Barrister bands

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

IMG 4705BY LINDA BAKER

Stoll Berne attorney Tim DeJong apologizes for sounding hoarse on the phone. The night before, he was rocking out at Lola’s Room, a Portland venue where his band, Punk Rock Collective, played for a crowd of about 75 people. “The bar liked us,” says DeJong, modestly. “They asked us to come back to play on St. Patrick’s Day.” 

An intellectual property attorney by day, 48-year-old DeJong is a singer and guitarist by night; in addition to the Punk Rock Collective gig, he also plays with Habeas Corpse, a band comprised mostly of legal professionals. Habeas Corpse bass player Tony Kullen is a banking attorney at Routh Crabtree Olsen. Houston Bolles, a courtroom technology specialist for the U.S. District Courts, plays guitar, and Bolles’ 14-year-old son, Max, is the drummer and “the real talent in the group,” DeJong says.

This past October, Habeas Corpse won the Multnomah Bar Association’s Battle of the Bands, a charitable event with proceeds going to the Multnomah Bar Foundation’s civic education fund. Six bands competed in the 2013 event; some play regularly in the area, while others hit the stage only once or twice a year, usually performing for charity. Habeas Corpse, for example, is playing at a Campaign for Equal Justice “Rock for Justice” event in Salem this spring.

Participating attorneys say the musical gigs give them an opportunity to disrobe their lawyer personas at a different kind of bar. “It’s a good excuse to get together some friends who are musicians, have a good time and play good music,” says Kullen. 

Lawyers, of course, like to cover their bases. DeJong, the sort who has thousands of vinyl records stashed in his house, says he made sure the firm’s partners approved of his musical career before moving forward. “People who know me say I litigate with the same style as I sing,” he notes, “relatively aggressively.”

In 2008 a few attorneys from Stoel Rives, the Portland-based firm, formed an in-house band, Bunny Lebowski and the Nihilists. “It was a tribute name,” says lead singer and occasional harmonica player, 37-year-old P.K. Runkles-Pearson, now assistant general counsel for Portland State University. 

 “We all love the movie The Big Lebowski. The guys call me Bunny and they are the Nihilists,” she explains. The “guys” are Dennis Westlind, now associate counsel, labor and employment, at Providence Health & Services; Steve Galloway, a civil litigation attorney at Stoel Rives; and Brad Dixon, a trial attorney in Stoel Rives’ Boise office.

The Nihilists come together “when there is a need” — for charity or social events, Runkles-Pearson says, adding that playing music has been a great way to “kick back” and get to know a kinder, gentler side of her fellow attorneys. It’s also something of an ego booster. “We get to be cool for once,” Runkles-Pearson says.

 

More Articles

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...

Destination Resorts 2.0

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

As the recession recedes and tourism grows, Central Oregon resorts redefine themselves for a new generation.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Urban renewer

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
UnknownBY LINDA BAKER   

One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

As momentum grows at the state level to introduce far-reaching environmental regulations, such as carbon pricing and the Clean Fuels Program, Oregon employers continue to go the extra mile to create green workplaces for their employees.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS