Yoking the Choke – Part III

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  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 and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

In the last two blog posts, I’ve talked about two events which took place at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm where I worked for twenty-five years before retiring as COO in 2011. 

The HBO movie (“The Last Innocent Man”) filmed, in part, at the firm in 1987 and the three-and one-half-day West Coast hearing for the Latrell Sprewell Arbitration with the NBA and the NBA Players’ Association, were both memorable.

Latrell Sprewell as a Minnesota Timberwolf in 2003 *1

* External Photo Attribution at the end of the Post

I’ve “teased” Beerchaser followers with the events leading up to the arbitration in the first post – the Choking and subsequent punching of Coach PJ Carlesemo at a Golden State Warriors practice on December 1, 1997, Sprewell’s immediate termination by the Warriors and the one-year suspension by the NBA – the longest of any non-drug related in NBA history.

In the second post, I also mentioned how Schwabe came to be approached by the NBA to host that hearing through the connection by former Blazer General Counsel, Mike Fennell, who worked as a Schwabe associate attorney after he graduated from law school.  At the end of this post, there’s a deserved tribute to this late colleague, who was a wonderful person and outstanding lawyer.

So let’s take it from the phone call inquiry from Mike, where Schwabe Management determined that we would accept the invitation to serve as the site.  We agreed to provide secure conference rooms; witness waiting areas; secretarial resources as required; telephone, fax and computer equipment they could use.

The assistance would also include logistical support such as transportation from lodging and catering plus coffee, refreshments, etc. during the hearing.  Of course, the firm would charge both the NBA and the Players’ Association for providing these services.

The Preparation

While we were used to having hearings, legal conferences and other events at the firm, an event of this notoriety and scope was uncharted ground – it presented many questions. These resulted in negotiations based on the demands of the parties – primarily the NBA.

As I stated in a 1998 letter to Ronald Klempner, Associate Counsel for the Players’ Association, following the arbitration (after they objected to the firm’s billing…) we surprisingly did not have any contact with the Player’s Association (hereafter “PA”) until the weekend before commencement of the proceedings.

“Although we tried to get a contact name from the Players’ Association and made requests through the NBA, we had no contact from the Players’ Association until the Friday before the hearing (began the next Monday) when I talked to Bob Lanza (General Counsel). 

By that time, of necessity, we had made all the arrangements including limousine service, catering, security, secretarial service, etc.” 

And firm personnel did a lot of advance work – but only with the NBA who communicated with us.   Our Client Relations Department worked with a caterer to plan continental breakfasts, lunches and snacks – different for each day and potential dinner menus since the hearing was supposed to continue into the evenings – the first day, it lasted eleven hours until 8:30 P.M. (The PA had to go along with the menu selected by their adversary in the proceeding!)

We reserved a secretarial station outside each Association’s conference room, with a Schwabe secretary on-call there (into the evenings) to type memos, etc. send faxes, make calls or dinner reservations, etc.

P1010993 (3)

Legal Secretaries were on call

While after twenty-four years, my recollection has dimmed on some of the specifics, the following account of the interactions and incidents are my best effort to convey what were stimulating and sometimes humorous occurrences – from the negotiations to the hearing itself, to contact with the parties afterwards.  I’ve also relied on conversations with Schwabe colleagues.

Our initial contact was with Rick Buchanan, the then young, Assistant General Counsel for the NBA.   From the outset through the culmination, Rick was a class act and it does not surprise me that recent internet research revealed that this Harvard Law graduate is now General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer for the Association. 

RickBuchanan8x10_8456-240x300

A younger Rick Buchanan *2

I didn’t meet Ron Klempner, from the PA, but he is now Senior Counsel, Collective Bargaining for the PA and graduated from the Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University.

Both Klempner and Buchanan had remarkably similar legal careers from their excellent law school educations – graduating in 1987 and 1988 respectively – and after notable judicial clerkships; worked at large, prestigious, multi-national law firms before they joined their organizations.  Both began this work in 1993 and Klempner and Buchanan are still working for their respective associations.

Klempner clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and was an associate for five years at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York City (now with fifteen offices and 1,132 lawyers with revenues of $1.7 billion and No. 17 on the The American Lawyer’s 2021 Am Law 200 rankings – Law.com.)   

*5

Buchanan clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals/D.C. Circuit and then for almost five years was an associate at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington DC. (now with thirteen offices and 1,174 lawyers with revenues of $1.3 billion and 25th on 2021 AM Law 200 Rankings  – Law.com

*6

Becoming an associate at this type of multi-national law firm is extremely competitive and new hires are the top students from the nation’s most prestigious law schools.

Interestingly, Klempner, in 2015, “served as acting executive director of the NBPA between the firing of former seventeen-year executive director Billy Hunter  for questionable hiring practices, financial decisions and other alleged misdeeds,” according to an article in Forbes.com. (Hunter is also a lawyer and played wide receiver in the NFL for the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins. His story with the PA could comprise another two posts….) 

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwaWN0dXJlcy5jLXNwYW52aWRlby5vcmciLCJrZXkiOiJGaWxlc1wvNjAxXC8xMDE0NTQ2LTMwMDg4OC0xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJmaXQiOiJjb3ZlciIsImhlaWdodCI6MjAwLCJ3aWR0aCI6MjAw (1)

Billy Hunter  *7

And after all these years, the parade of lawyers involved continues:

“The election of Michele A. Roberts, a former Partner at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates, marked the first time a female was elected to the highest position of a major sport’s players association within the United States.”

And if you thought Buchanan and Klempner worked at large law firms, Skadden-Arps  with 1,594 lawyers generated revenues of $2.6 billion in their twenty-one offices, earning a ranking of fifth on the 2021 AM Law 200. 

(Michele Roberts probably took a cut in salary as the profit per partner at Skadden-Arps was a staggering $4.3 million).  One wonders if Skadden still maintains their Moscow office!  Both Covington and Weil have Beijing and Shanghai offices, but none in Russia. 

I digress, but can’t help noting that Roberts was succeeded as Executive Director for the PA in September, 2021 by Tamika Tremaglio. (Elected for her first four-year term in January, 2022.) 

You guessed it – Tremaglio is not only a lawyer, but also an accountant most recently serving as the Managing Principal for Deloitte Financial Services in their DC office and “where she has worked as an advisor and consultant to the NBPA since 2012.”  (Sports Illustrated.com)

Security, Security and More Security!

From the outset the NBA was extremely concerned with security.  They knew that both the East and West Coast hearings would receive intense media coverage.  

On site reporting would not only be by sports media but given the initial reports of “The Choke” (hereafter “TC”) and the personalities involved such as the NBA stars and high-profile NBA Coaches and even famous attorney, Johnnie Cochran; national and even international general print and broadcast media would be there. (We started getting calls from media outlets ten days before the hearing.)

One of Sprewell’s early legal advisors * 10

The Chief NBA Security Officer flew out from New York (totally at NBA expense) as were the security personnel during the proceedings. He met with firm management and representatives from the PAC West Center – obviously Building Management was very concerned about disruption for the other tenants in the 33-story building.

To give some perspective on the importance of this position to the NBA, the current Chief, Leon Newsome, commenced his position in 2021, after serving as Deputy Director of the United States Secret Service. He is a 1992 Princeton graduate where he starred in football and in his new position will:

“…..oversee all aspects of security operations for the NBA, WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and soon-to-launch Basketball Africa League as well as the NBA’s 15 offices worldwide.”

dbbb3a77-727e-42f6-b32c-671705d44ad0.sized-1000x1000

Leon Newsome – now Chief Security Officer for the NBA  * 11 

The NBA Security guru, while in Portland, proceeded to visit the multiple high rises in the adjacent blocks (see photo below) where he evidently got permission from building management to go up on the roofs to see what visibility the east side of the Pacwest Center would present to photographers who attempted to film the hearing and witnesses (Really!?). 

Since the hearing room had curtains, we rejected the request that we put up construction paper on the east-facing windows on the 17th – 19th floors where there were no curtains.

The Pacwest Center is in the lower center of the picture *12

The NBA security team which traveled to our offices from New York for the hearing, appeared to be former FBI agents and had personalities befitting that background – no smiles during initial days in the Pacwest Center.

They were adamant about protecting the sanctity of the hearing and the privacy of the witnesses and the parties. (The Players’ Association never inquired about security or media issues.)

And we understood the need for these constraints.   After all, NBA teammates of Sprewell including Joe Smith, Bimbo Coles and Felton Spencer, would be at the Portland hearing. And this would be the first time since The Choke, that Sprewell and Carlesimo would sit face-to-face. (New York Times 1/29/1998)

Joe Smith (pictured) Bimbo Coles and Felton Spencer – all who played for multiple NBA teams, were Sprewell’s teammates on the Warriors. *13

That said, we were operating at 125-lawyer firm, with at that time, four floors in a high-rise building with clients, attorneys representing opposing parties and vendors/consultants needing access to our people and facilities.

At that time, we had a receptionist on each floor with access to the public. (Now, with five floors, Schwabe has only one reception area at the firm’s Conference Center on the 19th floor, where all external parties initially check in). 

Schwabe 19th Floor Conference Center Reception

The NBA’s initial position was that we needed to lock down all of our floors with access only through clearance by a receptionist on one floor.  We calmly responded that this was overkill since the hearing would be located on the 19th floor large hearing room with the parties each having conference and temporary office facilities on the 17th and 18th floors.

The Pacwest Center made additional conference rooms available for the firm’s business, if necessary.  We compromised and agreed on a partial lockdown – having all firm personnel come up to the 16th floor and then using internal staircases. We could greet clients on the 16th floor.  As a result, no unauthorized persons gained access during the event.

While they initially came across as “hard asses”, the NBA security guys turned out to be reasonable and interacted amicably with firm personnel. We worked cooperatively to develop practical security solutions and they were quite personable once the hearings started. 

Gag Order

No one talks to the Press! *14

Their anticipation on the level of media coverage turned out to be well-founded.   The hearing took place on Tuesday through mid-day Friday.  The intent was to get the current NBA players and coaches in as witnesses early on Tuesday so they could make games later that week.

On Tuesday morning, the PacWest Center lobby was filled with anywhere from 25 to eventually about 50 reporters – hungry to interview the parties and witnesses or anybody who could offer any insight on what was transpiring nineteen floors above.

Pacwest Lobby – Picture this jammed with media people

This was in spite of the announcement that all involved parties agreed to a gag order prior to the hearing:

“Chris Brienza, the league’s director of media relations, has tired to discourage a media stampede. ‘I’ve been telling those guys, this will go from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every night, the proceedings will be closed and our guys are not going to have much to say,’ said Brienza. 

Still, the league is sending one media relations person out for the hearings. ‘Crowd control,’ Brienza said.” (The Sunday Oregonian , 1/25/1998.)

Surreptitious Entry!

The standard method for an external party to access Schwabe offices would be to come in through the main entrance on 6th Avenue, or if they were driving, to enter the parking garage, to park with the valet on the first level and then take the elevator to the lobby.  Once in the lobby, a second set of elevators would access the high-rise office facilities.

This would present a problem, because the media knew by sight, the players and coaches and would descend on them en-masse the minute they appeared.  So we cooperatively developed an alternative. 

We had arranged town-car limo service from their hotels, and the drivers were instructed to enter the parking garage on Jefferson Street. Rather than stop at the valet, they would proceed to the third level where we had reserved spaces for them.

Although not befitting a prestigious law firm, the visitors to Schwabe would then proceed through the entry to the freight elevator and take that very cumbersome and slow lift to the 17th floor or 18th floors where they would exit and then proceed to their assigned quarters.

It was masterful and none of the correspondents or their photographers discovered this surreptitious entry until it was too late.

That said, on the third morning of the hearing, those that were still there (about half-left when they got frustrated with lack of contact) did have an exciting moment. The Manager of the firms Copy Room and related support functions was a wonderful employee named Wendell King.

Wendell was a tall, good looking, always impeccably dressed and articulate Black man who was an exemplary manager.  He decided to make his first trip that week to the Starbucks located in one corner of the Lobby for a latte’. 

When the elevator reached the lobby and Wendell walked out with some other people who worked in the building, the press (assuming the stereotypical NBA forward) took one look and congregated around him “battering” him with questions about how the arbitration was going, was he testifying on behalf of Sprewell, etc.  It was one of the most humorous moments during the event.

(Unfortunately, Wendell passed away in 2009 and to recognize the standard he set for client service and performance, the firm created the “Wendell King Best of Schwabe Award” which is still given out each quarter to the Schwabe employee who best meets the standard Wendell set.)

