2012 Oregon House of Delegates – What is at Stake?

The 2012 meeting of the Oregon State Bar House of Delegates is scheduled for November 2, 2012.  The deadline for submitting resolutions has passed, but all bar members are welcome to attend the meeting and participate.  Only delegates may vote, but if you feel strongly about a particular resolution, make your views known to your delegate.  A complete HOD roster is available here.  The following agenda items caught my eye:

  • Increase Inactive Membership dues to $125 per year (Resolution 7)
  • Amend the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct (Resolutions 9, 10, 15, 22, and 23; discussed further below)
  • Establish an “Online Computer Knowledge Base” incorporating all OSB materials that are not privileged or confidential (Resolution 12)
  • Create a Metropolitan Court District combining Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties (Resolution 13)
  • Amend the policies and procedures of the Lawyer Referral Service (regarding removal of referral panel members upon filing of a disciplinary proceeding) (Resolution 14)
  • Recommend to Council on Court Procedures an amendment to ORCP 54E permitting plaintiffs to file Offers of Judgment (Resolution 19)
  • Encourage BOG to study and consider a legislative proposal amending ORS 82.010(1) allowing accrual of prejudgment interest in non-contract cases (Resolution 20)
  • Seek legislative approval for a Centralized Legal Notice System (in lieu of the present system which requires legal notices to be published in a newspaper of general circulation) (Resolution 21)

Proposed Amendments to the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct

Resolution 9 would amend the rules relating to advancement of costs.  “The proposed new language comes from ABA Model Rule 1.8(e) which allows a lawyer to advance the costs of litigation to clients with repayment being contingent on the outcome of the case, and also to pay the costs of litigation for an indigent client…. The BOG believes that this proposed change furthers the bar’s commitment to access to justice. Lawyers routinely waive costs after an unsuccessful outcome.  Under the current rule, lawyers must state in their fee agreements that clients are responsible for costs and expenses of litigation regardless of the outcome of the case, then wait for the outcome to decide whether to waive the costs. The high cost of litigation can discourage clients from pursuing the legal remedies to which they are entitled.”

Roughly speaking, Resolution 10 permits fee-splitting with a “bar-sponsored” or “not-for-profit” lawyer referral service.  The specific proposal seeks to amend ORPC 5.4 allowing a lawyer to “pay the usual charges of a bar-sponsored or operated not-for-profit lawyer referral service, including fees calculated as a percentage of legal fees received by the lawyer from a referral.”

Resolution 15 would amend ORPC 1.1 to add the following language relating to competent representation:  “If a lawyer does not have sufficient learning and skill when the legal service is undertaken, the lawyer may nonetheless perform such services competently by 1) associating with or, where appropriate, professionally consulting another lawyer or expert in the subject matter reasonably believed to be competent, or 2) by acquiring sufficient learning and skill before performance is required.”

Resolution 22 seeks to amend ORPC 3.4 – Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel.  The background explains:  “The purpose of this proposed rule change is make the rule consistent with the prohibition of using criminal prosecution to gain a civil advantage by including the initiation of a bar complaint during the pendency of civil proceeding against a lawyer, thereby precluding any effort to extort a settlement or otherwise gain some other advantage in that proceeding.”

Lastly, Resolution 23 would prevent “runners” or “cappers” from soliciting prospective clients.  The background to this agenda item describes “A ‘runner’ or ‘capper’ (as) any person, firm, association or corporation acting for consideration in any manner or in any capacity as an agent for an attorney at law or law firm, in the solicitation or procurement of business for the attorney at law or law firm; or any person or entity acting for consideration as an agent of a lawyer or law firm.”  The Resolution seeks to amend ORPC 7.3 with language prohibiting use of “runners” and “cappers” in specified settings, such as prisons, jails, detention facilities, hospitals, courts, on public streets or highways, or on any private property.

Questions?

