After spending decades as a lawyer, specifically working in Oregon on personal
injury-related cases, I find I get asked more and more how I ended up
in my niche field of service.
I was raised in southeast Portland and my career started with work at Libby
and Star Foods canneries. I went into the military and became a 2nd Lieutenant
with the 82nd Airborne. And after serving in the Korean War and coming
home from the military, I got a full time job with the Portland Police
Department. I got the job first among 500 applicants.
Throughout the two years I was with the Portland Police department, I attended
law school at night, working the night shift with the Portland Police
and the cannery. Back in those days, you could go to law school without
a Bachelor’s. I also had two young children at home.
The last two years at night law school, I worked as an insurance adjustor
for State Farm. At night law school, I met Roy Goodman Jr. who was Frank
Pozzi’s investigator. Peterson Pozzi and Lent represented the Longshoreman.
I interviewed with the firm. During the interview, they kept pouring the
whiskey while quizzing me with hypotheticals—all of which were recent
Supreme Court cases. Luckily, I stayed on top of the advance sheets. They
hired me even before I passed the bar exam.
I passed the bar exam and went to go work for Peterson Pozzi and Lent,
one of the best plaintiff firms in Oregon who focused on maritime accidents.
I had two jury trials my first week after being sworn in as an attorney.
I was solo on these first two trials and won them both.
By the 1960’s, I was doing cases regarding medical malpractice. At
the time, not a lot of people had the guts to take on controversial cases.
My proudest case to date is the Teddy Jordon case – an African American
who was wrongly accused of murder and jailed for 33 years. I helped get
him off of death row (but more on that in another blog post).
As I look back on my career as an
Oregon personal injury lawyer as well as my previous jobs, I’m reminded that the jobs have changed
but my desire to help people is a constant. I’ve made it my duty
to represent individuals in claims against large institutions. Today,
I am proudly working with my daughter, Jane Paulson and continuing to
represent people in the courtroom who need and deserve expert help.