Oregon State Bar
Logo of the Bar
|Headquarters||Tigard, Oregon, USA|
|Annual budget||$8.3 million|
|Parent agency||Oregon Judicial Department|
The Oregon State Bar (OSB) is a government agency in the U.S. state of Oregon. Founded in 1890 as the private Oregon Bar Association, it became a public entity in 1935 that regulates the legal profession. The public corporation is part of the Oregon Judicial Department. Lawyers are required to join the OSB in order to practice law in Oregon.
In 1890, lawyers in Oregon established the Oregon State Bar Association. The group began using national standards pertaining to education and entrance examinations for admittance in 1922, and in 1941 began requiring a law degree. In 1935, the Oregon Legislative Assembly created the Oregon State Bar as a public corporation to regulate, license, discipline, and support those practicing law.
In 1972, the organization joined a multi-state examination and started twice-yearly tests for admittance in 1976. Oregon signed agreements with neighboring Idaho and Washington to allow lawyers who passed the bar exam in any of the states to join the bar associations of any of the three states without taking an additional examination.
Oregon has an "integrated bar": all attorneys in Oregon are required to join the Oregon State Bar if they desire to practice law in Oregon. Membership fees and program fees from the 16,000 active members fund the entire $8.3 million budget of the agency. OSB has approximately 100 employees and is overseen by a Board of Governors. This 16 person board group along with the 200-member House of Delegates and the Oregon Supreme Court provide governance for the agency's activities.
OSB also administers a board on attorney discipline and the Board of Bar Examiners. Additionally, the bar makes recommendations for filing mid-term judicial vacancies in the courts of the Oregon Judicial Department. These recommendations are given to the Governor of Oregon who makes the final appointment decision.
Lawyers in private practice are also required to participate in the Oregon Professional Liability Fund, a self-funded insurance program. As of 2006, the program premium was $3,000 per year for $300,000 in coverage. Oregon was the first state to adopt the mandatory insurance scheme for attorneys.
The Oregon State Bar also administers several programs to facilitate finding legal representation. The bar's Lawyer Referral Service has around 600 attorneys statewide that practice every area of law. The service receives around 75,000 calls per year and makes approximately 50,000 referrals. The Modest Means Program offers reduced fee representation in family law, criminal law, and landlord/tenant cases. The Problem Solvers Program offers a free 30-minute consultation to teens aged 13–17.The Military Assistance Panel offers two hours of pro bono work to active duty military members. The Lawyer-to-Lawyer Program connects lawyers with more experienced attorneys who are willing to give guidance over the phone at no cost.
In 1973, the Oregon Legislature passed the Oregon Public Records Law. Oregon Court of Appeals judge Jason Lee filed to run for an open seat on the Oregon Supreme Court in 1975. This led reporter Russell Sadler to request Lee's disciplinary records from the OSB. They refused, even after the Oregon Attorney General ordered the agency to release the files under Oregon's public records disclosure law. Sadler then sued OSB, with a jury finding in the OSB's favor, but the Oregon Supreme Court overturned the decision and all attorney discipline files became a matter of public record. The state was the first in the nation to provide complete access to all records, including grievances from clients.
Form B resignation
A Form B resignation is the functional equivalent of being disbarred from a Bar association, and means that the submitting member of the bar resigned while facing disciplinary charges from the bar tribunal. Members of the Oregon State bar who enter a Form B Resignation are not eligible to be readmitted to the bar again. Form B is available only in Oregon, and it allows resignation from the bar even if there are charges pending.
Oregon is not the only US state where it is possible to resign from a bar even if you have pending charges, although the procedure is different and has different names.
- Celebrating 125 Years of Outstanding Legal Education and Bar Leadership. Editor Anne Marie Becka, Willamette University College of Law, 2008. p. 87-88.
- Oregon State Bar General Information. Oregon State Bar. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
- "Here come the judges", The Oregonian, March 16, 2004, Editorial, p. B8.
- Cooper, Alan. "Virginia State Bar's Web site: Mandatory insurance mulled", Virginia Lawyers Weekly, March 27, 2006.
- Thomas, Dick. "Opening the public files", The Oregonian, February 23, 1992, Forum, p. C7.
- Vollmar, Valerie J., Amy Morris Hess, and Robert Whitman. An Introduction to Trusts and Estates. American casebook series. St. Paul, MN: Thomson/West, 2003. p. 201-207.
- Sadler v. Oregon State Bar, 275 Or. 279, 550 P.2d 1218 (1976).
- Hyman, Mark "Dealing with misbehaving lawyers; In Oregon, grievances are public record; not so in Maryland", The Baltimore Sun, May 28, 1996, p. 1A.
- Steve Duin (2008-05-08). "Bar lowers the boom on Samwick". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
- Greg Stahl (2005-06-15). "County says Johnson attorney overcharged: Pangburn had resigned from Oregon State Bar". Idaho Mountain Express. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
- "unknown title" (PDF). The State Bar of California. Archived from the original (pdf) on September 21, 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-24.