The Oregon state bar incorporates model language from the ABA in its “Rules of Professional Conduct“:
RULE 1.7 CONFLICT OF INTEREST: CURRENT CLIENTS
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), a lawyer shall
not represent a client if the representation involves a
current conflict of interest. A current conflict of interest
(1) the representation of one client will be directly
adverse to another client;
(2) there is a significant risk that the representation
of one or more clients will be materially limited by
the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a
former client or a third person or by a personal
interest of the lawyer; or …
Scott Coltrane said that the investigation of the UO Presidential Archives would be done by an independent law firm, Hershner Hunter.
Why not UO’s longtime HLGR firm? Because UO’ former GC Randy Geller now works for them as “of Counsel”, and the one substantial document I released from the archives was a memo from Geller proposing to dissolve the UO Senate and replace it with a more compliant, hand-picked group of faculty, and as I learned later, HLGR and Geller have a lucrative contract with OUS to advise the “Technical and Regional Universities” on matters including shared governance.
This memo, and other similar documents that might have been in the digital archives, might be a serious problem for HLGR’s credibility and ability to get work providing advice on university governance.
When I was interviewed by Amanda Walkup of HH about how I got the archives, I first asked if I could record the interview. She refused to continue the interview unless I agreed not to. I then asked her if I could see a copy of the document from UO charging her to conduct the investigation. She said there was no document – the agreement was verbal.
I asked her incredulously if this whole thing was being done on the basis of a phone call from Interim GC Doug Park. She nodded.
It now turns out that might not have been true, and that instead Hershner Hunter may have been hired by Bill Gary and Sharon Rudnick from HLGR, and not independently by Doug Park, as Coltrane said. It is certainly true that Rudnick obtained a copy of Walkup’s report, and wrote the summary of it for public consumption that the feckless Tobin Klinger sent out to reporters, complete with metadata showing her as the author.
Is Rudnick and Gary’s participation in the “independent investigation” of the release of a damaging document written by one of its employees a violation of the Oregon Bar’s ethics rules, or just a really bad idea?
I don’t know, but I think I’ll file an ethics complaint with the Bar, and see what they think.
Meanwhile, still no news from HLGR’s Bill Gary on the defamation lawsuit he threatened me with last week, over this post.