John Gleason, Regulation Counsel, To Retire In March


John Gleason, the head of the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, is retiring after 25 years, he said Monday in an email.

Gleason will officially step down in early March and will take over as the Oregon State Bar’s director of regulatory services. He said he accepted the Oregon position on Friday, informed Chief Justice Michael Bender on Monday and told his managers and staff on Tuesday.

The move comes after more than two decades in the Colorado office, the last 13 of which he spent in the top position as regulation counsel. In an email to Law Week announcing his retirement, Gleason said it was just “time I move on.”

“To try and put into words the honor it has been for me to serve as regulation counsel for the Supreme Court is simply impossible,” he wrote.

There was no mention of who will replace Gleason at the top of the state office that prosecutes attorney discipline cases.

Gleason is well-known recently for leading a nearly two-year investigation and prosecution that resulted in the disbarment of Andrew Thomas, the county attorney in Maricopa County, Arizona. The case garnered national headlines and was called the biggest attorney ethics case in the country in decades.

But Gleason has been known in the regulation counsel arena for long before that, said Murray Greenberg, president of the National Organization of Bar Counsel. That association will give Gleason the President’s Award at its annual conference in February. Greenberg said Gleason has been instrumental in the field of legal ethics and discipline, including Gleason’s work helping to formulate new model rules on client trust fund account recordkeeping. Those rules were adopted by the American Bar Association in 2010.

“He’s been such a major force for so many years,” Greenberg said.

Gleason will likely continue being that force. Come March, however, it’ll be from Oregon.

For more about Gleason’s career in Colorado and the legacy he’ll leave behind, read the Jan. 28 print edition of Law Week.

- James Carlson,