It’s National County Government (and Poetry) Month

Hat tip to Gallagher blogs, the ever vigilant and ever playful, law librarians at the University of Washington.

“National County Government Month

April is the cruellest month,” wrote T. S. Eliot. If you’re a fan of Eliot, you might be celebrating April as National Poetry Month.

But April is also National County Government Month (declared by the National Association of Counties (NACo)), and as lawyers you’re more likely to deal with county government or even be a part of it than you are to be a professional poet, so let’s take a minute to think about county government….” [Link to Gallagher Blogs post.]

Note from the Oregon Legal Research blogger: don’t confuse their “Washington counties” references with our Washington County references. Eternal vigilance and all that.

If you need a, um, judicious poetry break, search The Google for lawyer poets and read some interesting lawyer-poetry tidbits. (There is also a lot of judicial poetry – more than you could imagine or even want to imagine – i.e. judges who write their opinions in verse; but we can save that topic for another blog post.)

Oregon “Jury awards couple nearly $240K over neighbors’ barking dogs,”

“Oregon Jury awards couple nearly $240K over neighbors’ barking dogs, by Martha Neil, ABA Journal News, April 16, 2015

An Oregon jury has awarded nearly $240,000 to a Rogue River couple who said they had to listen to their neighbors’ dogs constant barking for over a decade.

Plaintiffs Dale and Debra Krein said in the Jackson County suit that John Updegraff and Karen Szewc began breeding Tibetan mastiffs in 2002. After that, the giant dogs began barking around 5 a.m. and continued all day, the Kreins contended. They said their neighbors did not attempt to keep the dogs quiet even after the two were cited more than a decade ago by county authorities for creating a nuisance, reports the Medford Mail Tribune….[Link to ABA article.]

Oregon Lawyers: Legal Writing Brevity Challenge

At the end of the April 2015 “The Legal Writer” column in the OSB Bulletin, Suzanne Rowe poses a Brevity Challenge:

“How much can you say in just a few words? Here’s the Brevity Challenge: In just six words, write your best demand letter, contract, will, case brief, statement of facts, argument, conclusion or anything else that lawyers write. Send me your prose, along with your name and where you live. The best will appear in a future column of The Legal Writer.”

(The article does not provide an email address for the author. You can send it via her University of Oregon Law School website or to the OSB Bulletin Editor.)

And don’t forget the OSB Poetry Challenge!

Public Services Attorney/Law Librarian to Lead Self-Help Center in King County (Washington)

Law Library Hires New Public Services Attorney (from the press release):

“.The Public Law Library of King County is pleased to announce that Marc Lampson has joined the Public Law Library to serve as the library’s first Public Services Attorney. The newly created position is an innovative response to the ever growing phenomenon of people representing themselves in legal proceedings. Recent statistics from the King County Superior Court show that in 63% of general civil cases at least one party was not represented by a lawyer. In domestic or family law cases, the percentage climbed to 80%. In 91% of the landlord/tenant or eviction cases, only the landlord was represented by a lawyer. In 50% of family law cases, neither side was represented. This trend is typical throughout the United States, and law librarians have found that these unrepresented litigants frequently come to the law library for help.

As a result, a few law libraries in other states have developed self-help centers to provide their patrons with not only research assistance, but legal assistance as well…. [Mark’s] work will eventually entail establishing a self-help center in the library to provide direct legal assistance for patrons and to coordinate further legal assistance through referrals, clinics, workshops, and innovative online methods for the delivery of legal services.

Marc has long been involved in Washington’s access to justice community. He served as the director of the Unemployment Law Project for the past eight years and during that time served on many committees of the Access to Justice Board. He has previously worked as an attorney for the Washington Appellate Defender Association and the Institutions Project at Evergreen Legal Services. He received his Master of Library and Information Science degree, with a specialization in law librarianship, from the University of Washington’s Information School in 1999 and his law degree from Antioch School of Law in 1984.” [Read entire press release.]

Oregon State Bar CLE Seminars Course Materials Library

OSB CLE Seminars Course Materials Library is “open during construction.” (Yes, say thank you!!)

