In This Issue
Celebrating Geographic Diversity and Rural Opportunities
By Mariann Hyland
This issue celebrates some highlights from the year and reflects on some challenges and opportunities ahead of us. On a celebratory note, we launched the Rural Opportunity Fellowship this summer! This program matches diverse students with employment opportunities along the Oregon coast, east of the Cascade Mountains, and south of Roseburg. The Fellowship pays $8,360 over the summer to students who work for a 501c(3) nonprofit or public employer in Oregon. We are excited about expanding the program to award two Fellowships in 2016, and we are looking for employers to participate in the program. If you are interested in participating next year, please send us an email expressing your interest. We look forward to connecting students with opportunities throughout our beautiful, geographically diverse state. To learn more about the numerous opportunities and benefits of practicing in rural Oregon, check out the October 2015 Oregon State Bar Bulletin.
Our Member Spotlight features Jamie McLeod, a law student from the University of Oregon School of Law, and the Hon. Cameron Wogan, Klamath County Circuit Court Judge. Jamie was our first Rural Opportunity Fellowship recipient. She had an outstanding experience clerking for Judge Wogan in Klamath Falls. Watch Jamie’s interview and read Judge Wogan’s interview addressing their positive experiences.
This fall the ABA’s first woman president of color, Paulette Brown, visited Oregon and presented at a CLE program addressing implicit bias. This was a timely program, because our country has been engaging in a national dialogue about bias in or justice system, and bias in institutions of higher education. Recently, some racist comments on social media were directed at Black students attending Lewis & Clark College, a school that has a graduate law program. To diversify our bar we rely on campus communities in Oregon that welcome, value and support a diverse student body. In response to the incident at Lewis & Clark, bar President Rich Spier issued a statement pledging to continue our partnership with Oregon’s three law schools toward creating a bar that reflects the diversity of the state we serve.
The opportunity is ripe for all of us to learn more about implicit bias. The Diversity & Inclusion Department is co-sponsoring a day-long CLE program dedicated to this subject on January 22, 2016. This flyer contains information about the program. Please consider registering to attend if you are available and interested.
Our recommended reading comes from bar member Jessica Asai, who works as a Civil Rights Compliance Officer at Oregon Health & Science University, and reviews Stubborn Twig by Lauren Kessler, which chronicles three generations of the Yasui family who fought racial and social barriers to attain the American dream.
Ms. Asai’s review of Stubborn Twig is especially timely, as on November 16, 2015, President Barack Obama named Minoru Yasui, as a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr. Yasui was a nisei (“second generation”) Oregonian from Hood River, the first Japanese-American graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, and the first Japanese-American admitted to the Oregon State Bar. He is most recognized for his constitutional challenge of a military curfew order targeting Japanese-Americans and people of Japanese descent during World War II and the 1943 U.S. Supreme Court case that bears his name. Although the Supreme Court upheld the military curfew, he continued to fight for the civil rights of all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin, until his death in 1986. Earlier this year, on behalf of the Oregon State Bar, OSB President Rich Spier submitted a letter of support for Mr. Yasui’s nomination for this prestigious award. To learn more information about Minoru Yasui’s life and legacy, you can visit our section on him on the online version of our Diversity Story Wall or the Minoru Yasui Tribute Project, which was created to honor and reflect upon his contributions.
I close by offering our thoughts and prayers to victims of violence around the world, and to thanking and recognizing all of the 2015 OSB Award recipients, especially Judges John Acosta and Adrienne Nelson, the recipients of this year’s Diversity & Inclusion award.
By Mariann Hyland
Hon. Cameron Wogan, Klamath County Circuit Court
In this interview Judge Wogan describes his experience as the first employer participating in the OSB D&I Department’s Rural Opportunity Fellowship program.
A 1974 graduate of Klamath Union High School, he graduated with highest honors from Oregon State University with a degree in agricultural and resource economics in 1979 and earned a law degree from the University of Oregon in 1984. Before becoming a judge, Wogan practiced law in Klamath Falls for eight years. Since becoming a Circuit Court judge, he has attended the National Judicial College and attended and lectured at other continuing education courses.
Wogan lives in Klamath Falls with his wife, Mary Lou, who teaches at Klamath Community College. The couple has two grown children who were raised in Klamath Falls. Wogan has volunteered as a coach in Klamath Union High. In his free time he likes to hike, hunt, bicycle, fish, downhill and cross-country ski and participate in other outdoor and family activities.
Jamie McLeod, University of Oregon School of Law Student
Click on Jamie McCleod’s image below to watch her describe her experience as the OSB D&I Department’s first Rural Opportunity Fellowship recipient. She clerked for Klamath County Circuit Court Judge Cameron Wogan this summer.
