About Cliff Collins

Cliff Collins Articles written 7

Articles written by Cliff Collins

The Akin Heart

Akin Blitz and his dog, Annie, dispense a special brand of medicine       

One admiring colleague of C. Akin Blitz compares his lawyering style to a bulldog. It's a fitting analogy for a man who spends much of his time with a member of the Oregon Animal Hall of Fame. Blitz and his dog Annie, a bearded collie, have worked together for eight years as an animal-therapy team, visiting chronically ill children at Providence Child Center and patients of all ages at Oregon Health & Science University. Annie is also a deputy sheriff of Washington County, with her own vest …

The Remarkably Resilient Richard S. Yugler

For this Portland attorney, defeat has never been an option

Richard S. Yugler's path to success hasn't been easy. At one point, the current president of the Oregon State Bar lived on food stamps. He spent years tarring roads, sometimes working two jobs at a time, to get through school. Then it took him a decade to pay off his student debts. The manual labor came after he turned 18—three years after his parents divorced—when Yugler spent 5 1/2 years working at various jobs, including cutting and welding sheet metal, operating a backhoe, working on …

Watching Out

Michael Williams keeps a sharp eye on the pharmaceutical industry

Michael L. Williams has his hands full: His cases often involve hundreds or thousands of injured people.   His specialty is pharmaceutical mass torts. This year, Williams, 60, is handling 5,000 petitions in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims for compensation to children he says developed neurodevelopment disorders related to mercury in vaccines.   Williams travels each month from Portland to Little Rock, Ark., where a judge holds a conference to address getting 8,000 federal breast cancer …

Widows' Best Friend

Brent Renison takes on Immigration

Immigration lawyer Brent Renison’s livelihood mostly involves helping corporations hire specialized foreign professionals. But the plight of one immigrant inspired him to fight a flaw in immigration law. Over the past three years, Renison, 39, established a nonprofit organization called Surviving Spouses Against Deportation, with the mission of getting rid of the “widow penalty,” a little-known 1970 ruling. It affects spouses of U.S. citizens who die within two years of the marriage, …

The Bet-Your-Company Lawyer

Richard Stone lands the biggest jury award of the year

Jury awards don’t come much bigger than $850 million.   That’s the amount lead lawyer Richard “Rick” J. Stone of Ball Janik won last year for German industrial manufacturer MAN AG against Portland-based Freightliner.   It was the largest U.S. jury award last year; and in state history, the largest overall verdict and largest punitive-damage award.   Stone, 62, who has concentrated on complex business disputes while practicing with several of the nation’s largest firms, was tapped …

Will Dodge Jellyfish for Money

Timothy Haslach braves the English Channel for charity

Some lawyers golf, some cycle, others hike. Timothy F. Haslach swims the English Channel.   In July 2001, Haslach volunteered with 11 other Oregon swimmers to form two relay teams that crossed the chilly, unpredictable 21-mile stretch of salt water between England and France.   The Channel Swimming Association dictates what channel crossers can and cannot do. And it doesn’t permit wet suits or speed suits, “just a Speedo, cap and goggles, plus some grease where we were likely to chafe …

Keeping Counsel

More companies are scouting for their own attorneys, and young lawyers are happily signing on

Billable hours begone. Three local achievers on our Rising Stars list said goodbye to all that: They left secure positions with big Seattle law firms, carrying their dreams and legal pads to corporations, where they joined the ranks of in-house attorneys.   Not having to account for their days in increments was part of the allure, along with being part of a team, seeing clients before a crisis and keeping more predictable hours.   Claire Keeley: Corbis Claire L. Keeley is one of seven …

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