De Files – De Files — Part II

(This is a long narrative. If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos at the end of the post and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

In Part I of this Thebeerchaser post, I mentioned how my wife of almost 43 years has understandably insisted that I significantly reduce the myriad files in our garage, my office and scattered throughout filing cabinets we own.  (That means recycle most of them especially if they have not been viewed in the last ten to fifteen years.) 

In the last post I gave examples of material from my employment at Clackamas County and one undergrad college paper with a cryptic comment from a professor – one I didn’t use for a reference in my graduate school admission process…

I worked with lawyers in a management capacity for over thirty-five years at the Oregon State Bar and the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt firm based in Portland’s PacWest Center.  So in my first 2023 post, I’ll begin by giving you some glimpses of the enjoyment I got from the humor surrounding this work. 

Was it a  stressful environment?

Yes! 

But one where the tension was eased by jocularity and people not taking themselves too seriously.

244281611_513523260102754_6302127919311030012_n

# External photo attribution at the end of the post. (#1 – #2)

Schwabe had a wonderful culture, shared by attorneys and staff alike and was a major factor why we regularly landed in the top ranks of Oregon’s Best Employers as rated by the employees themselves. There was an organizational sense of humor.

Lawyers are a competitive group and ensconced within the five floors of the thirty-three story PacWest Center in Portland, there was often a friendly rivalry on who could come up with the wittiest electronic missive or response to an e-mail.  The same was true in all the offices whether Seattle, Vancouver or Bend.

I have to admit as the COO, I tended to reinforce this trait by recognition of several “Emails of the Year” at our firm’s annual retreat – I’d present bottles of wine to the winners. 

The first one I saved from 1996.  (Now you know why Janet is on my case!)  It was even authored by a tax lawyer – a group often stereotyped as having senses of humor tantamount to the humor buried in the pages of the Internal Revenue Code on depreciation…… (#3)

A comedian’s source book?

I will generally omit the names of the senders in this post (although I don’t think they would mind and their colleagues would recognize the senders). 

The one below was authored by a brilliant tax litigator who would periodically send an e-mail to the entire Firm entitled, “Taxes are Your Friend.”  These would include an excerpt from the Code accompanied by a picture of a rabbit with a pancake or waffle on its head.

We also had a “junk-mail” address where people could send questions, advertise items for sale or raise other issues not related to client business.  This one started with the following inquiry: 

Question:  Is anyone familiar with how real estate is transferred in Brazil?  (#5 – #6)

Response:  The entire town stands along the property lines of the property to be conveyed.  A representative of the town recorder called the “Schlimph” garrotes a chicken and the children of the village spread the feathers at the corner of the property.

Then the appointed elders (“drelba”) while chanting ancient real estate incantations, pick up dirt clods and rocks and hurl them in the air.  Finally, a small child is selected from the crowd and forced to chug large quantities of Eucalyptus Tea and Tabasco while the rest of the villages shout “Go!” “Go!” “Go”.

If the selected child becomes ill, the transaction is considered “closed” and the buyer and seller exchange twigs from the plants growing on the property and go home. If the child is unaffected by the ordeal, the buyer and the seller are sacrificed to the real estate gods in the “Ritual of the Ostrich” and property eschews to the Schlimph.  (I hope this is helpful….)

Impermeable?

The one below was the winner at the 2010 Firm Retreat – written by one of my favorite associates in the Environmental and Natural Resources Group.  Notwithstanding his feigned disregard for Mother Earth, he’s now a partner.   

The Truth – Sometimes Stranger Than Fiction

Of course, e-mails were also sent to lawyers seeking expert witnesses, referrals, case cites, etc.  This one emanated from another Environmental Lawyer in 2005.

Bowler suit 1

Employment and Labor Law generated some of the most interesting and often bizarre situations.   While the following matter was not one at Schwabe, I added this 1967 case https://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2d/257/468.html) to my files years afterwards as a keeper when I started collecting these treasures.

I was only a freshman in college when it went to trial, but I’ve kept it all these years.  Maybe because it portended some of the recent lawsuits involving education and religion – perhaps it’s surprising it’s not on a current docket.  (#7)

The Daily Grind…

Maybe there are days when it’s not the stress of legal work, but just daily life that makes one yearn for a highball at the end of the day.   This premise was demonstrated in this 2001 e-mail from one of our Seattle lawyers who inquired of his colleagues at 4:06 in the afternoon:

One difference between Schwabe and many other big firms was the lack of a status difference between attorneys and management.   They viewed non-attorney managers as professionals – in fact all staff were treated as professionals which helped the cohesiveness and teamwork at the firm.

