A Real Hoot

8 Ways that Oregon Women Lawyers could help Lori Deveny’s victims… if they wanted to

Stephanie Volin
4 min readJan 17


Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS)

Only disgraced former attorney Lori Deveny knows for certain when she started stealing from her vulnerable clients through forgery and fraud, but records suggest that her scheme began as early as 2003 and continued relentlessly until at least the time of her arrest in 2019.

That was roughly the same era during which Deveny used Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS) to fabricate a positive reputation for herself and aggressively broadcast that falsehood throughout the legal community.

Which is to say that Deveny laundered her image (and probably some money) through the influential professional association, attending every OWLS event and donating her clients’ money to their fundraisers.

Given the extent of her crimes and her close association with the organization, OWLS’ conduct has been sketchy: they scrubbed Deveny from their website but were finally shamed into posting some useless “thoughts and prayers.” As a powerful group of supposedly conscientious lawyers, OWLS could do so much more — if they wanted to.

Perhaps they just need some prompting and ideas! So here are 8 ways that OWLS can help restore the faith in the legal profession that was lost through the Deveny debacle, that occurred right under their beaks:

1 Take everything that Deveny has ever given to OWLS in dues and donations and give it back to her 135 known victims. The judge can then order Deveny to pay restitution in that amount to OWLS. This is just a drop in Lori’s $3.8 million bucket, but it is literally the least OWLS could do.

2 Hold a fundraiser specifically for Deveny’s victims. OWLS loves an opportunity to party, so pass that hat around already. Enjoy getting lit while bidding on mediocre spa packages and rubbing elbows with all the OWLS judges.

3 Make an emphatic statement about Deveny’s conduct, but don’t hide the link in the bowels of OWLS’ website. Write a front-page article about Deveny for the quarterly newsletter. Loudly stand against criminal behavior by attorneys, especially if/when they are your friends.

4 Organize a few hours of free legal services for each of her victims, some of whom face significant legal challenges related to their original injuries… and from Deveny’s crime spree. What good is a 1200+ member legal professional organization if they don’t ever do a little pro bono for the victims of one of their own? (This is not a rhetorical question.)

5 Confirm (or deny) that Deveny was OWLS’ current or former lawyer at the time of her arrest, and whether or not the group suffered any losses related to her representation. Crack open those books. Transparency will go a long way towards restoring faith in OWLS and the legal profession that was lost by the public — and probably even lost by OWLS.

6 Exert some of the clout that OWLS wields over the Oregon State Bar to demand transparency for the agency’s across-the-board “mishandling” of everything related to Deveny: its disciplinary investigation, its custodianship, and its financial awards made to her victims. Don’t forget to demand an accounting of now-former Bar General Counsel Amber Hollister’s involvement in protecting Lori Deveny from consequences for her crimes. This should be easy since public corruption at their licensing agency should be of concern to OWLS.

7 Schedule a speaking event for members about recognizing the signs of and preventing fraud and embezzlement — the kinds of crimes that Deveny perpetrated regularly over the years, apparently under her colleagues’ noses. There is even a renowned expert on the subject who is local, who often uses Deveny as a teaching subject.

8 Create a safe space for members to get support if they’re in over their heads, or if they’re in an exploitive situation that is affecting their ability to practice. Destigmatize talking about mental health and abuse. Guarantee that it’s okay to ask fellow OWLS for help in real time. Make a lot of noise about this initiative.*

Lori Deveny is set to surrender herself to authorities today and begin her prison sentence. But the hard reality is that it will be years before her 135 victims are repaid in full, if indeed they ever are.

Money aside, Deveny created a cubic shit-ton of ill will for the legal community and for OWLS. Prosecutors and the courts are doing their part to remediate the damage Deveny caused to their profession, and to bring a sense of peace and closure to her victims.

Now OWLS should woman-up and follow suit.

*Even if someone had believed Lori Deveny’s allegations of mental/sexual abuse and manipulation—which she advanced at her sentencing hearing — it did nothing to shorten her federal prison stay. In fact, it appears to have left a bad taste in the mouths of the prosecutor and the judge.

As an aside, Deveny’s claims that her husband was abusive during their entire marriage certainly shines a new light on his suspicious death in 2018: now there are two compelling murder motives, both equally plausible.