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Jonathan Patterson, Compassion & Choices Staff Attorney, Wins Oregon State Bar Award for Championing Diversity

By Alyson Lynch

On November 7, 2018, Compassion & Choices staff attorney Jonathan Patterson received the Oregon State Bar (OSB) President’s Diversity & Inclusion Award. According to the OSB’s website, the award “recognizes members who have made significant contributions to the goal of increasing minority representation in the legal profession.”

Jonathan is an integral member of the Compassion & Choices legal team, which is dedicated to ensuring that everyone receives the care they want and is in charge of their care options as they near the end of their lives. The legal advocacy team works on behalf of individuals and their families across the country to protect their end-of-life liberty.

Jonathan serves as the current chair of the OSB Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and was past-chair of the OSB Diversity Section. In these positions, he used his experience as a diverse attorney in “movement law” to speak on Continuing Legal Education (CLE) panels. For example, Jonathan was able to secure a speaking position for Compassion & Choices at the American Nurses Association National Meeting after speaking with another lawyer. The organization is now considering revising its current position on medical aid in dying.

Jonathan also spent three years as president of the Oregon chapter of the National Bar Association (NBA) and currently serves on the national board of the NBA. There, he led the effort to create the NBA LGBTQ Division and serves as its inaugural chairperson. Jonathan helped coordinate the Opportunities for Law in Oregon program for new diverse law students in Oregon, including speaking about end-of-life options to students from jurisdictions where medical aid in dying is not authorized who may have never heard of the movement.

His work with Oregon law schools has provided Compassion & Choices with two summer legal fellows, including one who received a prestigious fellowship for which he cited Compassion & Choices as guiding his interest in the intersection between public policy and the law.

Jonathan’s programmatic work has also exposed the work of Compassion & Choices to other attorneys, including those from a law firm that donated over a million dollars in free legal assistance in representing Compassion & Choices’ first legal client of color, Ana Romero. Romero, the widow of Juan Fernando Romero, was sued by his family to take away her authority to make healthcare decisions for him when he fell ill. In March 2018, a judge ruled she was rightfully in control of her husband’s medical decisions.

Jonathan’s groundbreaking work at the Oregon State Bar, for the National Bar Association in and legal community as a whole supplements his efforts at Compassion & Choices to protect the health care decision-making rights of all Americans.

 


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