Behind the Paywall

Why are victims of Lori Deveny only learning about it from me?

Stephanie Volin
8 min readMar 18, 2024
Due to its regulatory failures, the Oregon State Bar has isolated the victims of Lori Deveny.

The now-convicted serial fraudster and former attorney swiped millions from her personal injury clients, through forgery and identity theft.

James Glynn is one of them. As part of her 2023 guilty plea, Lori Deveny admitted that she stole $30,369.92 from him, having secretly settled his case years earlier.

Remarkably, Glynn did not hear about Deveny’s troubles from the local media, beginning in 2018; or from the Oregon State Bar, which claimed to have contacted all of her clients by 2019; or even from prosecutors, who indicted her in state and federal criminal court later that same year.

Instead, the first that Glynn heard that his former attorney had done some crimes was October 3, 2023… and he had to hear about it from me.

That Glynn was in the dark for five years is an astonishing failure of communication and organization. But of greater concern, it implicates official misconduct at a state agency tasked with protecting the public.

The misconduct is ongoing: A Bar representative is now praising and making excuses for Deveny, calling the federal restitution calculations “inconsistent,” and questioning if she really owes anyone any money, at all.

And nobody in the media, or in any position of authority, seems to give a damn. Just how did we get here?

Deveny was a prominent Portland lawyer who regularly held positions of great influence, and enthralled many for decades from that perch. She was also tight with the Bar. Her peers recommended her highly, particularly to those with head injuries.

In reality, Deveny used her connections and standing to groom vulnerable clients for next-level victimhood. Their fleecing was made easier because she targeted people with cognitive impairments.

Her sterling façade began to crumble in late 2017, and collapsed quickly thereafter: Within a year of receiving her first ever bar complaint, her plan to pay away her problems failed; her husband Robert died under suspicious circumstances; she resigned her law license; and the Bar took over the smoldering ruins of her practice. Just a half year after that, she was under state and federal criminal indictment.

However, some things went her way. For instance, Deveny was able to avoid scrutiny for Robert’s “suicide” because the public (and police) had not yet been warned about her; and the Bar allowed her to continue practicing law for several months after her resignation.

But surely of greatest comfort to Deveny was the agency’s plan to conceal evidence of crimes by refusing to secure her clients’ files.

There is no other way to view the Bar’s conduct, which on the surface appears to be incompetence, but upon the slightest examination, is revealed as public corruption.

In February 2023, after the Bar certified to the court that it had contacted all of Deveny’s clients to reunite them with their files, the agency got the green-light to destroy everything that remained. There was a “shredding party” shortly thereafter.

In the years leading up to that moment, I had made numerous attempts to warn the court of their disturbed scheme to hide evidence, and warn that many clients had not been contacted, including the estates of deceased clients.

I even tried to get an injunction to prevent the shred-a-thon, but my filing undoubtedly never made it onto a judge’s desk. If only local media had timely picked up on the alarming story.

Last September, at its regular public meeting, the Bar’s top brass tormented a Deveny victim for continuing to assert a financial claim with the agency: Alex Smith is the only victim whose claim was denied despite the fact that he is on the federal restitution order.

I virtually attended that meeting, and the Bar’s abuse of Smith and other disturbed conduct caused me instant resolve to contact all of Deveny’s victims who had not yet filed a financial claim at the Bar. It was clear that most were unaware that they could file such a claim through the agency’s Client Security Fund (CSF) program.

That week, I built a spreadsheet, eliminated the names of those who had already filed claims, and then sorted the remaining 91 by dollar amount stolen. The plan was to work my way down the list, send people CSF application forms, and get someone talking about the Bar’s misconduct.

It didn’t take long: Within the first hour of dialing, James Glynn and I were chatting.

He was understandably floored by the news that his former attorney was disbarred, disgraced, and incarcerated for stealing millions — including $30,369.92 from him.

He told me that Deveny had been his lawyer since 1994, handling several personal injury cases for him. Despite her mediocre performance in the earlier cases, they stayed in touch over the years, and chatted frequently enough, most recently through Facebook.

Looking back at those messages, Glynn discovered that their last exchange occurred the day Deveny finally surrendered herself to the U.S. Marshal:

Screenshots of Lori Deveny’s final messages to James Glynn, the day she began serving her 14-year prison sentence.

She gave Glynn no indication that anything was wrong, only that she was dropping off the grid for “a few years” (not fourteen) and would be back soon. She also said that she had long been a victim of her husband’s abuse — a strategy she first test-drove, unsuccessfully, at sentencing.

