Women attorneys shared concerns about pay inequity and retaliation at the Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS). The ACLU of Oregon asked for an investigation. OPDS has started an investigation by an outside investigator. We encourage everyone with information to participate in the investigation.

In August 2021, the ACLU of Oregon asked the Public Defense Services Commission (PDSC) to initiate an independent investigation of the Office of Public Defense Services (OPDS). We made this request after multiple women defense attorneys shared with us their experiences involving pay inequity and retaliation from OPDS. After we publicized this request for an investigation, several more women defense attorneys reached out to us with serious concerns about OPDS.

In response to our request, OPDS’s leadership (Ed Jones, Interim Executive Director) has engaged Jill Goldsmith, J.D. of Workplace Solutions Northwest to conduct an investigation. Ms. Goldsmith’s experience is set out at www.workplacesolutionsnw.com. She can be reached at jill@workplacesolutionsnw.com. More information from Ms. Goldsmith specific to the investigation of OPDS is available at the end of this letter. 

We ask that anyone who experienced pay inequity or retaliation from OPDS or an OPDS employee and anyone who may have information as a witness even though not necessarily as an impacted party reach out to Ms. Goldsmith and provide information to her.

For those who are concerned about retaliation, Ms. Goldsmith has publicly committed to not revealing your identity to OPDS unless you give her permission to do so. If you need more information about protections against retaliation, you can set up a meeting with Ms. Goldsmith just to learn more about her process, and you can decide if you wish to share information after that meeting.

There may be some who do not know if their experiences or information as an impacted party or witness are within the scope of Ms. Goldsmith’s investigation. We encourage you to reach out to Ms. Goldsmith too. Even if not directly within the scope of the investigation, your information may still provide helpful context or information for the investigation.

We understand that participating in an investigation can be daunting. If you need general support or have questions beyond that provided by Ms. Goldsmith, the ACLU of Oregon is here to support you. Please reach out to Sandy Chung, Executive Director (schung@aclu-or.org).

Our criminal justice system is critical to our democracy, civil liberties, and civil rights, and criminal defense attorneys are critical to the integrity and functionality of this system. Please know that the ACLU of Oregon sees you, hears you, and supports you. You are not alone. We will do our best to bring positive change to the Office of Public Defense Services, and we ask you to join us in that effort by participating in this investigation.