May 2014

In This Issue

Bar Unveils Diversity Action Plan

By: Mariann Hyland

The Diversity & Inclusion Department is pleased to unveil the OSB’s 2014-2016 Diversity Action Plan. The Plan contains eight goals and related strategies and action items that are designed to ensure the bar’s programs, services and activities are delivered in an inclusive and culturally responsive manner to our diverse bar and community. We are in the process of implementing the 2014 goals and will report progress toward achieving our target measures by the end of the year.  Thanks to the bar’s Diversity Advisory Council members for their hard work and dedication to develop the Plan and to the Board of Governors for its leadership! We are excited about the bar’s inward look and focus on diversity.  Please share your thoughts, comments and suggestions concerning the Plan with us.

May’s member spotlight focuses on Miller Nash’s historic achievement – the election of seven women as new partners in 2014.  Chris Helmer, the firm’s first female partner, and Naomi Haslitt, the firm’s newly elected and first African American female partner, share information about their careers and what helps women succeed in a large law firm.  Congratulations to Miller Nash for its advancement of women in the profession!  For additional information, see the Portland Business Journal’s related article.

Our recommended reading, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Facebook Chief Operating Office Sheryl Sandberg, comes from Jane Paulson, a partner at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC.

We featured Sid Moore’s thoughtful analysis of the OSB’s 2012 Economic Survey results for women previously. This issue includes Sid’s analysis of the Economic Survey Addendum, which addresses the results for racial and ethnic minorities.

In our next issue we will share information about plans to unveil the bar’s historic Diversity Story Wall, which will feature diverse pioneers in Oregon’s bar and bench and historic milestones along the way.

Enjoy the season!

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D&I Program Updates

By: Toni Kelich

Spring Social

Spring Social pictureOn April 4, we held our 2014 Spring Social at the Willamette University College of Law.  We celebrated the close of another successful school year by honoring eight graduating 3Ls, and ushering out the end of the 2013-14 Opportunities for Law (OLIO) program year.  OSB Board of Governors member Travis Prestwich and Chief Legal Advisor to Governor Kitzhaber Liani Reeves helped honor the graduates by imparting words of wisdom as they move on to the next step in their journeys.  Congratulations to Mae Lee Browning, Stephanie Davidson, Wesley Garcia, Robert Johnson, Frank Lin, Nathan Payne, Columbine Quillen, and Andrea Tang on their upcoming graduation.  We look forward to seeing them become members of the Oregon State Bar soon.

Opportunities for Law in Oregon

olio_Four letters in colorsWe kicked off planning for the Opportunities for Law in Oregon (OLIO) recruitment and retention program for the 2014-15 academic year!  OLIO programming begins with a summer orientation that provides incoming Oregon minority law students with the opportunity to meet and interact with each other, and with upper-division students, judges, and bar leaders who will serve as their mentors and role models. All are committed to helping them succeed. Curriculum focuses on sharpening existing skills and providing new skills to help ensure success in law school and beyond.

This year, we have expanded 1L eligibility for participation in the summer orientation.  Eligibility for all OLIO events and activities now applies to any student who can: contribute to the bar’s historically or currently underrepresented membership; has experienced economic, social, or other barriers; has a demonstrated interest in increasing access to justice; or has experienced discrimination or oppression.

OLIO participants can reconnect throughout the year at additional events, including our bowling networking event (BOWLIO), an employment retreat and a spring social.

OLIO is a fundamental tool for recruiting and retaining diverse legal talent in Oregon and increasing the diversity of the Oregon bar. OLIO fosters an engaged, supportive and inclusive legal community necessary to advance our legal profession and improve legal services to an increasingly diverse population, clients and customers.

This valuable program could not happen without the generous support of our sponsors. Please consider making a tax-deductable contribution to OLIO by clicking the icon below or through our website.


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Member Spotlight

 Miller Nash names seven new partners – all women.

miller-nash-new-partners-600It wasn’t intentional, but the new partner class at Portland law firm Miller Nash says a lot about the direction the legal industry is headed. “It’s more of [a] coincidence but it reflects a trend that’s been alive at the firm for sometime,” says Managing Partner Kieran Curley. Click the picture above to read Suzanne Stevens’ article in the Portland Business Journal.