I asked Glynn if he had been contacted by the Bar in 2018 or so, or by law enforcement or prosecutors any time after 2019. He had not, and he had not changed phones or moved recently, either.¹

Glynn also told me that he watches and reads some local news, but somehow, he missed it — understandable, given the fact that the reporting was de minimis before Deveny’s conviction in 2023.

Most recently, Deveny had been working on an incident from 2012, in which Glynn was hit by a box truck and his back was broken. She had initially estimated that the injury was worth $250,000.

But years went by without results, while she held Glynn at bay with a litany of now-familiar excuses regarding various family members’ or pets’ health problems. He pushed back as hard as anyone could possibly do, against a lawyer who is supposedly working for them.

Finally, in 2017, Glynn told Deveny that he’d had enough, and he needed the case to be resolved. She said okay, and cut him a check for $25,000. She acted like she was doing him a favor, as though the money was coming out of her own pocket while she awaited a better offer from the opponent.

Glynn couldn’t have known at the time that Deveny had secretly settled his case, for far less than a quarter million. Lowball Lori had struck again.

Then I gave Glynn the bad news about his client file, which contained irreplaceable medical records and other material, but also the only evidence of Deveny’s crimes against him.² He was devastated to learn that it was now destroyed, that no real efforts had been made to return it to him, and that the Bar had lied about it all, to boot.

Glynn stated, “I’ve had the same phone number for years, not a hard guy to find at all. To think that not one agency tried to contact me … I’m not sure who to trust if I ever have legal problems in the future.”

Adding insult to all this injury are the Bar’s responses to Glynn’s and others’ CSF claims: The Bar now places more value on the word of an incarcerated serial fraudster than the word of her victims, or of law enforcement.

We know this because Lori Deveny is finally talking about all these claims from prison, and specifically quibbling over the restitution amounts that she negotiated and signed her name on.³ She now asserts that she was pressured into accepting the prosecutor’s figures.

Disturbingly, the Bar’s CSF investigator, David Hytowitz, is eager to embrace and promote that problematic allegation.

Hytowitz told Glynn that “there are inconsistencies in what the restitution folks calculated and what Deveny may have owed her clients if at all,” and that “they did not account for money Deveny advanced for costs and expenses.”⁴

Oregon State Bar Client Security Fund investigator David Hytowitz’s February 17, 2024 email to James Glynn, questioning if Lori Deveny really owes anyone anything.

So, despite the fact that Deveny admitted that she stole $30,369.92 from Glynn, and despite the fact that the theft is memorialized on the restitution order she signed off on, Glynn still has to prove his case to the Bar, without any of the evidence necessary to do so — because they shredded it all! — while the agency simultaneously makes excuses for their biggest disgrace, who prosecutors referred to as “the worst thing to ever happen to Oregon’s legal community.”

Phew. That’s a lot to stomach.

And it’s a virtually impossible task — one that James Glynn should not be required to do. It’s reprehensible that the Bar dared to ask.

That they did, perfectly illustrates the pervasive and confident corruption at the Oregon State Bar. There’s no other plausible reason why the Bar would try to rehabilitate Lori Deveny’s name, other than to protect the Bar.

While Glynn waits for the agency to approve his CSF claim, he got his first restitution check from Deveny’s work⁵ in federal prison: It was for $35.52, approximately 1/850th of what she agreed to pay back to him.

Glynn stated, “As a single, full time father of two, the $30,000 that Deveny stole really could have helped me better my personal situation a decade ago. And it could have gained interest in my bank account, instead of a thief’s.”

He expressed displeasure that the restitution order did not include interest, but hoped that the Bar would pay his claim. “That money would greatly improve my current situation.”

¹ Even if Glynn had moved, these are state and federal agencies that failed to contact him. It took me literally fifteen minutes to find three possible phone numbers and an address for him.

² There are numerous references in the Bar’s records which demonstrate that the agency strip-mined Deveny’s files for information above and beyond what was needed to contact her former clients — which is not legal, proper, or ethical. It’s almost as though the Bar deputized itself to act extrajudicially in a law enforcement type capacity — except as a sheriff that protects victimizers instead of victims.

³ More details about Deveny’s current assessment of her legal work can be found in a letter to Alex Smith: The Bar’s investigator praised Deveny for paying off medical liens as she ripped off her clients. But really, Deveny did not do that to be altruistic. She did it to avoid the scrutiny that would have come with a collector’s phone call to a ripped-off client.

⁴ The enforcement division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office would probably like to know that Lori Deveny — with the help of the Oregon State Bar — is now disputing the sum that she negotiated and agreed to, and which a federal judge signed as a restitution order. That’s not how those things are supposed to work.

⁵ One can only imagine what kind of pyramid scheme/hustle Deveny has going on in federal prison.