Category Archives: Web News

MBA CLE: Practicing Law with Invisible Disabilities

The MBA is hosting the following CLE:

Practicing Law with Invisible Disabilities: 

Tools, Insights, and Methods for Lawyers Experiencing or Supporting Lawyers with Disabilities
Thursday, June 10 from Noon-1:30 pm
Remote attendance only via Zoom
1.5 hours of MCLE Access to Justice credit will be applied for
Free for MBA members; $25 for non-members
The MBA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee will host a 90-minute CLE highlighting Oregon lawyers practicing law with invisible disabilities and how they successfully manage the unique challenges of invisible disabilities. The program will address invisible disabilities including vision, speech, and attention differences faced by hundreds of Oregon lawyers.

Attendees will become more adept at working with attorneys experiencing invisible disabilities as colleagues and opposing counsel. Those experiencing different abilities will know they are not alone and stand in solidarity with others similarly situated.

Our distinguished panel has unique insights into issues of attention deficit, organizational challenges, or communication issues and will share what they have learned and offer tools and insights. Please join us as we learn from practitioners experiencing, coaching, and supporting colleagues practicing law with differing abilities.

Our panel includes:

     Heather Decker, a Productivity Coach for lawyers and service professionals.

     Yael Livny, a government employment and labor lawyer.
     John Robb, a trial attorney with Kevin Sali LLC.
     Bryan Welch, an attorney counselor with the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program.
Register here.

Courtroom Hearing Loop Advocacy Efforts

Ginevra Ralph, who is Co-Founder of The Shedd Institute, a concert hall in Eugene, has been involved in getting hearing loops installed in community venues. She is planning to work on removing barriers in courtrooms, including working to get hearing loop systems in courtrooms in Oregon. She is interested in any stories that will help strengthen the case for why hearing loops are needed in courtrooms (ie: attorneys who had difficulty hearing during trial, or potential jurors who could not serve because they could not hear well enough to do so, etc.), and in talking through the work needed to get loops in courtrooms. If you’re interested in reaching out to her regarding this topic, Ginevra’s contact info is: (541) 434-7000, [email protected] 

Read more about the hearing loops installed at The Shedd and the Eugene Airport:

Shedd Article: Music To Their Ears

Eugene Airport Hearing Loop Press Release

“Bridging the Disability Gap” CLE

The Washington County Bar Association is hosting a panel discussion, “Bridging the Disability Gap,” on 5/12/21 from 5-6pm. The panel will include Jared Hager from the US Attorney’s Office, Yesenia Gutierrez from PSU, Emily Cooper from Disability Rights Oregon, and Hon. Miranda Summer from Beaverton Municipal Court. They will be discussing the applicable laws and tips for creating an accessible environment for attorneys and clients with disabilities. Register here: https://wcba-126950.square.site/

Recent Social Security Case Updates

Alyson Young, of NW Disability Benefits, shared the below case updates. Alyson received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2012.  She was a member of the Lewis & Clark Law review and Managing Editor of the Student Bar Association newsletter, and also worked at the Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic.  Alyson joined  NW Disability Benefits after clerking in the Clackamas County Circuit Court and briefly working for the Oregon Department of Justice.

Alyson provided the following summaries of the below cases:

Kerry Johnson: CE and DDS put CL at light; literally no opinion put CL at more than light; ALJ Michaelsen put CL at medium, asserting that CE relied on CL’s shoulder problem which was not MDI, and that DDS based their opinion on CE. We successfully argued that CE’s diagnosis, despite containing the word “likely,” was sufficient to establish the shoulder problem as MDI and that therefore the ALJ erred in rejecting the light RFC.  Johnson Decision

Julie Grigsby: DDS put CL at light. ALJ rejected this based on “evidence received at the hearing level” which included no opinions, just more treatment records – some of which was demonstrably worse than what DDS saw. We successfully argued that the ALJ’s reasoning was not based on substantial evidence in the record.  Grigsby Decision

Forrest Erickson: VE testified that his job number estimates were based on various sources including BOLS. We submitted rebuttal evidence to the ALJ, including citation to specific evidence in the BOLS showing that the VE’s estimates were implausible, impossible (i.e. saying there are 25k lens inserters, when this number is greater than the total employment figure for the ophthalmic goods industry). ALJ did his own independent research and, without proffering his results, included a link to the BOLS website as a whole in his explanation rejecting our rebuttal (which stated there were actually 25k jobs per BOLS). Remanded, because even taking what ALJ said at face value, it showed (as we said) 25k jobs in the whole industry, not just for lens inserter.    Erickson Decision

Two others worthy of note:

Ficken v. Saul: We argued that the “range of work” requirement (Lounsburry, Maxwell) applies to sedentary as well, and that the plain language of the rules requires that the “work” for sedentary grid must be skilled, not skilled and semi-skilled as in the light grids. Although Tommasetti v. Astrue stands to the contrary, we essentially patched the holes in that argument, and argued that it should not be followed. OGC stipulated to immediate payment rather than defend Tommasetti.

Duong v. Saul: Straight numbers argument. VE gave occupations at step five totaling 11,829 jobs in the national economy. We argued that that’s not significant numbers – noting Gutierrez (25k is a “close call”) and Lemauga (unpublished, noting that the Commissioner declined to argue that 12,600 was “significant”). OGC stipulated to remand for further proceedings rather than argue it.

Convocation on Equality RFP

The Convocation on Equality will take place online 11/5/21, and speakers are sought for the event. This year’s theme is Charting the Way Forward: Addressing Bias in the Oregon Legal Community and Judicial System. They are hoping to feature innovative and interactive presentations that address our biases within ourself, our profession, and the justice system as a whole. There is also an option for your proposal to be included in a OSB database for potential future presentations.

You can submit a proposal to speak here: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=DQSIkWdsW0yxEjajBLZtrQAAAAAAAAAAAAO__Syhi_xUQTI0MlBQNE5QNkQ1VzRSRVJXWlRHQkkwMS4u

Vaccination Updates

The VA is offering COVID-19 vaccines to all veterans, their family members (who are 16+ years old), and their caregivers. Learn more here: VA Vaccine Info

Attorneys and their age-eligible family members became eligible on April 5 for the vaccine.  Attorneys are a part of the “legal frontline workers”, which includes court staff, judges, attorneys, court reporters and parole and probation officers. Check your email for more info on this- the Bar sent an email out about it on April 6.

All adults will be eligible for the vaccine in Oregon beginning April 19.

Oregon has a “get vaccinated” tool to help determine eligibility and find a vaccine. The eligibility has been expanded in the past week to include several new large groups. https://govstatus.egov.com/find-covid-19-vaccine

Stimulus Payments Headed To Adult Dependents With Disabilities

This round of stimulus payments includes payments for adult dependents with disabilities. Payment will go to the individual claiming them as a dependent.  The Social Security Administration previously indicated stimulus payments would not count as income for SSI recipients and would be excluded from resources for 12 months. Read more here: https://www.disabilityscoop.com/2021/03/19/stimulus-payments-headed-to-adult-dependents-with-disabilities/29250/?fbclid=IwAR0O8wfx30zRLjUdl9G8GoQraUMXFptQ335VhCcgML4WWzn1s6_-NDumo7o

Law And Mental Health Conference

The Law & Mental Health Conference, which is focusing this year on Reducing the Impact of Alcohol on State and Local Governments, is being held virtually, July 19 & 20, 2021. Early Bird registration is before April 1 and offers a 30% discount. Find out more and register here: http://www.lawconferences.org

They also have the 2020 program available to watch on video for free, and you can get CLE credit for watching the 2020 program too.