Friday, March 25, 2016

Making change

So to follow up on my last post, I am now deep into the Portland Mayoral race, with the primary election on May 17th rapidly approaching. It's been an interesting and fruitful campaign so far, and I am looking forward to the next few weeks of work building toward the ballot. You can visit my campaign website at to learn more about my policy vision, and my plan for Portland. I'm excited to help bring Bernie Sanders' momentum, democratic socialism, and concern for working people into the mayoral race. My platform revolves around new revenue for affordable housing, raising basic infrastructure standards across Portland, reforming the police bureau with a focus on social justice, and bringing Portlanders' voices back into City Hall. I'm representing renters, hourly wage earners, and housing-cost burdened households. We need a mayor that isn't beholden to wealthy campaign contributors, or to corporate interests. I'm a dedicated public servant, with no stake in the political-financial-industrial complex that is funding my major opponents in the race. I believe that we've got to try a different approach to politics if we want to change things for the better. Money cannot be allowed to be the final arbiter in our democracy, or that word ceases to have any meaning. Tell your friends. It's time for Portland to elect a mayor who will work for the people, not corporations.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


One aspect of the law that I've been pondering a bit lately is the intersection of the legal profession and politics. Attorneys go into many professions, but it's the lawyers who take up politics who ultimately set the ground rules for the rest. Combine that with the adage that all politics is local, and it suddenly makes local politics much more interesting. One political phenomenon that has been sweeping the nation lately is the rise of Bernie Sanders. Americans get very excited about Presidential elections. The reality is that many of the most important races will be those further down the ballot. When you vote in the primary election this year, remember to complete your ballot. Every vote counts!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Experience matters

In the job hunt, experience matters more than almost anything else. Your personal charm and amazing resume might get you an interview, but experience - proven experience - almost always gets the job. Yes, personal connections make a difference when two potential hires have comparable backgrounds, but experience always comes first. During law school, I worked as a volunteer on capital cases with the Oregon Justice Resource Center's Death Penalty Project. I wanted to get experience working on appeals, and enjoyed the challenge of researching and briefing issues exhaustively. Transcript summaries may get somewhat tedious, but civil liberties issues first interested me in the study of law, and there is no liberty more fundamental than life. Given numerous exonerations, and DNA testing that can help to overturn decades-old convictions, capital defense remains an important specialty that is helping to make justice a reality for capital defendants. My civil liberties interests were fully indulged during my summer externship with the ACLU of Oregon, where I had the opportunity to work on issues ranging from free speech to search and seizure. My research and writing skills were put to work in defense of the bill of rights, and it felt good to see tangible results. We worked on everything from researching the constitutionality of proposed laws to preparing FOIA letters.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The adventure begins

This blog started as a way to chronicle my life and times as a student at Lewis & Clark. Most of the posts from my law school days are cross-posted from my official blog at Lewis & Clark. Now that I have earned my J.D., I hope to turn this blog into a place to reflect on the legal profession, the law, and my take on what is good and bad in legal news. Thanks for dropping by, and feel free to reach out with suggestions, praise, or constructive criticism.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Thanks for the memories

Thanks for the memories Becoming a part of the Lewis & Clark family has been a lot of fun. The people I have met and the opportunities that I have enjoyed during my time here have validated my choice to become a Pioneer. Although I will miss the daily interactions on campus, life after graduation does not mean life without my Pioneer family. It seems like I run into a fellow Lewis & Clark Law graduate nearly every time I leave the house. Portland is a fairly large city, but the legal community here has the feel of a much smaller place. We’re all in this together, and the Oregon bar has been supportive and welcoming of new graduates. Attorneys are generous with their time, and offer helpful advice and reassuring words to this new J.D. as he seeks to find a place in the thriving legal community here. It has been a great pleasure to share my experiences as a student at Lewis & Clark, and I hope that my blog posts have provided at least a small window into what it is really like to earn a law degree at Portland’s law school. Thanks for taking the time to visit, and I wish you all the best.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Almost there...

Almost there... As the weather turns cold, and leaves change their colors, law students set up camp in the library, ready to pursue their studies for another year. A new crop of 1L students starts to settle in to the rhythm of law school, while the 3Ls begin to recognize that the end is near. This fall term has been a blur, with work, school, and personal life all rushing headlong toward December. My summer externship ended in early August, allowing me a few weeks of rest and relaxation before resuming classes. Kayaking and some belated spring cleaning helped to clear the way for the final approach to graduation. The return to school was a tough adjustment after taking almost a month off, but it was great to reconnect with all the good friends I have made in my time at Lewis and Clark. Early in the term, I finally had a chance to bring my band on campus, as we played for an ACLU event on campus. Although keeping up with non-school activities can be a challenge in law school, I highly recommend maintaining a creative outlet for yourself. People in the legal profession love to have something to talk about that isn’t related to law, and it never hurts to have something fun and interesting to digress on. The last term of law school is a good time to reflect on the experience, and to look ahead to life after law school. Although the pressure of classes remains, the job hunt has become a bigger piece of the picture. As important as classes and job hunting are, however, it is the relationships we build during our time in law school that have the biggest impact. Friendships and professional connections are likely to have a bigger impact on your life after law school than grades or externships. Make the effort to get to know your classmates, and your professors, and your time in law school is well spent.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sensational Summer

Sensational Summer As the saying goes, the second year they work you to death. There is, however, an easy way out of this dilemma at Lewis and Clark: switch your class load to part time. I made the choice back in December to reduce my class load, and I couldn’t be happier. At that time, my expectation was that I could enjoy a reduced class load, and still stay on my original graduation schedule. I was wrong. It’s good to take a break from the daily grind and get some fresh air. Instead, I’m switching back to full time status for my third year of law school. According to my sources, the third year is when they bore you to death. Rather than suffer such a fate, I plan to finish my J.D. one term early. Just one more benefit of Lewis & Clark’s vast array of scheduling options, in combination with a little summer school. This summer, I’m picking up three credits through an externship. Volunteering my time for credit at the ACLU of Oregon has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my law school experience. Thanks to the extra credits, I am moving my graduation up to December of this year. On top of that, I am gaining incredibly valuable experience and perspective on the world of public interest law. I’ve had a chance to do meaningful work on the constitutional issues of the day, while also building my legal research and writing skills, and even had the opportunity to make a presentation to a panel of attorneys. The externship program has allowed me to structure my volunteering around my own educational needs, and has been great for my confidence and competence as a legal professional. Of course, summer is not for work alone. I’ve also had a chance to engage in recreational activities, with a focus on running whitewater. Oregon is blessed with an abundance of wild and scenic rivers, and with a climate that makes summer the perfect time to explore them. Unlike the rest of the nation, temperatures here have remained moderate so far this summer, making outdoor pursuits a pure pleasure. My adventures have taken me to rain-fed coastal rivers, glacier-fed high-desert waterways, and dam-controlled whitewater in the lush Willamette valley. I’ve found that keeping a balance between work and fun lifts my spirits, and also provides plenty of grist for conversation when networking. This is perhaps the most important, and most overlooked, part of being a law student. Making the connections you will need as an attorney is a crucial part of making the most of the law school experience. Career services at Lewis & Clark has great programs on campus, and the school engages in a lot of community outreach, but the key is putting yourself out there. Join a bar association or two, add yourself to some legal networking lists, and get some face time with the members of your preferred bar. There is no time like the present for making connections that will serve your future.