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|Articles - September 2010|
|Friday, August 20, 2010|
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STORY BY JENNIFER MARGULIS // PHOTOS BY ANTHONY PIDGEON
Mark Wada has been working long hours. Wada is a partner in Farleigh Wada Witt, a Portland-based law firm with three named partners, 24 attorneys, and 57 total employees. Over the past six months he and his partners have been so busy they’ve hired three new lawyers: one specializing in financial law and two litigators.
Wada represents the banking industry, advising bankers on corporate lending and other commercial projects. He’s also the point person when things go wrong and banks find themselves with debtors unable to pay back loans.
When the sun starts to set and Wada is still at the office — which has been happening a lot lately — he turns on piano music by Jim Brickman to keep himself going.
“I like all kinds of music except rap and grunge,” says the 57-year-old Wada.
This season Wada’s been listening to a lot of music. While other Oregon firms have frozen hiring new lawyers and are seeing their client base dwindle, firms such as Farleigh Wada Witt that specialize in bankruptcy and finance report robust practices and more work than they can stay on top of. “Some of the bigger firms have basically frozen hiring,” says Ward Greene, 63, who has been practicing law in Oregon for 37 years and is a past president of the Multnomah Bar Association.
“It’s a very difficult job market for new lawyers in Oregon certainly, and across the United States. But lawyers who handle business transactions, bankruptcy, and litigation — like we do at our firm — are staying very, very busy.”
Individual bankruptcy lawyers are also in high demand. According to Kateri Walsh, spokesperson for the Oregon State Bar, between July 2009 and March 2010, more than 1,200 people called the Oregon State Bar referral service looking for attorneys who specialize in bankruptcy law, a 50% increase in call volume over the same period two years ago. With double-digit unemployment rates holding steady for the past six months, Oregon has seen almost no job growth, and economists and business people use words like “flat” and “stuck” to describe the current state of Oregon’s economy.
Wada traces the current financial difficulties that Oregon and the rest of the nation are experiencing back to the liquidity crunch as well as to the ongoing drop in real estate values and personal property collateral. The failure of the Seattle-based bank Washington Mutual in September 2008 was a huge blow to the banking industry in the Pacific Northwest as well, making some of Wada’s bank clients even more nervous.
“After that, people couldn’t get credit, they couldn’t refinance their way out of problems, and the banks have been getting more problem loans and becoming more conservative in how they deal with problem loans,” Wada says. “Revenues at companies are down. All of these things coming together at the same time has made it very difficult here in Oregon.”
Friday, June 27, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER
Over the last several months we have seen a wave of cross-border acquisitions, primarily U.S.-based companies looking to purchase non-U.S.-based companies. There are a few reasons for this, but the main culprit is the U.S. corporate tax system. The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
Some people think Amazon’s winking eye logo is starting to look like a hoodwink.
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Vigilant enters a New Year with a new president.
How George Fox has become one of Oregon's largest private universities.
Forest Grove sees growth in the burgeoning food and beverage scene.
Fifty-one Lane Powell lawyers were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (Best Lawyers) 2015; of those selected, 23 lawyers are from the Firm’s office in Portland, Oregon.
Barran Liebman is proud to announce that Andrew Schpak, a Partner of the firm, has been named Chair of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division for the 2014-2015 bar year.
Vanessa Sturgeon and Miller Nash LLP were selected as leaders in encouraging female advancement.