Not Giving a Hoot

*** Read the latest on the criminal case against Lori Deveny, click here.

For years, now-admitted felon and now-former Oregon attorney Lori Deveny stole millions from her injured clients by hastily settling their cases and pocketing their funds, while aggressively bullshitting them into stasis. Deveny even managed to keep some of her victims at bay for decades.

Deveny did these crimes apparently (or allegedly) without the notice of anyone in Portland’s legal community.

If true — that nobody suspected that Deveny was anything other than a typical, successful personal injury attorney — then it was mainly because of the energetic reputation-laundering that she did through Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS).

Deveny was the president of OWLS (2001–02), OWLS Foundation (2014–16), and OWLS Multnomah chapter (1997); and was also the president of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (2003–04).

It’s difficult to believe that none of those colleagues over all of those years noticed any problematic conduct. It is especially suspicious since Deveny, like all other OWLS, used the organization to network.

And Lori’s work was defrauding vulnerable people.

Deveny could not have picked a better time to sully her valuable Bar license than in mid 2018.

That’s because, at that time, the general counsel of her licensor (the Oregon State Bar) was also the president of OWLS: Amber Hollister. In her official capacity at the Bar, Hollister would have learned of Deveny’s impending implosion in late 2017.

It was under Hollister’s watch at OWLS that Deveny’s name was quietly removed from the website’s list of past presidents; and it was Hollister who wrote a dishonest article for the Bar’s monthly magazine, sent to all their licensees, that blamed eight men for the upsurge in financial claims made to the Bar. In reality, the increase was due almost entirely to Deveny.

Further, it was Hollister who made the unfathomable decision that Deveny had earned her 33% fee, even in cases in which she had forged clients’ signatures and stolen their money.

And that’s networking for you: it appears that Hollister did those things not to protect OWLS and the Bar from their association with Deveny, but to protect Deveny’s legacy and image and pocketbook.

After Hollister’s hasty and irregular exit from her presidency, Deveny’s name was soon restored to the OWLS’ website, with a note expressing sympathy for Deveny’s victims.

That small measure of transparency was literally the least they could do.

Yet earlier this week, the day after Deveny finally pleaded guilty in federal court to seven felonies, OWLS did even less — and only when asked:

OWLS tweet the day after Lori Deveny’s guilty plea.

Which is to say, the OWLS tweeted its “thoughts and prayers” to Deveny’s many, many victims, from whom she stole upwards of $3.5 million.

My inartful response to that tweet was the same as what I suggested to them two years ago: Organize some pro bono legal work¹ for these victims (who desperately need it); and return to her victims all the money that Deveny paid to OWLS in membership dues and donations over the years.

OWLS’ Twitter manager then blocked me for my outrageous ideas.

¹ I recommend the excellent Apple TV four episode documentary The Big Conn, which chronicles the crime spree of a Kentucky attorney fraudster, who caused devastating injury to his victims. Episode 3 is particularly worthwhile, as it covers the response of attorneys — from near and far — who raced to help those victims, free of charge.

As everyone waits to see what Lori Deveny’s sentence is, here are a few photos of her at various OWLS functions, from the time period of some of her most shocking crimes.

Around the time that Deveny stole $150,000 from victim Max Martin in June 2014, she commanded the room at an OWLS donor appreciation event:

Lori Deveny.

Deveny rubbed elbows with Deanna Wray at a November 2015 OWLS Foundation donor appreciation event, shortly after they allegedly worked together to secret the underage victim in the Terry Bean case:

Lori Deveny (center) and Deanna Wray (left).

In 2017, the year that her house of cards finally collapsed, Deveny and Wray attended another donor appreciation event with Amber Hollister. By then, Deveny had strung some of her victims along for decades:

Lori Deveny (in yellow dress) and Deanna Wray (far left)
Amber Hollister (purple cardigan) and Ellen Rosenblum (aqua shirt).

And finally, let’s not forget when OWLS honored Deveny for her “extraordinary commitment to the promotion of women in the legal profession,” at the same time Deveny was busy looting her dead cleaning lady’s estate.

Deanna Wray (left), Sarah Crooks (center), and Lori Deveny.

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