Poor in Oregon’s Foreclosure Maelstrom is a Cruel Hoax —
As this Open Request stonewall demonstrates, no Oregon agency nor individual has taken responsibility for tracking how thousands of consumers caught in the predatory lending cycle are doing. Worse, there has been a chaotic breakdown in providing legal services to the poor and the downtrodden who are in foreclosure. This egregious hoax on the public is worthy of your attention. There are three lawyers in Oregon who do actual pro bono work on foreclosures that know what they are doing. Three!
Many pretenders have had their picture taken with Oregon Attorney Ed Harndon without noticing that the legal aid game is rigged by him and Bank of America at every turn, with the blessing of Oregon’s legal Oligarchy. (See Oregonian’s Steve Duin quote below — but first: —)
Consider for a moment that The Lawyers Campaign for Equal Justice Endowment is partially controlled by the Oregon Community Foundation with direct Bank of America affiliation . Further know that Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Balmer’s wife is Mary Louise McClintock, Director of Early Childhood Programs for the Oregon Community Foundation. The Oregon Community Foundation manages the funds of The Lawyer’s Campaign for Equal Justice.
Donors to Oregon’s Campaign for Equal Justice have no control over those funds that go to Oregon’s Community Foundation. But, Oregon’s Chief Justice and his wife are beneficiaries of those funds. (Maybe this is why Chief Justice Balmer doesn’t like me very much………)!
A short walk through the links on foreclosure on the Oregon Department of Justice website takes one to Oregon Law help.org which is funded by and administered by pro bono. net which in turn is funded and administered partially by Bank of America. This is but a small example of how the system is rigged against poor, unsuspecting people.
OPEN RECORD REQUESTS (NEW)
- This New Open Records request is to find out why I, Lauren Paulson was singled out for ‘Special Treatment” by a gaggle of Oregon State Police Officers at the 2009 Oregon Judicial Conference in Salem, Oregon — I sought to attend my first Oregon Judicial Conference; I had the following experience as reported in bulletinsfromaloha.org, my blog:
“As I strode confidently to the door of the Capitol Convention Center this last Tuesday for the State Judicial Conference, I noticed several police cars parked at the covered entrance. Little did I know they were there for me.
Several years ago I became an iconoclast within my State Bar Association (SBA). It was without intention. Having been a lawyer in private practice locally and before that, a corporate lawyer nationally, I had a few ideas. When I brought those few good ideas to the Board of Governors of the SBA I thought they would clap me on the back, hail me as a well-met fellow and honor me with all sorts of distinctions. It didn’t quite turn out that way.
It all started in 2001 when I complained to the SBA, that after fifteen years in private practice, citizen complaints against me as a solo lawyer never went away. None of the complaints had merit; usually it was a client that didn’t want to pay their bill or an opposing lawyer that didn’t like my approach to the case. There were no time constraints on the SBA investigation, so they lingered, like a dark cloud over my professional office, until they were resolved. Twenty two (22) of them all dismissed without merit over those fifteen years.
Finally, I decided to do something about it. I complained to the SBA. As President of the Local Bar Association, I became a delegate to the SBA House of Delegates where we got action. We voted to take intake away from the Disciplinary office and create a Client Assistance Office to triage complaints (handle them right away) and create a positive out of a negative. I attended every meeting of the Disciplinary Task force that fostered mediation, diversion, and other ameliorative changes.
Being part of the process was so enjoyable I ran and won an elected seat on the SBA Board of Governors representing over 1000 local lawyers. Immediately, I began a newsletter to those hard-working lawyers to obtain feedback on what local lawyers thought of their mother ship, the SBA. I also became a whistleblower on some peccadilloes the Executive Director was engaged.
Well, that was the beginning of the end. It was just that I didn’t know it.
These police cars in front of the Convention Center were there for me.
Months before I had written to the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court to see if he was interested in my presentation on Judicial Performance Evaluations for the State Judicial Conference. I had made a presentation on the subject to local bar associations and to the SBA Board of Governors. The ‘Chief’, as he is affectionately known, did not respond. So, I wrote again. Finally, they said I could attend, but that I would be subject to, “…a security check and search…” as an uninvited guest. That seemed odd, but I just wanted to see what this Judicial Conference was all about since the Chief had recently spoke about this being a new era of transparency and accountability for the State Supreme Court.