And Management was often tasked with having to say “no.”   We made ongoing decisions on space planning and who received which office, negotiated on annual billable hour goals and, of course, determined compensation.  The list goes on…..

Just as the lawyer above, had a toddy with colleagues at the end of the day, one didn’t necessarily need to leave the firm as the daily grind ended.  This was the case when I appreciated the chance to have a single-malt beverage with the partner whose office was next to mine after she sent this e-mail.  We enjoyed at least one shot of Balvenie Scotch.

Patty Dost (3)

 I mentioned space planning as one of Management’s ongoing challenges.  The same was true anytime there was a major remodel or a build-out when the firm expanded to an additional floor. 

Gaining anything close to a favorable reaction on carpet, paint color or even design of nameplates was problematic. (I could devote a book chapter on the Firm’s Art Committee alone……)

I’m going to depart from my stated guideline and name the lawyer who authored the next e-mail because he was well known in both legal and local broadcast circles and also served on the firm’s Board for a number of years and was supportive of Management decisions.

Jack Faust – one of my former Beerchasers-of-the-Quarters – moderated an award-winning Portland civic affairs television program (“Town Hall”) for many years and was also one of the most respected practitioners of appellate law in Oregon. 

He also loved engaging in the humorous revelry and we still recount these stories on some of the numerous Beerchasing Events we’ve had at various Portland bars since retirement. (The picture on the right below was not on one of those events, but from Jack’s law school years.) 

He offered these words of comfort to the Portland office in the midst of a major build-out on two floors in 2003:

Faust - Town Hall 5

Head Shot?

It’s not only the substantive legal issues that complicate lives in a large regional law firm.  As the prohibition against lawyer advertising prohibited by most states’ ethics rule was struck down in a 1977 US Supreme Court decision (Bates v. State Bar of Arizona), the practice of law forever changed. 

Interestingly, three justices (Warren Burger, Lewis Powell Jr. and William Rehnquist) predicted dire consequences.  As Powell stated “…..will effect profound changes in the practice of law, viewed for centuries as a learned profession.”(#8)

…Will effect profound changes in the practice of law……

When I worked at the Oregon State Bar in the late ’70’s, the Board of Governors spent a good part of every meeting discussing how to discipline lawyers who viloated the Ethical Rules by advertising. 

That changed and by the mid ’80’s, most large law firms had Marketing Directors (Schwabe used the euphemism “Director of Client Relations.”)    If a lawyer wanted to become a partner, he or she had to be effective at bringing in new clients.  Professional photographs for resumes and to spiffy up responses to Requests for Proposals became the norm. 

The aforementioned tax lawyer (see above) often battled with the Internal Revenue Service and offered this tongue-in-cheek response to the following 2007 e-mail from Client Relations.  The advice from the Marketing Assistant is also sanctimonious and I’m sure drew some deserved sarcastic responses:

Marketing Assistant: All Attorneys, Paralegals and Managers – our firm photographer will be in the Portland office.  Please dress however, you feel comfortable being represented as a professional – some prefer jacket and tie, others in shirt sleeves, still others in sweaters. – whatever represents who you are. 

These are color individual Headshots (emphasis added) so take advantage and put a little color in the clothes you wear (a bright tie, a colored blazer or shirt….)  

Tax Lawyer: Please do not use the term “Headshot” with those of us who deal with the IRS on a regular basis.  It makes us nervous.

The Oregon State Bar

This is a digression from Schwabe matters because the letter below was received by the Oregon State Bar when I worked there as Business Manager.  But it’s part of my collection. (#9)

Before getting into the essence of Ethics Opinion (No. 475) issued in 1982, I have to state that I loved working with lawyers from 1974 until my retirement in 2011.   

The overwhelming majority of those I met and with whom I worked were not only skilled and dedicated professionals, but people with whom I would not hesitate to have a beer and enjoyed their company.

Now I realize there are lawyer stereotypes – just like those that characterize sales people, undertakers, actuaries and consultants.   And while I disagree with the portrayal of J.W. Reid  from Costa Mesa, CA who wrote this letter, I had to laugh at his assertion.

It was written after the Bar issued an opinion (It was modified in 2005 with Opinion 2005-140) that stated except under very limited circumstances, a lawyer may not have a consensual sexual relationship with a client. 

