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Last month, the Oregon State Bar charged a Portland, Oregon attorney with misconduct arising from settlement dollars that belonged to her clients.  Really bad conduct, including settling a personal injury case for $100,000 but not telling the client.  Instead, the attorney told her client she settled for $40,000.  Under that scenario, the client would receive roughly $26,000 instead of $67,000 of the actual settlement of $100,000.

Then, I wonder if the attorney earned full value for the case.  Did she need to settle fast for money SHE needed and fail work the case hard enough?  Should the case have settled for $200,000 instead of $100,000?  Could the client have received 2/3 rds of a $200,000 settlement, instead?

The Portland attorney was Lori Deveny, who gave up her law license instead of fighting the charges.  I know her.  I’d seen her at professional meetings.  I’d sent her Christmas cards in the 2000s.  I was surprised.

Today, a New York attorney was arrested for stealing from his clients.  His past included being the President of the Brooklyn Bar Association.

So, as a client, who do you trust?

Trust yourself.  If something smells fishy, it probably is.  If your own attorney does not respond to you timely, get a new attorney.  If the attorney does not give you your file materials, complain to the Oregon State Bar.

So what happens if it is too late and the attorney caused you harm?  Now what?

There are four ways to go:

  • File a bar complaint and push to get the lawyer disbarred or disciplined.  Protect the rest of us from that bad lawyer.
  • Urge the District Attorney to prosecute the lawyer if you think there was a crime.
  • Hire a civil attorney, like me, to sue for monetary losses.
  • Pursue up to $50,000 from the Oregon State Bar’s Client Security Fund.

Among the problems with a civil suit is collecting a judgment if you win. Often, attorneys steal because they have no money, and stealing is not covered by malpractice insurance.  However, sometimes the attorney also commits malpractice, and malpractice insurance can be a source of funds.  For example, did Lori Deveny commit malpractice such that she settled the cases for too little money?

If there are multiple victims, you need to sue fast and get a fast judgment.  Hopefully, you can get in line for payment before other judgment creditors.

When I hear these stories of bad lawyers, it saddens and angers me.  It is such a privilege to be a lawyer.  Attorneys have the power to do good.  People look to us in their time of greatest need.  When a lawyer betrays the trust bestowed upon us by the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon, our clients, and our colleagues, we should throw the book at them.

Sorry, Lori, if you did what the newspaper reported, you should suffer consequences.

©2018 by Merrick Law, LLC. and Jeff Merrick. The above is not intended as legal advice. It is for general information purposes only. Reading it or attempting to contact me does not mean I am your attorney. I only represent people after we sign a written contract.

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  • Charlene Grable says:

    We just found out this morning that she stole 52,200.00 from our 20 year old daughter . She settled on December 11 2017 and just told our daughter two weeks ago. And now is avoiding her calls. We call the insurance company and they let us know when she settled. Mind you without our daughters knowledge and forged her name on the check.

    • Jeff Merrick says:

      I’ve heard from others that Lori Deveny did not pay them their money from settlements. Also, Ms. Deveny had not, when I spoke with them, alerted them that she is no longer able to practice law. Instead, she has let them think their money might still be on the way, merely tied up by matters outside of Ms. Deveny’s control.

      If any person believes any lawyer has stolen from them, the client should report the lawyer to the police and the Oregon State Bar.


  • If only the news will print what happened to me. The bar is covering for an attorney with massive federal and state tax lien debt on her home for 12 years in a row, prior to deceiving us out of our money and justice, and this attorney has been protected by the OSB and OSB PLF for 22 months now, since I first started to report her. This attorney stole by deceit, billed by deceit, $350,000.00 from us and was in MASSIVE debt. She is being defended and protected. I couldn’t make it to a court of law in 17 months from a violent unprotected assault, because she was just deceiving us, with others, and lying to us and billing us on average $20K a month so she could pay her MASSIVE debts. Other bar board members have protected her, lied to us, lied about me and tried to create a scenario that I am psychologically ill. In 2012 there is another bar board complaint claiming this same attorney was stealing from him. All attorneys have deemed him psychologically ill too. See a pattern. I have been put through HELL and traumatized by this attorney and she is STILL being protected. I find that all this protection has allowed this attorney to continue to spend any of our family’s extra money that was ours that we could have gotten back 22 months ago had the bar not try to protect her. I hold everyone responsible as accomplices now that is still defending this attorney, who by the way, was a client security fund board member for the Oregon State Bar.

  • Really Jeff? Shouldn’t attorneys and the bar report theft to the Police?

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