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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

True love never dies

No matter how lacking in character and substance he is shown to be, Jeffer-Sam Smith will always be a golden boy in Willy Week. Just like Opie Sten, only more so. Here's the latest foot massage puff piece. Notice how they give him the chance to brush off his being on track to be fired (if not actually being fired) from his Portland law firm. Hard hitters, they ain't. "I took a job at a firm whose clients I didn't like, and then on principle, I didn't do any work." They just let that one go.

One question they could have asked Smith, but of course didn't, was why he was never sworn into the New York Bar, even though he passed the bar exam in that state in February 2001. The New York Office of Court Administration has no record of him ever becoming a member of the bar, despite his passing grade on the test.

It's pretty unusual for someone to go through all the trouble of making it through the grueling exam and then not bother to take the oath. Was there a problem there that we haven't heard about? In any event, contrary to any other impression that may have been created, the fact is that Smith never actually practiced law in New York -- not for a day, or two days, or any number of days.

It's also odd for someone to spend three summers, including the summer after graduating law school, as a summer clerk at three different law firms. Usually a Harvard law student spends only one year as a summer clerk -- two max. And after the student graduates, it's time to take the bar exam, not a temporary gig at another law firm. But according to Smith's internet bio from his Portland law firm gig, he did three summer clerkships, including one during the summer after he graduated. There's something not right there.

But hey! He's funny! He's only 38! He's a talker! He has energy! The creatives love him! He might get union money! And so you'll be seeing his face on Wednesdays for quite a while.

Comments (25)

The Willy Week long ago ceased to be anything other than the "fake" alternative.

It has about as much credibility and hard-hitting analysis as a rich-kid's high-school newspaper- which come to think of it is where most of those clowns came from.

There was indeed a chummy tone to the interview that was missing from the interviews with Charlie Hales and Eileen Brady. Guess we already know who their endorsement is going to.

Whether it's the ADHD or something else, clearly he does not do well with details in his personal life. It's hard to know how much to hold that against him when judging him for public office. It's similar to whether Sam Adam's personal financial problems should affect judgments of his ability to manage public funds. All politicians have to leave at least some of the nitty-gritty details of governance to their staffs, but there's more of an expectation of hands-on management with an executive office like a mayor than with a representative or senator, who gets to speechify and posture and make deals but who doesn't actually run anything.

Maybe Smith's gifts are better employed in the legislature, and maybe a better path for him is to seek to represent Oregon nationally. He doesn't seem like the type who's interested in keeping the trains running on time, so to speak.

I highly doubt that there was anything "mutual" about his parting from Stoel Rives. The might not have used the words "you're fired", but it was probably something like "there isn't a future for you here". His billable hours were crap because he was either lazy, disorganized, or both. As a young associate in a large firm, billable hours are the major criteria upon which ones performance is evaluated. The idea that he didn't work hard because he didn't like the firm's clients is laughable because the firm's major clients were a known fact when he accepted the job. As a Harvard grad he could have cherry picked his job and worked for a firm that represented labor unions, etc. if that was the issue. Essentially, he was a failure in his one and only job as a licensed attorney, and then he ran the Bus Project in a highly disorganized manner causing it to rack up thousands in fines. Maybe this guy should show us that he can actually behave like a responsible adult before asking us to vote for him as mayor of a large city.

Jack, you are right about the summer clerkships. Very odd. Typically your first summer clerkship leads to either a second one at the firm or a job offer at the firm. The fact that he clerked at three different places almost certainly means that he wasnt invited back.

He just strikes me as kind of lazy, and not a worker.

Oregon loves dreamers.

WW is supporting this clown....because???
I don't get why anyone would encourage, let alone support either verbally or monetarily this incapable fool.
Oh wait a I get it. This person is obviously maleable in every way and will do the bidding of his masters.
So...who exactly is bank rolling this guy?

"Here's the latest foot massage puff piece."

OK, here's the straight story from BlueOregon:

Young Jefferson was born in a log cabin and walked barefoot backwards thru the snow 5 miles over broken glass to stand in a garbage can looking into the schoolroom window.

Geez, what have politicians ever done to earn any kind of respect?

Once again we're asked to elect someone who no boss would hire to be in charge of the whole city.

Portland Native +1

He's Peter Pan. He doesn't even have to go by streetcar; he can fly and he never has to grow up.

This guy may be in his late 30s, but with his tone and vocabulary throughout the story, he came across as someone just out of his teens. I believe that's called immaturity.

