Friday, April 25, 2014

Staff Spotlight: Nakia Bradley-Lawson

Each quarter we like to shine a bright light on the accomplishments of our amazing office staff. This quarter we are excited to recognize legal assistant, Nakia Bradley-Lawson, for her contributions to the Portland legal community. Nakia is a proud advocate for the nonprofit law firm, Youth Rights & Justice, where she sits on the Development Committee and facilitates their annual fundraising endeavors. She is also involved with Portland’s Dress for Success chapter as a personal shopper. Nakia has spent 13 years in the legal industry during which she has been an active contributor to the Campaign for Equal Justice and the Multnomah County CourtCare program. Nakia has taken an active leadership role in NALS (National Association of Legal Professionals) as the Director of Education and Public Relations for the State of Oregon. She was recently awarded “Member of the Year” 2014 by the organization.

Way to go, Nakia! Thank you for all you do to make our firm and the Portland legal community a better place!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gevurtz Menashe Among '100 Best Companies To Work For' By Oregon Business Magazine

What makes a great place to work? This year, we’re proud to have our own workplace recognized as one of the “Top 100 Companies To Work For In Oregon” of 2014, by Oregon Business Magazine. Our firm ranked #22 in the Medium-Sized business category. For the first time we joined  some of the top corporate names in Oregon business, including, DeLap, Ninkasi Brewery, and Sussman Shank.  Gevurtz Menashe was one of three law firms to make the list this year. The annual 100 Best list is based on the confidential input of employees who answered 25 questions about workplace satisfaction in areas including benefits, management, trust, work environment, and career development. This year, more than 11,000 Oregon workers evaluated 248 employers. As a company which has served Portland families for over 30 years, we believe in our work, our people, and our clients, and are excited to be part of this year’s “100 Best” list!

The 100 Best winners and their rankings are published in the March 2014 issue of Oregon Business. View the list  HERE.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gevurtz Menashe Named 'Oregon’s Most Admired Companies' By The Portland Business Journal

Gevurtz Menashe is honored to be selected as one of Oregon’s Most Admired Companies by the Portland Business Journal.  Our firm ranked in the top 20 in the professional services category this year. Companies on this list are chosen annually by more than 500 executives in a range of industries from across the state.  These executives are asked to complete a survey indicating which organizations they believe are the most admired in Oregon. This recognition is truly an honor.

We continue to be proud of the service we provide our clients and thank the legal community for your continued support.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mark Johnson Roberts Receives the 2014 MBA Professionalism Award

This month, we are thrilled to congratulate our own Mark Johnson Roberts as the recipient of the 2014 Multnomah Bar Association Professionalism Award. The MBA Professionalism Award is the organization's highest honor and recognizes candidates who exemplify the standards set forth in the MBA Professionalism Statement:

"Professionalism goes beyond the observance of the legal profession's ethical rules and serves the best interests of clients and the public in general; it fosters respect and trust among lawyers and between lawyers and the public, promotes the efficient resolution of disputes, and makes the practice of law more enjoyable and satisfying."

Johnson Roberts has been practicing law for 24 years. His nomination for the Professionalism Award was supported by numerous attorneys, judges, and law students from across the legal community.

Mark's history of service to the bar is extensive. He represents Oregon lawyers as the State Delegate to the American Bar Association.  He is a past president of the Oregon State Bar, a past president of the National LGBT Bar Association, and a past chair of Oregon’s Professional Responsibility Board.

In addition to his bar activities, Mark has spent years serving the Portland community and advocating for marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.  After 20 years of activism with Basic Rights Oregon and others, Mark and his partner of 30 years, Jay Roberts, were at last able to celebrate their marriage in Washington state this last December.

BIG Congratulations, Mark, both on your marriage and on this well-deserved honor!

Read more about Mark HERE.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Life After Windsor

It has been just eight months since the United States Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in U.S. v. Windsor (570 U.S. ____ (2013)), but the effects of the decision have been significant and widespread.  In Windsor, the Court partially invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Enacted in 1996, DOMA contained two key provisions intended to “defend” marriage: section 2 of the Act gave individual states the power to recognize, or not recognize, same-sex marriages validly performed in other states or jurisdictions; section 3 specifically defined marriage as between one man and one woman.  In Windsor, the Court invalidated section 3 of the Act, but section 2 remains in place. 

While Windsor made it clear that federal law now recognizes same sex marriages, it left us with the question of how the marital status of same-sex couples will be determined.  Does “marriage” require residency in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages?  Or are same sex couples who marry in states that recognize same sex marriages considered married for purposes of federal law?  Since Windsor, federal agencies have been left to promulgate rules to flesh out this issue.

Most agencies, including the IRS, have adopted the “state-of-celebration” rule, meaning any same-sex couple that marries in a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is recognized will be considered married under federal law.  For example, if a gay couple from Oregon marries in Washington state (which recognizes same-sex marriages), the IRS will consider the couple to be married for all purposes of federal tax law.

Windsor presents a myriad of opportunities and challenges in the areas of family law and estate planning—particularly during tax season where insurance, gift and estate taxes are concerned.  Issues such as spousal support, property division, qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs), pension and military benefits are also implicated.  For states like Oregon, which recognizes same-sex domestic partnerships but does not recognize same-sex marriages, proper planning is essential, and your estate planning and family law attorney(s) can help you further navigate the complex and ever-changing rules.

Written by John Christianson, Of Counsel, Estate Planning.