Towards the end of the hearing, things got more relaxed although the press was still hanging around.  Latrell asked our attractive and personable sixteenth floor receptionist, Jenny, out for dinner (she politely declined….)  and some of those involved would go to Starbucks for coffee.   Dave Bartz, the future President of the firm, related in a recent e-mail:

“My elevator ride was down the main elevator (from the 17th floor). There was a rush – hubbub, in the lobby. I was in the elevator. The door opened and they jumped in (Sprewell and some suits  – I assumed some handlers or lawyers).  I moved to the back. Spre and I exchanged a nod and a hello.” (and rode back up in the elevator!)

Mark Long – Managing Partner and Dave Bartz – President —Two outstanding leaders at Schwabe from 2001 to 2017 *15

Dave also related:

“I learned that PJ’s favorite Italian restaurant in Oregon was the West Linn (where Thebeerchaser now lives) spot, Buggatis.  (Pretty high praise for a NJ boy.)”

Favored by Coach Carlessemo *16

A Tribute to Mike FennellFacebook

In the last blog post, I mentioned how Mike Fennell, General Counsel for the Portland Trailblazers, was responsible for making the connection between our law firm – Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt PC and the NBA – regarding hosting the West Coast portion of the Latrell Sprewell arbitration hearing.

Mike had a great career and rose in the ranks for the Trailblazers from handling a few matters as outside counsel to in-house General Counsel from 1992 to October 2012.

Portland Trailblazer General Counsel – an outstanding lawyer *17

He was an associate attorney with Schwabe after graduation from University of Oregon Law School in 1983. He was regarded as a very good corporate and securities lawyer and just a great colleague. Mike became a key member of the Trailblazer Executive Management Team, providing strategic direction for the company in day to day operations

“Mike loved his ‘work family’ at the Trail Blazers and was extremely grateful for his amazing colleagues.” Upon his departure, Sarah Mensah, who the was the Trailblazer’s COO stated:

“The imprint that Mike leaves as a legal strategist, counselor, negotiator and front office executive is a lasting one,” said Mensah. “It’s hard to see him go, and on behalf of the entire Trail Blazers organization, we extend our deepest gratitude to Mike for his significant contributions, and wish him continued success as he pursues a new phase of his career.”

Mike passed away far too young (61) in December 2018 after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2014.

In Closing…

This post got way too long, but we’re not yet done with the Sprewell story.  Stay tuned to Thebeerchaser!  And in closing, to my amazement, parents can still purchase the item below at Amazon. 

Micheal Pellowski is a children’s author who wrote a number of books including Karate Bear and Double Trouble on Vacation in the late ’80’s. The Sprewell offering is still available for $23.93 and is recommended for kids from six to twelve.  The book:

“Examines the personal life, college years, and professional career of NBA basketball star, Latrell Sprewell, who now plays for the New York Knicks.”

Children reading the book might want to have adult supervision!

Pellowski is a New Jersey native who graduated from Rutgers and is now 73 years old.

Role Model for Cover of Composition Notebook? *18

Cheers!

External Photo Attribution

*1  Latrell Sprewell Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/123246144405531/photos/pb.100042176306027.-2207520000../123246191072193/?type=3)

*2  “The Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law” (https://harvardjsel.com/2016/02/interview-with-nba-general-counsel-rick-buchanan/)  26 February 2016.

*3  The Org.com (https://theorg.com/org/nba/org-chart/rick-buchanan

*4  Linked-in.com – Ron Klempner (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ron-klempner-36aa247/)

*5    Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weil,_Gotshal_%26_Manges#/media/File:Weil,_Gotshal_&_Manges_LLP_logo.svg) Author: Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

*6  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons –   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covington_%26_Burling#/media/File:Covington_logo.svg)  Author; Covington & Burling.

*7  C-Span – Billy Hunter (https://www.c-span.org/person/?1014546/WilliamBillyHunter

*8   “Wesleyan University Magazine”  (https://magazine.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2019/05/20/a-smooth-crossover-from-the-court-room-to-defending-nba-players-rights/)  20 May 2019.

*9  (Linked in – Tamika Tremaglio (https://www.linkedin.com/in/tamikatremaglio/

*10 Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnnie_Cochran#/media/File:Johnnie_cochran_2001_cropped_retouched.jpg) By Mark Winograd (Personal photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.  This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

 *11 The Daily Princetonian – (https://www.dailyprincetonian.com/article/2021/03/leon-newsome-princeton-university-ivy-league-secret-service)  4 March 2021.

*12  Google Earth (https://earth.google.com/web/@45.515254,-122.6794129,35.6438696a,418.81430678d,35y,102.83948888h,0t,0r)

*13   Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joe_Smith_Cavs2.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Keith Allison  27 April 2008.

*14 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Censorship.svg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: Time3000, Tomchen1989, Mozilla.  28 March 2008.

*15  Daily Journal of Commerce.com (https://djcoregon.com/news/2012/03/16/leadership-in-law-mark-long-and-david-bartz/)

*16  Bugattis Italian Ristorante Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/bugattisristorante/photos/a.252041161513560/2261514310566225/)

*17  Oregon Live (https://obits.oregonlive.com/us/obituaries/oregon/name/michael-fennell-obituary?id=15737681)  

*18  Amazon Prime (https://www.amazon.com/Latrell-Sprewell-Super-Sports-Star/dp/0766018113/ref=sr_1_16?crid=JXJ6XILZ5W7H&keywords=latrell+) ” “Latrell Sprewell (Super Sports Star)”.  Author: Michael J. Pellowski 

Yoking “The Choke” – Part II

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  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 and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

In the last post on Thebeerchaser, “Yoking the Choke – Part I” – I described two interesting events not directly related to our clients at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt PC – the law firm where I served as the COO before I retired. 

The filming of some scenes of “The Last Innocent Man” – an HBO movie in 1987 and hosting the three and on-half day West Coast hearing of former NBA star, Latrell Sprewell’s arbitration in 1998, both brought some well-known Hollywood celebrities, athletes and coaches to our offices.   

Sprewell choked his coach, PJ Carlesimo in December,1997, an incident which garnered not only national, but international attention.  “The Choke” (hereafter referenced as “TC”) and its related events read like a bad sports novel, but before telling you about our law firm’s connection, let’s go back twenty-five years for context and recollections that might depress you.

1997 is not a year ingrained in most of our memories.  Why would you want to remember “Bitch” (No. 15) and Madonna’s  “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” (No. 87) – two of the “Billboard Year-end Hot 100 Singles” that year?  (Madonna didn’t even edge out No. 82 “Macarena” – inexplicably down from its No 1 ranking in 1996.)

And neither television’s Seinfeld at No. 1 (Seinfeld then announced that 1997 was the final season) or “Men in Black” on the big silver screen in 1997, are exactly cultural icons that pull us back.  (Seinfeld fans will remember Art Vandelay, President of Vandelay Industries who was a Beerchaser-of-the-Month in this blog in 2014.)

Art Vandelay – President of Vandelay Industries

But if you look at a chronology of significant events occurring in December of that year from “On This Day.com” besides those below which I thought were interesting, you’ll find five references to Latrell Sprewell – shown following the vivid description of TC itself:

12/1 – “Howard Stern Radio Show” premiers on Davenport Iowa radio station KORB.

12/11 – Delegates from 150 industrial nations attending a UN climate conference in Kyoto, Japan, reach agreement to control heat-trapping greenhouse gases.  (Obviously, we’ve made incredible progress….!!??  See note at the end of the post)

*6 Map of Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol – Orange and Red are not parties.

12/17 – Saturday Night Live Comedian, Chris Farley, died of an overdose of a combination of cocaine and morphine, commonly known as a “speedball.”

Embed from Getty Images

12/29 – Hong Kong begins slaughtering all its chickens to prevent bird flu. (I guess this taught us a lot about containing pandemics….)

12/31 – More Swedes died than were born in 1997 – 1st time since 1809. (I couldn’t resist that one….)

The Actual Incident

But before listing the Sprewell items, let’s look at a detailed description of the incident as described in the subsequent 2001 US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Spreewell v Golden State Warriors:

“Tensions between Sprewell and Carlesimo climaxed during a closed-door practice on December 1, 1997, during which Carlesimo told Sprewell to pass the ball to a teammate for a quick shot. Despite Sprewell’s contention that he passed the ball ‘admirably, as one would expect of an All-Star,’ Carlesimo rebuked Sprewell for not putting more speed on his pass.

When Carlesimo subsequently repeated his criticism, Sprewell slammed the ball down and directed several expletives at Carlesimo. Carlesimo responded with a similar showing of sophistication. Sprewell immediately either walked or lunged at Carlesimo and wrapped his hands around Carlesimo’s neck. With his arms fully extended, Sprewell moved Carlesimo backwards, saying ‘I will kill you’

Carlesimo offered no resistance. Sprewell grasped Carlesimo’s neck for approximately seven to ten seconds — the time it took for other players and coaches to restrain Sprewell. Sprewell then left the practice floor, saying ‘trade me, get me out of here, I will kill you,’ to which Carlesimo countered, ‘I am here.'”  

*7 Courtesy of I-80 Sports Blog

Note:  The above images are courtesy of Paul Eide, the creator and author of a great sports blog (I-80 Sports Blog).  It covers all major sports and is a wonderful source of articles and opinions. 

Paul is a freelance journalist since 2000 and has had his work published via AskMen, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, Busted Coverage, and Autotrader.  You should check it out and subscribe to his e-blast.  His description of The Choke can be accessed at the link above.

As  promised, the December, 1996 Sprewell Chronology from the LA Times Archives:

* Dec. 1– Sprewell attacks Carlesimo at a practice; the Golden State Warriors suspend Sprewell without pay for at least 10 games.

*8 Coach PJ Carlesimo

* Dec. 3 –The Warriors terminate Sprewell’s $32 million contract.

* Dec. 4 — The NBA suspends Sprewell for one year, with Commissioner David Stern saying, “A sports league does not have to accept or condone behavior that would not be tolerated in any other segment of society.”

* Dec. 5 — The Players’ Association files grievances against the NBA and the Warriors (on behalf of Spreewell).

* Dec. 9 — In his first public comments on the attack, Sprewell says his conduct was unacceptable. “I am a good person and I’ve never had any situation like this come up before,” he says. “I feel 10 years of hard work shouldn’t be taken away for one mistake. My career didn’t happen overnight and I don’t feel it should be taken away overnight.”

* Dec. 10 — “With six former teammates behind him and famed attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. at his side, fired pro basketball star Latrell Sprewell apologized publicly Tuesday to his former coach for choking him last week.” (emphasis added) Buffalo News 1/10/1996

What’s somewhat both ironic and humorous – as are a lot of elements of this story – is Johnnie Cochran serving as a member/advisor of his legal team.  That’s because Sprewell then made a comment in a January 23, 1997 interview with the New York Post stating: (LA Times Archives)

“I’m not as bad as everyone has made me out to be. It’s as if I’m another O.J. Simpson. Yes, I was wrong, but I didn’t kill anybody. I’m not a double murderer.” (Emphasis added)

The Law Firm Connection

Readers who have made it this far may be asking, “Okay Beerchaser, so what’s the link with the law firm and the Sprewell arbitration that you’ve mentioned?” In the next post, I will go into detail about the interactions and logistics of that multi-day hearing, but first, why did they select Schwabe’s Portland office as the site?

The NBA and Players’ Association knew with the witnesses testifying, it made economic and scheduling sense to break the arbitration into West Coast and East Coast hearings.  Since PJ and some Golden State coaches and players who were testifying, were in the midst of the 1997-8 season, it had to be scheduled around the NBA games.

Golden State had a game with the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday, January 29th and with Seattle on Thursday the 31st (they beat the Blazers and lost to the Sonics!) so their appearances could be worked into that window. 

The NBA contacted the Blazers about a site for the Portland hearing – one with multiple large conference rooms, comfortable waiting areas, business equipment such as computers, faxes, etc. and most importantly, secure facilities to prevent media and interested fans from interfering or disrupting the proceedings.

The late Mike Fennel, was a Schwabe associate attorney after he graduated from law school in 1983 and subsequently spent five years as one of the Trail Blazer’s outside counsel at another firm doing primarily basketball related work.

When the Trail Blazers decided to build the Portland Rose Garden, they wanted to have an in-house General Counsel and Mike’s experience with the basketball side made him the prime candidate.

Mike Fennell – an outstanding lawyer and gentleman *13

In 1992 he became the first in-house General Counsel for an NBA team as Senior Vice President/General Counsel for the Trail Blazers from 1992 to October 2012. During his time at the Blazers, he assisted with all of the Trail Blazers legal matters including providing support on player contract negotiations, other team-related issues and the building of the Moda Center.  Additionally, he served as General Counsel for other Paul Allen affiliates that operated in Portland.

