Judge, attorney vie for Oregon Court of Appeals

2012-10-26T06:06:00Z 2012-10-26T07:51:52Z Judge, attorney vie for Oregon Court of AppealsBy Steve Lathrop, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald

Albany Circuit Court judge James Egan is running against Portland attorney Tim Volpert for position six on the Oregon Court of Appeals.

The seat is currently held by Chief Judge David Brewer, who is moving to the Oregon Supreme Court.

James Egan

Age: 56.

Residence: Albany.

Education: Law degree from the University of Oregon; Bachelor of Science from Willamette University.

Public service: Served on the Affirmative Action Committee of the Oregon Bar Association. Elected to the House of Delegates by the Oregon State Bar. Served as president of the Oregon Trial Lawyers’ Association. Volunteered with the Linn County Planning Commission and served on the Fire Board in Tangent. Served in the U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Corps Reserve and U.S. Army Reserve.

Employment: Currently serving as Linn County circuit court judge. Trial lawyer in Albany for 24 years.

Why do you want to be an appeals court judge?

For the first 24 years of my life I represented everyday Oregonians with regard to day-to-day legal matters like wage loss, health and safety. I viewed that representation over the course of my career as service to my community.

As a Judge Advocate in the Army I learned that my years of practice representing regular people informed all of my decisions. I applied practical, no-nonsense solutions to complex legal problems.

When I returned home, I was appointed to the Circuit Court judgeship.

As currently constituted, there is not a single person on the Court of Appeals who has worked as a trial attorney or trial judge. I believe it is my unique experience that will inform my decisions on the Court of Appeals.

What skills or experience do you bring to the position that sets you apart from your opponent?

I have 25 years experience as a trial attorney. That, in and of itself, distinguishes me from my opponent.

I have tried every type of case that is heard by the appeals court. Unlike my opponent I presided in cases involving significant crimes, cases involving the most important civil rights like parental rights and as a trial lawyer I tried thousands of workers compensation cases.

I sat on the Court of Appeals as a pro tem judge in 2011 and 2012. And I reviewed 50 cases on a panel with Judge Brewer and Judge Sercombe.

I have experience as a trial lawyer; as a trial judge hearing the same type of cases that are heard at the Court of Appeals; and experience as a judge at the Court of Appeals.

How do you perceive the role of a Court of Appeals judge?

My role will be to bring a perspective of compassion, dedication and justice. I am dedicated to deciding each case strictly on its merits.

As an appeals court judge I will work with community groups and schools to inform citizens about how and why the legal system works the way it does.

Finally, I will work full time to ensure that the court’s decisions are issued quickly and that court procedures will be streamlined to reduce unnecessary costs.

Tim Volpert

Age: 56.

Residence: Portland.

Education: Bachelor of Science from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. Law degree from Willamette University College of Law.

Public service: Awarded President’s Public Service Award for volunteer law-related service to public. Honored by Senior Aid Project for Legal Aid services for pro bono legal services to seniors. Served on Board of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. Chaired Classroom Law Project for youth and co-founded Grant High School Constitution Team.

Employment: Partner in law firm of Ragen, Roberts, O’Scannlain, et. al. Served as judicial clerk at the Oregon Court of Appeals.

Why do you want to be an appeals court judge?

I have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to this exceptional legal system as an appellate court judge.

The great majority of my practice has been before appellate courts, including over 60 appearances before the Oregon Court of Appeals, so I have significant experience and familiarity with the court and its procedures.  

I am one of a select few Oregon attorneys who have argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Serving the people as judge would be an opportunity to help further the tradition of excellence in the Oregon judicial system and would be an exciting and rewarding challenge.

What skills or experience do you bring to the position that sets you apart from your opponent?

My view of the judicial role is that Oregon trial and appellate court judges must apply the laws of the United States, statutes enacted by the Oregon legislature or through initiative, and legally valid administrative rules, consistent with the intent of those who enacted them.

Concerning common law I believe there is a need for broad legal experience in as many areas of Oregon law as possible because the Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over a wide variety of cases. I would bring a commitment to applying the law consistent with the intent of those who enacted it.

How do you perceive the role of a Court of Appeals judge?

I am the only candidate who worked for the Court of Appeals; regularly appeared in state and federal appellate courts; specialized for 20 years in handling appeals, including over 60 before the Court of Appeals and more than 100 overall.

I have handled cases involving virtually every area of the law that the court encounters, and argued and won a landmark case before the United States Supreme Court.

I am also the only candidate who has served with the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and the Chief Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals on a committee charged with reviewing and revising the Oregon Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Steve Lathrop is the business reporter for the Albany Democrat-Herald. He can be reached at 541-812-6076 or by email at steve.lathrop@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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