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Friday, October 17, 2014

The first known attorney of Chinese descent admitted to practice in Oregon

On July 30 of 1907 the Morning Oregonian reported that a Mr. Seid Gein had been admitted to the bar in Oregon.

Admission to the Oregon Bar and the practice of law was a significant step into Oregon society. Before his admission Mr. Seid was already a respected member of the Portland community. Indeed only a few weeks earlier on July 14th the Oregonian reported that Mr. Sied had left a job with the U.S. immigration service upon being reassigned to St. Lewis. His status was such that A new position was created for him in the Immigration office after he was compelled to resign as interpreter.


At the State of Oregon Law Library we have in our collection two of the orginal Oregon Bar attorney rolls. These books contain the handwritten names of all attorneys admitted respectively from 1844 to 1848 and 1888 to 1974. You can see the line where Mr Seid was admitted on June 17, 1907.


Mr. Sied's stature only grew after his admission to the bar.


The early days of the Oregon bar are filled with firsts and interesting characters. The SOLL contains a wealth of resources to research the early days of the Oregon courts. Attorneys admitted during the year to the Oregon bar were listed in early editions of the Oregon Reporter. Stephen Armitage, a Supreme Court staff attorney, has written an article discussing the bar admission examination from 1865 into the 1900s. This is the same examination Mr. Seid would have undergone in 1907. Our collection includes a number of works dealing with Oregon's legal history including History of the Bench and Bar of Oregon and a collection of the excellent Oregon Historical Quarterly.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pacer Access Restoration Planned

On August 10th The Administrative Office of the US Courts abruptly announced that archives of older cases from a number of courts would be removed from PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). After being pressed by the media the AO explained, on August 26th that the removals were prompted by technical incompatibility with recent upgrades to the system.
The furor wasn’t quelled by the delayed explanation. On September 19th Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, the director of the AO, criticizing the move. The letter, acquired by the Washington Post, read in part:
Wholesale removal of thousands of cases from PACER, particularly from four of our federal courts of appeals, will severely limit access to information not only for legal practitioners, but also for legal scholars, historians, journalists, and private litigants for whom PACER has become the go-to source for most court filings
The PACER records effected and a tentative schedule for the restoration of the documents is available on the PACER website.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Notario Fraud

Notarios, Fraud and Immigration Law

            Notario fraud is a crime that victimizes vulnerable members of the immigrant community. The fraud exploits the differences between Latin-American and United States legal traditions to defraud persons seeking help navigating the U.S. immigration process.

In Oregon the problem of notario fraud has become serious enough to prompt general education of attorneys on the subject. The Oregon State Bar held a conference devoted to notario fraud on 9/24/2014. The Oregon Secretary of State, Kate Brown, gave a keynote address to the conference emphasizing the seriousness of the problem.

The notary is a common functionary in civil law legal systems. While they are called notario in Spanish they are also present in other civil law countries. They are called notaire in French speaking countries and symvoulogrpahos in Greek speaking countries. All share a common ancestor in the classical Roman tabelliones.

The tabelliones was a development of the early Roman Imperial era. Ulpian, a Roman jurist of the 3rd century, discusses the tabelliones as an established institution in the legal profession alongside lawyers, advocati, and students of law, iuris studiosi. They were responsible for recording legal documents in Latin and maintaining documents, especially wills.

 The modern civil law notary is a descendant of the Roman tabelliones. This official, particularly the Spanish speaking noratio, is a highly trained legal professional. The notario is a public official who represents a transaction rather than individuals. The notario is expected to impartially advise all parties to the transaction. Then, the notary is empowered to authenticate the finished document. This authentication is required in transfers of real property.

As a public official required by law to professionally and impartially prepare and advise on the preparation of documents, the notario is an important and trusted part of Latin American legal systems. Immigrants from Latin American countries are used to looking to notaries for legal advice. This trust is used against them in notario fraud. Some unscrupulous American notaries take advantage of the similar language to confuse persons seeking immigration advice. They provide untrained and often inadequate advice.

The remedy for this fraud is to educate the immigrant population about the common law legal system and to create a well-trained cadre of attorneys ready to take on or intelligently refer immigration cases.

The State of Oregon Law Library can help! We have reference books available at every skill level.

·      Weissbrodt, D., & Danielson, L. (2011) Immigration Law and Procedure. (6th ed.). West.

o   This is an introduction to the basic concepts in immigration law.

·      Bray, I. (2011) U.S. Immigration Made Easy. (15th ed.). NOLO.

o   This is a step by step approach to U.S. immigration law intended for an amateur audience.

o   Nolo also has a website dedicated to this topic here.

·      Steel, R.D. (2014) Steel on Immigration Law. Thompson Reuters.

o   This is a encyclopedia of rules, laws and concepts in immigration law aimed at legal professionals.

·      Frangomen, A.T. Jr., & Bell, S.C. (2014) Immigration Fundamentals: A guide to Law and Practice (4th ed.) New York: Practicing Law Institute.

o   This is a practice oriented reference work focusing on the practical practice of immigration law aimed at attorneys. 