Inside, I went to the registration desk where I met Kim who seemed prepared for me. She told me that I would not be allowed to attend the Judicial Council meeting, I would not be allowed to attend the educational sessions, nor any other sessions of the two day affair. I would only be allowed to attend the one hour luncheon business meeting. Well, I said to myself, that is all right, at least I will be able to see some of what goes into a State Judicial Conference. Kim led me to the Great Hall that was set up for lunch for 200 people and showed me where I could sit. It was by the server tables where they put the dirty dishes after the judges had eaten. I was not allowed a lunch place table with all the others. That is O.K., I wasn’t hungry anyway.
Laden with handouts in case the judges wanted to hear my 15 minute presentation on Judicial Performance Evaluations, I arranged my materials and sat down next to the dirty dishes.
I had just been to the Judicial Garden Party a few weeks before and had taken several pictures of the group. Again, I brought my camera along here. I took it out to take a picture of the Great Hall when a young man in dark clothes came over to me and said sternly, “Mr. Paulson, you are not allowed to take pictures!”. Stunned, I stammered, “How do you know my name?” He menacingly smiled and said, “The judges do not want you to take their pictures.” I asked who he was. He replied, “The State Police”. I asked him if I was breaking any laws in the picture taking. He said, “No, the judges just don’t want you taking pictures.” Whew! How did he know who I was??
I nervously sat down and watched him walk away to the nearest lunch table to where I was sitting by the dirty dishes. Suddenly, I realized that I had left my checkbook on my front seat of my car in plain view, so I went outside to retrieve it. Upon my return, another officer appeared to tell me he had removed my speech materials from inside The Great Room and put them in the hallway. (Kind of like at the airport where one is advised against leaving unattended bags anywhere). He politely told me not to leave without those materials again. This man turned out to be Sgt. Tim Fox of the Oregon State Police. Returning inside, I found my glasses and notebook had been moved to another Server table even further to the back of the room.
Sitting down with a slight case of hyperventilation, I tried to calm myself with a cup of strong coffee. Trying to look casual, I glanced at the table where my first inquisitor was sitting and soon discerned something even more intimidating. The entire table of eight people, save a kindly looking elderly man and woman, was made up of ninja turtles! There were six (6), count ‘em, six state troopers at the table, all looking alternatively at me, them trying not to be noticed. After all, they were all in civilian clothes. You could not miss the Marine haircuts nor the wires connected to their ears, however.
What have I done to deserve this sort of scrutiny from our State Police? That is the question for which I seek an answer. Kim had pointedly placed me just where these six storm troopers could keep a close eye on me. Thereafter, everywhere I went at the convention center, I was followed by at least two of these ninja turtles.
I found Kim again talking to Sgt. Tim Fox to confirm that I was not allowed to any other State Judicial Conference sessions including the education sessions. She confirmed that all these sessions are secret from the public.
On the hour drive back to my home from the State Capitol, do I have to tell you how many times I looked for their vehicles in my rear view mirror? I have never driven so carefully nor so slowly on a freeway in my life. “
THIS IS A NEW OPEN RECORDS REQUEST FOR ANY AND ALL RECORDS PERTAINING TO WHY I WAS SINGLED OUT LIKE THIS AND TREATED LIKE THIS INCLUDING ANY AND ALL RECORDS BY THE OREGON STATE POLICE AND OFFICER FOX FOR THIS VISIT BY ME TO THE 2009 OREGON JUDICIAL CONFERENCE PRESCRIBED BY OREGON LAW.
NOTE OREGON JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATORS REGARD THESE JUDICIAL CONFERENCES AS ‘SECRET’. I FIND NOTHING IN THE LAW THAT ANOINTS THE ANNUAL JUDICIAL CONFERENCE AS SECRET OR CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC. PLEASE ADVISE.
2. Secondly — This is an Open Records request to secure back my personal property that I have been seeking since 2010 when I was unceremoniously and illegally removed from my home AND place of business in 2010.
