it was like in 1857. One of the problems
with the whole jurisprudence, which we’ve
been trying to challenge for a long time,
is it wasn’t very well documented. It’s very
difficult to tell. And it doesn’t appear that
our constitutional adopters cared that much
that anyone understood what they were
doing or why they were doing it. They were
just adopting the constitution from Indiana.
Q: You grew up in the ’50s and ’60s,
before modern feminism. Did you feel
there were barriers in your way, or were
you encouraged to do what you wanted?
A: I wouldn’t say I was particularly encouraged
to do anything, but I refused to accept barriers. I
just didn’t see them. I didn’t feel like I was some
big conqueror. I have always just plowed ahead.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: Hackensack, New Jersey.
Q: And undergrad in Ohio. What made you
come out to law school in Oregon?
A: Fleeing the Midwest and the New York
City metropolitan area. My dad worked in
Manhattan and took the train, the tubes,
the subway to work every day and back. It
was a rat race. I didn’t like that. I loved the
out-of-doors. Ohio is flat and boring, and I
never wanted to live there. So I looked for
a law school at a place where I might want
to live. I’d never been to Oregon, [but] I was
attracted to environmental law and Oregon
was highly rated in that.
At that time, Tom McCall, our governor,
said, “Come here and visit, but don’t stay,”
and that sounded like an invitation to me. So
I applied [to University of Oregon School of
Law], drove across the country sight unseen,
and never looked back.
Q: You ignored the second half of Tom
A: And I was glad. They were right: Go to
school where you want to practice. I met
great people and met my husband there. I
never want to go anywhere else but Oregon.
Q: What kind of volunteer work do you do?
A: Serving on legal committees, and, at the
moment, volunteering as a pro tem judge,
circuit court judge. I started that last year with
Clackamas County, and three years ago with
Multnomah County. Sometimes it’s onerous,
other times not so much, but it’s regular. I do it
once a month, generally speaking.
Q: Could you see yourself becoming a full-
A: That’s not as appealing. I love being an
advocate. I think I’m a better advocate because
I put on the black robe every now and again.
I can understand better where the judges are
coming from, and I think I have been able to
fashion some of my advocacy in a way that is
different than if I had not had the black robe on
myself, from time to time. But I don’t foresee
myself wanting to go over to that side.
Q: You’ve been practicing since ’81.
Beyond the technological, what are some
of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the
practice of law?
A: Well, regrettably, legal services have
become so pricey that they’re out of reach
for many people, and it makes it difficult on
regular people to obtain representation. That’s
regrettable. Fewer jury trials happen, so there’s
a lot less opportunity for newer lawyers to go
out and try cases like I was permitted to do in my
first and second years after becoming a lawyer.
You don’t do that any more. Our clients don’t
allow that. And the cases many times settle, so
even if you were, for instance, on the plaintiff’s
side, and the plaintiff hires you as a new lawyer,
most of the cases settle. There’s mandatory
arbitration, mediation, all kinds of things that
effectively remove the opportunity for newer
lawyers to get trial experience, and I think that’s
regrettable for them, as well as for the public.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to talk
about that I haven’t asked?
A: I know [the interview] is about being a
lawyer, but I have a great family. I have three
boys who are just darling boys that I just love,
and I’ve been privileged to be able to both
practice law and raise my boys. I tell people,
“You can’t have everything,” but I think I had a
setup that was as close to ever as being able
to allow me to practice law and be there for
them and to participate very meaningfully in
their lives. I’m proud of them, and proud to
have been able to do that.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Experienced and innovative trial lawyers
representing physicians, healthcare providers,
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other professionals in litigation throughout
Oregon and Washington. The firm also has an
active mediation and arbitration practice.
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