News staff writer
December 17, 2005
The Oregon State Bar has honored a Hood River attorney for practicing law with the highest integrity and ethical standards.
Wayne Annala from the firm of Annala, Carey, Baker and Thompson, was presented in early December with the first Edwin J. Peterson Professionalism Award.
“The recipient fosters the respect and trust of other lawyers, clients, members of the community, and the judicial system,” read the State Bar announcement.
Annala was one of eight attorneys from Oregon to be honored for some aspect of his work. The Hood River native was nominated for the award by his three law partners, Will Carey, Jeff Baker and Mike Thompson.
“Wayne is very well established in this community as an old school gentleman. He practices law by being courteous to everyone, while staying very dedicated to his clients,” said Carey.
Also stepping forward to endorse Annala was Edwin J. Peterson, a former State Supreme Court chief justice for whom the award is named.
Peterson, who attended law school with Annala 50 years ago, wrote in his nomination letter that “candor was Wayne’s credo.” He praised Annala’s commitment to the legal profession and to the people of the Mid-Columbia region who sought his help.
“If a client needs his counsel, fees are secondary. The important thing is the representation of the client. You are lucky to be Wayne Annala’s client,” stated Peterson.
Annala said he was surprised to learn that he had been nominated for the award – and even more surprised to be chosen. He said there are many lawyers around the state that are equally or more deserving and he has been humbled by the distinction.
“I’m really not comfortable with public accolades but I am thankful for the efforts people went through on my behalf,” he said.
Carey said several of the judges for the award were moved to tears by a nomination letter from one of Annala’s former clients. Dixie Parker from The Dalles outlined how he had helped her out of a bad marriage when she was a young mother at the age of 16. She recalled being able to pay him only $50 during the entire two years that it took to get her divorce finalized.
“Because Wayne treated me with dignity when I was a young, foolish girl, I developed an attitude of respect for the legal profession and, not only have I been employed in the profession for the past 24 years, but I’ve also been married to an attorney for the past 18 years,” she wrote.
John Jelderks, a former Hood River County District Attorney who currently serves as a United States Magistrate Judge, also added his remarks to the stack of nomination letters.
“It was always a pleasure to deal with Wayne on the opposite side of a case as he was always courteous, absolutely honest, easy to get along with, and very willing to extend appropriate professional courtesies,” Jelderks stated.
“The importance of a good reputation in a small town cannot be overstated, and during my time in the Hood River Courthouse, Wayne was very well thought of by law enforcement officers, county officials and other courthouse employees,” he continued.
He said social opportunities with Wayne and his wife, Loretta, had to stop once he became a Circuit Court Judge in 1972. However, he enjoyed having Annala practice law in his courtroom because he “never misstated the law or the facts while doing an excellent job for his clients.”
Frank Akin, owner of Anderson’s Tribute Center, gave equally strong support for Annala’s nomination. He said the attorney handled his legal records, both personally and for his business, with gre6at professionalism.
“Although Wayne has a way of occasionally coming across as a little ‘gruff,’ you quickly learn his bark is worse than his bite and he has a huge heart. He is generous to a fault with his time,” stated Akin.
The list of nomination letters for Annala was long, including numerous local attorneys and business leaders.
He has been a member of the State Bar for the past 48 years and has spent his entire private practice career in Hood River. He graduated from the University of Oregon Law School in 1957, after earning a bachelor’s degree in education from the same academic institution three years earlier.
Prior to establishing his own firm, Annala worked as a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge William East in Portland.