Please see the chain of events leading to the confiscation of all of my personal property, including 2,000 client files and my office computer hard drive currently in the possession of the Cosgrave law firm’s employee and my former Office Manager Brenda Tiland. (Exhibit A)
Also see Oregon State Bar General Counsel Helen Hierschbiel’s garrulous letters of May of this year to me on the subsequent bizarre scenario. (Exhibit B)
For seven (7) years I have been trying to get my personal property back following an illegal eviction related to an illegal foreclosure. This sort of illegal foreclosure activity, illegal eviction activity and illegal confiscation is happening all over Oregon. Just consider, for a moment, the rampant criminal activity of financial institutions, a steady drumbeat since 2008.
The Oregon State Bar has taken every measure to silence me; the plight of a whistleblower who seeks a small measure of accountability. The Oregon State Bar has hired the well-placed Cosgrave law firm to defend their members. Meanwhile, the Cosgrave law firm has hired my office manager who presently holds the hard drive to my law office computer. (Exhibit C) Or as Oregonian’s Steve Duin advises:
“Nervous? Of course, you are. You believe the game is rigged. You think too much of the power and money in Oregon is leveraged by the usual suspects. You've noticed that the best lawyers rarely champion the essential causes.”
Unfortunately, the Oregon executive branch, the Oregon legislature and Oregon’s judiciary have completely lost their way when it comes to the issue of foreclosure. As can be seen here, once these cases become three feet tall because of all the issues needing to be addressed and the lack of a clear floodlight to point the way, plain people get lost in the shuffle.
3. Barbaric Foreclosures in Oregon — Please see my letter to Hon. Loretta Lynch dated May 11, 2015 with attachments. (Exhibit C) Where is legal aid? Where are the phalanx of Oregon pro bono attorneys riding to poor people’s rescue in this foreclosure tsunami?
Out of eighteen (18) some Open Records Requests, Oregon agencies have responded with documents about twice (2). The Oregon Law Foundation response to my Open Records request was the only full and complete document production except they excluded their most current records. On the other hand, the fulcrum agency for help to the ordinary citizen caught in foreclosure’s clutches, Legal Aid Services of Oregon document production and accountability; is suspiciously absent.
The usual gambit by the state agency when confronted by an Open Records request is to estimate charges far in excess of what any citizen can or would pay. Please “unable” that tactic.
The Oregon Housing and Community Services Open Records request for information strikes at the heart of what is wrong in the foreclosure crisis. They produced one bare page of accountability of what they have done with millions and millions of dollars. These funds of which they are custodian are supposed to go to those that are homeless or have been turned out of their homes due to predatory tactics that we all now know so well.
What about OFLAP?? Where is the accountability of that foreclosure amelioration project. Consumers in Oregon are not being helped by Legal Aid Service of Oregon nor any of these putative well-meaning ‘pro bono’ programs which are absent from the foreclosure field. What a farce. What a dearth of accountability when millions upon millions of dollars and the hearts and plight of consumers are involved.
Neither Governor Kitzhaber nor the Oregon legislature demonstrated any leadership on the foreclosure issue at the state level. Neither President Obama nor Congress has demonstrated leadership on the perils of the victims of foreclosure at the national level. The judiciary is hopelessly lost in the weeds of foreclosure with such fatuous solutions as the above referenced foreclosure ‘consensus’ off-ramp judicial panel which does not follow the law. Will you help lift their vision accordingly? Will you provide responses to an Oregon citizen’s right to know?
Very truly yours
16131 W. Hoffeldt Ln #38 Brookings, Or 97415
AN UPDATE ON NEW ISSUES TO OREGON SENATOR JEFF MERKLEY
Thursday, May 28, 2015
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
c/o Joel Corcoran
Constituent Services Director & State Counsel
121 SW Salmon #1400
Portland, OR 97204
Re: Oregon Home Foreclosures
Dear Mr. Corcoran:
This follows Senator Merkley’s Town Hall meeting on May 27, 2015 at Gold Beach, Oregon. There I spoke to you and Senator Merkley about current foreclosure issues confronting Oregon homeowners.
Moreover, I furnished you with a synopsis of who I am and an example of the cascade of judicial misconduct that is infecting the four corners of foreclosures in Oregon.
These issues are new:
- The new Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, Sidney Thomas belonged to a law firm in Billings Montana that represented Bank of America and Wells Fargo as primary clients. It is hard to know how this conflict may be accommodated in the current tsunami of Ninth Circuit foreclosures.