Jamie McLeod’s professional experience includes working as an environmental planner, city planner, organizational development manager, nonprofit director, and program manager for emergency relief projects. She was twice elected to a city council in Silicon Valley, which included serving on numerous water, public policy, and environmental boards and commissions. While in law school, Jamie clerked for Oregon’s Land Use Board of Appeals, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Klamath County Judge Cameron Wogan focusing on the Klamath Adjudication, and updating Water Law in Nutshell.
After graduating from high school in southern Oregon, Jamie earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Masters in Regional Planning from Cornell University. She has certificates from Harvard University in Senior Executives in State & Local Government, from Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center in Applied Ethics for Public Officials, and from Oxford University in Human Rights & Violent Conflict. Ms. McLeod is certified planner (AICP) with the American Institute for Certified Planners, and is on track to earn a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2016.
Jamie is a Wayne Morse Fellow and recipient of the Hans Linde Fellowship. She has received community service awards from OutNow Magazine, San Jose Pride, Refugee & Immigrant Forum of Santa Clara County, and Santa Clara Kwanzaa Festival. Ms. McLeod has received commendation for her public service from the United States Senate and Congress, California State Senate and Assembly, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, and Santa Clara County Cities Association.
D&I Program Updates
By Chris Ling
Our 2015 BOWLIO fundraising and networking event took place on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at AMF Pro 300 Lanes in Portland. BOWLIO is the second of four events that make up our Opportunities for Law in Oregon (OLIO) program, the Oregon State Bar’s recruitment and retention program for law students who can contribute to the bar’s historically or currently underrepresented membership; who have experienced economic, social, or other barriers; who have a demonstrated interest in increasing access to justice; or who have personally experienced discrimination or oppression.
This year, we had over 200 law students, lawyers, judges, and other guests join us for a fabulous night of bowling and socializing! Attendees competed for a number of bowling trophies, including highest individual and team scores, best team name, and best bowling attire. Many of our wonderful OLIO Sponsors attended BOWLIO this year, and we also were fortunate enough to receive a number of donations from local vendors in Oregon for our raffle to raise money for our programs, including wine packages, gift certificates, and tickets to the museum and theater. We hope you can join us for next year’s event!
Judicial Mentorship Program
The Oregon Judicial Department has developed a program under which judges strive to mentor minority law students. The program is implemented in conjunction with the Oregon State Bar’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Department, which operates the bar’s diverse law student recruitment and retention program known as Opportunities for Law in Oregon (OLIO). All other D&I programs are open to law students who demonstrate a commitment to advancing the D&I Department’s mission. Accordingly, while the major motivation of the Judicial Mentorship Program is to assist racial and ethnic minority law students, the program is open to students of any race or ethnicity who participate in D&I programs.
For the 2015-2016 school year, we are pleased to announce that 22 law students from Lewis & Clark Law School, the University of Oregon School of Law, and Willamette University have been assigned judicial mentors from Clackamas County, Lane County, Multnomah County, Washington County, the Oregon Tax Court, the Oregon Court of Appeals, and the Oregon Supreme Court! We hope that these judges and law students will be able to start developing long-lasting professional relationships over the course of the academic year.
Employment Retreat – Save the Date!
The D&I Department’s annual Employment Retreat is scheduled for Saturday, January 23, 2016. The Employment Retreat is the third of four events that make up our OLIO program, and is an all-day event designed to prepare law students for the summer clerkship application process and to learn the ins and outs of the practice of law. 1L and upper division students will have the opportunity to attend panels on searching for job opportunities and becoming a more effective law clerk, participate in mock interviews with attorneys and judges, and meet potential employers during an Employer Forum and networking social in the afternoon. Students who are interested in attending this event may contact Chris Ling at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP to the event.
The Employer Forum is scheduled to run approximately from 4:00 to 5:30 pm. Light refreshments will be available. Employers interested in reserving a table for the event may do so with a registration fee of $75 (our top-level OLIO sponsors will receive a complimentary table for the forum). Space is limited so please contact Chris Ling at email@example.com with any questions or if you intend to attend.
By Jessica Asai
“We are immigrants all,” reads the inscription by author and University of Oregon professor Lauren Kessler inside my 2009 edition of Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family (Oregon State University Press). That was the year the Oregon Library Association chose Stubborn Twig as the one book Oregonians should read to celebrate Oregon’s 150th birthday.
Stubborn Twig chronicles three generations of an immigrant Japanese family who fought racial and social barriers to attain the American dream. The book begins with issei (first generation) Masuo Yasui’s journey from Japan and his ascent through Hood River’s business community. Yet, despite exemplifying civic duty and American values, Masuo was imprisoned during World War II because the FBI thought him a security threat due to his prominence within the Japanese community. Masuo’s family was subsequently sent to Internment camps during the mass incarceration of Japanese living on the West Coast, which forced the Yasuis to struggle with paying mortgages, managing farms, and paying college tuitions while interned hundreds of miles away from home.