Mike contacted us at Schwabe towards the end of 1997 and asked if we would be willing to discuss hosting the hearings.  We agreed to negotiate the details with the NBA and Players’ Association.  Those discussions and the following negotiations on the logistics were some of the most stimulating I experienced in my twenty-five years at the firm. 

In the next post, I’ll also make a tribute to Mike who passed away far too young (61) in December 2018 after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2014.

Note in Closing on the Kyoto Protocol and Beyond…..

Climate change is a critical global issue (among many these days).  As stated in a 3/1/22 article entitled ” Another Troubling Climate Report:”

“A highly anticipated report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded there is a ‘brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.’ It warned of certain ‘tipping points’ that could increase climate risks if global temperatures exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (it’s already increased 1.1 degrees).”

How effective was the Kyoto Protocol?  According to an October, 2020 post from Earth.org.

“The U.S. was originally part of the agreement, but dropped out in 2001 due to the concern of an economic turndown. George Bush, the former US president, stated that complying with the Protocol would mean limiting the country’s growth and argued that there could be other ways to cut emissions without harming the economy.  

When Canada withdrew in 2011, many thought the Protocol had failed. A year later, estimates showed a 20% drop in developed countries emissions (vis-à-vis 1990 levels). Despite global emissions rising by an overall 38% over the same period, Kyoto Protocol’s effect remains significant. 

…It is more reasonable to see the Kyoto Protocol as a first step toward a greater international commitment to reversing greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.”

Fortunately, the Paris Agreement, adopted by 196 Parties and effective on 4 November 2016, is now a legally binding international treaty on climate change.  

“The Paris Agreement is a landmark in the multilateral climate change process because, for the first time, a binding agreement brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.”

On January 20, 2021 – his first day in office – President Biden signed the instrument to bring the United States back into the Paris Agreement.

* 14 The Paris Agreement – Blue = Parties, Yellow = Signatories, Black = Parties also covered by European Union ratification

Cheers

External Photo Attribution

*1  (https://www.amazon.com/Last-Innocent-Man-Ed-Harris/dp/B000CN9VS2

*2  Latrell Sprewell Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/123246144405531/photos/pb.100042176306027.-2207520000../1131335593596576/?type=3)

*3  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Madonna_Rebel_Heart_Tour_2015_-_Stockholm_(23051472299)_(cropped).jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Author: chrisweger 14 November 2015.

*4  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seinfeld.svg)  This logo image consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain.

*5  Public Domain – Wikimedia Common (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Men_In_Black_logo.png)  This logo image consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain.  Author: Universal Orlando – 1997.

*6  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kyoto_Protocol_parties.svg)   I, the copyright holder of this work, release this work into the public domain. This applies worldwide. Author:  User:CanuckguyUser:Danlaycock  – 2 October 2014.

*7  I-80 Sports Blog (https://i80sportsblog.com/latrell-sprewell-chokes-pj-carlesimo/)

*8   Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P._J._Carlesimo_2015_cropped.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author: MavsFan28 – 26 September 205.

*9  Latrell Sprewell Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/123246144405531/photos/pb.100042176306027.-2207520000../123246191072193/?type=3)

*10  Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnnie_Cochran#/media/File:Johnnie_cochran_2001_cropped_retouched.jpg) By Mark Winograd (Personal photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.  This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

*11  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Basketball.png) This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Reisio. This applies worldwide.  Author:  Reisio 26 January 2006.

*12  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rockefeller_Park_td_(2019-03-09)_101_-_Basketball_Courts.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author: Tdorante10  9 March 2019.

*13  Oregon Live (https://obits.oregonlive.com/us/obituaries/oregon/name/michael-fennell-obituary?id=15737681)

*14  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ParisAgreement.svg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author: L.tak  22 April 2016.

 

Yoking “The Choke” – Part I

The Thirty-one Story PacWest Center

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  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 and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

Large urban law firms typically are housed on the upper floors of majestic skyscrapers with expansive views and have very impressive trappings – from the client reception area, to conference rooms, to the lawyers’ offices. 

Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt PC, my law firm for twenty-five years – I retired in 2011 as the Chief Operating Officer – was no exception.  When I left in 2011, the six floors occupied in the Pac West Center on floors 15-20 had a total footprint of just under 120,000 square feet. 

They were well designed and scrupulously maintained – Schwabe took pride in the impression it presented.  The Portland office was the anchor of our five other offices.

Legal economics and the pandemic have forced a dramatic change in professional service firms’ space configuration, however.  For many large firms, the days of the expansive and plush partner offices are history.   

For example, at Schwabe, associates and partners now have the same size and smaller offices except where the prior configuration precluded that such as in some corner offices.  

Law libraries, which once housed hundreds of bound volumes, are skeletons of their prior capacity.  While there are still some hard-bound volumes, case-law and written legal authority is primarily accessed from the lawyer’s office on-line.  And oftentimes, word-processing and copy centers are now outsourced or located off-site in less expensive remote space.

This situation was exacerbated with COVID.  Law offices locked-down and lawyers found out that working from home provided some real advantages – like working in sweats and the daily “commute” reduced to walking from the kitchen to the home office twenty-feet away – usually with coffee and pastry in hand.  

What transpires, post-pandemic, in office leases is speculative, but most firms will probably reduce their space as hybrid arrangements replace the traditional fully-occupied model and the demand to reduce overhead expense continues.  That said, most large firms will still have imposing reception areas and client conference areas.

Famous Visitors!

Schwabe’s location and the quality and configuration of its facilities resulted in two major external requests to use its space in 1987 and 1998.   The results were interesting and memorable and I’ll relate the stories in the next few posts of Thebeerchaser.  While they provided great anecdotes and some ancillary income to the firm, in retrospect, if you were in firm management, you wondered if it was worth the disruption.

The filming of some scenes of “The Last Innocent Man” movie in 1987 and hosting the three-day West Coast hearing of former NBA star, Latrell Spreewell’s arbitration in 1998, brought some well-known celebrities, athletes and coaches to our offices.   The latter garnered not only national, but international attention.

Embed from Getty Images
*1 . (* external photo attribution at the end of this post)

Latrell Spreewell, who was drafted 24th in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, built a solid reputation in his first few years in the League as a shooting guard and small forward.  He was selected for the Western Conference All-Star Team in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and ultimately four NBA All-Star Teams.

After the Warriors, he finished his  “checkered career” in 2005 after stints on the New Work Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.  I state “checkered” – in part – because in 1997, this sizeable physical and athletic specimen at 6 feet, 5 inches and weighing in just under 200 pounds, proceeded to physically attack, choke and then punch his 6 foot 1 inch Warrior Coach, PJ Carlesimo at a practice session.   

(Carlesimo was not only physically less imposing, but not as good a basketball player because this Fordham University guard went undrafted in the 1971 NBA draft…..)

Coach and Broadcaster Carlesimo *2

“Sprewell was suspended for 10 games without pay. However, the next day, in the wake of a public uproar, the Warriors voided the remainder of his contract altogether, which included $23.7 million over three years, and the NBA suspended him for one year.”  (Wikipedia)    

Spreewell took the case to arbitration – the first step in a long line of litigation with the Warriors and the NBA.  Schwabe hosted the first four days of this arbitration in our Portland office (the final four days were held in New York City) and in the next post, I will convey how we came to be the site of that hearing and some of the stories that surround it.

Lights   Camera    Action!

Phillip Margolin is a best-selling author of murder mysteries who until he started writing novels full-time in 1996, had a dynamic criminal law defense practice in Portland, Oregon.

He also had a solid reputation with Oregon State Bar members for his professional and civic activities including serving as President and Chairman of the Board of Chess for Success – a non-profit charity that uses chess to teach elementary and middle school children in Title I schools study skills

As stated in the biography on his website:

“…..I graduated from The American University in Washington, D.C. with a Bachelor’s Degree in Government. From 1965 to 1967, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa. In 1970, I graduated from New York University School of Law. During my last two years in law school I went at night and worked my way through by teaching junior high school in the South Bronx in New York City.

My first job after law school was a clerkship with Herbert M. Schwab, the Chief Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals. From 1972 until 1996, I was in private practice specializing in criminal defense at the trial and appellate levels. As an appellate attorney I have appeared before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Oregon Supreme Court and the Oregon Court of Appeals.

As a trial attorney, I handled all sorts of criminal cases in state and federal court and I have represented approximately 30 people charged with homicide, including several who have faced the death penalty. I was the first Oregon attorney to use the Battered Women’s Syndrome to defend a battered woman accused of murdering her spouse.”

I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed all of the 27 books he’s written.  The Last Innocent Man was his second novel and rated a 3.91 out of 4.00 on the Goodreads literary website.  Like any major best seller, reviews vary such as the two below:

“This book was on the chronicles list of best ever thrillers… Inexplicably. It reads like it was written by a second grader and the only reason I finished it was because I was too lazy to get up off the beach.” (2010)

However, I shared the perspective of this reviewer:

“Like always, the Portland, Oregon Author does it again!!! Very fast paced and the Trial of the crime, always so Awesome!!!” (2020)

An HBO “Classic” – set in Portland *5

HBO decided to produce a movie on the novel which is based on a fictitious Portland attorney.  I don’t recall exactly how – probably at the recommendation of Margolin who knows a number of Schwabe lawyers – the network approached us about using our Portland office to film several scenes.

We negotiated for the film-work to take place on nights and weekends and they used our law library and a partner’s office.   Dick Templeman, our outstanding Director of Facilities and Support, remembers the location manager being “pretty demanding” but they left everything in good order, for example, repainting the library after they had transformed it into a color meeting their specifications.

When having preliminary talks with both the NBA and HBO, they advanced the assertion that having these events take place at the firm would enhance the firm’s status and reputation.  One has to question, however, whether any potential clients would choose Schwabe just for the potential and unlikely opportunity to ride the elevator with co-stars Ed Harris and Roxanne Hart, both of whom continue to have good acting gigs in their early seventies.

That said, there may have been some clients and staff who would have loved to walk the halls and chat with Clarence Williams III (Linc Hayes of Mod Squad fame).  In the movie, ee played D.J. Johnson and the only really memorable line uttered after he was advised he could remain silent, was: ” Fuck the right to remain in silence! Call Silverman!”

“Linc Taylor” passed away in 2021 at 81. *8

I have to admit that I never saw “The Last Innocent Man” (and will put it on my future list after “The English Patient”…), but what kind of critical acclaim did it garner?  While getting six ACE (American Cinema Editors) nominations in 1988, it received no awards.   

The IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) reviewers were also not overly impressed and it chalked up 6.3 out of 10.0  Typical of the reviews was this 2002 comment captioned “Mediocre Perry Mason Stuff”:

“The Last Innocent Man” is a predictable, by-the-numbers journeyman tv flick with Harris playing a top criminal attorney.  In it’s somewhat long two-hour run time, this-jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none flick, manages to squeeze in murder, investigation, trial, romance, sex, dirty cops, a pimp, a sting, a crazed killer, etc. without distinguishing itself in any particular way. Filler for late night cable”.

To show how culture has changed in thirty-four years, it should be noted that one rating database stated, “Warning to the faint of heart, this movie does contain a few nude/sex scenes!” 

And  if trying to decide whether to view it, I would not be persuaded by this somewhat ludicrous remark from a guy who had a “formidable” bias with his comment captioned, “I Was in This Movie”   

“This excellent movie was filmed in Portland……A thriller to say the least with twists and turns. A must see. (I can be seen walking past Meshach Taylor (Crosby) at the motel murder scene, as I walk out of camera, I shun a reporter. I was a plain clothes detective (extra))”.

Now, I’m old enough to remember the comedy (1986-93) in which Meshach Taylor won an Emmy, but those who weren’t, will have to click on this link.  

Meshach Taylor *9

In Closing…..

Before devoting the next Beerchaser post strictly to the Spreewell arbitration, I have to add one more story about Phil Margolin.  Two years ago, I read Fugitiveone of his novels taking place in Portland that I had previously skipped.

One of the primary characters is a senior deputy district attorney, named Mike Greene – the boyfriend of protagonist, Amanda Jaffe, a criminal defense lawyer. I thought I remembered this character from a few of the other Margolin mysteries.  

Mike Greene is one of my favorite Portland lawyers.  Now retired, he was a national authority on legal malpractice and diabetes discrimination matters.  We go to the same church and based on his work with the American Diabetes Association (Chair of the National Board of Directors from 1994 to 1995 and continued involvement since 1982), I asked him to speak to the firm about the disease.