Helmer,-Chris_2010_web3     C&N screen shot     Levelle,-Naomi_2014_web

Miller Nash attorneys Chris Helmer and Naomi Haslitt sit down with us to discuss their firm’s culture and environment that fosters the retention and promotion of women, including the recent historic promotion of seven female partners to the firm.

Click the middle picture to view the video interview.

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Oregon State Bar Ethnicity Salary Equity Editorial

By: Sid Moore

Compared to those outside the profession, it is hard to argue that the average attorney is struggling financially. In Oregon, the “struggling” average lawyer earns $127,000 per year: a salary for most Americans brings forth phrases like “crocodile tears” and (sarcastically) “poor baby.” When we discuss median salary for an Oregon lawyer, it was $96,000 annually in 2012. That same number for Oregon families at large? $50,036. Even the single attorney earning Oregon’s median attorney salary is 48% better off than the median Oregon family, so why should the “plight” of any attorneys hovering around the median (or the substantially larger average) attorney salary be of any concern to anyone? If this comparison were the end of the story it wouldn’t concern anyone, but as with many stories, there is more to tell.

Recalling the Oregon State Bar’s 2012  economic survey results, we know that the overall salary split between the average male Oregon attorney and the average female attorney was $47,784 per year.  Earning differences changed with the economic and social strata in which attorneys found themselves as well. Recall that female attorneys in the 75th percentile grossed a “crocodile tear” – worth $116,000 per year, but also remember that their male counterpart’s check amounted to nearly $60,000 more per year. If we looked at another aspect of the same survey, how similar would the data be?

The 2012 economic survey collected racial and ethnic data as well as gender data. Consider Bruce and John, who like their friends Diana and Sue, are attorneys. Bruce and John graduated in the top 15 percent of their law school class and, through savvy management of their careers, have found themselves in the 75th percentile of Oregon attorneys based on salary. As top-tier lawyers, John’s and Bruce’s salaries compare well to those inhabiting the same demographic strata, but—since they are of different races—they don’t compare well to each other for the same work.

At his firm, Prince and Queen (P and Q), Bruce commands a salary commensurate with a majority-race Oregon attorney, $150,000. (P and Q conducts “annual” reviews and calculates salary increases every other year, so Bruce’s salary hasn’t changed since taking the 2012 survey).

A few blocks away, John’s career is going just has he had hoped—he believes both that he’s on the partner track and that his salary is commensurate with his skills and experience. Like Bruce, John is in the 75th percentile in terms of his salary and is worth every penny. Unlike Bruce, John is a person of color and as such, might be worth more than his firm, Batson and Curry, is currently paying him. Specifically, John’s current salary is $130,000—$20,000 less than Bruce’s. From those who consider his salary out of context, John’s story is unlikely to generate many tears of sorrow, but with Bruce and John doing the same type of work and with a similar experience level, it seems the scales of salary justice remain unbalanced.

If John and Bruce were in the 25th percentile of Oregon attorneys’ salaries, John would earn $50,000 to Bruce’s $60,000: a discrepancy, to be sure, but a less severe one than the others observed elsewhere in our narrative. Let us assume that rather than falling backward in the salary range, John and Bruce performed so well that each earned a paycheck representing the salary of the 95th percentile. As we have already seen, John is likely to see less-than-stellar results compared to Bruce. At the 95th percentile, Bruce has a great deal more to show in his bank account ($350,000 per year) than does John ($236, 250). The disparity between the two is larger by percentage as well (48% to 20%). At this tier, the data suggests that being part of the racial or ethnic majority seems helpful to the tune of earning one third more than one’s counterparts “of color.” Assuming Bruce and John live and work in Portland, the salary data for Oregon’s largest city is grim as well, from an equity standpoint. While John would earn a tremendous $277,000 per year, he will find himself farther behind Bruce when using the data for Portland rather than statewide. The average majority-race Portland attorney was paid $425,000 per year in 2012, 53.4%  more than the average non-majority attorney.

