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Oregon Supreme Court Adopts Comity Rule
On Tuesday July 19, 2022, the Oregon Supreme Court approved the adoption of a comity rule to direct how the Oregon State Bar admits licensed attorneys from other jurisdictions.
The rule expands jurisdictions from which licensed and experienced attorneys can be admitted without taking the bar exam, while retaining most other requirements.
The change to the admission rules was spurred in part by the fact that Oregon currently has 2.9 lawyers per 1,000 Oregonians. This ratio, coupled with the fact that many of the state’s lawyers are centered in Oregon’s cities and inside the Willamette Valley, has resulted in a number of “legal deserts” where clients must travel a significant distance to find legal help. Further, Oregon has been experiencing a lack of attorneys in high-volume practice areas such as criminal law and landlord-tenant law.
Under the adopted rule, applicants are still required to meet specific qualifications for admission, but they do not have to come from a jurisdiction that offers the same rules of admission to Oregon attorneys (i.e., reciprocity). Before the rule change, Oregon offered a mechanism for admission without taking a bar exam, reciprocity, to lawyers in 40 jurisdictions. Under the new rule, lawyers from all 54 United States jurisdictions will be able to be admitted to Oregon if they meet the criteria.
For more information, the Board of Bar Examiners has published an FAQ regarding the new rule.
Oregon Supreme Court Approves Creation of a Licensed Paralegal Program
On July 19, 2022, the Oregon Supreme Court approved a proposal to license paralegals to provide some legal services that currently only lawyers may provide. Under the new rules, licensed paralegals will be allowed to provide limited legal services only in family law cases (divorces, custody, parenting time, etc.), and landlord-tenant cases. These are two of the areas of law with the greatest unmet need for legal assistance in Oregon.
Licensed paralegals will have specific requirements for education and experience, and will be subject to many of the same rules and regulatory requirements that currently apply to lawyers. The intent is to provide access to legal help for those who currently cannot afford a lawyer or who otherwise might go to court with no legal assistance. Details may be found in the materials linked below.
The court has approved new Rules for Admission and Rules of Professional Conduct for Licensed Paralegals, as well as amendments to the OSB Minimum Continuing Legal Education Rules and OSB Rules of Procedure. These rules will go into effect on July 1, 2023.
Throughout the development of this proposal, the Bar received input and comment from hundreds of Oregonians (both lawyers and members of the public). All of the comments received by July 7 were provided to the Court before its decision. This input has improved the proposal, and we thank those who contributed and invite your continued engagement.
For additional information, please visit the Oregon State Bar’s Paralegal Licensing page at (https://www.osbar.org/lp).
Oregon State Bar House of Delegates to Meet on Friday October 28, 2022
The annual House of Delegates (HOD) meeting provides Oregon lawyers the opportunity to approve increases to annual licensing fees, approve changes to the Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct, modify or rescind actions of the Board of Governors, and direct the Board of Governors in future actions.
This year, the HOD is scheduled to meet on October 28, 2022. On July 29, 2022, the Oregon State Bar held an orientation meeting. The HOD includes approximately 240 members elected from the Bar licensees. To meet quorum requirements, at least 50% plus 1 will need to attend.
Proposed resolutions are due to the Oregon State Bar by September 13, 2022. The HOD agenda with resolutions will be published on October 7, 2022. HOD regional meetings will be held the week of October 17, 2022.
For more information on the HOD meeting, the proposed resolutions, and reports from the Board of Governors, please visit the Oregon State Bar’s HOD webpage. If you have any questions, please contact Kellie Baumann by email at [email protected].
Celebrate Oregon Attorneys
The Oregon State Bar will hold a Celebrate Oregon Attorneys reception on Thursday October 27, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland. At this event, we will honor all of the OSB Award winners, the OSB Pro Bono Challenge winners, and the recipient of the Edwin J. Peterson Professionalism Award. President Kamron Graham will be announcing the OSB awards, and Chief Justice Martha Walters will be announcing the Pro Bono Challenge winners.
Dates of Interest
Revenue Forecast – August 31, 2022
Legislative Days – September 20–23, 2022
General Election – November 8, 2022
Revenue Forecast – November 16, 2022
Legislative Days – December 6–9, 2022
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2022 Oregon State Bar Officers and Public Affairs Chair
Kamron Graham, President, Oregon State Bar
Lee Ann Donaldson, President Elect, Oregon State Bar
David Wade, Immediate Past President, Oregon State Bar
Joseph Piucci, Chair, Public Affairs Committee, Oregon State Bar Board of Governors
For questions about articles, legislation, or the legislative process, please contact:
Susan Grabe, Public Affairs Director
Amy Zubko, Public Affairs Legislative Attorney