Greene formed a legal advocacy program to fight discrimination on behalf of people with diabetes. He and former Portland Trailblazer, Chris Dudley, who also is a diabetic and active in this work, gave an impressive presentation.  (Dudley also created the Chris Dudley Foundation, an Oregon-based group intended to improve the lives of diabetic children.)

 (Greene top and Margolin bottom *10 -11)

Now the Portland Bar is a “small community” and Mike is about the same vintage as Phillip Margolin, so I e-mailed him and told him I was reading Margolin’s book, stating:

“I know that a number of novelists name characters after friends and/or colleagues and this seemed to be more than a coincidence.”

He responded:

”Phil has been a friend for decades. I purchased at a Diabetes Auction, the privilege of Phil using my name.  He liked the name and character he created to use the name.  I am now in five of his books.  What a purchase?  A piece of immortality?  It’s fun.  I have been asked about this by many people over the years.” 

So if you are reading any of the following Margolin novels, look for Mike Greene:  Wild Justice (2000), Ties that Bind (2003), Proof Positive (2006), Fugitive (2009) and Violent Crimes (2016)!

Cheers!

External Photo Attribution

*1 (https://www.ebay.com/itm/363658716932?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290)

* 2  Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P._J._Carlesimo_2015_cropped.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author: MavsFan28 – 26 September 205

*3 Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillip_Margolin#/media/File:Phillip_Margolin_cut.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Author:  UAwiki – 11 November 2011.

*4.  Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/183404631782669/photos/pb.100050566242576.-2207520000../3564642426992189/?type=3)

*5 (https://www.amazon.com/Last-Innocent-Man-Ed-Harris/dp/B000CN9VS2)

*6  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ed_Harris_by_Gage_Skidmore.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Gage Skidmore – 22 July 2017.  

*7  https://alchetron.com/Roxanne-Hart

*8  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Williams_III#/media/File:Clarence_Williams_III_Mod_Squad_1971.JPG)  Publicity photo of Clarence Williams III from the television program The Mod SquadThis work is in the public domain in the US because it was published in the US between 1927 and 1977, inclusive, without a copyright notice.

*9  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Meshach_Taylor_in_NY2011_photo_by_lia_chang.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Lia Chang -17 May 2011.

*10 (http://rgdpdx.com/michael-greene/)

*11 (https://www.phillipmargolin.com/about-phillip-margolin.php)

A Decade of Beerchasing!

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  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 and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

I guess it is appropriate that my 300th post on Thebeerchaser blog be a celebration, of sorts – ten years of this retirement hobby – started in August 2011.  My plans for a more formal gathering in the early fall were delayed by the pandemic and will be held in 2022.

Some Background

After first working in the public sector and then legal management for the the last thirty-years of my career – the final twelve as the Chief Operating Officer at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm – a 150 attorney firm with its principal office in Portland, Oregon, I retired in early 2011.   

A retirement present from the firm – note the name of the wine which was appropriate….

Since I spent many of my waking hours working, there was some concern about how I would handle retirement.  But from the first day, I loved it.

There has never been a boring period whether it was from trying to remaster the oboe – I had abandoned after junior high – with lessons, traveling with my wife of thirty-one (now forty-one) years, playing with the blessings to come – four granddaughters, enjoying the Oregon coast or what became my primary hobby – a blog named Thebeerchaser.com.

The seed germinated before retirement was sown with visits to two great dive bars – The Stanley Rod and Gun Whitewater Saloon in Stanley, Idaho and Lumpy’s Landing in Dundee, Oregon.  It prompted the crazy idea to personally experience and then tell the story of bars and breweries – initially just in Portland – but shortly thereafter, all through Oregon and parts of the US and even a number in Europe.

The books and bar guides shown in the picture at the start of this post, are some of the references I used in framing my posts.

So Thebeerchaser.com was brewed –  starting slowly and with the help of two wonderful and talented friends who created the two logos I’ve used (Teresa Maclean and Jud Blakely), I slowly (and often painfully) learned how to use WordPress to convey the impressions on my subject. 

It was not a technical commentary on my favorite beverage, but narratives on the history of the bar or brewery, interviews with the regulars and bar staffs, descriptions of the trappings and what distinguished the ambiance from other watering holes.

Early on, I also decided to relate the stories of individuals or groups (primarily those I knew personally) who may not have had any connection with bars or beers, but had an interesting story and made a notable contribution to society in my humble opinion.  These soon came to be “honored” with the moniker of Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter.

This is an eclectic group and past recipients include lawyers (some worked at the Schwabe firm), authors, athletes, clerics, musicians, environmentalists, military heroes, academicians and athletes.

Also three family members – Janet, my wife, in part, for supporting and joining me on many of my Beerchasing travels, my brother, Rick, for his remarkable career in the Navy which culminated as skipper of the nuclear sub USS Spadefish (SSN 668) and most recently, my Dad (F. Duane Williams – FDW), who although he passed away at the age of 54 in 1973, left a notable legacy.

For a composite list of these remarkable individuals and groups and some additional background, check out the following Beerchaser link for the 2020 post entitled, “Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter (Who,What,Why? – thirty-five at that time. 

Since I have expanded on my tribute to lawyers with multiple posts and composed several chapters to my Dad’s story in 2021, the count now is thirty-six which I hope to expand more diligently in 2022.

Some Statistics

Not once have I considered commercializing this blog – it’s strictly a hobby, so I don’t have to worry about deadlines, number of viewers, etc. That said, since I worked in a law firm for twenty-five years where statistics translated into economics i.e. compensation, I do have some interest in the metrics of my blog.

I will also freely admit that my posts are usually too long – they average 1,677 words for the ten years, but for the last five the average has increased to 2,136 and this one is over 3,000 (sorry!), which discourages most viewers from reading the entire post – even with the pictures scattered through the narrative.   But this trend, probably won’t change since I’m writing primarily for my own enjoyment after framing numerous legal management memos during my career that bored even me – the author!

And while Thebeerchaser.com is a hobby, I have been delighted with the additional exposure it has gotten every year which leads to more interactions with people from all over the world.   

My wife says I spend more time these days on the computer than when I worked and since my 299 posts have generated 501,485 words, she’s probably right.  Unfortunately, the pandemic has essentially curtailed my visits to new locations since early 2020

Up to that time I had visited (usually twice for each one counted) 366 establishments of which 119 were in the Portland metro area and the other 247 scattered through God’s country and beyond. It’s almost impossible to identify a few favorite watering holes, but the photos above show four of them. In reviewing my galleries for this selection, I note with sadness that a number I could have included are no longer in business.

I also state – with disappointment – albeit with some anticipation, that in the last two years because of lockdowns and our own caution in dealing with COVID, I’ve added only nine premises to that total – seven in Portland and two in Bellingham, Washington – a very nice town we visited on a long weekend with lots of breweries, expansive parks and a nice college.  At both the Boundary Bay and Aslan Breweries, we were able to eat on decks with plenty of ventilation and mask protocols.  We will return!

Diverted, but not Diminished…

Instead, my blog posts have been devoted to catching up on the narratives of the forty-nine bars and breweries we visited on an extensive Montana road trip in 2019 – six days with Don flying solo and the remainder after I picked Janet up at the Billings Airport to continue our trip through the Dakotas, Wyoming and Idaho before returning to Oregon.

A wonderful 2019 road trip filled with watering holes and National Parks and Monuments

I also offered reflections on life during a worldwide pandemic, memories from high school and working around lawyers, sarcastic comments about technical reviews on beers, and updates on some of my Beerchasers-of-the-Quarter along with miscellaneous other trivia from my files – those that my wife insisted I clean out during the pandemic.

The blog now has 411 “followers” – individuals who get an e-mail every time there’s a new post.  I also realize that my metrics pale compared to some of the blogs I regularly follow and have gotten to know the authors – something I will elaborate on in a future post. 

In 2021 Thebeerchaser.com garnered a total of 28,500 views from just over 20,000 “visitors” – up from the comparable figures of 6,800 and 4,800 in 2012 – the first full year of the blog. The majority are people searching the internet and land on “Thebeerchaser.”

An increase in viewership through ten years

Although just over 90% of these views are from the US as one would expect, the exact localities in the 104 other countries where views have emanated in 2021, fill me with curiosity. 

This includes three from Iceland – a place I hope to eventually visit and raise a mug of their Kaldi Fresh Breeze beer at the Micro Bar on Second Street in Reykjavik after seeing the Northern Lights.

Related Benefits

Besides the opportunity to quaff hundreds of great craft beers (although I will always opt for a PBR Tallboy), the blog has presented many other ancillary benefits.  One I’ve written about numerous times is becoming involved in the planning of the Benedictine Brewery on the grounds of the Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary and which opened in late 2018.

The Brewery and St. Michael Taproom has since expanded and been very successful – even during a pandemic – under the skillful management and superb brewing skills of Fr. Martin Grassel, who has become a good friend.  It also led to my service on the Abbey Foundation of Oregon Board of Trustees for which I just started my second three-year term.

I’ve also had the pleasure of speaking about my Beerchasing journey to four Rotary Clubs in Oregon – West Linn and Lincoln City in person and Lake Oswego and Bend over ZOOM – a new and challenging experience in public speaking –  it was hard to tell if anyone was laughing at my bar and lawyer jokes…..During the in-person presentations, I, at least, knew that they weren’t!

Learning a lot of history and geography while researching the places I’m reviewing has been rewarding; however, the most beneficial and lasting aspect of this retirement pursuit (without question) has been the diverse range of people we’ve met while Beerchasing.  

I met people ranging from loggers in Wallace, Idaho at the North Idaho Mountain Brew pub; to an Alaska fisherman – a guy in his fifties named Bill – at Darwin’s Theory in Anchorage, who in the ’70’s used to transport marijuana in the fenders of his big Lincoln across the country.  And there was Irish Mike, who journeys twice yearly on his Harley from San Francisco, to Lincoln City, Oregon.

Irish Mike is a burly, bearded guy and designated the “local ambassador” at one of my favorite dives – The Old Oregon Saloon on the Central Oregon Coast.   As I was taking pictures, he motioned me to come over to him, reached in his wallet for some dollar bills and told me to plug the juke box adding “Don’t screw it up!”

Then there was the regular at Eilers’ Place in Pueblo, Colorado, who coincidentally happened to be in the bar with three friends after the bartender responded to my question about the history of the bar. She took out the photo below to demonstrate that the bar has always been a family oriented place and asked:

“You see that mama in the photo holding her baby – second from the end?  Well that baby is sitting in the booth right over by the door.” 

I went over and introduced myself and he shook hands and he said, “I’m James Mohorcich, but you should just call me ‘Horse.’  I live across the street and I’ve been coming here for at least forty years.”

“You can call me, “Horse.”

I’ve met some wonderful bartenders and owners from Phoebe Newcombe – who gave me a baseball cap she autographed on my first Beerchase in 2011 at the Brooklyn Park Pub, to  Andre’, from Macedonia, who had an infectious smile, a warm personality and joked with us notwithstanding a very busy bar at the Little Missouri Saloon in Medora, North Dakota.   

On one of our East Coast swings we visited the Marshall Wharf Brewery in quaint Belfast.  This Maine town of a little less than 7,000 was founded in 1770 and like our Portland, the name (derived from the Northern Ireland city) was determined by a coin toss. 

There, Kathryn, our friendly bartender, went through the list of their brews (German beer is their specialty) and talked me into trying a  German Rauchbier – a smoked malt beer – Marshall’s Deep Purple Rauchbier (6.0%).  Beer Advocate described it as:

“Smoke on the water!  This Bamberg (Germany) inspired smoked ale is Bacon in a Glass (emphasis added).  Very polarizing beer – you either like the style and taste or you never want to drink it again…..”   

I loved it.  Of course, what food or drink with bacon infusion wouldn’t I savor…..?

Kathryn at Marshall Wharf Brewery

I love the bars in Montana and won’t forget  one of my favorite regulars of Thebeerchaser’s Tour – Fritz – who had his own stool at the Antler Saloon in Wisdom, Montana.  About fifty miles away from that great bar, I had a long chat while nursing a Miller High Life with Tom Davis, the “seasoned” owner of the Wise River Club.

He emigrated from Scotland in 1964 and told me, “In those days if you had an accent and could sing, you could make some money.”  He formed a band and played lead guitar. Tom and his group fronted and toured with Sonny and Cher, the Mamas and Papas and in the Northwest with Portland’s own Paul Revere and the Raiders.

And, by chance, when I walked in one late Saturday afternoon, after reading about them in the book “Montana Watering Holes,” I had a memorable and extended conversation with Dick and Charlotte Sappa, the legendary owners since 1973 of the Blue Moon Saloon in Columbus Falls, Montana.   

