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Miller Nash Assists Oregon State Bar in Defending Its Mission and Purpose



Miller Nash attorneys Elisa Dozono and Taylor Richman successfully argued for the dismissal of lawsuits challenging the Oregon State Bar’s mandatory membership fees and activities that further its mission of serving justice by protecting the public in its regulatory role, promoting respect for the rule of law, improving the quality of legal services, and increasing access to justice. In Gruber v. Oregon State Bar, No. 3:18-cv-1591 (D Or), and Crowe v. Oregon State Bar, No. 3:18-cv-01239 (D Or), several Oregon attorneys claimed that mandatory bar membership and certain bar communications and legislative activities violated their First Amendment rights, based on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Janus v. Am. Fed'n of State, Cty. & Mun. Emps., Council 31, __ US __, 138 S Ct 2448, 201 L Ed 2d 924 (2018). Dozono and Richman collaborated with attorneys from the law firms of Tonkon Torp LLP and Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt PC, taking the lead on briefing and oral argument for the Crowe case, while Tonkon Torp took the lead on the Gruber case. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jolie Russo’s findings agreed with the Oregon State Bar that mandatory bar membership is constitutional, that the Bar’s bylaws and policies protect members’ First Amendment rights, and that the Bar's actions were germane to improving the quality of legal services. Miller Nash has a long history of supporting the Oregon State Bar and its membership and is pleased to see that Judge Russo’s findings and recommendations reflect the persuasive arguments presented by Dozono and Richman, both highly talented litigators.

For more information about the case, please see Maxine Bernstein’s article on OregonLive.

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