Members who have questions concerning the House of Delegates meeting should contact Camille Greene, Executive Assistant, by phone at 503-431-6386, by e-mail at cgreene@osbar.org, or toll free inside Oregon at 800-452-8260 ext 386.

Making Your Voice Heard

Attend the meeting, debate, and participate or contact your HOD delegate to make your views known. Review the complete Agenda here.

Learning the Ropes 2012

Are you new to private practice? Then I have just the ticket for you!

Attend our three day conference – Learning the Ropes: A Practical Skills & Ethics Workshop – for a mere $65.  Attendance at the full program satisfies the MCLE requirements for new admittees’ first reporting period.

Choose from these concurrent sessions:

  • Creating a Firm (featuring yours truly) or Joining a Firm
  • Tort Litigation or Estate Planning, Guardianships, Conservatorships
  • Domestic Relations or Criminal Law
  • Civil Motion Practice or Bankruptcy

Can’t decide?  All tracks are recorded for later viewing at no charge.

Plenary sessions include:

  • How to Develop a Successful Practice and Avoid Legal Malpractice
  • Client Communication and Other Practice Management Survival Tips
  • The Ethics of Practice Management
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Recognizing Child Abuse and Fulfilling Your Duty to Report
  • Courtroom Do’s and Don’ts
  • Negotiation Tips, Tricks, Traps, and Tools
  • Bridging the Cultural Gap
  • Employment Law and Conscientious Communication (a new addition in 2012!)

Day 1 includes a “Meet the Judges” luncheon.  Day 2 features a networking luncheon with bar leaders and respected practitioners in the fields of Appeals, Criminal Law, Employment Law, Intellectual Property, Business Litigation, Debtor/Creditor Law, Estate Planning, Litigation, Business Transactions, Elder Law, Family Law, and Real Estate.

All meals, including the luncheons, are included in your $65 workshop fee.  The program is at the Oregon Convention Center October 31, November 1, and November 2, 2012.  Register here or visit the PLF Web site > Upcoming Seminars (under the heading Loss Prevention – CLE).  Sign up early.  Space is limited!

Copyright 2012 Beverly Michaelis

March Issue of In Brief Now Available

The March issue of In Brief is now available on the Professional Liability Fund Web site.  Articles include:

Multnomah County New and Improved Civil Case Management Process
Multnomah County Circuit Court new civil case management rules became effective February 1, 2012, for cases filed after that date.  The new rules and procedures were proposed by the court’s Civil Case Management Committee to (1) improve access to justice using civil jury trials; (2) streamline court operations and reduce the amount of time court staff spend processing civil cases; and (3) generate more predictable trial dates…

Reporting Responsibilities Under Medicare
In the ever-changing field of enactment and interpretation of Medicare statutes, the following is a very brief synopsis of the responsibilities tasked to attorneys and insurers by the Medicare Secondary payer Act (MSPA) and the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA)…

“America Invents Act” Changes Face of Patent Law
On September 16, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (Act), which has been called the largest patent reform measure since the 1952 Patent Act and effects sweeping changes in how patents are prosecuted and enforced…

The Key to Business Planning: Put It in Writing
Many attorneys are not convinced that having a written business plan would help their practice.  Some respond that their work plans itself.  Many say that they do some kind of planning either daily, weekly, or monthly; they just don’t put the plan in writing…

Proposed Changes to the UTCR
The Uniform Trial Court Rules (UTCR) committee met on October 14, 2011, to review proposals to amend the UTCR…

Using Voice-Mail in the Office
If used properly, voice-mail can be a very effective way to communicate with clients.  To avoid telephone tag, make sure your greeting covers all the bases…

Check Scams Become Even More Sophisticated and Generally Have No PLF Coverage
Over the last few years, many lawyers have fallen victim to various financial scams.  These scams generally involve the lawyer being given a check for a large amount of money, often without having to do a lot of legal work … If you fall for a scam of this nature, beware that it is most likely not covered by your PLF plan…

Tips, Traps, and Resources
Addresses tips, traps, and resources relating to construction law, domestic relations, tax law, state court closures, clarification of filing fees, 2011 Oregon ethics opinions, and Best of PMA 2011 blogs.

