The Satisfaction of Service
“Although litigation is always an option, it is not always the most satisfactory way to resolve disputes,” said Eric B. Lindauer JD’66, of counsel to and former partner of Clark, Lindauer, Fetherston, Edmonds, Lippold & Collier LLP in Salem, Ore.
“I have found mediation to be a more constructive process for resolving disputes, both for me and the parties,” added Lindauer, who worked as a general litigator for 16 years before moving to alternative dispute resolution (ADR). “I enjoy helping people come to resolution.”
Lindauer’s interest in ADR shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows his history. His life has been an example of hard work and good service. He was born in Red Bluff, Calif., and raised on a farm that he still owns today with his brother. “It’s a diffi cult life,” he said of farming. “It established in me an appreciation for hard work and a value system that hopefully put me in good stead.”
Following high school, Lindauer joined the U.S. Navy submarine service to fulfi ll his military commitment under the draft. From 1956–59, he lived and worked on the cramped diesel-powered USS Redfin, traveling throughout the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. When his service ended, he enrolled in Oregon State University, where he majored in business administration. “There was no GI Bill at the time, so I put myself through school working at a local restaurant,” he said.
Waiting tables proved to be a good career move for Lindauer, who regularly waited on two Willamette law graduates at the restaurant. Otto R. Skopil Jr. BA’41, LLB’46, H’83 and Bruce W. Williams AB’40, LLB’48 urged Lindauer to consider a career in law and employed him as a clerk when he attended WUCL.
In addition to holding down three jobs in law school, Lindauer volunteered for Gov. Mark O. Hatfield BA’43, H’58, who made a bid for the U.S. Senate the same year Lindauer completed his law degree. Lindauer joined the Hatfield campaign full time after graduation. When the newly elected senator moved to Washington, D.C., in January 1967, Lindauer went along as the senator’s executive assistant. “Hatfield represented the best of what it means to be in political life,” said Lindauer, who worked for the senator for more than two years.
In 1969, Lindauer returned to Salem and joined the law firm of Clark & Marsh. His association with the firm has lasted 38 years. Lindauer began his legal career as a general litigator but refocused his practice on ADR full time in 1985. He has mediated more than 1,000 cases in a variety of areas and arbitrated more than 3,000 cases involving labor, construction, commercial and employment issues. In 2007, he was named a top ADR practitioner in Best Lawyers in America.
Lindauer credits his former partners with setting him on the right path. “Ned Clark and Malcolm Marsh were great role models for me, in terms of my professional life and community involvement,” he explained. “Through them, I became involved in the life of our community.”
A life member of the Willamette University Board of Trustees, Lindauer has been active in numerous service organizations throughout Oregon, including the Lawyer’s Campaign for Equal Justice Advisory Board and the Oregon Community Foundation Board of Directors. In recognition of his service to community, he has received the First Citizen Award from the city of Salem, the Oregon State Bar President’s Award for Distinguished Service and a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Willamette University.
“Because of the training we receive and our place in society, lawyers have a unique responsibility to be involved in the life of their communities,” he said. “When you reflect on your life, you think about your family, your work and where you derive meaning in your life. I get meaning from being in a position to help others. Those experiences are as rewarding to me as the actual practice of law.”
Eric B. Lindauer JD’66
“Because of the training we receive and our place in society, lawyers have a unique responsibility to be involved in the life of their communities.”