The opinion made major headlines and Mr. Reid evidently focused on the limited circumstances allowing sex when he wrote the following:

Now the unnamed gentleman below from Independence, Oregon in his 1981 letter indicates anger and revenge for the Oregon State Bar based on a prior act, but the lack of specificity in his notice of claim indicates that he might need the assistance of a lawyer:

oregon State bar lawsuit 1

Expense Reimbursement and Perks

While working as a lawyer in private practice involves stress and very long hours, it had definite advantages – among them generous compensation and year-end bonuses and good benefits and perks – including travel to conferences and seminars paid by the firm.  (#10 – #11)

There were several trends that diminished law firms’ willingness to pay travel and lodging expense at these events.  The economics of law grew much tighter with the over-supply of lawyers and increased competition from advertising in the late 1980’s.   Clients became more sophisticated and concerned with the escalation of fees and costs. 

More importantly, the IRS also modified it rules on the deductibility of meals and entertainment – also spousal travel.  Agents also targeted professional service firms because there were often excesses under the guise of marketing.  (Maybe taxes aren’t always your friend!”)

Prior to that time, the firm would sometimes pay for senior partners to take their spouses to major events such as the American Bar Association National Convention or other professional association meetings.  This included spousal air travel, meals and lodging.   

The enhanced IRS enforcement and requirements now meant that among other requirements:

…… where a taxpayer’s spouse accompanies the taxpayer on a business trip, the travel expenses will not be deductible unless the spouse’s presence on the trip has a bona fide business purpose.” (emphasis added) (#12)

Interpretation of “Bona fide business purpose.”

Of course, garnering agreement on the definition of “bona fide business purpose” generated  debate – maybe of a lesser scale, but almost as vociferous – as that resulting from Justice Potter Stewart describing his threshold test for obscenity in Jacobellis v. Ohio in 1964. 

And since I was involved in the final approval of these expenses, I enjoyed many of the esoteric justifications submitted.  Perhaps my favorite was the one below which also shows another trait exhibited by many lawyers.  While they may be stereotyped as having inflated egos, I always appreciated the self-deprecating humor shown by many as evidenced below:

While we appreciated his witticism, he either paid for his wife’s expenses out of his own pocket, or she stayed in Seattle while he enjoyed Florida’s sunny climate!

And Finally….

You’ve seen a very small sample of the items I’ve saved from my career in legal management and I’ll leave you with this classic.   The development of a robust Intellectual Property Practice at Schwabe (Patent, Trademark, Copyright, IP Litigation, etc.) began in 2002 under the late Al AuYueng – a gifted lawyer and manager.  It had some interesting implications.

While Schwabe lawyers making the cut to get hired as new associates were very smart and well-educated, the new IP attorneys possessed both of these qualifications, but their educations surpassed that of their colleagues. 

Besides undergrad and law school degrees and passage of the Bar, most of them also had masters’ degrees or doctorates in fields such as Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics or Computer Science.  They also had to pass the Patent Bar Exam.

Their high-tech clients had technical and esoteric issues requiring expert legal advice.  One of my favorites was this one from Al – his inquiry was serious – but his e-mail drew two great responses from lawyers who couldn’t resist the opportunity:

Al Au Yeung:  Does anyone have a recommendation for a carbon dating service?

Lawyer No. I:  Match.com?

Lawyer No. 2:  That’s the response I sent to Al, but I also warned him that they will often bait and switch. They show photos of really attractive minerals and all you end up with are common minerals such as silicon and iron.  You never strike gold!

A Final Comment on Enlightened Management

I worked for two co-managing Partners for most of the years I was the COO.  Mark Long and Dave Bartz were not only distinguished lawyers in their specialties, but had remarkable management instincts – and they complemented each other.

The length of their tenure belies the respect of their lawyer colleagues and that of all firm personnel.  They are both now honored with Emeritus status. (Long on the left and Bartz on the right).

0315_lil_long_and_bartz1

They were also very approachable and collegial which is why one firm paralegal did not feel threatened sending this e-mail to one of them under his own e-mail address: (you’ll have to guess which one received as I don’t want to get fired retroactively!  (In fact, I think the only way I got this e-mail was the recipient laughed about it and forwarded it to me.)

long scan test (2)

Cheers and Happy New Year!

External Photo Attribution

#1.  Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=513523270102753&set=pb.100043352539827.-2207520000.&type=3)

#2.  (https://www.facebook.com/schwabelegal/photos/pb.