Oregon lawyers mirror Oregon citizens in terms of race and ethnicity, so the data shown in the economic survey is potentially problematic. Like in Oregon at large, there are few people of color practicing law in the state. Of those, there were even fewer who responded to the economic survey. In fact, the survey saw such a low number of respondents of color that to break them down into constituent groups would have compromised respondents’ confidentiality, so the bar consolidated the results. As such, the survey does not give us salary data on individual groups of attorneys of color, which might have painted a stronger—if not necessarily more encouraging—picture. The lone bright spot in the sparse data benefits math-averse readers, however: 100 attorneys of color responded to the economic survey, so the percentages match the actual number of respondents. For the purposes of drawing any hard and fast conclusions from this data, the small number of respondents presents serious challenges. Nevertheless, what was reported can help us draw preliminary conclusions about the general characteristics of attorney salaries in Oregon. As with women, the data seem to show that being a member of the dominant culture can have a significant effect on one’s economic reality. Bruce and John might remain friends, rivals, and colleagues, but the averages suggest that Bruce might be a bit more comfortable in his economic life than John while they are moving through their careers.

Certainly, there is plenty to say on the issue of salary equity, but what can we do? First, we can educate current leaders in the legal community about salary equity and remind them of the fact that they can do something about it. Second, new law graduates, relatively new employees, and even more experienced attorneys of color, need to be told about these problems and equipped to handle them through mentorship and affinity groups, both of which should focus on salary negotiation. If the combination of these two efforts started the legal profession on the path toward closing the gap in salaries between attorneys of color and majority-race attorneys, it will be a good sign for society at large. It is even possible that learning to be persuasive in salary negotiation will get more attorneys of color noticed in the legal profession in the first place, if employers view that persuasiveness as more than a one-situation trait. Such tools might one day allow John to earn what Bruce is earning for the same type and level of work. If that turns out to be true, John and Bruce will have saved the day.

Sid_Moore_PhotoSid Moore works in human resources for the state of Oregon, where he consults on a variety of topics including equity, employee development, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and organizational health. Currently on rotation with the Department of Human Services, Sid’s regular assignment is at the Department of Environmental Quality. Sid came to state service after eight years in higher education at the University of Oregon and Oregon Health and Science University. He is a two-time graduate of the University of Oregon, and has been a member of the Oregon State Bar since 1999.


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Recommended Reading

By: Jane Paulson

“Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.”

07BOOK-superJumboWhile some may think there is nothing to learn in a book by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook and, clearly, in a wealth category that is in the upper segment of the 1%, there is.  The book is a good read for everyone – anyone who wants to be a better leader or more successful at work, women who want to avoid common pitfalls or patterns women naturally gravitate toward, men who want to learn more about men and women, and daughters/girls who can learn what patterns to avoid and how to negotiate and succeed.  The book does not have the cure for the longstanding problems in the workplace for women.  The book does have great insight, with supporting research, into the biases women and men have about women, common thought patterns women have that hold us back from leading and taking risks, information on negotiation skills and how your spouse/partner selection affects your work success.   It was an eye-opening book.

Lean In is about women being leaders at work, partners at home, creating the lives we want, and being champions of other women.  It turns out women are some of our own harshest critics.  We need to recognize it and fix it.  Start supporting and promoting each other.

The book is an easy read – candid, funny and with real world examples.   Reading the book you will recognize moments when you “leaned back” when you should have leaned in, when you should have advocated for yourself and you didn’t, risks you should have taken when you were afraid and moments you should have sat at the table when you sat on the side – and hopefully, by reading the book, you will be more aware and “sit at the table” the next time.  I strongly encourage you to read Lean In or give it as a gift to someone who would benefit from reading it.

jane_paulsonJane Paulson  has won several multi-million dollar settlements and results for clients. She represents individuals and families whose lives have been changed forever by the wrongs of others. Jane had the honor of serving on the Oregon Trial Lawyer’s Association (“OTLA”) Board 1995-2006, was honored in 2012 by being invited to join the American College of Trial Lawyers and is one of five women in Oregon in the College and is listed as one of the Best Lawyers in America; an Oregon Super Lawyer (Oregon Top 50), one of Oregon’s Top 25 Women Super Lawyers, and one of Portland’s Best Lawyers in Portland Monthly magazine. She currently works at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC.

