December 7, 2005
Laird Kirkpatrick’s deanship marked by ‘enhanced reputation for the School of Law,’ says University President Frohnmayer
Outreach to greater communities, faculty growth, and enhanced reputation mark his tenure, UO president says.
He also will work on another edition of his five-volume treatise on federal evidence law, which is often cited by federal courts – and by the United States Supreme Court as recently as last month.
He leaves the law school in excellent shape.
In his three and a half years as dean, Kirkpatrick has overseen six new faculty appointments, doubled the amount of scholarships for entering students, made seven new appointments to endowed professorships and fellowships, and used the dean’s fund of unrestricted gifts strategically for new initiatives, such as the Loan Repayment Assistance Program. He created new programs in Portland and in public interest and public service, and strengthened our other three centers of excellence in dispute resolution, business, and environmental law.
“Laird is one of our own whose tenure as dean has been marked by outreach to larger communities, faculty growth and development, and a greatly enhanced reputation for the School of Law,” said University President Dave Frohnmayer. “His national reputation as a scholar and a teacher has added luster to the school. We are all very grateful for his hard work, his service and his many successes and wish him well as he continues his many successful pursuits.”
When he took office in August 2002, Kirkpatrick, who earned his law degree at Oregon in 1968, said we must push forward to the front tier of public law schools. He identified a number of goals in an interview with Oregon Lawyer — and most of them have become reality.
Our three-year-old Portland Program, headquartered at the UO Portland Center downtown, now offers summer business law classes, outreach to law firms, and the annual business innovation and law conference on strategic topics of interest to the city’s business lawyers.
Minority student enrollment is now at nearly twenty percent, with a significant increase in African-Americans. The academic strength of the entering classes continues to improve, and the number of applicants to Oregon has increased during a time of national decline in law school applications.
During his tenure, the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program moved into its own office, the Bowerman Center, and secured its first permanent director and program manager. Recently, our program tied with Stanford for seventh best in the nation. A new LL.M. in environmental law begins fall semester, 2006.
The Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center rescued the statewide Community Mediation Program and its $1 million biennial budget and made it a part of the law school. The ADR program has also launched a new interdisciplinary master’s degree in conflict resolution, one of only three law schools nationally to offer such a degree.
The Law and Entrepreneurship Center started an onsite Small Business Clinic and is in the third year of an innovative cross campus program with business and law students to develop market feasibility and assessment studies on new, patentable technologies.
Law professor Keith Aoki, who teaches copyright and intellectual property law, said, “Laird has been a great dean. He helped the law school consolidate and build on its strengths – the ability to forge an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect is one of his virtues. Laird sought to equip our students with the tools to confront all of the challenges facing them in a world where the legal profession and technology are changing rapidly. And he has been accessible: always there with a supportive word, bringing a personal touch to his dealings with faculty, staff and students.”
Kirkpatrick also reorganized the law school’s Board of Visitors so that it is more closely affiliated with the Law School and could help guide the Law School’s development efforts.
Don Corson ’85, a Eugene plaintiff’s attorney who is a member of the DAC, says that Kirkpatrick has been a dedicated and hardworking dean who has set the highest standards of professionalism. “From the days when he was teaching us all evidence – many, many years ago – to his truly outstanding service as dean, we have all benefited from his kindness, decency and commitment.