100043352539827.-2207520000./1439037686148006/?type=3)

#3.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Internal_Revenue_Code.jpg)  This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

#5.  Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brazil_on_the_globe_

(Brazilian_Antarctica_claims_hatched)_(Chile_centered).svg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  TUBS    21 June 2011.

#6.  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Heres_a_bunny_with_waffle.png) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Source: File:Oolong the Rabbit’s last performance (2003).jpg: Hironori Akutagawa Derivative work: Yuval Y § Chat §

#7.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HCS_bus49.JPG) This work has been released into the public domain by its author, William Grimes at English Wikipedia. This applies worldwide.  19 February 2007.

#8.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Supreme_Court_Justice_Lewis_Powell_-_1976_official_portrait.jpg)  This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

#9.Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sex_education.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: Shairyar.khan.7  7 December 2015.

#10.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:American_Bar_Association_3c_1953_issue_U.S._stamp.jpg) This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

#11. Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Airbus_A380_blue_sky.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Flickr user Axwel  12 May 2007.

#12.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue-Eagle%2BIRS.png). This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

#13.  Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon (https://djcoregon.com/news/2012/03/16/leadership-in-law-mark-long-and-david-bartz/)  Author:  in 1535March 16, 2012.

 

Lawyers Continued: Summer Associates – Part II

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  Since this is a long post, if you are seeing it through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

In Part I of this series, I wrote about the talented Summer Associates (clerks) that my law firm (Schwabe Williamson and Wyatt) and other large law firms hire as clerks during the first and second summers they are in law school. https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/05/27/lawyers-continued-summer-associates-part-i/

StudentLounge

(*1  Attribution for the photos not taken by Don Williams is at the end of this post.)

They are smart and motivated and the competition is intense – both among the firms who compete for the best students and among those applying.  They know this opportunity is a stepping stone for a good job in their chosen field after they graduate and pass the Bar Exam.

In the last post, readers saw a compendium of the languages in which three of the classes of Summer Associates (2005 and 2006-7) were proficient, as well as prior jobs and/or occupations on their resumes before they started law school.   A number had interesting work histories and waited until they had some real-world experience before they began their graduate education.  

I compiled these lists in addition to the categories below as part of the full-day orientation they received in June before they started their legal work.  Rather than boring them with information about law firm management which they would forget, I used the data we collected from their questionnaires.  I tried to convey why they should get to know their fellow clerks and why they should feel proud about being in that group.

Hobbies and Interests

While they were top students, they also were well-rounded and had eclectic pursuits when not working or studying:

Backpacking, rock band; playing the violin, cello, hand-bells, piano, harmonica, oboe (second-chair in community orchestra) drums, guitar, African drums (these were not all the same clerk!), country line dancing, karaoke, country music and Latin poetry (these were from the same person) and gardening.

Ballet (ten years), horror movies, British literature, reading non-fiction and collecting classic comic books.  Gourmet cooking and eating!

Since there were some lawyer-league sports, we also asked them about their athletic talent and experience:

Golf (“Law school made my game go dormant.”), Notre Dame Football (This may have been watching rather than playing.), basketball, softball, tennis, cross country (University of Portland Cross County Team and ran in the Venice Marathon), skiing, snowboarding, yoga, weightlifting.

Juggling (balls and juggling sticks but not pins – we also found out if she could juggle legal assignments), Karate (all-Japan and All-American – five time Karate champion.  He was also the bodyguard when they went to bars after work.). Surfing, skiing, rollerblading and mountain climbing.  Cycling (rode from Spokane to Denver — Why??!)  

Higher Education Besides Law School

As I stated above, these people were motivated and a number had graduate degrees in addition to law school:

Masters Degrees in Engineering, Sociology, Education, Business Administration, Biomedical Engineering.  Graduate Study at the United Nations in Geneva. Ph D in Material Sciences and Engineering (had studied at Oxford) (See narrative below on Intellectual Property candidates)

In 2002, Schwabe merged with a small Oregon Intellectual Property Firm – Columbia IP – founded by Al AuYeung, who built and managed a thriving IP Practice Group (patent, trademark, copyright, trade secrets and IP litigation) in the Schwabe Portland and Seattle offices, until his retirement this year. 

Most of the other lawyers had been liberal arts majors such as Political Science or Economics with a few Business majors, etc.  But these IP lawyers not only had attended law school and passed the State Bar, but were also members of the Federal Patent Bar, which required another challenging exam

.

In addition, besides their undergraduate degrees, most of them also had Masters and even a few PhD’s in physics, computer science, engineering mathematics or chemistry, etc.  For example, Al besides graduating from Santa Clara Law School, also had an MS in Engineering from Stanford and an MBA in Finance from U Cal Berkley.

