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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.