Cases of Note
Reporting on holdings affecting civil procedure, attorney fees, consumer law, real property/foreclosure, torts/statute of limitations, and insurance law.

The Best Legal Research Tools are Free: In Brief

When is the last time you used the PLF publication In Brief as a resource in your practice?  Did you know that In Brief addresses 23 areas of practice plus civil procedure, cases of note, malpractice traps, and practice management tips?

Our archive of informative articles is fully searchable online and free to all Oregon lawyers.  Login to www.osbplf.org > In Brief or check out our Index of Articles.

Why Professionalism Matters

Lawyers serving as mentors in the Oregon State Bar New Lawyer Mentoring Program are tasked with educating their mentees about the standards of professionalism and Rules of Professional Conduct.  Some might wonder about the former, since knowing how to comport oneself seems like a given.

Ah!  That’s where speaker Julia Hagan served up a fresh reminder in her recent talk, Professionalism: The Oregon Brand-Suggestions on Being an Effective Mentor:

Lesson 1:  Please Be Smarter than a Kindergartner

Theresa Morris, Wife of Bob Morris vs. Coker, Allis-Chalmers Corporation, et al., Case Nos. A-11-MC-712-SS (through A-11-MC-715-SS)

ORDER

Greetings and Salutations!

You are invited to a kindergarten party on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER  1, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 2 of the United States Courthouse, 200 W. Eighth Street, Austin, Texas.

The party will feature many exciting and informative lessons, including:

  • How to telephone and communicate with a lawyer
  • How to enter into reasonable agreements about deposition dates
  • How to limit depositions to reasonable subject matter
  • Why it is neither cute nor clever to attempt to quash a subpoena for technical failures of service when notice is reasonably given; and
  • An advanced seminar on not wasting the time of a busy federal judge and his staff because you are unable to practice law at the level of a first year law student.

Invitation to this exclusive event is not RSVP. Please remember to bring a sack lunch! The United States Marshals have beds available if necessary, so you may wish to bring a toothbrush in case the party runs late.

Read Judge Sparks full Order here.  And if Texas smackdowns aren’t enough

Lesson 2:  “Rock, Paper, Scissors” Isn’t Fun When the Judge Orders You to Play

Avista Management, Inc., d/b/a/ Avista Plex, Inc. vs. Wausau Underwriters Insurance Company, Case No. 6:05-cv-1430-Orl-31JGG

ORDER

This matter comes  before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to designate location of Rule 30(b)(6)  deposition  (Doc.  I 05).  Upon consideration of the Motion – the latest in a series of Gordian knots that the parties have been unable to untangle  without  enlisting  the assistance of the federal courts – it is

ORDERED that said Motion is DENIED.  Instead, the Court will fashion a new form of alternative  dispute resolution, to wit:  at 4:00P.M. on Friday, June 30, 2006, counsel shall convene at a neutral site agreeable to both parties.  If counsel cannot agree on a neutral site, they shall meet on the front steps of the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse, 801 North Florida Ave., Tampa, Florida 33602.  Each lawyer shall be entitled to be accompanied by one paralegal who shall act as an attendant and witness.  At that time and location, counsel shall engage  in one (1) game of “rock, paper, scissors.”  The winner of this engagement shall be entitled to select the location for the 30(b)(6) deposition to be held somewhere in Hillsborough County during  the period July 11-12, 2006.  If either party disputes  the outcome of this engagement, an appeal may be filed and a hearing will be held at 8:30 A.M. on Friday, July 7, 2006 before the undersigned  in Courtroom  3, George C. Young United States Courthouse and Federal  Building, 80 North Hughey Avenue, Orlando,  Florida 32801.

DONE and ORDERED in Chambers,  Orlando,  Florida on June 6, 2006.

Judge Presnell’s full Order may be found here.