I helped interview one young IP associate prospect who had actually worked as a rocket scientist before law school.  At the end of the interview, I couldn’t help myself and asserted with a smile, “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that you would be a good fit at this firm.”  Notwithstanding this embarrassing attempt at humor, he still came to work for us.

Each year at the all-attorney retreat in the fall, the lawyers and management staff from all offices would gather at some nice resort for an entire weekend with great food and drink, continuing legal education, a firm business meeting, golf, hiking and general revelry. Did I mention – also plentiful food and drink…..

After the dinner on Friday night before a band and dancing, the new associates would make their traditional introductory appearance and sing their undergraduate school fight song and relate what their most challenging college course had been.

Now the liberal arts majors would come up with something like “The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida,” or there was an Economics Major who impressed us at one retreat with  “Understanding International Finance Through Game Theory and Evolutionary Stability.” 

With the advent of IP associates, these science and math geeks rolled off such offerings as “Formulae for Calculating Motion in One and Two Dimensions or “Non-Equilibrium Applications of Statistical Thermodynamics.”  If I remember correctly, after two years we decided to forego this tradition, because it made a lot of us feel intellectually deficient.

I might add that one might think that men and women who were so erudite and left-brained would tend to be socially awkward.  For example, one of the Summer Associates headed for the IP Group had even “developed a method to manufacture micro-electric mechanical systems using stereo lithography.”   

Rather than being interpersonally inept, however, the exact opposite was almost always the case.  This is another plaudit for Al AuYueng, who had the wisdom to hire people who were not only cerebral, but also personable.

So, it was always enjoyable to have a beer with these lawyers who would be talking about concepts such as the radius of gyration, angular momentum or foreign trademark registration with their clients at their desks in the afternoon, but then were great conversationalists while raising a mug after work.

Volunteer and Civic Activities

These young people were getting into a profession where advocacy for others is a key part of the job and in which pro-bono work is a tradition – and they came well prepared.  They had done work in the following positions or organizations:

Advocate for immigrant families, Meals on Wheels driver, domestic violence counselor, Habit for Humanity, homeless advocacy, classroom tutor, Peace Corps, Vista, AmeriCorps, Young Life, UNICEF, Legal Aid, volunteer for early childhood development, political campaign for city council candidate, pediatric medical clinic, men’s shelter, animal shelter, Boys and Girls Club, soup kitchen.

Wining and Dining Opportunities While Clerking

Part of the recruitment process was interacting with the summer associates over food or drinks at local bistros and watering holes.  We had asked on the questionnaires for their food preferences and also what they wanted to avoid.   The responses for preferences included breakfast food at all times of the day, anything with chocolate, anything with beef and seafood.

Conversely, one clerk emphasized that he could not eat shell fish and detested anything with beef.   One was also emphatic about what everyone should avoid based on his 45-page paper for bio-ethics class entitled, “Cloned Animal Products in the Human Food Chain.”

We tried to make a good impression with these kids and it was natural for the lawyers to take them to the more elite restaurants.  Besides, the firm was picking up the check (one reason that many lawyers went out to more lunches and dinners during the summer than any other time during the year….).

Now Portland has a wealth of great bistros downtown, but to our Director of Recruiting’s chagrin, I decided for a change of pace (and style) when I took the clerks out.  Rather than a popular spot like Jake’s Famous Crawfish or lunch in one of the high-rise office building grilles, we’d walk two blocks to a little hole-in-the-wall (below ground) Middle Eastern restaurant named Mummy’s

It’s owned by two fascinating Egyptian brothers, Phillip and Ghobvial Moumir who had operated for many years in the same location.

For the full review, check out my 2016 post-retirement blog post entitled “Mummy’s – a (Buried) Portland Treasure.”  in which I Beerchased with two of my favorite and now retired Schwabe partners, Brian (Brain) King and Margaret Hoffmann, who shared my affinity for this eatery.

There were usually no more than a handful of patrons and the brothers always directed the students and me to the same table for some of their reasonably priced and really delicious cuisine..

And I had a smile on my face when the Recruiting exec came to my office after the first visit and said, “Don, they raved about Mummy’s and how they want to return again before they leave this summer!”  Word spread and I always had requests from a number of clerks each summer to include them on the list for Mummy’s.