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Specialty Bar Association News




OAPABA Welcomes California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu

Friday, May 23, 2014, 12:00-1:30 p.m. Portland City Grill, Mt. Jefferson Room

US Bank Tower, 30th Floor, 111 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Space is limited. RSVP to [email protected] by Friday, May 9, 2014.

Cost: OAPABA Members: $30/person. Non-OAPABA Members: $35/person

Stay tuned for online registration!

JOIN US! – NAPABA Western Regional Conference – “Extraordinary People, Extraordinary Place”

June 13-15, 2014. Portland, OR. The Benson Hotel

On the fifth anniversary of OAPABA’s founding, we are proud to host the 2014 NAPABA Western Regional Conference at the Benson Hotel.  Come join OAPABA members from Washington, Oregon, Hawaii and California for a weekend of interesting panels, engaging speakers, and fun events.  Thank you to Microsoft, our title sponsor!  Our conference kick-off will begin with the Judges’ Reception on Friday, June 13, 2014, graciously hosted by Perkins Coie and wrap up with our Gala Dinner, featuring David Louie, Hawaii Attorney General, as our keynote speaker.  The Benson is taking room reservations at this time at $154/night; mention our conference for the discounted rate.

General Registration (early bird special deadline May 17)

  • $200 Private practice attorney
  • $175 Government, Public Interest, Academia
  • $75 Law Student

General Registration (after May 17)

  • $250 Private practice attorney
  • $195 Government, Public Interest, Academia
  • $100 Law Student

To access the registration link or for more information: HERE

NBASave the date: OGALLA’s 23rd Annual Dinner will be October 18.

Details about how to buy tickets are coming soon!


OWLS Seeking Nominations for Workplace Leader Award

OWLSOWLS’ mission is to transform the practice of law and ensure justice and equality by promoting women and minorities in the legal profession. The Workplace Leader Award recognizes an Oregon legal employer making innovative and effective efforts to promote one or more of the following values:

  • A healthy balance between work and personal life
  • Acquiring and maintaining a diverse workforce with diverse leadership
  • Maximizing opportunities for women and minorities to succeed in the workplace and advance to positions of influence and leadership.

We believe that law as traditionally practiced has included barriers to the advancement of women and minorities and has not always been a friend to those seeking a healthy, balanced life. We seek to encourage and celebrate change that will eliminate those barriers and imbalances, and we expect the profession will be stronger as a result.

While most legal employers agree in concept that such changes are needed, many disagree on how to achieve these goals. How can legal employers help parents of small children avoid losing the momentum in their legal careers to become leaders in the profession? How can part-time or flex-time employment work for both employer and employee? How can legal employers promote effective mentoring relationships? What can they do to attract and retain qualified women and minority lawyers and equip them for leadership? How can they value contributions to the organization that are not captured by the usual quantification tools, such as billable hours?

We are not looking for an employer to exemplify all of these virtues. Rather, the award will recognize a specific program, policy, or project that is successfully addressing one or more of the concerns outlined above.

We particularly want to encourage applications from in-house legal departments, government employers, and employers who are making strides in recruiting and retaining women and minority lawyers and equipping them for leadership.

Nominations should include:

  • Information that will help the award committee evaluate the specific program, policy, or project of the employer;
  • The markers of success for that program, policy, or project;
  • The names of people who can be contacted for further information.

Nominations must be received via email by 5:00 p.m. PDT, Monday, June 2, 2014. Please send them to: Dana Forman, OWLS Transformation Committee Chair, [email protected]. The 2014 award recipient will be honored during OWLS’ Fall CLE on Friday, September 26, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in Portland.

Other Specialty Bars
Oregon Chapter – National Bar Association:
Oregon Hispanic Bar Association:
Oregon Minority Lawyers Association:

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