In case you missed it from OSB Bulletin’s Bar News (Feb/March 2015): “Written course materials from past CLE seminars are now available as a member benefit. Bar members can download the PDF files for free from the CLE page of the bar website. To view the available materials, visit www.osbar.org/CLE and click on the Course Materials Library link.

In the next few months, the past course materials will migrate over to the BarBooks Library online, where they will be integrated and searchable along with all the other BarBooks materials. But until then, members can explore what might be interesting and helpful on the CLE web pages.

Oregon Innocence Project (OIP) Event: “Picking Cotton” Authors: Eyewitness Identification, Wrongful Conviction, and Forgiveness

OIP Event: This is Innocence: May 15, 2015, at Mercy Corp Action Center (Portland).

Guest speaker Jennifer Thompson, a rape victim who wrongly identified her attacker and sent the wrong person to prison. “DNA later freed that man, Ronald Cotton, and the two wrote a book together about the unreliability of eyewitness identification and the beauty in forgiveness called Picking Cotton.

Also speaking will be Rep. Jennifer Williamson from House Dist. 36 and Steve Wax, OIP’s Legal Director

This is a fundraiser for OIP: “The ticket sales go towards supporting the critical work of exonerating the innocent in Oregon’s prisons and training the next generation of public interest lawyers.

More about the event can be found at their website.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is for research purposes only. We do not provide legal advice, nor do we endorse any person, product, or company.

Access to Justice & Kindness: Oregon Lawyers Pay Up

Put those lawyer jokes aside (but not all of them and not forever): Most of the lawyers I know, serve, and witness in action practice random acts of kindness every day. Here are two recent stories that have hit the news about Oregon lawyers:

Lawyer Jeff Bradford
This article is from the Oregonian:
“A simple kindness, or perhaps something more: Editorial sketchbook,” by Len Reed, Oregonlive, 4/3/15.

Lawyer Colin M. Murphy (who should probably get A2J MCLE credit for his deed):
This article is from the Daily Mail:
Kindness of a stranger: Man gave young dad he met in courtroom $983 so he could avoid becoming a felon after overhearing he could not afford to pay the fine.”

The $9,650 “In Dog We Trust Rug”

He’s not much of a legal mind, but boy can he proofread….

It’s that time again to visit the bitter, twisted, and hilarious Justice Bedsworth: “March 2015 – In Dog We Trust,” by Justice William W. Bedsworth. (You can read the Judge’s April 2015 “A Criminal Waste of Space” column, too.)

And if you want to see the yes, it’s a true story, rug, just search Google Image for these words: pinellas county sheriff’s office rug in dog we trust

Law Technology Products / Processes Starts and Stops 2014-2015: Bloomberg to Uber

From Dewy B Strategic:

What’s the best NEW PRODUCT you became aware of in 2014?
What was the BEST FEATURE/FUNCTION added to an information resource in 2014?
What PRODUCT did your department/organization STOP using in 2014?

More? Read on:

Products Started/Stopped:
The 2014-15 Start Stop Survey Results: The Products. Out with the Old. In With the Innovative: Lex Machina Best New Product. Fastcase/HeinOnline Best Innovation

Processes Started/Stopped:
The Start Stop Poll Results 2014-2015: Processes and Initiatives. Workflow Improvement In, Print Continues Its Freefall

ID Theft: A Tax Return Grab and Go (aka Hit and Run) at the Post Office

A few days ago a Trimet buddy told his fellow riders about an appalling tax return grab and go theft that happened at the downtown post office earlier this week. He was jostled from behind and when he turned the mail in his hand was grabbed, including, especially, the easily identifiable IRS tax return envelope.

He spent the remainder of the day, and week, doing the rounds of police, credit reporting agencies, IRS, and all the other ID theft checklist items, including a couple hours looking at security video, sadly to no avail.

Yes it’s a lesson to file electronically, but it’s also a lesson we all need to keep in mind – watch out for other people and not always strangers who invade your personal space. And keep those valuables out of sight!

There are lots of online scams, but the tried and true telephone, front door, and hit and run street perpetrators are still managing to make other people’s lives miserable.

Oregon Scam Alert Network (from the Oregon Department of Justice).

But don’t let your guard down about other types of scams and rip-offs: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Complaint Database