With his father imprisoned and his family interned, nisei (second generation) Minoru Yasui – Masuo’s son and the first Japanese-American admitted to the Oregon bar – committed the ultimate act of civil disobedience by getting arrested on March 28, 1942 by Portland police so he could contest the constitutionality of a curfew targeting persons of Japanese descent. The book follows Minoru’s case on its journey to the U.S. Supreme Court and eventual writ of error coram nobis appeal in the 1980s.
I first read Stubborn Twig as a Hood River high school student – decades before 9/11, before I attended law school, before I worked in civil rights, and before Black Lives Matter. Due to the knowledge I have attained of legal history and constitutional law, it is now as if I were reading the book for the first time. I can now grasp the enormity of President Franklin D. Roosevelt rescinding the civil rights of thousands of Japanese-Americans with the stroke of a pen. And I now know that Minoru’s test case is one of three seminal World War II cases to contest the constitutionality of the government’s treatment – essentially racial profiling — of Japanese. His bravery, to risk his own freedom and place his trust in our justice system, is to be commended and what makes reading this book again so rewarding.
Stubborn Twig is both one family’s American story and also a lyrical reminder of the importance of family and community, justice, and forgiveness. Kessler’s inscription is powerful because it is a reminder that we are all strangers in this land. Perhaps if we recognized our shared immigrant status we would be less likely to continue to profile and stereotype others based on race.
A fourth generation Japanese-American, Jessica was raised on a farm in Hood River, Oregon. After graduating from Willamette University with a BA in Politics, she spent four years working in marketing and government relations in Honolulu, Hawaii. Upon returning to Oregon, she attended Lewis & Clark Law School then practiced corporate and employment law at Farleigh Wada Witt. Jessica is now a Civil Rights Investigator with the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity Department (AAEO). She remains active in the legal community by serving on several boards and mentoring students; was a founding member of the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association (OAPABA), and contributed to the Minoru Yasui Tribute Project’s successful nomination of Minoru Yasui for the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Specialty Bar News
See announcements and links below for updates with Oregon specialty bars.
Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting with Judge Courtland Geyer
December 1, 2015, 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Marion County Courthouse, 5th Floor, Jury Assembly Room
The Mary Leonard Law Society, presents Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting with Judge Courtland Geyer. Judge Geyer will discuss child abuse within Marion County and your obligations as a mandatory reporter.
Prior to taking the bench in 2011, Judge Geyer spent almost 18 years as a Deputy District Attorney in the Marion County District Attorney’s Office, specializing in cases of child abuse, sexual assault, homicide, gang violence and arson & explosives. For seven years, he supervised the child abuse team for the Marion County District Attorney’s Office and served as co-chair of Marion County’s Child Abuse Review Team. He has been involved in the presentation of over 100 CLE’s and community presentations on child abuse and mandatory reporting to lawyers, judges, medical providers, first responders, educators, churches, clergy, parents and youth serving organizations. In 2009, DPSST recognized him as Oregon’s Child Abuse Prosecutor of the Year.
Please register here.
Post-Grad Law Clerk – $10 || OWLS Member – $15 || Non-OWLS Member – $20
Not Seeking Credit – Free
The Oregon Minority Lawyers Association’s Annual Member Meeting and Board Elections will be on Monday, December 7, 5:30-7:30 pm at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt. RSVP by Dec 1 to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Oregon Minority Lawyers Association is pleased to announce that Minoru Yasui, a native of Hood River, Oregon, the first Japanese-American graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law, and the first Japanese-American member of the Oregon State Bar, has been posthumously awarded a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom! Mr. Yasui is perhaps best known for his heroic challenge of the discriminatory wartime restrictions targeting Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals during World War II, a fight that placed him in solitary confinement for nine months while his case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Although the Supreme Court ultimately ruled against his appeal, he continued to fight for the civil rights of all individuals, regardless of race, nationality, or ethnicity until he passed away in 1986. A link to the White House press release is located here.
OMLA, together with the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association, was proud to submit an endorsement letter on behalf of Min, as part of his formal nomination to the White House. We are proud to have been able to support Min, along with the countless other organizations and individuals that worked over the past year to prepare his nomination for consideration.
OMLA would like to congratulate the many members of Min’s family that still live in the Hood River area and beyond for this honor. Min’s legacy is an enduring lesson on how we can best serve as advocates and stewards of the law and our Constitution. Thank you Min!