A BAR MAKEOVER
OR A SINKING SHIP??
After eighteen (18) months the Oregon State Bar Executive Director is gone. I mean as of last Thursday, Teresa Schmid is history. Here is the scorecard:
Celene Greene, a sculptor, was hired as the Executive Director of the Oregon State Bar in 1985. A nonlawyer, Ms. Greene was lost in the job. Karen Garst replaced her in 1995. A nonlawyer, Ms. Garst was a religious zealot and a former lobbyist. Her reign of terror lasted until 2008 when Ms. Schmid was hired by the Oregon State Bar Board of Governor’s Search Committee.
Ms. Schmid had spent most of her career as a Bar disciplinary professional in California and Arizona. The party-line reason for her departure is that she wanted to be closer to her current husband in Arizona. (?) The OSB Search Committee passed over Bar employees Sylvia Stevens and Susan Grabe in favor of Ms. Schmid. So, bitten, the Bar has apparently installed Ms. Stevens in the job without other considerations.
Prediction -- Ms. Stevens will take the Oregon State Bar to a new low. That is if it is possible for the Oregon State Bar to get any worse.
I had the good fortune to sit next to a respected, long-time Bar employee at a boring Oregon Supreme Court luncheon several years ago. This wonderful woman told me how things really were at the Bar through the ‘60’s, '70’s and on into Ms. Greene’s tenure. Sure, it was a good ol’ boys club of around 3,000 lawyers (now there are about 13,000), but there was a certain ‘espirit de corps’. It was all for one and one for all. People took care of each other.
Now, it is different. I am currently tracking numerous lawyers that the Bar has just thrown away. There are legions of these gallant soldiers who mustered their way through law school, took the bar and tried to struggle to make a living helping others for dimes.
Did we throw Ms. Schmid away too or did she throw us under the bus? I don’t know and have not been able to find out so far. If any of you know the inside dirt please give me a post here. I can assure you The Oregonian is not on the case. They could care less about the Oregon State Bar except when they get to their salacious stories about the disciplinary departments throwing yet another lawyer away.
This is a glorious opportunity for regular lawyers to weigh in on what you want for the OSB. Our Bar has no Treasurer, and is incurring about a half million dollar loss every year on that $23 million dollar white elephant, The Bar Center, we needlessly bought under Dennis Rawlinson’s leadership. Our Bar has no Secretary. There are no official minutes. The ‘minutes’ after your last House of Delegates meeting a year ago do not tell you that there was not a quorum. Everything and anything done thereafter is of questionable legality. There are a lot of ‘back channel’ things going on that are never found in official documents such as Karen Garst’s attempt to have the Bar purchase her church property where she was a creditor of thousands of dollars. And there is much more. Remember Stella Manabe and the ‘minority revolt’?
It is time for 13,000 gallant members of the Oregon State Bar to step back from the Sylvia Steven’s precipice and save the Oregon State Bar from itself.