March 2016

In This Issue


By Mariann Hyland

Life is filled with change, and 2016 has ushered in enormous change in the bar’s leadership. After many years of dedicated service, Sylvia Stevens retired as the Executive Director of OSB. Our new Executive Director, Helen Hierschbiel, commenced her service in January. In addition, Amber Hollister was promoted to General Counsel, and Mark Johnson Roberts, a prior OSB President, was hired as our new Deputy General Counsel. Mark is featured in our member spotlight in recognition of his pioneering role as the first openly gay bar president in Oregon and our nation. In his interview, he reflects on his journey, historic changes in the LGBT civil rights movement, and his dedication and commitment to the OSB.

I too am transitioning to a new role in 2016. By the time this newsletter is published, I will have joined the University of Oregon’s Office of Academic Affairs as an Assistant Vice Provost. I am excited about this new opportunity. At the same time, I will miss the bar. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the bar’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion over the past four and a half years. I want to thank every firm and individual who dedicated time, talent and treasure to help the OSB cultivate a diverse and inclusive community and increase access to justice. With your help, we developed a diversity action plan; created a historical exhibit featuring the bar’s diverse pioneers; increased funding for existing programs and created new programs for law students, including our Access to Justice and Rural Opportunity Fellowships; increased the diversity of bar leadership, including on our Board of Governors; developed a strong and active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn; and created this newsletter as a platform to share information about our diverse, talented bar members. Through our collective efforts we have realized that diversity & inclusion is making us stronger. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our collective effort!

Recruitment is ongoing for my successor. I pass the torch feeling confident that the bar’s commitment to diversity & inclusion is strong, the D&I Department programs—including OLIO—are thriving, and that the next leader will take us to new levels.

On a sad note, we lost one of our pioneers, Rita Lucas, in January 2016. She was the OSB Affirmative Action Program Administrator from 1991 until 1998, at a time when many law firms were just beginning to hire people of color. Rita was a tireless advocate for students and lawyers of color. She helped many people get their first jobs in the legal profession. Rita’s pioneering services is memorialized in our online Diversity Story Wall exhibit. She will be missed.

Bon Voyage!

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Chris Ling Introduction

By Chris Ling

With Mariann’s recent transition to her new role at the University of Oregon, I have been asked to step into the role of Acting Director of Diversity & Inclusion until a permanent Director has been hired. With the benefit of my years of support for the D&I Department as a law student, specialty bar leader, and most recently as Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, as well as the support of my departmental colleague Benjamin James, I am confident that the D&I Department will continue to provide the same excellent services and resources to our Oregon attorneys, law students, and other stakeholders in 2016. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions, ideas, and suggestions with regard to our department and its programs in the upcoming months.

With that, we are excited to kick off our year with our planning and fundraising for another OLIO Orientation on August 5-7, 2016, in Hood River. This event cannot occur without the support of countless attorneys, judges, law students, firms, and organizations, and you will be hearing from us in the upcoming months with ways that you can help make OLIO a success this year! To learn more about OLIO and how you can support it, please look at our Program Updates section of the newsletter and our Diversity & Inclusion Department website.

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Member Spotlight

By Chris Ling

Our Member Spotlight for this issue of our Diversity & Inclusion Newsletter focuses on Mark Johnson Roberts, who joined OSB staff in January 2016 as our newest Deputy General Counsel. Mark formerly practiced family law, appellate litigation, and legal ethics at Gevurtz Menashe, but has had a long and substantial history of leadership within OSB, as its first openly gay bar president, a member of the OSB Board of Governors, delegate to the House of Delegate, and a member of the Executive Committees of several bar sections. He has also been a pioneer in advancing LGBT lawyers within the profession, as founder and former co-chair of OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon and former president of the National LGBT Bar Association.

Mark Johnson Roberts

Click to view the video interview.

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D&I Program Updates

By Chris Ling

2016 OLIO Employment Retreat

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, the OSB D&I Department held its annual OLIO Employment Retreat at the OSB Center in Tigard. The Employment Retreat is the third 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 44 law students attend this all-day event to help prepare them for their summer job search and to introduce them to a variety of careers in the law. Students attended panels that provided tools for their job search, outlined critical legal and trial skills for law clerks, and exposed them to the career paths taken by several outstanding attorneys working in both private and public practice. They later engaged in mock interviews with judges and attorneys before ending the day with our Employer Forum and Networking Social, where they met with 28 law firms, companies, and specialty and local bar organizations at our Employer Forum and Networking Social.

OLIO Students & Oregon Judicial Dept.