It’s purported to have the longest bar in Montana and is known for its legendary taxidermy including a polar bear.  I was fortunate to get a tour of the “Upper Room” – filled with exotic trophies – by their son, Bill“something we don’t usually do for strangers……”

Three “Unforgettable Characters“!

I can’t end without naming three of the most unforgettable people I’ve met strictly as a result of this hobby – again hard to narrow the candidates down – but they stand out – John Runkle, the late Brian Doyle and Matt Love.

John Runkle, who up until one month ago, was the owner of my favorite and most iconic bar I visited in the ten years – the Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Montana. 

I spent two days in Yaak and stayed in the Wolf Room at the Yaak River Lodge which John still owns.  (His goal is to move to Texas.)  John has charisma and both a personality and heart as big as the Montana sky.  (He also claims to be the only sixty-year old with three kids under five (four, two and three months!)

I met the late author, Brian Doyle, in 2013 after I wrote a letter and asked him to meet me at his favorite bar (the Fulton Pub) so I could interview him for Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter honors.  To my surprise, he agreed.  He was a wonderful human being who left a legacy at the University of Portland, where he was on the faculty, the basketball courts of the Boston City League and most notably fans of great literature.  His award-winning books and essays are mentioned in the post I dedicated to him – Brian Doyle – Beerchaser Eternal

Matt Love, is a fellow Oregon City High School grad who lived in Oregon City during his junior high and high school years and graduated from OCHS in 1982.  He is a prolific author (nineteen books) who owns the Nestucca Spit Press – a small publishing company.  His repertoire, to name a few I’ve read, includes Oregon Tavern Age – an exploration of dive bars on the Oregon Coast – something Thebeerchaser relished.

Add to this list, “The Bonnie and Clyde Files – How Two Senior Dogs Saved a Middle-aged Man.”  In 2009, he won the prestigious Oregon Literary Arts’ Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for his contributions to Oregon history and literature. 

Matt and I after communicating by e-mail for several years, finally met last fall – joined by another OCHS grad – former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Jim Westwood at the Falls View Tavern.

Matt’s writing style, his humor and rich descriptions are especially evident in his 102-page tome on dogs entitled Of Dogs and Meaning.- it’s absolutely captivating – and I make that assertion even though Janet and I have never had a dog during our 41 years of marriage.

Besides Matt’s own heart-warming stories from athletics, teaching and most notably, of his own dogs – Sonny, Bonnie and Clyde, and Tex, he relates canine tales ranging from those involving George Washington, James Madison, John Kennedy, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill and WC Fields.  And of course, his years in dive bars yield a few good anecdotes:

“I met a dog in an Oregon Tavern who fetched cans of Hamm’s for humans from behind the bar, but only Hamm’s. Budweiser was out.”

A Wonderful Book from the Nestucca Spit Press

Matt also has a big heart and compassion and respect for others.  His latest project is a newsletter entitled “The New American Diaspora.”   You can (and should) subscribe by clicking on the link:

“I coined the phrase the New American Diaspora to describe the growing phenomenon of those people living in homelessness and those people checking out of the so-called American dream and taking up residence in the margins.

The focus of this newsletter is on Oregon where I live. I float around the state. I don’t necessarily hold my observations and interactions out as representative of what’s happening elsewhere around the country, but perhaps they are.”

Say Goodnight, Geoff!!

For the finale and to further explain why Montana will always be my favorite Beerchasing state, I have to leave you with a tune by an affable old guy named Geoff at the Yaak River Tavern – across the street from the Dirty Shame Saloon (but no comparison on the ambiance). He was playing guitar and singing – on a bar stool at the bar – nursing one of a number of beers he had consumed that day/night and telling stories.

I told the owner that I was buying him a beer when he came in the next day (he didn’t need any more that night…) and to credit his account.   So Geoff sang us his favorite song.  This is an excerpt although it essentially captures all the lyrics in 19 seconds…. (When the lyrics have “palm trees,” “banana,” “beach” and “Montana” in the same verse, you know there’s creativity!)

Geoff Rocks Out

Cheers and Happy New Year!

External Photo Attribution

*1 – 2  Facebook Page – Micro Bar – Rekjavik, Iceland (https://www.facebook.com/MicroBarIceland/photos/a.305930982827754/30593102949441

*3  Kaldi Brewery Website (https://www.bruggsmidjan.is/is/bjorinn/kaldi

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Moon_and_Aurora.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.  Author:  Wa17gs  6 April 2017.

October Origins

(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser.  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 and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

The Origins of Beer

In previous posts, I’ve talked about the legacy of Benedictine Monks in the history of beer which dates from the 5th century along with the great story of St. Brigid of Ireland.  This remarkable woman was a patron saint of several things, including dairymaids, cattle, midwives, and newborns. But there’s also evidence of an equal passion for beer.

“…..when the lepers she nursed implored her for beer, and there was none to be had, she changed the water, which was used for the bath, into an excellent beer, by the sheer strength of her blessing and dealt it out to the thirsty in plenty.”

Going back further, Wikipedia chronicles the earliest archaeological evidence of fermentation — 13,000-year-old residues of a beer near Israel.  The earliest clear chemical evidence of beer produced from barley dates to about 3500–3100 BC, in western Iran. 

“During the building of the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, each worker got a daily ration of four to five liters of beer, which served as both nutrition and refreshment that was crucial to the pyramids’ construction.”

Egyptian Worker Happy Hour…..*3

Well, my education on the history of beer was supplemented last week, when my good friend, “West Coast Dave Hicks,” a consultant with whom I worked at my law firm before I retired, sent me the following article, which of course, piqued my interest:

http://Ancient Poop Shows People In Austria Enjoyed Beer And Blue Cheese 2,700 Years Ago) 

Blue Cheese and Beer After Work…..*4

Dave is one of the smartest guys I know, having graduated first from Princeton (cum laude)  where he was also a bass in the famous Princeton acapella singing group, The Nassoons. and then from University of San Diego Law School – including a semester of study in Paris.

He then started his consulting career, which has taken him all over the world.  On his trips to Portland, there have been numerous memorable Beerchasing expeditions. 

The diverse watering holes we hit included the Horse Brass Pub, Sloan’s Tavern, the Double Barrel, Reel M Inn and Richmond Bar, to name just a few, where we have raised a mug and eaten unhealthy pub food.

The article relates how archeologists found evidence of what may have been the first cheeseburger and beer combo!

“Several thousand years ago, an Iron Age salt miner took a dump in what is now …… Austria. In all likelihood, the pooper never gave their little deposit a second thought.

He would be rather surprised to learn that it has now become a scientific artifact, enabling researchers to discover that Europeans ate blue cheese and drank beer 2,700 years ago.”

Thanks to Dave for keeping us informed and the next time he comes to Portland, I guess we need to come up with beer name to honor the ancient “dumpster.”  Since I don’t think either directly or indirectly referencing fecal matter in the name of a beer would fly, what about “Outhouse Ale?” 

But what brewery would take this on?  Fortunately, through research, I noticed that there is an Out.Haus Ale Brewery in Northwood, New Hampshire.  Perhaps they would brew this on as a seasonal basis.

The Origin of “Dirt”!

From Dirty Donnie to Dirty to Dirt…

I often get questions from those who view the header of Thebeerchaser (credit is due to my long-term friend, fraternity brother and Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter, Jud Blakely) which has the moniker, “Don ‘Dirt’ Williams,” where this moniker originated.   Often, the questioner suspects it was based on some nefarious exploit from my college years.  

Well to set the record straight, it did emanate from college, but from my fraternity brothers at the SAE house at Oregon State University.   I was on an NROTC Scholarship and in my freshman year, decided that to get in shape and because I admired my fellow frat bro and NROTC, colleague, Walt Ebel, I joined the Army ROTC group named “Raiders.”  Walt had signed up previously.

In retrospect, it was kind of ludicrous.   On Saturday mornings, we would dress up in utilities, go down to the Armory on campus and then run several miles holding rifles, do the obstacle course and try to look cool.  Well, at that time, my height was 5’10” and I weighed about 120 pounds dripping wet.

There was an illustrator named “Hutch”, who made a decent living by doing cartoon caricatures of OSU students.  He would tour the dorms and fraternities and feed off the comments of colleagues of his subject to create his image.  Hutch was quite talented.

So when it was my time, there were about twenty of us in the SAE living room and my peers started yelling, “He’s a Raider.”  Well, below is the end product.

From “Dirty Donnie,” to “Dirty,” to “Dirt”!

And “Dirty Donnie” hit a chord.  It then mutated to “Dirty” and then just plain “Dirt.”  Although my time in Raiders was less than one year, that appellation has stuck for over fifty years.  And I love it!   

When my younger brother, Rick  also an NROTC midshipman, joined the SAE’s several years later, as one might predict, his nickname became “Dust.” 

Dust when he was not grimey….

An example was twenty-five years after OSU graduation, while I was working for the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm in the PacWest Center.   The Building Manger was Doug Bean and Associates, a high-end commercial real estate firm.

Doug Bean was a fraternity brother at OSU and transferred to the U of O where he graduated and then formed his very successful real estate and property management firm.  He had an office in the PacWest Center as did I. 

When Doug would see me in the lobby, he would yell across the space in a booming voice which caught the attention of other people in the lobby of the thirty-floor high-rise, “Hey Dirt. How’s it going?”

In retrospect, the original college label of “Dirt” has kept me grounded, let to many down-to- earth conversations and I’m proud to say that Dirt remains a part of my identity!

The Origin of Freeland Spirits – Part II

Why is Thebeerchaser Touting Bourbon? *11

In a recent Beerchaser post, I wrote about a relatively new distillery in NW Portland that is a great story.  I became aware of this enterprise when my son-in-law gave me a bottle of Freeland Spirits Bourbon a few months ago.  It was the best bourbon I’ve ever had and I researched the origination of the the business.

“Freeland Spirits celebrates the women of the craft. From the gals who grow the grain, to those who run the still, we’re creating superior spirits that celebrate all the Northwest has to offer.”

You should check out the story of how co-owners, Jill Kuehler and Molly Troupe demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit, opened Freeland in 2017 and have never looked back – even during a pandemic.   Well, they are expanding and had the Grand Opening of their new Tasting Room on N. State Street on October 14th.  They’ll be open daily from noon to 6 PM.

The new tasting room in Lake Oswego *14

And Speaking of Outhouses….

With apologies for redundancy to regular followers of Thebeerchaser, but since I talked about poop in this post and it’s the month of Octoberfest, I feel it appropriate to restate one of my favorite lawyer stories from my post:  https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/05/27/lawyers-continued-summer-associates-part-i/

In this litigation – filed in the early ‘90’s, a Portland resident filed a $53,220 lawsuit against the Mount Angel Octoberfest claiming the portable toilet he entered was pushed over by unruly patrons. His lawyer claimed:

“Plaintiff was violently thrown around the inside of said portable toilet, became intimately mixed with the contents thereof, sustained a fracture of his right wrist as well as other contusions and abrasions.”

“Intimately mixed with the contents thereof…”

Unfortunately, I could not determine the result of this lawsuit and assume – just like the contents of the overturned chamber – it settled. Thus, a jury never had to contemplate either culpability or damages as a group exercise – one which might have proven to be an odorous task.

Cheers

*  External Photo Attribution

*1.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olaf_Simony-Jensen_-_K%C3%A6lderinteri%C3%B8r_med_munke_i_festligt_lag_-_1904.png

*2.  Wikimedia Commons – Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic. Author: Wolfgang Sauber – 21 July 2011.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigid_of_Kildare#/media/File:Saint_Non’s_Chapel_-_Fenster_3_St.Bride.jpg)

*3  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:EMS-89615-Rosecrucian-Egyptian-BeerMaking.jpg)  Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.  Author: E. Michael Smith Chiefio 12 May, 2007

*4  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Salzbergwerk,_Deutschen_Museum.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Germany license.   Author:  High Contrast – 2010

 *5  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human_Feces.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.  Author:  Cacetudo 29 May 2006.

*6  Out.Haus Ales Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Out.Haus/photos/10158449282739118).

*7  Wikimedia Commons (http://By U.S. Army – U.S. Army, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45595228) Source: US Army 2015

*8  Oregon State NROTC Alumni Website (https://www.osu-nrotc-alumni.org/) Courtesy Jud Blakely.  

