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Portland

All citizens deserve a voice and representation. And all lawyers have an obligation to assist people and organizations that otherwise would have no access to the justice system.

We have embraced the American Bar Association’s challenge to law firms to commit three percent of their total firmwide billable hours to pro bono work, and have recently instituted a policy that all attorneys contribute at least 50 hours to pro bono work each year.

Our attorneys have a broad range of interests and political philosophies, and they are free to pursue their diverse interests within the guidelines of our pro bono program. These projects are often emotionally demanding and may even involve unpopular causes or clients. But they’re always rewarding.

World War II Tokens Returned to Families
During World War II, Japanese soldiers took with them into battle a token known as a “yosegaki hinomaru,” which is known as a Good Luck Flag.

A nonprofit called Obon Society has been locating such flags held by the families of American World War II soldiers and, with help from some contacts in Japan, has been finding the families of the lost Japanese soldiers and returning the flags to them.

Portland counsel Ron Ragen has been providing Obon Society with legal advice for several years, continuing this work in 2016, and is proud to help his good friends who have given their lives for this cause of peace and reconciliation.

Vulin and Bingold Achieve Great Settlement Result for Their Client in Contentious Negotiations 
Associates Ashley Vulin and Elizabeth Bingold settled a case in August 2016 for a pro bono client in the U.S. District Court of Oregon’s pro bono/pro se program with the state agreeing to pay their client $132,000. That is a great result for their client, who lost five months of his life after a wrongfully revoked probation. It is a testament to Ashley and Elizabeth’s advocacy—mustering proof of the state’s missteps and Kafkaesque decision-making—that they were able to achieve the settlement.

Prisoner Is Awarded Compensation for Mistreatment
Portland associate Christie Totten handled the case of an inmate in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections. Representing himself, he brought an action for damages against the state. The prisoner alleged that when he was suicidal, prison guards, rather than taking him to prison medical facilities, put him into a disciplinary cell and encouraged him to carry out the suicide. Other guards eventually intervened, but only after the prisoner injured his wrist in a suicide attempt.

To be able to prosecute the case, Christie first defeated the state’s motion for summary judgment. She then conducted discovery and completed all trial preparation tasks, including the pretrial order and witness statements.

Important Constitutional Law Case Won by Associate at Oregon Supreme Court
In one of the most important constitutional law cases in Oregon in recent years, Portland associate Alan Galloway won a decision in 2015 that allows the courts of Oregon to consider the merits of cases involving important issues even when the case becomes moot—that is, when the court’s decision will no longer affect the parties’ interests directly. Read more about this important case.

First-year Associate Wins at Oregon Appeals Court on Behalf of Wheelchair-bound Veteran
Associate Caitlin Shin won a ruling in August 2015 from the Oregon Court of Appeals on behalf of a wheelchair-bound veteran who was denied transportation to a medical appointment by a state contractor.

The two-judge panel found that even though our client no longer had need for the specific appointment, Oregon’s law providing for a capable-of-repetition exception when determining mootness applied in his case.

Portland Associates Help Undocumented, Unaccompanied Minors Seek a Safer Future
Undocumented minors who have entered this country unaccompanied by adult family members and without any family here into which they can be placed are particularly vulnerable. In 2016, our Portland associates Bethany Coleman-Fire and Caitlin Shin partnered with a nonprofit law firm called Immigration Counseling Service to assist these young people with their immigration matters. “These kids have often faced obstacles we are barely able to imagine,” says Shin. “They just want to grow up safe, work hard, and be productive members of society.”
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