- Worse, Chief Judge Thomas was a Creditor’s trustee in bankruptcy cases. There is Criminal Disorder in bankruptcy courts in Oregon involving Creditor’s and local trustees in all local bankruptcy cases where foreclosure is an issue.
- Oregon judges are illegally following secret foreclosure guidelines provided to you. These secret guidelines not only are unconstitutional; they don’t follow extant Oregon law.
The foreclosure dance in Oregon is being completely controlled by powerful downtown law firms. Let me be specific. In one tragic foreclosure, the attorney representing the Creditors is Robert E. Maloney. He is a lawyer from the downtown law firm commonly known as Lane Powell. As often happens, this homeowner has sought succor in bankruptcy court. The only problem is that the U.S. Bankruptcy judge, Trish Brown formerly was a partner in that same Lane Powell law firm. She failed to disclose that conflict of interest and failed to recuse herself in this complex foreclosure case. In 2015!
In my case, the Creditor’s lawyer is Craig Russillo. He works for the downtown Portland law firm commonly known as Schwabe Williamson. My case was assigned to U.S. District Court of Oregon Judge Ancer Haggerty. Judge Haggerty was formerly a partner at Schwabe Williamson; Mr. Russillo’s firm. He failed to reveal that conflict of interest and failed to recuse himself——-to this day.
I have filed a formal judicial misconduct complaint against Judge Haggerty in 2013 in my case. That issue has descended into the black hole that is known as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judicial Misconduct process were it remains ——to this day.
Meanwhile, the victims of this tsunami of judicial misconduct remain homeless or in the unkind clutches of the foreclosure crisis.
Very truly yours,
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Hon. CHIEF JUDGE RICHARD ROBERTS
United States District Court--
for the District of Columbia
333 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Re: Paulson v. Apple, et al
Case No. 1:15—cv—00556
Dear Chief Judge Roberts:
What if the judiciary didn’t like little people very much? You have lifetime employment; they don’t. You have wealth and power; they don’t. What if the judiciary didn’t like little people very much?
Everybody likes Apple, Inc. Jeb Bush has ‘The Watch’.
One paltry, pro se person observed:
“The Anti-Government Movement Handbook is a training manual for judges and court staff against pro se litigants, published in 1999 by the National Center for the State Courts (NCSC) in Williamsburg, Virginia. This book, along with Dealing With Common Law Courts: A Model Curriculum for Judges and Court Staff, published in 1997 by NCSC, was developed from an Institute for Course Management (ICM) course on dealing with common law courts, held in Scottsdale, Arizona, February 5-7, 1997. “
The National Center of State Courts has just received the remnants of the American Judicature Society. The Bank of American sponsored the American Judicature Society.
Here, I tried to do everything by the book, but you didn’t like it very much. But, I don’t like what you have done very much. Therefore, my appeal. It is about the right to be heard.
I will bet that James Crawford doesn’t like what you did to him very much either. For example, you mistakenly sent me his April 10, 2015 ‘ORDER’ in Case No. 11:15-cv-00558. I am returning that document to you for a ‘do over’ for him.
I am requesting a ‘do over’ as well. You have had my complaint since August, 2014, yet waited to April, 2015 to entertain that complaint. Meanwhile, I continue to be without cellular phone service even though my bill is fully paid up. That is what big corporations do to little people. Enabled by you.
It is interesting that you have decided for Apple, Inc.; without even bothering them; that my complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Did you carefully read my complaint? (Please answer this question.) It is thirty nine (39) pages long. What part of those thirty nine (39) pages fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted?
Please consider this as an official complaint of judicial misconduct and turn it over to your Judicial Council for further proceedings.
Very truly yours,
16131 W Hoffeldt Ln. #38
Brookings, OR 97415
cc: Court of Appeals — firstname.lastname@example.org
OF OREGON LAWYERS THAT IS.................
RE: Crime and Punishment at the Oregon State Bar
THIS IS A PLEA FOR REASON
The Bar has an insatiable interest in punishing. My record speaks for itself. From 1973 to 2001 I was discipline free. Almost thirty years! Somehow, according to Jeff Sapiro, my ethics made a paradigm shift in 2001 because, subsequently, THE BAR filed eight (8) ethical complaints against me.