*9  Doug Bean and Associates Website (http://dougbean.com/people-2/doug-bean/

*10  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – PacWest Center 

*11 – 14   Freeland Spirits Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/freelandspirits/photos/?ref=page_internal)

*15  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Outhouse,_Lake_Providence,_LA_IMG_7386.JPG) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Author:  Billy Hathorn – 17 May, 2013

Beerchaser Miscellany – the Advent of Autumn

Steeplejack Brewing

(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 so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)

As we move into autumn, my hopes of returning to full-fledged inside Beerchasing are temporarily delayed although my first visit to the new Steeplejack Brewing’s on NE Broadway a few weeks ago convinced me I need to return in the future.

My friend, John Limb, just retired Publisher of the Catholic Catholic Press and I had lunch there and marveled at what co-owners Brody Day and Dustin Harder had accomplished to save this wonderful 112-year-old historic church (which might have otherwise been developed into condominiums) and to refurbish and restore it into a great brewery and brewpub.  

Restored and refurbished

Since I have not a whit of architectural or interior design expertise or comprehension, I will not attempt to give any description other than to say that this church building, originally dedicated In 1909 by then President of the United States, William Howard Taft, as the First Universalist Church of Good Tidings, was breathtaking and impressive.

 The following article from the July 21st New School Beer and Cider article goes into more detail. (see link)  I have been impressed in two phone conversations with Brody’s upbeat, but modest persona – plus his vision including their plans for a second facility in Hillsboro outside Portland, which is now in the planning stages.

In fact on their website, the owners – college buddies at the University of California at Santa Cruz, omit any reference to their own impressive entrepreneurial experience and talk strictly about the excellent brewing, culinary and management staff they have assembled.

Now the menu appears to be somewhat limited at this point, but the Smash Burger and fries we had were excellent and the beer befitting of the experience of the two female Brewmasters, who are both industry veterans.  Anna Buxton was working on a batch on their impressive equipment a few yards from our table. (* external photo attribution at end of post.)

*1 Anna Buxton

I had a pint of the Hermit Kolsch, (5.2 ABV), a lemony, fermented ale with a nice taste and John had the Gravity IPA, for which there was no information on their website.  If these are representative, Steeplejack will not only become known for its architecture, but its suds! 

Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter Update

I have been remiss in 2021 in publishing one of my favorite features of this blog – the Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter (BOQ) features an individual or group that may or may not have anything to do with bars or beers, but has made a contribution to society and has a good story. 

While past “honorees” have included war heroes, athletes, academicians, authors and media personalities – most of whom I’ve know personally, the only recognition bestowed this year was in another one of my posts on lawyers published in May based on my forty years working with these characters:  https://thebeerchaser.com/category/beerchaser-of-the-month-or-quarter/

That will change in the near future, but here’s an update on five past BOQ’s I’ve featured.

Dr. Sam Holloway

Those of you who bemoan the trend of the corporate brewery behemoths to acquire or absorb independent craft breweries will be encouraged to learn that Sam Holloway, who co-founded and is the President of Crafting a Strategy, entered a new partnership in August.  He is also an award-winning professor in the Pamplin School of Business at the University of Portland:

UniteCraft Corporation, a collaboration of three brewing industry veterans, launched UniteCraft.com. This new online platform of web based applications enables the highly fragmented craft beer industry to enjoy the economic benefits previously only experienced by large breweries and brewery collectives.

(UniteCraft) has partnered with Sam Holloway to level the playing field against “Big Beer”.  UniteCraft’s mission is to use its proprietary technology to organize the collective power of independent craft breweries, to expand market opportunities for any brewery, and to help small breweries create healthier businesses.”

Jay Waldron (and Shane)

I featured my former colleague at the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm, Jay Waldron, as my BOQ in March 2016.    https://thebeerchaser.com/2016/03/29/jay-waldron-rugger-rafter-rider-and-lawyer-beerchaser-of-the-quarter/ 

It was to convey not only his public service contributions including Chair of the Oregon Health Sciences University Board, President of the Port of Portland and Chair of Metro’s Transportation Committee or his accomplishments as a trial lawyer, but his athletic achievements. 

These include induction into the US Rugby Hall of Fame in 2017.  Oh yeah, then there’s his rafting adventures on the Upper Yangtze and his motorcycle racing and treks. As pointed out in a January 2021 article on NBC Northwest in January by another BOQ, Dwight (The Godfather) Jaynes:  

“But (Jay) is not the most famous person in the family these days — at least since last week, when his son, Shane, was named offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks……

After growing up on five acres in the family log home in Carver, Shane played football at LaSalle High School, Phillips Academy Andover and Tufts University in Massachusetts. After his playing career as a tight end and long-snapper at Tufts, he caught on as an operations intern with the New England Patriots, launching a career that carried him all the way to the Seahawks

…..with stops at Notre Dame, New England (again), U-Mass, the Washington Football team, Eventually he was hired by the Rams as a tight ends coach, then became passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach under head coach Sean McVay.”

As an aggressive litigator, it would not be surprising if Jay, based on his rugby exploits, tried to persuade Shane to toughen up his players by eliminating helmets and implementing a “scrum-type” offensive strategy.  Fortunately, his son will be getting his direction from Seahawk Head Coach Pete Carroll.

John Terry

A superb historian and writer

Former Oregonian long-time history columnist, John Terry was one of my first BOQ’s. Many of us looked forward to his superb and interesting weekly accounts of Portland’s fascinating and colorful heritage and were aghast when first, the Oregonian reduced it to a monthly gig and followed by discontinuing it permanently.

As another BOQ, Portland attorney, Jim Westwood lamented:

“When The Sunday Oregonian discontinued John Terry’s weekly articles on Oregon history, I sighed and told myself I’d get used to turning to something else first thing every Sunday morning. How wrong I was. How long has it been now, a couple of months? It’s an eternity. I miss John Terry’s lively, superbly researched articles.

I miss them desperately. I’m frustrated and angry that The Oregonian could have taken them away without considering making them at least a monthly feature. Sunday will never be the same, and it hit me again this morning…..The Oregonian (should) resurrect John Terry and his wonderful works on the history of our state and its people.”

I sought John’s advice in 2012, shortly after I started this blog for resources on historic bars in Portland.  In his quiet and unassuming manner, he gave me a wealth of advice.  This lunch was followed by a Beerchasing event with the aforementioned Jim Westwood at the legendary Goose Hollow Inn (reviewed 1n 2012) owned by Portland’s former and most charismatic Mayor, Bud Clark.

Mayor Clark spent ninety minutes enthralling us with stories ranging from the political campaign in which he pulled off a stunning upset of the incumbent, to the unbelievable tale of how what was supposed to be a photo highlighting a campaign to combat venereal disease (“Zap the Clap”), became an internationally famous poster which still hangs in the Smithsonian Institute entitled (as will be obvious from the photo below) “Expose Yourself to Art!”

“Zap the Clap didn’t “fly”…….

We were saddened to hear that John passed away unexpectedly after a short hospitalization on March 8th.  His legacy will live on.

Jack and Jan McGowan

Oregon Environmental, Sustainability and Public Service Icons

This dynamic couple whose contributions to Oregon’s environmental health and public awareness, spanned eighteen years as founders and co-directors of SOLV (Stop Oregon Littering and Vandalism.)   (The non-profit dropped the words from its name to just the acronym in 1998 and added the E in 2012 to reflect its expanded mission in the community and environment.)

When I interviewed them in 2020 at their ranch in Sisters, Oregon, Jack smiled when he stated, “When I started SOLV had no staff, no office, no phone, 100 sheets of letterhead and $12,000 in a checking account.” The office for the first five yeas, was in the family room of their house in Helvetia.   

And from that staff of one and a budget of $12,000 to the time of their retirement in 2008 (Jan still has a thriving non-profit consulting firm) , it grew to a staff of twenty-six (now 32) and a budget of $2.6 million and tens of thousands of volunteers.

September 11, 2021 is the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as summarized in this excerpt from History.com:

“On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States.

Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.”

No caption is required for this photo…….* 11

So how does the anniversary of this catastrophe relate to Jack McGowan and his actions along with almost 1,000 intrepid Oregonians about one month after the attack? 

And in our current time of a pandemic, multiple crises ranging from wildfires to tropical storms and national controversies that have polarized our country, how can the actions of this group in 2011 be an example of attitudes and actions which can help heal the divide.  Read about the remarkable Oregon Flight for Freedom:

The following is an excerpt from Thebeerchaser.com post on Jack and Jan McGowan.

 “In 2001, we were all stunned by the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City.   But Jack, having grown up there (Jackson Heights) said, ‘When I saw the Towers go down, it affected me viscerally.’

Portland travel agency icon, Sho Dozono, his wife Loen, the late Commissioner Nick Fish and Oregon Congressman David Wu, John Ray along with Portland influencers, Len Bergstein and Elaine Franklin collectively began orchestrating the concept in the lobby of KGW television studios shortly after the attack on NYC.

At the time, Jack was co-hosting the local part of a national broadcast and pledge drive for the rescue workers.  Elaine Franklin originated the name “Flight for Freedom” and Loen Dozono came up with the vision of a “Reverse Oregon Wagon Train” – only by air.

When New York City was struggling with the aftermath and people were avoiding airline flights as being too hazardous, they decided let’s get a group of Oregonians and “Fly to New York City, look terrorism in the face and not blink!”  *12

Jack and John Ray went three days early as an advance party to pave the way for the official flight, which included Oregon dignitaries including Mayor Vera Katz.

The unique group of about 500 flew into Manhattan where the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel was virtually empty.  (Delta Airlines gave a great deal on cost of the flight.) Few people were going to Manhattan unless they absolutely had to – especially tourists. 

The Oregonians filled the hotel –  the only cost was for the room tax.  All other lodging expense was gladly absorbed by hotel management.  The Flight was covered by national and international print and broadcast media. And according to Jack:

‘New York City went crazy!  Cops hugged us.  We went to a restaurant and when the maitre’d announced that we were the group from Oregon, we got a standing ovation and multiple parties debated as to whom would pick up the bill for the meal.

We met with Rudy Guliani and Governor Pataki and had appearances on Good Morning America and Today.'”

This post is already too long and I won’t include one of the best Jack McGowan stories I’ve heard – and there are many – (It brought tears to my eyes when he told it.)   

The picture above shows when Jack and several of the Oregon delegation rang the traditional opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with Richard (Richie) Grasso the President of the New York Stock Exchange in their midst.  (Check this link so you don’t miss it….)

And in Closing……

Stay safe, get vaccinated, wear a mask, help your neighbor, patronize your local restaurants, bars and breweries – even if it’s eating outside or getting take-out and pray for our health-care workers, emergency responders and teachers.

*17

External Photo Attribution

*1-3  Steeplejack Brewing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/SteeplejackBeer/photos)

*4-6 Crafting a Strategy Website (https://craftingastrategy.com/users/sam-holloway) and Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/craftingastrategy)

*7-8 Shane Waldron Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/shane.waldron.14/photos)

*9 Oregon Business Magazine – December 2003 Issue https://www.oregonbusiness.com/component/search/? searchword

*10  SOLVE Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/SOLVEOregon/photos/?ref=page_internal

*11 Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:North_face_south_tower_

(This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.  Author: Robert on Flickr

13-16 Oregon Flight for Freedom Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/Flight-For-Freedom-191666124219332/photos 

*17  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Syringe2.jpg)  

 Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 

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)

Lawyers Continued: Summer Associates – Part I

In an August 2020 blog post I did an initial tribute to attorneys naming them Beerchaser-of-the – Quarter – Part I.   This was based on my forty years working with them – not as a lawyer, but as a legal manager.  After working with lawyers at both Clackamas County and the Oregon State Bar, the last twenty-five years of my career were spent at the Northwest Regional law firm, Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt.

259913_192824340769353_4183453_n

While first serving as Business Manager, I retired after twelve years as the Chief Operating Officer of this 150 lawyer firm headquartered in Portland, Oregon which then had four branch offices, the primary one being in Seattle. (Oh yes, for awhile, we also had a lobbyist in Washington, DC. as well.) My beerchasing hobby started in August 2011, eight months after I retired.

Herding

Herding Cats – A retirement present – Look at the label on the bottles!

While most people really like their own lawyer, the group as a whole, seldom receives accolades and is often subject to stereo-typical and often pejorative labels.  

As is true in any profession, I know that a number of attorneys are egotistical jerks, flaunt the ethics of the profession and would not be good drinking companions.  That said, my 40+ years working with lawyers in three different organizations were rewarding and an opportunity to interact with ethical, smart, dedicated advocates who have amazing work ethics and elevated senses of humor.  Many cherished friendships resulted.

