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November 13, 2012

Beth Ford Serves as Oregon Law’s First International Law Fellow

Beth Ford came to the University of Oregon School of Law with big dreams and an even bigger opportunity. As Oregon Law’s  first-ever 1L International Law Fellow, Ford will be assisting faculty with projects relating to international law and international relations as well as forging the path for future students participating in the fellowship program. In addition to the international law fellowship, Oregon Law provides funded fellowships for 1L students studying environmental and natural resources law, family law, business law, policy law and appropriate dispute resolution. Fellows are chosen based on their experience and academic records. Fellows complete project work, schedule lectures and events and perform research as part of their first year in law school.

Beth Ford

Born in Seattle, Wash., Ford grew up in Portland before completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where she received her Bachelor of Journalism in 2010. The Missouri School of Journalism paired its students with KOMU TV-8, an NBC affiliate, which gave Ford ample opportunities to explore her passion for broadcast journalism. Ford worked at KOMU TV-8 as a reporter, producer and web editor, gaining a breadth of experience during her more than two years at the station. During college, Ford worked at KMOX news radio in Jefferson City, Mo. as a state politics radio reporter. Ford also interned with an ABC affiliate news station in Portland, Ore. In 2010, Ford returned to Ore., working as a reporter and producer for KVAL, a local CBS-affiliated television station in Eugene. She had always planned to attend law school, and selected Oregon Law for its tight-knight community, commitment to public service and emphasis on interdisciplinary programs.

“One type of law is not taught by itself in a closed room,” Ford said. “Everything crosses over. It appealed to me that the school (Oregon Law) embraced this type of interdisciplinary approach to law and legal education.”

Ford’s first task as a 1L fellow is updating the school’s International Law website with new content. Her interests include criminal law, asylum law, international news and international relations, and she hopes to do work that merges these fields of study for a truly interdisciplinary experience.

“You have to look at laws through what’s going on culturally, socially and politically,” said Ford. “I just think that’s fascinating.”

Oregon Law’s diverse and welcoming community was in part what drew Ford to the school. She is constantly impressed by her cohort’s wealth of knowledge, and bonds with her peers over discussions of what she calls her “PLL,” or “pre-law life.”

Ford recognizes that as the first 1L International Law Fellow, she’s in an experimental role, and that this is an opportunity for her to shape her fellowship program to work for her needs and interests. Through her fellowship, Ford hopes to gain a broader perspective of international law and discover how laws and policies can affect other nations. Although she’s still working out the details, Ford plans to travel overseas and do public interest work, something deeply engrained in the culture of Oregon Law.

“The reason I feel happy here (at Oregon Law) is because of the environment, because I’m challenged but not stifled,” Ford said. “I want to struggle with this so I can really know where I want to be challenged in five, ten, twelve years.”

While inaugurating Oregon Law’s International Law Fellowship comes with a certain amount of pressure, Ford is excited to set the bar for future 1L students ready to jump into the school’s international law program.

Said Ford jokingly, “Maybe they’ll call this the Beth Ford International Law Fellowship in years to come.”

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