Articles Posted in Legal Self-help Community

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Whether you donate money or in-kind to a charity or nonprofit directly (through their website, in cash, or by check), through “fraudsters” (the FTC  word), or through donation clearinghouses like Willamette Week’s Give Guide or the Oregonian’s Season of Sharing ….

Make Sure Your Donation is Doing What You Want it to Do – and learn a little about the nonprofit and fundraising world while you’re at it:

The Oregon Department of Justice Charitable Activities website is a good place to begin your research. Find these topics and more:

Search Charities Database
Tips and Guides
Filing a Complaint
For Charities and Fundraisers
Other Contacts
Wise-Giving Practices

See also the ODoJ Charitable Activities Section webpage if you are a charity and nonprofit – and for another link to the Disqualified Charities list and the excellent Tips for Charitable Giving.

Visit the ODoJ homepage for updated links.

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The State of Oregon Law Library (SOLL) is providing statewide access to 2 valuable legal research databases, previously unavailable for remote access to non-attorney Oregonians. (No legal research database is cheap, but pooling resources and making Really Good Value legal research databases available to everyone supports “access to justice” goals: to educate students, voters, and anyone else with an abiding lifelong intellectual curiosity about law, lawmaking, judicial process, legal rights, government, and politics.)

Link to EBSCO and Fastcase, from the SOLL Legal Resources webpage:

“1) EBSCO Legal Information Reference Center
This database contains NOLO Legal information books and a nationwide database of sample legal forms. This database is available to all Oregonians.

2) Oregon Statewide Fastcase Access
The State of Oregon Law Library provides access to the legal research database Fastcase. All Oregonians can create a free account to search Caselaw, Statutes and other legal databases.”

And keep an eye on the SOLL news page and blog for more legal research and legal information updates.

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If you haven’t seen these 2 articles in your news feeds then you’re not doing your consumer law education reading:

New York Times articles, by Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery, November 2015:

Beware the Fine Print, Part I: Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice

Beware the Fine Print, Part 2: In Arbitration, a ‘Privatization of the Justice System

When you read these articles, and their critics and supporters, you would also be hard pressed not to think:

I need better civics lessons or maybe even a law school education to understand and discuss these issues intelligently, let alone be a smart consumer!

Binding arbitration, Shifting burdens of proof, Consumer responsibility, Consumer protection, Judicial fairness, Collusion, Competition & monopoly, Constitutional rights, Jury trials, Swindles and scams, Contract law, Oh-My: All Lead to this Timeless Warning: Buyer Beware

So, get smart:  a few among many consumer education research resources:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):

1) Resources for Libraries, Parents, and others

2) “CFPB Study Finds That Arbitration Agreements Limit Relief for Consumers,” March 2015

From SCOTUSblog: an article and links to recent U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) cases on arbitration agreements:
“Opinion analysis: A class action waiver in an arbitration agreement will be strictly enforced under the Federal Arbitration Act,” by David Garcia and Leo Caseria Guest, June 21st, 2013

Be a smart consumer:
1) Oregon: Department of Justice, Oregon Law Help
2) U.S.: Federal Trade Commission

And always, stop and look both ways before signing or buying.

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We love hearing about other excellent public law libraries that serve the legal community and the public decade after decade after decade …. The need never seems to end:

Harris County Law Library turns 100

On October 1, 2015, the Harris County Law Library will celebrate its 100th anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, we have planned a Centennial Celebration focusing on our century of service to the Houston legal community and our bright future promoting open and equal access to justice for all. We would like to invite all of you to join us in our celebration! Although a trip to Texas may not be in the cards for everyone, please know that you are certainly welcome to join us if you are in Houston on October 1. Additionally, you can help us celebrate remotely by visiting our Centennial Digital Exhibit.”

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News from the Oregon State Law Librarian:

“In addition to the EBSCO Legal Information Reference Center, all Oregon residents have access to Fastcase. Please click on and register as a new user. Content includes the United States Code, revised statutes, regulations, attorney general opinions, and caselaw for Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Also included are archived statutes and session laws from HeinOnline.”

Link to the State of Oregon Law Library’s Resource page for many more research resources.

See previous Oregon Legal Research news about free (to you) legal research resources at the Multnomah Law Library and at other county law libraries.

State of Oregon Law Library tag
Multnomah Law Library tag
Oregon Council of County Law Libraries (OCCLL) Databases (click on sidebar OCCLL Database Directory)
HeinOnline tag
Fastcase tag

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We try to update this Oregon Legal Assistance Resource Guide at least twice a year (you can also find the guide from the WCLL Legal Research Resources website), but additions, corrections, and suggestions are always welcome. You can “Leave a reply” to this blog post or you can “Contact Us” via email.

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There is a new Multnomah County Circuit Court, Family Court FAQ guide on “How to Serve (Deliver) Legal Papers in Oregon.” (We thank Judge McKnight and her family law team* for this guide! They say “[i]t was developed for family law cases but we included Plaintiff/Defendant terms so that usage could be general.“)

Link from Multnomah County Circuit Court, Family Court website, if that direct PDF link is not working. Today the FAQ number is 23, but that could change as new tips and answers to questions are added.

You will need to refer to the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure, which are referenced in this guide. You can find the ORCP at the OJD Court Rules website or link directly to them at the Legislature’s ORCP website. (For the most recent proposed and adopted ORCP rules, visit the Council on Court Procedures website.)

*The booklet was written by the Self-Representation Subcommittee of the State Family Law Advisory Committee for the Oregon Judicial Department in June 2015.

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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.]

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Oregonians Rejoice: EBSCO Legal Information Reference Center has arrived. (Yes, thank the State of Oregon Law Librarian!)

This database contains NOLO Legal information books and much more.

This database is available to all Oregonians. (Other states, public libraries, and law libraries have their own access protocols.)

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‘Jim Greiner Asks “What is Access to Justice For?”’

Direct links to Greiner posts:

Part 1: What’s access to justice for? Let’s get more philosophical. In a hurry,by D. James Greiner, 3/23/15, Harvard Law & Policy Review blog.

…. [T]he first thing I have to do is to ask, “What is this thing for?”. Without deciding first what the purpose of a thing is, there’s no way to know what I should measure to see if that thing is working.

Take legal services to low-income folks. Some lawyers and law students feel a strong desire to provide legal services to the poor. I’m all for it. But unless the only reason we’re providing the services is to make ourselves feel better, we ought to care about whether we’re accomplishing anything by providing the services. And we ought to care about whether there might be a better or more efficient way to accomplish whatever it is that we’re trying to do. That might mean less money for lawyers. But unless the point of legal services to the poor is full(er) employment for lawyers, that shouldn’t bother us too much….
If the purpose of providing litigation defense to debt collection defendants is to keep the defendant from having to pay the debt, there’s a far, far, far cheaper way to do that: just buy the debt the plaintiff is suing on. Buy the debt on the open market, and then forgive it by telling the alleged debtor that she’ll never have to pay. You can probably do that for, say, five cents on the dollar….” [Link to full posts from Access to Justice Blog post.]

Part 2: What’s access to justice for? Let’s get more philosophical. In a hurry. Part II, by D. James Greiner, 3/27/15, HL&PR.

Many more intriguing A2J posts and links from Richard Zorza’s Access to Justice Blog.