Wikipedia - Public Domain

“It is the trade of lawyers to question everything, yield nothing and talk by the hour.” *1

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

Below, you will glean some information about the amazing backgrounds, and without exaggeration, the incredible talents and abilities of the law students who would seek employment at Schwabe and other firms during the summers of their first two years at law school.  While we also hired both new lawyers and lateral attorneys who hadn’t gone through the summer associate program, it was the best source of new lawyers.

If they performed well during those summers and had positive personal interactions with attorneys and staff, they would be offered a job at the firm when they graduated contingent on their passage of the State Bar in their jurisdiction.

Competition among law firms was intense for the best students as these were the future of the firm.   And the law students also went into overdrive to get a cherished clerkship. A small number would eventually make it to partner – usually after about seven years – and others would enhance the economics of the firm and be esteemed colleagues until they moved on.  And while everyone worked hard, Schwabe was a very collegial firm with a great culture.

During the 1970’s and until economics and the changing practice of law dictated otherwise, we recruited by sending two of our lawyers to the top law schools to interview prospects on campus.  Most, besides Stanford, were on the east coast including the Ivy League Schools, the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan (shown in the photo above).

If they were selected and chose our firm, the law students would spend the next one or two summers in Portland or Seattle demonstrating that they could explain the nuances of such stimulating topics as the Rule of Perpetuities or the five factors considered under the Daubert Standard, work well with others and that they had the personality and drive to ultimately bring in new clients.

For the most part, we ended this expensive east coast recruiting  practice in the first decade of the new millennium, realizing that most of the top students at these schools would take clerkships at the Wall Street firms or the mega-firms on the east coast where beginning associates who essentially had very limited experience would be making well over $100,000 per year (+ bonuses) even then!

Concurrently, we realized that those who excelled at good law schools in the Northwest might not have the sterling academic pedigree, but were just as smart and motivated as Ivy League stock.  Besides, they often had relationships with people on the West Coast that could become good clients.

These “kids” had a good situation.  Once they got to the firm, they were wined and dined at lunch and dinner, participated in lawyer-league athletics, got a lot of hands-on mentoring and attended professional sporting events and concerts where they had great tickets.   They were also paid extremely well for their efforts which did not require inordinate working hours.  (They would encounter these if they became associates……)

Before they arrived, we had them complete detailed questionnaires on their interests, experience, talents, etc. – information which probably didn’t arise in the personal interviews on campus where they were selected.  This was so the people at the firm would be able to get acquainted more quickly.  When they arrived in early June, we also gave them an all-day orientation about what to expect and tips on how to be successful.

Based on assertion in the memorable epigraph by eighteenth century English essayist and poet, Charles Lamb, at the beginning of To Kill a Mockingbird, I decided that for my thirty minute orientation spiel, rather than bore them talking about firm Management, I’d tell them a little about their summer associate colleagues – their lives and activities outside of law school and before they decided on that academic route.

 

Charles Lamb

Lawyers, I suppose, were children once. *8

Who were these elite students sitting beside them (or on video link from Seattle) and what made them interesting and worth joining at a bar after work for a pint of IPA?  For many years during the heyday of legal economics, we would hire about fifteen clerks each summer.

Most of these wiz-kids did very well and unlike at some big firms where they would cull substantially, Schwabe made associate offers to about 85% of its summer clerks and our acceptance rate was very high.  (It should be added that law would be a second career for a number of these individuals or they had worked for a period between college and law school.)

(Note:  With the pandemic, most of the summer associate programs were temporarily discontinued and before that, law firm economics significantly reduced the number of summer clerks in many firms to single digits.)

Below, I have combined the data on the summer associate classes at Schwabe for a three-year span (2005 and 2007-8.  I either lost the file for 2006 or they were a boring class.)  I think this will demonstrate the exceptional nature of these young students. 

I have to add, that based on their accomplishments, while one might expect them to be very confident and brash, they as a group, were almost without exception, well-rounded, modest and very personable.

Languages besides English

Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, Persian (just learning….), Basque and Pig Latin (we loved this guy!).

Previous summer jobs or occupations

Waiter/waitress, receptionist, paralegal, English teacher, reporter (once interviewed Toni Braxton and Santana), AV technician, college admission counselor, life insurance sales (80-hour weeks for twelve weeks with top sales awards), risk analyst, consultant, co-director of Victoria Secret store.

Manager, engineer, barista, quality assurance analyst (in a waste treatment plant?!), UPS worker, chauffer, church youth director, customs broker, computer network engineer, manager of a wilderness backpacking firm, semi-pro football player, survey researcher (tracked Wisconsin vendors who sold tobacco to minors), Russian interpreter (dealt with international trade and environmental matters), high school vice principal of discipline and supervision, business manager at Party City.

High school chemistry teacher, credit risk analyst, personal banker, grass seed farmer, jewelry salesperson, drugstore clerk, general manager of Fun-time Fireworks, fire prevention specialist (coordinated Smokey the Bear appearances).  Fortunately, there were no sparks and we did not have to mediate any disputes between the fire prevention specialist and the manager of the fireworks operation.  

This post is getting too long and the other categories for which I have data were also very interesting and I’ll cover these in my next post.  So stay tune.  They include sports in which they participated, hobbies and interests, past volunteer or civic activities, education besides law school and foods they liked – or wanted to avoid.  Remember, they got to dine out just about every day because it was a good chance for our lawyers to meet them and see how they acted in an informal setting.  

I want to conclude this post, however, with a letter from one law school student – not from the summer associate program but who applied for a job upon his future graduation from law school.   

He was from a very good law school in the Midwest and his letter was unforgettable – at least to me – which is why I’ve kept it in my archives for thirty years.  The internet is a marvelous research tool and I have to admit that I did a successful search for the author of this missive.

I’ve decided to black out his name and most of the details although my instinct is that this guy just had a dry sense of humor and was trying to remedy an embarrassing error with jocularity.  Unfortunately, he did not get hired.   

That said, he’s done well during the ensuing years.  After graduating from law school and passing the state and federal bars, he’s had an impressive career in legal education, legal professional associations and a stint as consultant for an international mega-firm.  He currently works at a university on the east coast.

After consulting with some of my attorney friends, I may actually call the guy, introduce myself and just ask him how this happened and his thoughts about this long-ago missive.   If he’s like most of the lawyers I know, he would laugh about it and we might ultimately end up having a beer together at some point.

Law clerk letter 1

Bad judgement or a dry sense of humor?

Photo Attributions

*1.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – Lady Justice 

*2.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – University of Michigan Law School

*3.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – PacWest Center 

*4. Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.- US Bank Centre Seattle – Author: Cumulus Cloud – 8/1/2008

*5.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – Willamette University College of Law

*6.  Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0Lewis and Clark Law School – Author: lbcstud – 6/3/2014

*7.  Wikimedia Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0University of Washington Law School – Author: Joe Mabel – 8/11/2009

*8.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – English Essayist and Poet Charles Lamb

*9.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – Smokey the Bear

*10.  Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons – Fireworks show

Beerchasing Miscellany – Emerging!!

Cheers!

While the global pandemic still hangs over our collective heads, with the numbers vaccinated in the first several months, there is at least some emergence from the darkness.

However, in many localities case numbers are not getting better with the vaccines; they’re going up. With cases rising for seven straight weeks, the World Health Organization said Covid-19 is still spreading exponentially around the world.

One reason may be that, although the experts reminded all of us that the vaccines would not mean life would get back to normal right away, many people are still behaving as if they didn’t hear or believe a word of that warning. We still need to be mindful of social distancing and wear masks.

There are still lockdowns and restrictions in many locations – varied and nuanced from country-to-country, state-to-state in the US and even county-to-county based on examples in Oregon.

But at least headlines and broadcast media narratives are not ubiquitous reports of doom and gloom in which we have been immersed for the last year. And by using common sense and moderation, we can go forth – carefully……

Thebeerchaser Story – From the Beginning

I started this blog in 2011 when I retired from the Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt law firm where I worked for twenty-five years – the last twelve as the COO.   The story of this blog – Thebeerchaser.com was related – quite well recently – by Cassie Ruud, the talented Editor of Bridgeliner – an online newsletter in Portland, Oregon. delivered to your in-box from Tuesdays through Fridays.

See the article at this link: https://bridgeliner.com/%f0%9f%8d%bb-portlander-don-williams-takes-us-beer-chasing/

There was also a lesson for me.  I initially disagreed with an issue in the newsletter and was ready to rant and send a sarcastic response, but instead sent a diplomatic missive to Cassie.  To my surprise, she responded with a very cogent response which made me realize that I was incorrect, and also see that she has a great online source of information. 

We also found that we had something in common – a fondness for the Old Oregon Saloon in Lincoln City.  Cassie had been a reporter earlier in her career in this city on the Oregon Coast and had seen my review of the Old O posted in 2014.

Take a look at Bridgeliner Even if you are not a Portlander, it has some good features and articles and provides another great opportunity to support local journalism.

Beerchasing Resumes – One Year Later

My wife and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary with our first real venture away from the Portland area in almost a year with a day road-trip up the Columbia River Gorge and returned by the Mt. Hood Loop Road (Highway 35).   Not one of the long journeys we love through Montana and the West, New England or the Southwest, but a full day in our own beautiful state. 

The Columbia River Gorge

Heading east just out of Portland we marveled at the continuing distinctive panorama.  On our left – the varied barge traffic along the River with Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and even Mt. Rainer in the distant background. 

On the right – jagged cliffs, many with majestic cascading waterfalls and views of the mile-long freight trains starting or finishing their cross-country journeys.

We stopped for beers and lunch (see below) and walked the path along the Columbia through the picturesque village of Hood River.  On the return route we took in the orchards outside of the City, were captivated by the rugged Northeast side of 11,250 foot Mt. Hood *** and appreciated the lush old-growth timber that surrounds the highway. 

We’d made this trip before, but never after a year like 2020.  We were seeing the wonder anew!

It gave new meaning to the assertion of my favorite philosopher/writer/theologian –              G. K. Chesterton

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land: it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” (public domain)

Excuse the Digression…

You might wonder about the asterisks above – it was after the initial comments about marveling at the NE side of Oregon’s Mount Hood on the trip back home.   Well, that’s because I have a fondness for the Cooper Spur Trail which starts at timberline and proceeds along the impressive Eliot Glacier

The trail ascends – about 2,500 feet in elevation gain from the trailhead up the northeast route to the 8,500-foot level.

bo-bisa-cooper-spur-large-2

In the summer of 1990, when my oldest daughter was just seven, I wanted to expose her to the joys of backpacking.  So her Uncle Dick (a frequent hiking companion of mine) and I decided to take her on about a three-mile jaunt and camp for the night.  I had done the entire 36-mile Timberline Trail around Mt. Hood twice and thought a short section of the Trail would be perfect.

I looked in a NW backpacking book and remarkably failed to notice the elevation gain on the Cooper Spur hike.  We navigated the eleven-mile gravel road in and started the hike on a beautiful day. 

We soon rose above timberline and I realized from viewing the switchbacks ahead that it was going to be a challenge – not a level jaunt through the forest  – I would also have to carry Lisa’s backpack if she was going to make it.

But after several very strenuous hours, we reached the top of the trail as you can see from the picture of our green back-pack tent. 

20120601095619_00127A (2)

We camped right below Tie-in Rock – that’s where climbers rope up for the final ascent to the summit on this more rigorous route than the south-side – the most climbed.  The sunset was spectacular and the sunrise the next morning was glorious and capped an adventure young Lisa would never forget – nor would her dad and uncle.   

That said, when her mom asked her how she enjoyed hiking through the forest, Lisa responded, “Oh Mom, we were way above the trees almost the entire time.”  And when Janet saw the pictures, she admonished me, “If you ever take my baby on a hike like that again, &%$#!”

Lisa persevered that day in spite of her fatigue.  Today, she lives in Seattle with her husband, Jamie and two wonderful daughters.  She earned her Master’s Degree in Nursing at the University of Washington and is an oncology nurse.  And I’m thrilled that she and her family love to hike.

Beerchasing Resumes – In part!

At our stop in Hood River, while we didn’t go inside either Ferment Brewing or Pfriem Family Brewers, we had a great experience, especially at Ferment – founded in 2018.  It receives high praise in social media for its nice grounds and beautiful tasting room with large dark wooden tables on the second floor.  

Ferment Brewing Company

The expansive views of both the Columbia River and the brewery hardware on the ground floor through floor-to-ceiling windows make it an outstanding environment.  It’s a twenty-barrel craft brewery that self-distributes bottles and cans throughout NW Oregon and recently into Washington. 

We’ll look forward to taking in the tasting room when conditions are more “normal” – probably in the fall when on a brisk and windy Gorge afternoon, we can order one of their kombucha cocktails or their mint hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps topped with whipped cream.