Come to the Law Library, email, or call us and we will be happy to assist you.

Your Librarian,

Lewis Zimmerman

See Also

Gröschler, Peter. "Tabelliones." Brill’s New Pauly. Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider. Brill Online, 2014. Reference. 26 September 2014 http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/brill-s-new-pauly/tabelliones-e1127910

Malavet, P.A., (1996). Counsel for the situation: the Latin notary, a historical and comparative model. Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, 19, 389

Olsen, T.B., (2012). Combating “notario fraud” locally. Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, 22, 383

Rose, J., (1998). The legal profession in medieval England: a history of regulation. Syracuse Law Review, 48, 1

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lexis Advance: New Interface

On September 9th LexisNexis rolled out their new interface. Along with the new look Lexis has made new administrative code and constitutional content available to Lexis advance users.

Lexis has made a number of guides and videos available to explain the new interface here. The PDF before and after guide is particularly useful for users of the old interface.

The heart of Lexis Advance is the unified search box. You can run natural language searches across the entire Lexis database from this box. You can also limit your search to specific sources or jurisdictions. Inside the search box there is a button labeled “Filters”. This button opens the following menu:


Using this menu you can select a number of categories to include in your search. For example checking Oregon under the jurisdiction tab and Cases under the category tab will limit your search to cases out of Oregon. The filters you have applied will appear at the top of the filters window.


You can browse the database of sources from the front page as well. At the top of the home page there is a black bar that contains a button called "Browse." Clicking on it opens an interface that lets you sort through the Lexis sources by various categories. You can also search the available sources using a small search box.


One last interesting feature is the ability to change the font and text size of results across your Lexis session. If you click on the "More" button at the top of your Lexis home page you will get a list of options that includes an option for "Settings."

Once you are in the settings menu you will be presented with a number of interface options. This will include the ability to change the font and text size of displayed documents.

If you would like any further help with Lexis Advance please stop in at the State of Oregon Law Library. We are located inside the Supreme Court building in Salem. You can ask for yours truly, Lewis Zimmerman. I'd be happy to show you around the new Lexis. 


Thursday, August 28, 2014

History of the Oregon State Fair

The Oregon State Fair is currently taking place at the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Grounds here in Salem. The state fair has been an ongoing tradition in Oregon since 1861. After the first fair in Oregon City it has been held in Salem for more than one hundred and fifty years.
In 1885 the Oregon State Legislature officially charged the state board of agriculture with the management of the Oregon State Agricultural Society and the State Fair.



Discussing the first fair in 1861 the Oregon Argus on September 7th stated:
We are a go-ahead people, and if we design to keep up with the people of other States, we must not forget that all improvements worth anything – of whatever character – are effected only by zeal, labor, and perseverance. Come up, brethren and sisters, to the work expected of us.


Next year, in 1862, The State Republican’s had a gloomier take on the state fair.
Of home manufactured articles on display was rather slim, but all that could be expected of a people who have depended on foreign manufactories so long that they can’t make a broom stick or an ax handle until poverty drives them to it.


The articles above are both drawn from the excellent Historic Oregon Newspapers website. I think we can agree that Oregonians today are filled with zeal and labor and are not only driven to axe handle manufacture by poverty.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PACER Update

PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is a distributed system that provides online access to federal court documents. On August 10th PACER announced it would be removing access to large swaths of cases from the system:

As of August 10, 2014 the following information will no longer be available on PACER:
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit: Cases filed prior to January 1, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit: Cases filed prior to CM/ECF conversion
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit: Cases filed prior to January 1, 2010
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: Cases filed prior to March 1, 2012
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California: Cases filed prior to May 1, 2001

From now on in order to access the covered cases one will have to contact the court directly.

Why PACER removed access to case archives of five courts

The Washington Post reports that the court’s migration to a new case management system is the cause of the change.

It may be possible to access some of the removed documents through the RECAP database of PACER documents.
The RECAP project is a partnership of the Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy and the non-profit Free Law Project. It consists of a browser extension that informs you when there is a free copy of PACER documents you are browsing. If there is not a copy in the RECAP database it prompts you to share the document with the database after you purchase it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oil Train Derailments

Sitting in the State of Oregon Law Library one can hear the occasional train pass on its way to or from Portland. Many of these trains contain the black squat cars used to transport crude oil through Oregon.

Recent accidents involving oil carrying rail cars have energized state and federal regulators.
  • North Dakota oil train fire – December 31st, 2013 fire that forced the evacuation of 1,500 residents of Casselton, North Dakota.
  • Lac-Mégantic derailment – July 6, 2013 derailment and explosion of a freight train carrying crude oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The resulting fire and explosion killed 47 and destroyed roughly half of the downtown area.
  • BNSF derailment in Seattle – July 24th derailment of a train carrying crude from North Dakota. There was neither a spill nor any injuries.
Oregon governor Kitzhaber has responded with a call for more rail inspectors, improved reporting and transparency.
The federal government has primary rule making power in the United State with regard to railroad commerce and safety. The feds have initiated rulemaking changes that intend to make the transportation of oil by rail car safer.