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April 23, 2014

Meritorious Service Award honorees announced

Hon. John Acosta '82 and late Dean Emeritus Eugene Scoles to be recognized

The University of Oregon School of Law is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Meritorious Service Award: the Honorable John Acosta ’82 and the late Dean Emeritus Eugene Scoles. The award, established in 1984, is bestowed annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to legal education and the legal profession. 

Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta, of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, earned his bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in 1979 and his J.D. from Oregon Law in 1982, where he served on the managing board of the Oregon Law Review. He began his career in 1982 as an associate with the law firm Hughes, Thorsness, Gantz, Powell & Brundin and became a partner there in 1987. He then joined Stoel Rives LLP, in 1987, and became a partner of the firm in 1994. In 2002, he was named senior deputy general counsel for the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon. Judge Acosta was appointed a magistrate judge for the United States District of Oregon on March 5, 2008, and maintains chambers in Portland.

A long-time supporter of Oregon Law, Judge Acosta has made a significant impact through his ongoing commitment and involvement with the school. He has supported a wide variety of programs and activities that range from judging oral arguments and speaking with classes such as legal writing, evidence and civil procedure classes, to conducting mock interviews, career counseling and the mentoring of Oregon Law students. Acosta served as an adjunct professor at the school from 2001 through 2007, teaching a popular litigation practice and procedure course. Since 2006, Acosta has served on the Oregon State Bar’s Joint Bench/Bar Commission on Professionalism, which he chaired in 2010. He currently serves as a member of the Dean's Advisory Council and acts as a mentor to many Oregon Law students.

In 2013, the Oregon State Bar's New Lawyer's Division created "The Hon. John V. Acosta Professionalism Award" to be given annually in recognition of an ongoing "commitment to cultivating and promoting the highest ethical and professional standards among new lawyers in the Oregon State Bar."

Dean Emeritus Eugene Scoles received his education at the University of Iowa, Harvard and Columbia. Prior to joining Oregon Law, Scoles taught at several law schools throughout the country, including the University of Illinois. During his deanship, Oregon Law transformed itself into a modern law school. As dean, as a professor and as an emeritus member of the faculty, Scoles mentored new students, new faculty and new deans. Scoles retired as a distinguished professor of law at the UO in 1982. He was a life member of the American Law Institute, Society of the Public Teachers of Law and life fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He received awards for outstanding achievement and contribution to legal education and law improvement from the University of Oregon, St. Mary's University and the National College of Probate Judges. Tributes and dedications to him were published in the Oregon Law Review, the University of Illinois Law Review and the Elder Law Review. Scoles died in October 2013 at age 92.

The Meritorious Service Awards will be bestowed as a part of the Oregon Law commencement exercises taking place at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Eugene.

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