SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A proposal in the Oregon Legislature to use unclaimed judgments from class-action lawsuits to fund legal services for the poor has raised deep divisions in the legal community.
The measure is supported by the Oregon State Bar but opposed by some of the state's most prominent lawyers. And two lawmakers say they were invited to talk about the bill to a group of lawyers who raise money for legal aid, only to be uninvited once they showed up.
In Oregon, when defendants lose or settle a class-action lawsuit they keep any unclaimed portion of the judgment.
Legislative Democrats want that money to go instead to an endowment that would help fund legal aid lawyers who serve the poor. Critics say that's not the right way to increase legal-aid funding.