A Final Summer Associate Success Story

It was early in 2002 and some of the Summer Associate candidates had come to the Portland office for interviews.  I walked down to our Recruiting Director’s office.  She was on the phone and a male candidate (Jeff Hern from Willamette University Law School) was standing by her desk waiting for her to finish a telephone conversation. 

He was holding his resume, so I asked if I could glance at it.  Our conversation went like this after I had reviewed it:

Williams:  I see that you graduated from Madeira High School (a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio) and were inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame.  I lived in Madeira from the time I was four until we moved to Oregon when I was eleven.  Did you know the Nelson Kennedy family?

Hern: Yes, as a matter of fact, his son was a teammate on the MHS Basketball Team.

Williams:  Nelson was my best friend in grade school which was the last time I saw him.  I’ve talked to him once or twice since because he was two classes ahead of my younger brother, Garry,  at West Point.  Nelson was one of the reasons Garry ended up at the Military Academy and they see each other quite often.

I gave him my card, wished him luck and told him to stay in touch.  A few days later, I received a nice letter acknowledging our visit and stating that he was impressed with Schwabe.  I then talked to our Recruiter and told her that I hoped we made an offer to him.

From that point on, I continued to lobby for him as the competition was stiff for clerk slots. (I also reminded her that besides having good grades and recommendations, our Lawyer League Basketball Team could use Jeff’s experience as a good power forward.)

When I got his letter, I talked to my wife, Janet, that night at dinner and our conversation went like this:

Williams:  Remember the guy from Willamette Law School I told you about who lived in Madeira and knew the son of my best friend.  Well, he sent a great letter, which I think reflects well on him.

Janet: (laughing) Yeah, he’s smart!  I can see him going back to Willamette and saying to his classmates.  “Have I got an inroad at Schwabe.  I met this old guy who is the COO. I’m writing a letter to get him on my side.  I think his generation likes that kind of thing.”

Jeff was hired in 2004 and flash forward seventeen years and he’s now an Equity Partner at Schwabe.  He has a robust practice and represents manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and food and beverage companies in litigation, federal, and state court proceedings from early alternative dispute resolution through trial. 

He has considerable experience defending in product liability, tort actions, commercial disputes and water rights adjudications.

The young counselor also has developed a specialty in licensing issues for food and beverage companies and was very helpful with pro-bono advice when I was assisting with the licensing of the Benedictine Brewery in Mount Angel.  (I told Jeff, he owed me for lobbying on his behalf and pointed out that his athletic ability was the deciding factor in his selection.)

Jeff and his wife, Lindsay, (Janet and I went to their wedding.) now have three beautiful daughters and he didn’t disappoint us with his elbow jumper during the competition in the other court in which he showed his skill.  His batting average in softball was also quite high.

The Hern Family

I’ll end this story by adding another highlight of my friendship with Jeff.  Of course, when Jeff got hired, I called Nelson (mentioned above) – who at Miami Hills Elementary, I nicknamed “Moose” because of his size. 

We agreed that it was time to reunite after forty-six years and he flew out to Oregon for several days.  He, Jeff and I skied at Mt. Hood and I followed up with a visit to Cincinnati five years later when I was there for a Legal Management conference.

# Photo Attribution

  1. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons  (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StudentLounge.JPG)   Author: Cstpierre 9/15/07
  2. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fantastic_Comics_1.jpg) Grand Comic Book Database (http://www.comics.org/details.lasso?id=574)  Original uploader was Konczewski at English Wikipedia.   1/9/2007
  3. Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:16-hole_chrom_10-hole_diatonic.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: George Leung
  4. Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:5_ball_juggling.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: James Hellman, MD.
  5. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zen_Do_Kai_karate.jpg   Author: Pxhere 7/7/2015
  6. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hydrogen_Density_Plots.png)  Released into the public domain by its author, PoorLeno at English Wikipedia.  8/17/2008
  7. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jyntohttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemistry#/media/File:Benzene-2D-full.svg)  Author: Jynto  8/25/2010
  8. Public Doman – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Torque_animation.gif)  Author: Yawe 2/211/2008
  9. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US-PeaceCorps-Logo-alt.svg)  Author: Grondle 8/10
  10. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_100830-N-5647H-054_Airman_Bryan_Pickett_serves_bread_to_the_community_of_the_Daily_Bread_Soup_Kitchen_as_part_of_Baltimore_Navy_Week.jpg)  
  11. Facebook page Jakes Famous Crawfish (https://www.facebook.com/JakesFamousCrawfish/photos/a.350687678313545/1936162349766062)