The Unashamed Progressive

The Unashamed Progressive

Steven berman isn’t speaking approximately his modern exercise. He’s talking approximately why, sparkling out of harvard law in 1994, he didn’t follow lots of his classmates to big paychecks at wall road or large east coast law corporations. “it just wasn’t attractive at all,” he says. Rather, he took the road much less traveled: he moved 3,000 miles to a metropolis he had visited once 3 years earlier, and in which he had no contacts inside the criminal community and knew just antique buddies from undergrad at amherst college. Now only a lingering new york accessory gives berman away as a non-native of portland. No longer only is he adept at the requisite undertaking—walking, biking, canine-walking and browsing in oregon’s frigid coastal waters—however the enterprise, securities and consumer litigator with stoll berne, married to artist suzy root, is identified as having understanding in oregon’s initiative and referendum method. In latest years, he has worked on behalf of backers of marijuana legalization, gmo labeling and identical-sex marriage. He is, as he places it, “an unashamed progressive.” a number of his quality paintings in no way seems on a ballot . He was involved in a campaign to overturn the nation’s equal-sex marriage ban until it become in reality declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in might also 2014. Some other debatable difficulty, liquor privatization, which turned into sponsored by means of principal grocery outlets, became stopped in element via berman’s skill in litigating the poll identify. In 2012, a similar degree had exceeded in neighboring washington, however later on the country ended up with the highest liquor expenses inside the united states of america due to tax increases linked with the measure. “as soon as we got a ballot title that appropriately defined the measure, the other side just dropped it,” says berman. “they knew that they couldn’t win if electorate were genuinely knowledgeable approximately what the degree became going to do.” the identify became to read: lets in qualified retail stores to promote liquor; imposes wholesale tax to replace current nation markup berman factors out the operative time period: “they definitely hated the phrase ‘tax.’” before she was appointed to the oregon courtroom of appeals, decide erin lagesen became on the other side from berman in some of ballot -identify instances. “i’m pretty certain he often beat me in that procedure,” she recalls. “he turned into an fun opposing recommend simply due to the happiness he brings to the technique. He always appears to be smiling.” “while you’re on the opposing aspect of steve,” provides portland deputy town lawyer linly rees, who additionally butted heads with berman on ballot -title instances when she was with ball janik, “it’s approximately disagreeing with out being unpleasant.” “if berman’s on the opposite aspect, i’m glad,” says kristian roggendorf, a non-public damage lawyer in lake oswego. “he’s a top-notch legal professional. I don’t suppose we’re close politically on any the front, but i without a doubt respect him.” berman’s political career commenced at age five while his dad and mom volunteered for the 1972 george mcgovern presidential campaign and a person gave him a small project: stapling papers together. He's the second one son of the primary married couple to volunteer for the peace corps. After serving 3 years in nigeria, they raised steve and his older brother, mark, in westchester county, ny. His father changed into a legal professional representing exertions unions; his mom became a middle-faculty librarian and, later, manager of their homeland. Berman says he’s proud of his progressive projects work. “i’m additionally pleased with representing corporations. I don’t suppose the two are contradictory in any respect.” his colleague at stoll berne, trial lawyer keith ketterling, can vouch for that. “he's absolutely a totally decided, considerate propose,” says ketterling. “there’s no person i’d as a substitute have covering my lower back once i visit court docket.”