An 8/29/2019 Oregonian article referenced plans for a “Portland public house and tasting room to open in 2019 on close-in East Burnside,” but that has not happened at this point.

It has a large deck on the second floor with plenty of large tables which enable social distancing without any problem.  The large open area with a nice lawn in back of the brewery with some picnic tables provides additional space in addition to area for dogs (and kids) to roam, play frisbee, etc.

Photo Mar 31, 1 59 26 PM

Ferment specializes in farmhouse and “traditional English style” ales.   You know you are going to get a quality beer.  The Brewery won a Bronze Medal at the 2020 Oregon Beer Awards for its Bier de Garde and more impressively, a Gold Medal at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival for their Pale Ale in the English-style category.  

The accolades for the Pale Ale continued in 2020 with a Silver Medal at the US Beer Open Championships (also one for the Pils Czech-Style Lager).  I had a Kolsch which was a very refreshing brew.   And we both had one of their cheeseburgers with fries – reasonably priced and delicious.

Dan Peterson, the head brewer who has degrees in microbiology and genetics at the University of Vermont was also head brewer at Pfriem down the street.  The owner’s interest in kombucha motivated him to explore and they offer three versions for those who prefer it to a pint of their good beer.

Pfriem Family Brewing

We visited Pfriem in 2016 and had lunch and beers on their great patio which has attractive and effective fire pits.  The views and the ambiance at Ferment are more noteworthy although Pfriem has a very nice taproom where you are surrounded by their impressive brewing equipment.

The menu at Pfriem is more expansive including roasted pork, quinoa and a couple of good salads besides the traditional pub faire avialable at Ferment.

P1030873

Pfriem in 2015

Pfriem has been making its award-winning beer since 2012 when it was created by three friends who became business partners with the motto “Proudly Crafted – Humbly Offered.”  

Their awards and featured articles are too numerous to mention from both regional and national publications (Draft Magazine, Forbes and Men’s Journal, etc.) including Brewery-of-the-Year, Best of Craft Beer and Best Brew Pub Experience.  And it’s a good place to work as evidenced by inclusion in the Portland Business Journal’s Most Admired Companies.

Both of these enterprises are sterling examples of Oregon’s independent craft breweries and make significant contributions to the region’s economy and the culture of their own community.  You can’t go wrong to take in some of Oregon’s finest scenery along with Oregon’s finest beers.

Cheers and Stay Safe!

Destiny of the Dives!

(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.)

My beloved City is a MESS!

Portland, Oregon – the Rose City – again made national news last week because of continuing riots.   The city has served as an unfortunate national example of the most contentious and continuous riots/demonstrations since March.

A riot in August and still going on….

Many of those participating are exercising their First Amendment rights and feel strongly about the causes eliciting their participation.

That said, many just revel in  looting, indiscriminate violence and attacking law enforcement officers and demonstrators opposed to their views – if they even have them.

The question is how long does this continue especially given the impact on downtown businesses, many of which are small family-owned enterprises.   A 1/24 headline in  Oregonian entitled, “Pedestrians Vanish from Downtown” stated that foot traffic is down 80% from 2019.

Economist, Bill Conerly

Well known Oregon economist, Bill Conerly, describes the current situation and the implications in an excellent article in Forbes Magazine entitled “Death Of A City – The Portland Story.”

The impressive high-rise building in which I worked for twenty five years now has a fence around it to prevent vandalism and Starbucks and other vendors have disappeared from its lobby. (They were possibly going to remove it after the Inauguration.)

PacWest Center –Now fenced off and mostly vacant lobby.

This led the Oregonian in a January 22, story to ask, “What are we Marching for?  On inauguration days in Portland, protestors and observers wonder alike.”

“An on-the-ground view of Wednesday’s protest shows the lack of cohesion, the divergent ideas of what constitutes free speech in Portland and the turbulence of the crowd…..’I don’t know where the %*#% I’m going, but I don’t give a *&^%,’ yelled Princess Warner (20)……’This is the worst *&^% march I’ve ever attended,’ another one yelled.”

Other than hoping that someone shows Princess the *&^%$ way to Disneyland, I won’t make any other comments except to say, the riots are a primary factor contributing to the demise of my beloved dive bars (and other businesses.)

A grunge bar with character…

Just a few blocks away from where this unlawful assembly occurred and my former office, is the diminutive Yamhill Pub – not a dive, but a noted grunge bar that I featured in 2015 – home of $1.50 PBR Happy Hours.

In my last post I wrote about the GoFundMe campaign to save the Yamhill – struggling to survive based on pandemic considerations and restrictions.  Although the pub had a Facebook post on January 5th, nobody answered the phone tonight (Friday) – not a good sign.

https://thebeerchaser.com/2021/01/07/leaving-2020-in-good-taste/

The grunge bar interior at the Yamhill

The Concern….

I have written about dive bars before in Thebeerchaser – first trying to define them in 2011 – “Analyzing Dive Bars Head First” but also periodically citing the concern about their continuing existence.  A Portland Mercury article in 2016 featuring the Portland Dive Bar Preservation Society stated:

“Portland’s lost a bunch of dive bars recently. A few were absolute shitholes that deserved to disappear, but most were victims of circumstance and change. A number of other bars have changed ownership and been fancied up to suit the modern market. Dive bars, if not endangered, are at the very least under threat.”

This 2016 piece listed twelve classic Portland dives that might be endangered:

Reel’ M Inn, Billy Rays, Kenton Social Club, Georges, the Trap, Ship Ahoy, Blue Diamond, Tavern on Denver, Checkered Flag, My Father’s Place, Slims, Water Trough Saloon and the Lariat Lounge

Billy Ray’s – Still a Neighborhood Institution

The good news is that of these, only two have closed permanently – Tavern on Denver and the Water Trough Saloon although the legendary Reel ‘M Inn – known for its fried chicken and jojos since 1994 – is closed indefinitely.  Fortunately, the others are still pouring cheap Budweiser to regulars.

West Coast Dave Hicks at the Reel M Inn

That said, every week one can read about other bars or breweries that have not weathered the pandemic lockdowns or the depressed economy.  The following January article from Portland Eater gives a fairly extensive list of the bars and eateries (about eighty) that have closed since the Pandemic.

I would add to that list the following three bars:  the Old Gold, Paydirt and the Oregon Public House (closed indefinitely.)

Since the Oregon Public House was an innovative community experiment, we hope that later this year they will reopen and not only serve good beer, but also continue their support of deserving non-profit organizations in accordance with their motto – “Have a Pint – Change the World.”

“Have a Pint – Change the World!”

For memories sake, I will just mention a few closures of the almost 400 bars and breweries visited and reviewed by Thebeerchaser since 2011 and the links will take you to the reviews if your are interested. There are two on the list of closures that I will highlight, because they break my heart and if you read the reviews I wrote, you will understand why (Links over the name)

Crackerjacks Pubthis wonderful pub – “a beloved dive bar and pizzeria for more than 30 years” – I visited twice in 2014 and was the closest to a Cheers ambiance of any in the ten years I’ve been on this exploration of watering holes.   

Thebeerchaser outside one of his favorite stops on the Tour

Sam and Jimmy – two gems met on Thebeerchaser’s Tour

The first visit was with my good friend, “West Coast Dave Hicks” and not only was the food great – as it was on the second visit – but the Manager – Sam and the cook, Jimmy were wonderful and friendly people.

The Tanker Bar – this beloved dive bar at the east end of Portland’s Barmuda Triangle “spent the last decade serving cheap well drinks and airing Blazer games.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my most frequent Beerchasing companions – Portland lawyer, Jim Westwood and former Beerchaser-of-the-Quarter – whose mom was my high school Latin teacher for two years, accompanied me in 2013 and also translated the motto – in Latin on the bar’s logo – for me “In heaven there is no beer, so that’s why we drink it here.”

The regulars will miss the Naughty Bingo Nights each Tuesday which had a signature cocktail list featuring The Naughty Bingo Martini.  Jesse, the bartender, was a class act and helped make this early stop on my tour of bars a memorable one.

Jesse and Jim Westwood share stories at the corner of the bar

Sidecar 11 – this upscale “hole in the wall” bar visited in 2013, was not one of the most memorable, but distinguished itself with signature cocktails and an  impressive wine list.  The bar also featured great art by local artists.

One of the many good bars on Portland’s Mississippi Ave, Sidecar 11 closed “after years selling barrel-aged cocktails and whiskey flights.”  It also had a beautiful backbar displaying an incredible array of whiskeys.

The General and Aaron

As usual, the bartender, Aaron, was friendly and I also enjoyed my companion, retired lawyer and Air Force National Guard General, Larry Paulson, who after he left our law firm became the Executive Director of the Port of Vancouver until his retirement.

Portland Brewing – This one is also based on sentiment because my former law firm (Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt) represented them for many years.  Our partner, John Guinasso, who provided excellent legal counsel to the Brewery for many years, would periodically bring a case of their flagship beer – MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale – to the office on Friday afternoons and we would toast the end of the week.

The brewery was founded in 1986 and has flourished with a great taproom and restaurant:

“(In 2008,) it was sold to Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing and then this entity was acquired by North American Breweries in 2010 and based in Rochester, New York. Two years later in 2012 this conglomerate of breweries was purchased by Florida Ice & Farm Co., based in Costa Rica.”) 

And that, my Beerchaser friends, illustrates why we should be concerned with the future of independent breweries as well as the neighborhood dive bar.

A Hint of Optimism

I’ll close with at least some good news.  A number of existing bars and breweries – those with a combination of sufficient space, adequate capital and management creativity and just plain grit – have either expanded or innovated to stay open and in some cases, grow and prosper.  Below are some captions for the stories on these enterprises:

Buoy Tap Room – Expansion Planned

Astoria’s Buoy Beer and Pilot House Distilling Are Preparing for Growth Along the Columbia River – Willamette Week (wweek.com)

http://Migration Brewing Is Opening Its Fourth Location in the Former Hopworks Space on North Williams Avenue – Willamette Week (wweek.com)

Produce Row Cafe Has Reopened Its Patio for Service After a Two-Month Closure – Willamette Week (wweek.com)

The great patio at the reopened Produce Row

The Owners of Roscoe’s Have Turned an Old-School Chinese Restaurant Into the Craft Cocktail Bar North Portland Has Long Needed – Willamette Week (wweek.com)

Beerchaser Regular Westwood at pre-pandemic Beerchase at Mad Hanna

https://www.wweek.com/bars/2020/12/16/one-northeast-portland-dive-bars-plan-for-surviving-the-pandemic-transitioning-into-a-general-store/

The owners of Mad Hanna have come up with one of the most innovative ideas by integrating a new General Store adjacent to the bar and I would bet that it will continue to thrive after the pandemic is over.

If you have not checked out this wonderful neighborhood-dive bar, you should definitely put it on your list and try their $4.50 Happy Hour peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I am grateful to my friend Hillary Barbour, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Burgerville. who introduced it to me and I returned with Beerchaser regular, Jim Westwood. (And Northwesterners, if you have not tried Burgerville take-out during the pandemic, you are missing out.)

And you can see others examples.  For instance, last weekend Church Bar – whose motto is “Eat Drink and Repent” – did a live, virtual concert entitled, “Save Church Bar.”

Mansfield toasting 95 patents at Church

I certainly hope this innovative bar with great ambiance survives so my former Schwabe colleague, Intellectual Property attorney, Jon Mansfield, can again post his 95 Patents in commemoration of Martin Luther’s 1517 masterpiece “Ninety-five Theses” on the entrance.

16th Century Theologian Martin Luther

As you can see by the example from the photo above while Jon was drinking a cocktail at the bar, he and the great theologian have a striking resemblance!

Onward and Upward

But all of us – whether in Portland, Boston or Amsterdam – can help these establishments to survive until they reopen and normal Beerchasing can occur.

Get a gift card, or order takeout – food and/or a growler (tip well!)  (The Oregon Legislature passed a bill this month in Special Session in which bars can now sell cocktails-to-go provided some food is purchased with the highball.)  Or just call the owner or manager, offer encouragement and tell them you will return when you can.

Because the alternative, if many of these independent entrepreneurs go out of business, is their locations to be absorbed by Applebee’s or a bar such as the Yard House – a sterile chain of bars owned by the same corporate entity as the Olive Garden and in my 2016 review I concluded that it did not “measure up.”  (Are you prepared for unlimited garlic bread with your pint of beer?)

Portland’s Yard House – Is this the kind of entrance you want to see on your neighborhood bar?

Wear Your Mask, Stay Safe and Blessings in the New Year.