Discovery with Paul Southwick

The litigator talks Judge Darleen Ortega, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and which politician he can imitate

Published in 2016 Oregon Super Lawyers magazine

By Paul Southwick on July 11, 2016


If you were in my office, you’d … see a photo of me on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

My colleagues would be surprised to know that … I was home-schooled. 

When I was a newbie lawyer I … wore another associate’s suit to an unexpected hearing because I didn’t have one in the office. 

The quality I most like in a lawyer is … creativity.

My career high point has been … representing transgender students in discrimination cases. 

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … a speech and debate coach. 

I almost quit the law because … I didn’t fit into a corporate environment. 

The SCOTUS justice I’d like to meet is … Sonia Sotomayor, because she overcame barriers of gender, ethnicity and economic status to become the first Hispanic justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The SCOTUS decision I’d overturn is … Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014).

The last TV show I binge-watched was … House of Cards.

My favorite Twitter feed is … @chrisgeidner, legal editor of BuzzFeed.

I can’t believe more people haven’t read … Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The toll that racism takes on black bodies is more intimate and profound than what we see from a 30-second YouTube video.  

I can do a pretty good impersonation of … Francis Underwood.

My fictional hero is … not Francis Underwood. 

My real life hero is … Judge Darleen Ortega. She speaks truth to power and inspires the powerless with the truth. 

On weekends I …  go hiking, camping, snowshoeing. 

My favorite hike is … Jefferson Park via Park Ridge (Mount Jefferson).

My most bizarre talent is … backflips. I was a gymnast as a child. 

The talent I wish I had is … singing. 

The craziest thing I witnessed in a courtroom is … someone singing from the witness stand. 

My earliest memory is … waiting to see my little sister for the first time. 

The three people I’d invite to dinner are … Cheryl Strayed, Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Franco.

Nothing cheers me up like … a meatball Parmigiano hero at Bunk Bar. 

My guilty pleasure is … dipping a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a glass of cold milk.

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