The University of Oregon School of Law and other law schools around the country are partnering with the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and EarthRights International on a nationwide project to research state laws and propose recommendations for legal reform around corporate accountability in their respective states.
The project was in part created in response to the Supreme Court decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum. The court concluded that human rights cases can only be brought in U.S. federal court under the Alien Tort Statute so long as the actions concerned the U.S. Though this moved some cases forward in federal court, the court left an insufficient explanation of what this test means or how other courts should apply it.
"As soon as we heard about the ICAR project, we realized how important it was," noted Professor McKinley. "It also provides students with a hands-on opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to critical issues in transnational litigation."
ICAR is a combination of human rights, environmental, labor, and development organizations that create, promote and defend legal frameworks to ensure corporations respect human rights in their global operations. Similarly, EarthRights International is a non-profit organization specializing in legal actions against perpetrators of human rights and environmental abuses. Together, along with the law schools, they will provide research support for human rights cases at the state level. Students will also examine their state law and propose recommendations of how the law could be improved to better protect human rights victims.
Schools currently involved in the project include: University of Oregon School of Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, New England Law | Boston, Santa Clara Law, UCLA School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, and Western New England University School of Law.
Richard A. Shaw, a University of Oregon School of Law alumnus and member of the Dean’s Advisory Council, recently received the San Diego County Bar Association’s inaugural Taxation Section Award. Shaw is a 1962 graduate of the law school.
The SDCBA is the region’s largest and oldest law-related organization; it aims its efforts in helping the community and supporting local county lawyers to enhance and expand their practices.
The SDCBA Taxation Section Award was created this year to honor a member of the San Diego County Bar Association's Taxation Law Section for his or her contribution to the profession and the area of tax law. Members of the SDCBA's Tax Section submitted nominations, and the SDCBA's board of directors approved the recipient.
“It is a special privilege to be recognized as the initial recipient of this award, recognizing a lifetime of work with taxation,” said Shaw. “I especially enjoy the privilege of working and practicing an area of law where one can devote attention to the improvement toward the tax system as well as providing support and devotion to tax payers.”
Shaw, a nationally recognized business and tax attorney, has been a member of the SDCBA Taxation Law Section for more than 40 years. He is a California Certified Specialist in taxation law, specializing in business and tax planning, estate planning and tax controversy. Shaw has testified before Congress and the IRS on corporate tax reform, Subchapter S, tax shelters, tax simplification and ethics.
Hard work and dedication are no strangers to Tasha Schwiket-Warren. After earning an Olympic bronze medal in Sydney, Australia, in 2000, Oregon Law visiting student Schwikert-Warren went on to make her way in women's gymnastics.
Her list of accomplishments includes a World Gymnastics Championships team gold medal, and the title of 2001 and 2002 U.S. senior national all-around champion. Also, while studying sociology at University of California Las Angeles, Schwikert-Warren claimed both the 2005 and 2008 NCAA all-around national champion titles.
Today, Schwikert-Warren is working on her second year of law school at University of Oregon as a visiting student from University of Nevada Las Vegas.
Prior to law school Schwikert-Warren worked at a sports agency in Los Angeles in the Women's Olympic Sports Division as a coordinator and agent and that experience inspired her to go to law school.
"The law fascinates me. I enjoy how it helps to right the wrongs," said Tasha. "Law school challenges me just as training for the Olympics challenged me."
As a Las Vegas native Schwikert-Warren pursued her first year of law at UNLV before spending a semester during her second year at Oregon Law due to the outstanding reputation of School of Law's Environmental and Natural Resources Law program, ranked eighth by U.S. News & World Report.
"I decided to visit at the University of Oregon because I am very interested in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Oregon Law just so happens to have one of the best programs in the country," said Schwikert-Warren.
At Oregon she enjoys the William W. Knight Law Center, the beautiful University of Oregon campus, friendly students and brilliant professors as well as the very temperate climate.
"My favorite thing about Eugene is that it's everything that Las Vegas is not. Green, plush, a little rainy, a bit humid, college-town atmosphere, and the water tastes fantastic," said Schwikert-Warren.
As a second-year student Schwikert-Warren is unsure what area of law she wants to ultimately practice but her top six include intellectual property, environmental law, corporate law, health law, sports and entertainment law, and gaming law.
With graduation nearly a year and half away Schwikert-Warren hopes to pursue a legal career in a field for which she's excited and passionate.
"It seems too early for me to make post-law school plans. I believe life has a crazy way of working itself out," said Schwikert-Warren. "Life has already given me opportunities of which I would have never dreamed. But ultimately, I want to pursue a legal practice in an area of law that I am passionate about."
Most recently, Schwikert-Warren was announced as one of two recipients of a lucrative $75,000 scholarship from the Las Vegas Business Academy, a nonprofit organization.
Visiting student, former Olympic gymnast Tasha Schwikert wins $75,000 scholarship from the Las Vegas Business Academy
University of Oregon School of Law Professor Mary Wood will be a keynote speaker at the 2014 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC), "Running Into Running Out." Wood is the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law and faculty director for the school's Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program.
Wood frequently speaks on global climate change issues and originated the Atmospheric Trust Litigation (ATL) approach, which holds governments worldwide accountable for reducing carbon pollution within their jurisdictions. She has published extensively on climate crisis, natural resources and native law issues.
Wood's latest book, "Nature's Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age," defines the frontiers of public trust law and maps out a full paradigm shift for the way in which government agencies manage public resources. Called a "profound assessment of the legitimate foundations of government" by Gerald Torres of Cornell Law School, the book reveals the dysfunction of current statutory law and calls upon citizens, government employees, legislators and judges to protect natural inheritance rightfully belonging to future generations as part of the public trust.
Wood's research currently is being used in lawsuits and petitions brought on behalf of children and youth throughout the United States and in other countries. These lawsuits, which seek judicial decrees enforcing carbon reduction, represent a "macro" approach to climate crisis calibrated to planetary requirements for climate equilibrium.
The 2014 PIELC will take place February 27 through March 2 at the University of Oregon. "Running Into Running Out" conveys a sense of urgency that we must take greater action to prevent ourselves from running out of the resources necessary for survival. PIELC is an opportunity for lawyers, students, scientists, activists and citizens to gather and discuss issues critical to our planet. For additional information on the 32nd annual conference, visit http://pielc.org/.