Schroer as in Prayer
Appellate attorney Janet Schroer on repair work,
you have to know everything about everything in the case
INTERVIEW BY ERIK LUNDEGAARD
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CRAIG MITCHELLDYER
Q: How are you?
A: My gosh, I’ve had a heck of a day. It’s one
of those days where you come in expecting
to do one thing, and things take a turn.
Q: Is this still a good time?
A: [Sighs] I think it’s as good a time as ever.
Q: [Laughs] You sound like you’re about to
sit down for a dental appointment.
A: I feel that way. I’m that way with
Q: This is out of left field, but how do you
pronounce your last name?
A: Schroer. Like “prayer.”
Q: Married name or …
A: That’s my real name. I got married
30-umpteen years ago and never considered
Q: Husband’s last name?
Q: So you could’ve gone with …
A: Pronounceable, spellable. It’s like an IQ
test and I fail. But my name is distinctive. You
see it, you know it’s me. You call in the state
of Oregon, there are no other Janet Schroers.
There’s not many in the whole world. So I
guess you trade one thing for another.
Q: Are you mostly an appellate attorney?
A: I am, but I do a good variety of other things.
Q: Med-mal defense, professional liability …
A: And in appellate work, I do everything:
plaintiff’s work, defense work, employment,
personal injury, slip-and-fall, business,
divorce, wills and tax. I did a dom rel
[domestic relations] thing last week in the
Court of Appeals.
In the rest of my practice, yes, I do med
mal. I’ve done legal malpractice since 1992. I
do repair work.
Q: Repair work?
A: So our insurance company in Oregon—with
mandatory legal-malpractice coverage for
every lawyer who practices here—they have a
program that allows repair work. If a lawyer
makes a mistake, they will hire someone like
me to come in and fix it, so the client doesn’t
have a legal-malpractice claim. That is, they
put them back in the same place where they
would have been had the mistake not been
made. So I come in and do that work. If I
win, they’re back where they were, and just
move forward, often with the original lawyer.
Oregon’s the only state that has a mandatory
legal malpractice—everybody has to belong
to the same professional liability fund for their
first layer of insurance—and I think it’s unique
in this repair program as well.