Definitely a fluff piece. But the three summer clerkships part doesn't seem unusual since he was apparently headed to a one year judicial clerkship after the third one. So he wasn't in a position to accept a full time position but could still use the summer to get some experience at a different firm. Not saying that explains anything else that seems drifty about his professional life, but there is a rational explanation for that part.

If you can't manage your personal life / career, you have no business trying to manage 500,000 citizens. The voters missed that nugget with SamAdumbs and I hope they don't do it again.

What does it say about Jefferson Smith's "principles" if he takes a job for a firm whose client's he "doesn't like" (something he must have known before he took the job) and then "didn't do any work" for the firm or its clients while cashing his paycheck? Accepting pay for work not done is unprincipled in my book, and I would hope, Portland voters would think so too.

In checking the SOS Orestar site it is rather puzling and concerning that Jefferson is pulling in a lot of large dollar donations from out of state not just across the river where concerns might be more warranted. If you "click" on the transaction id you can see names, addresses and occupations........

Of course it's a puff piece. The WW crew is just making sure that when Smith needs to fill all of the old Sam Adams staff Twitterers, they'll be in consideration. The pay may not be great, but it'll definitely be better than what they'd make by remaining in journalism...and it's not like the Tribune or the Mercury are hiring.

JSmith also personifies how WW sees itself: young, brash, and Ivy League. Is there a more self-important free publication in the world?

The editorial 'we' hope to see him at Occupy Portlandia events. Zussman, too.

Tensky - I'll buy you a drink if Zusman (Mark or Mike) shows at Occupy PDX. Smith will go for a photo op.

I wasn't the first (months ago... last year??) and I won't be the last...

This idiot (Jeffer-RanSam)should not be (can't!) be our next Mayor... Mr Bojack should be.

Portland needs an adult Mayor. If they have to have a law degree, at least let them be intelligent, and accomplished.

Mayoral Candidate Requirements:
-Has held a real job (ideally one that had hire-fire, and P&L responsibility) in the private sector (ideally) or the public sector.

-Has exhibited a record of views and opinions that can be investigated and vetted ( on if his/her ideas and opinions stand the test of time.

-Has another reason for living, and another role in life other than “I need to be Mayor”, and can go back to that role after they have served their time (sentence?).

-Has a real distaste for electoral politics, and does not want the job, under almost any circumstance.

The Professor hits on all requirements.

His denials and rejection of this role only give him more weight to his candidacy. The sabbatical option is not as viable for a private sector businessman who could see his business die while he was busy fixing the sad state of affairs that Portland finds itself in.

Hold on here, everybody ...

Has anyone asked Smith if he likes the people who live in Portland, who he would be working for? I'd gladly pay him NOT to do anything for his full term. Can't F things up that way.

I love the leading questions that allow him to say "yeah" in response to the query so he looks like some kind of hero. And why all the references (excuse making) to his ADHD? He managed to graduate from Harvard yet he can't freaking send a letter with his bar dues or show up in court? People with much more substantial disabilities overcome much greater obstacles. Oh, wait, I'm committing some sort of hate crime because he IS disabled and can't be held accountable because of his condition.

Don't live in Portland (per se) and am not subjected to its insane govt, but I still this town. Can't believe the current crop is the best this great city can do.

In last paragraph insert "love" between "still" and "this". Sorry, I always manage to F up my proofread whenever I address the blogosphere.

It's because I have ADHD.

But the three summer clerkships part doesn't seem unusual since he was apparently headed to a one year judicial clerkship after the third one.

No, it's still quite unusual. Graduates who are going off to clerk for a judge almost always take a bar exam in the summer between graduation and the clerkship. Indeed, I can tell you from experience that that's what Judge Goodwin, for whom Smith clerked, recommends.

The usual pattern is one summer clerkship, after second year and before third. Some folks are lucky enough (as I was) to get one between first and second, and so they have two total. But three summers, and for three different firms? Highly unusual, even for those headed to judicial clerkships.

Willamette Week always seems to select/endorse candidates based mainly on personality traits, chief among them (I suspect) how well they get along with the editor, regardless of their ideology, professional achievements or any other meaningful criterion. How else do you explain their passing over Jo Ann Bowman for county chair in 2001 in favor of Diane Linn, or trying to put the odious Jack Roberts on the state Supreme Court a few years ago (an endorsement they didn't even try to explain beyond a quip).

WW is run by people whose political preferences shouldn't be trusted or even taken seriously by anyone, of any political stripe. It's all personal with them. They have never, to my knowledge, even tried to lay out a coherent political philosophy or vision for the city or state. (See the S.F. Bay Guardian for a great example of how this should be done in the "alternative" press.) Portland would be better off if WW would follow the lead of the New Times chain and get out of the business of picking candidates altogether.


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