OLIO students learn about firm culture

Learning “Firm Culture”






2016 OLIO Spring Social

Our final event of the 2015-2016 OLIO year is our Spring Social, to be held on Friday, April 8, 2016, 4-6 pm, at Willamette University College of Law in Salem. This is a celebratory event where we congratulate our graduating OLIO students for completing law school over appetizers and the company of their friends, family, and supporters in the legal community. If you would like to RSVP or have any questions about this event, please email Chris Ling at [email protected].

Guests at the 2015 Spring Social at the University of Oregon School of Law

Guests at the 2015 Spring Social at the University of Oregon School of Law

2016 OLIO Orientation

We have kicked off our planning and fundraising for our 2016 OLIO Orientation, once again to be held in Hood River on August 5-7, 2016. This multi-day orientation, which began in 1998, provides a diverse group of Oregon’s first-year law students with the opportunity to interact with each other and with upper division students, judges and leaders who will serve as their mentors and role models. The orientation curriculum focuses on sharpening existing skills and providing new skills to help ensure success in law school and beyond. Students receive valuable information on networking, study skills and Oregon bar exam preparation. The orientation is free for all participating students. Bus transportation to and from the law schools, hotel accommodations, and major meals will be provided.


Click to view more 2015 OLIO Orientation pictures

Click each picture below to view video testimonials from past OLIO students from all three Oregon law schools about the benefits of this valuable program. More student testimonials from OLIO students and supporters can be seen here.


If you are an incoming 1L student or upper division student interested in participating in OLIO this year, our applications for our incoming 1Ls and for our upper division student volunteers (THUDS) can be found here on the D&I website.

If you are an attorney, judge, or professional interested in supporting the OLIO program as a sponsor, you can become a sponsor simply by visiting the D&I website and clicking the “Donate” button below. From there, you can choose to make your sponsorship either as a one-time donation or as a recurring monthly payment! For a list of our individual sponsorship levels, please click here.

btn_donateCC_LGimagesIf you are a firm, business or other organization interested in supporting the OLIO program, please take a look at our list of business sponsorship levels here and contact Chris Ling at [email protected] with your interest.

If you have any questions about our OLIO program, please feel free to contact Chris Ling at [email protected].

Upcoming Deadlines!

We have several important deadlines in April for our law students and law graduates. Please consult our website and our D&I Program Information Handbook for important requirements for these applications:

  • D&I Scholarships (due April 1, 2016): Each year, the OSB D&I Department provides up to ten (10) $2,000 for entering and current Oregon law school students who intend to practice in Oregon, to be distributed $1,000 each semester.
  • Bar Exam Grants (due April 15, 2016): For the July bar exam, the OSB D&I Department will provide up to six (6) bar exam grants to those applicants whose personal experiences, accomplishments, commitment to practice law in Oregon, and financial need demonstrate that they will help the department achieve its mission. Each grant award consists of a supplemental MBE review course (a $699 value), as well as a reimbursement of $600 of the Admissions application fee.

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Specialty Bar News

See announcements and links below for updates with Oregon’s Specialty Bar Associations.

Oregon Women Lawyers

OWLS Roberts & Deiz Dinner
March 11, 2016 at the Portland Art Museum
Reception at 5, Dinner at 7
Honoring Kellie Johnson and Hon. Jill Tanner

Rainmaking Mentoring Circle
April 13, Noon – 1:30 pm, May 5, Noon – 1:30 pm, June 2, Noon – 1:30 pm
Click here for more information or to register.

Specialty Bar Leaders Happy Hour
Tuesday April 19. 5:30 p.m.
Portland Prime, 121 SW Third Ave., Portland
Let’s get together outside of meetings and offices to enjoy one another’s company. Click here to RSVP by Monday April 18 so they know how many of us to expect. Next happy hour to be organized by OMLA.

OWLS Public Speaking Skills Series in Portland
March 2, 5:30 – 7:00 pm, Friday, March 18, 8:00 am – 9:30 am, April 6, 5:30 – 7:00 pm, April 22, 8:00 – 9:30 am. Click here for more information or to register.

Save the Date
OWLS Fall CLE featuring Sari de la Motte and Rachel Boehm of Forte
September 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm followed by the fall reception. Courtyard Marriott, Portland

Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association

OAPABA seeks nominations for the 2016 Justice Lynn R. Nakamoto Award. Due May 1, 2016. Details on our website.

OAPABA 2016 Tax Day Dance! Off will occur April 15, 2016. Details on our website.

Oregon Minority Lawyers Association

Oregon Hispanic Bar Association

OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon

Oregon Chapter of the National Bar Association

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