I am sure it had nothing to do with the 2001 complaint I filed against Mr. Sapiro for a year delay in investigating a client’s pique at my fee bill. And nothing to do with my being an Oregon State Bar Board of Governors whistleblower on a new (white elephant) building they wanted to buy among other things.
SUICIDE IS PAINLESS
I am a Vietnam Era Veteran. Many veterans are committing suicide for far less than what THE BAR has done to me;———-taken away my right to earn a living. And my reputation.
LAWYERS ARE NOT CHILDREN
I Have Read the 2015 Oregon Disciplinary ‘REPORT’ by the American Bar Association and Am Fully Advised in These Premises
We all know the gauntlet one endures to be anointed to The Bar. Those that so endure are to be treasured. They didn’t do it for fun and most don’t even do it for the money. They do it because they love the law.
A Page of History
Returning to Oregon in 1987, I had been a lawyer for fourteen (14) years, involved in complex commercial litigation across the entire United States with nary a disciplinary issue. Reading the Oregon advance sheets in 1987, I was aghast to read about a lawyer being disciplined. The issue was whether or not his minor traffic violation involved ‘moral turpitude’ and concomitant ethical problems for him as a lawyer. Really??
We need a whole new approach to lawyer discipline. Rehabilitation rather than punishment. Take the lawyer trust account overdraft problem. Now our banks are our snitch. Who among us has not been financially short from time to time?
Instead of discipline a lawyer in financial trouble needs a friend not sanctions. Let’s create a lawyer credit union or a line-of-credit for lawyers in such emergencies. You may not have noticed that THE BAR has a large network of what they call “Leadership” bank affiliations who want a piece of The Bar’s IOLTA cache.
Lawyers seldom dare to intentionally infringe on their client’s money.
Our problem is we treat all lawyers like children in all venues. Judges talk down to you from on high. The bigger the judge the more they do it. There are three ways to talk to someone: Adult to adult, Adult to child, and Child to child. Judges and The Bar typically use the Adult to Children demeanor.
The Bar’s whole approach to lawyer discipline is ‘Adult-to-child’. If we put the same effort into a united approach to help the client rather than using all that energy to discipline lawyers we all would gain much in the long run. That was the original aim of the CAO concept.
‘Client’ Assistance Office (CAO)
The enlightened original concept was to have a “Consumer” Assistance Office. Rather than trade letters back and forth a’ la’ the Jeff Sapiro approach; thoughtful lawyers were recommending triage. If there was a problem, let’s put our heads together to see how to help the ‘consumer’ whether client, lawyer or member of the public. The Bar spends almost three (3) million dollars per year on a bloated Disciplinary office AND a bloated CAO office to find ways to punish good hearted, and perhaps wayward lawyers. The original idea was to reduce these costs of doing business and help the public in need of legal help when the Task Force of 2002 was putting their heads together. Instead we have grown these offices, without the recommended improvements like mediation which has gone the way of the horse and buggy in Oregon. It is called talking to each other.
How can we justify what we did to Ellis and Rosenbaum? That scenario is a perfect example of all that is wrong with lawyer discipline in Oregon. It is time for a complete purging of what we are doing now and a reorientation to work together to rehabilitate those in need of it and to help them change for the good of our profession. And for the good of the public.
Punishment does not help anyone. The harsh reality is that some people in our profession really don’t like lawyers. Curious. We have way too many hammers looking for real or imagined nails. Let’s work together on this……..or at least talk! And yes, I am ‘disgruntled’. But you could have also mentioned that I was on the OSB Board of Governors, an Oregon State Bar House of Delegates member for years, a pro bono mediator for Washington County Circuit Court for ten years, President of the Washington County Bar Association and I was sometimes kind to my mother. Finally, I am a U. S. Army veteran with the 82nd Airborne Division.
Let us help lawyers and consumers with legal problems not cause them.
claurenpaulson2015 email@example.com bulletinsfromaloha.org
Addendum: At their 2013 Oregon State Bar meeting the following occurred:
Consider a request by the Board of Governors (BoG) to help draft a rule that would require judges to take a certain number of CLe credits in judicial temperament. the Committee heard from Sylvia Stevens regarding the reasoning behind the request. the Committee inquired about what other states require, and learned that no other state had a similar requirement. the Committee voted to table the issue unless requested to address it by the Chief Justice.