There are 200 Oregon Lawyers Without A Leader --- May I introduce you to The Oregon State Bar House of Delegates (HOD)?

[Or Do You Know What Your Elected House of Delegates Member(s) Are Doing On Your Behalf?]

THE OREGON STATE BAR'S HOUSE OF DELEGATES -- Leadership at the Oregon State Bar (OSB) comes in three glumps. A glump is the same thing as a tranche (A fashionable word with respect to the current economic meltdown). It is segment. Leadership at the OSB comes in three segments:

  • The Board of Governors (BOG) is the Board of Directors and the Executive Branch of the Oregon State Bar. ORS 9.080 Their sixteen (16) members are elected. Their leader is the Bar President. They meet year around. BOG members also serve as voting members of HOD. ORS 9.136 (2)


  • The House of Delegates (HOD) is the Bar's legislature. ORS 9.139  Some of their members are elected, some are imposed. HOD does not have a leader. They meet once per year. While BOG members also serve as voting delegates on HOD; HOD members do not serve as voting members of BOG.


  • The Disciplinary Board is the Judiciary. Their leader is the Disciplinary Board Chair. Their members and eight (8) member chairs are appointed. They meet year around.

GOD AND COUNTRY -- What have you, as a House of Delegates member for the Bar, done for the good of the cause so far in 2009? Here are some helpful tips and recommendations to those of you that altruistically want to serve your professional organization -- The Oregon State Bar.

THE FLAW -- It is April already. Here is a place to start really serving your Bar, you 200 members of a leaderless organization: The Oregon State Bar House of Delegates. (HOD) The HOD rules are found at ORS 9.136 et seq. The good news is that HOD has plenty of power. It legally may "modify or rescind" any action by the Board of Governors (BOG) of the Oregon State Bar. ORS 9.139  The bad news is HOD is leaderless.

This is the deep flaw in how the Oregon State Bar governs. If BOG is the Executive Branch of Government and HOD is the legislative branch of the Bar, then why is BOG in charge of the HOD meetings? BOG organizes and conducts the regional HOD meetings, if there is one, and is in charge of the HOD annual business meeting. The United States Senate would never dream of allowing the U.S. President to organize and conduct meetings of the U.S. Senate. That is the rub. ORS 9.142 says -- "The board of governors shall formulate rules for the conduct of the business of the house of delegates." This should change. A committee of HOD members should formulate rules For Their Own Meeting!!  Why?  Because BOG purposely rigs the HOD meetings for their own narrow purposes.  BOG does not want controversy, BOG does not want innovations, BOG does not want a challenge to the system and most of all BOG does not want change. 

It would be different if BOG had your best interests in mind. They don't. Most BOG members have their own self interest in mind. Bar staff wants no changes at all. They have their sinecure.

THE SOLUTION -- HOD should select an executive committee from each Region's HOD membership. These HOD executive committee members should decide on a slate of resolutions that HOD wants to address at their annual business meeting in the fall at their own meetings. The current deadline for these resolutions is August. Bar staff and BOG purposely schedule the Regional HOD member meetings after the deadline has passed.  This denies HOD the opportunity to formulate and submit resolutions to HOD at this annual meeting a month later in September each year.

Currently, BOG conducts ad hoc Regional HOD meetings orchestrated by Bar staff each year. When I was on the Board of Governors, Karen Garst and Sylvia Stevens insisted on attending my Region Four HOD meetings to be sure I wasn't planning anything subversive. Region Four had never had an organized HOD meeting BY REGION before I organized this meeting. The next year, each Region had a Regional HOD meeting with Bar staff carefully organizing and monitoring each meeting. You may remember that I pointed out that Bar staff would not even allow BOG to have a meeting without Bar staff present. This is reminiscent of the Soviet Union requiring that there be a member of the Communist Party present as handlers at any meeting of Russian citizens. You would be surprised at how fearful Bar leadership is of a few good ideas from the field.

Few changes other than housekeeping changes wanted by BOG or Bar staff are ever addressed at the annual HOD business meetings in the Fall. That is why in 2008 the Bar spent thousands of dollars holding a HOD meeting in Bend that could not even muster a quorum of HOD members for a bona fide business meeting and was a nullity.

HOD Members Unite! Get a leadership committee, formulate a resolution to organize your own annual HOD meeting! One person can effect change. Really, isn't that at least one reason why you became a HOD member?!  So, get with it!


Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:32AM by Registered CommenterLAUREN PAULSON | CommentsPost a Comment | References12 References

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