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Oregon Law’s Meritorious Service Award honoree announced

The University of Oregon School of Law is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2015 Meritorious Service Award: Professor Emeritus Dominick Vetri. The award, established in 1984, is bestowed annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to legal education and the legal profession. Vetri will be honored with the award during Oregon Law’s 2015 Commencement Ceremony on Sat., May 16, 2015, at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.

Professor Dom VetriProfessor Vetri, who joined Oregon Law in 1967, has made meaningful and lasting impacts upon the law school, both within the classroom and in its hallways. Also his law reform work has benefited the University, Eugene, and the State.

Over the years, Vetri has taught a number of courses, including torts, federal courts, copyrights, civil clinic, gay and lesbian legal issues, and art law. As a specialist in torts, particularly products liability, he published numerous articles in the area and became the lead author of a successful torts casebook. Vetri is known and respected as a conscientious and innovative teacher. Beginning in 1993, he developed and led a program focused on the teaching effectiveness of law faculty until his retirement.

In 1970, Professor Vetri developed the law school's first clinical program, the Civil Law Clinic, in conjunction with Lane County Legal Services and taught in that program for many years thereafter. The program became a model for other law schools because of its combination of academic focus on training in lawyering skills and practical experience with clients. Vetri first offered an experimental seminar on gay and lesbian legal issues in 1979 and began offering a regular course on the subject in 1989. It was one of a few courses dealing with these issues being taught in law schools around the country; today, many schools have such a class.

Vetri has worked with students on many law reform projects including Eugene’s first Civil Rights Law, which extended equal rights protection to women, and the development of the Oregon Law Commission, a governmental body devoted to improving Oregon laws.

Over the course of his career, he has won a number of teaching awards, including the Phi Delta Phi Law Professor of the Year Award in 1979, the University’s highest Teaching Award in 1992. In 1998, he received the Award of Merit from the Oregon Gay & Lesbian Law Association for his efforts toward equality for the gay and lesbian community in Oregon. He received the University of Oregon's Charles E. Johnson Memorial Award in 1999, this honor is given to a university faculty member who demonstrates exceptional service to the university and its community. Vetri was elected a member of the prestigious American Law Institute in 2003. He received the law school's Orlando J. Hollis Teaching Excellence Award in 2007and held the Bernard Kliks Chair from its inception until his retirement. Vetri was also the recipient of the Public Interest-Public Service (PIPS) student group’s 2008 Champion of the Public Interest Award. Most recently he was honored with the 2012 University of Oregon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award.

Vetri’s impact within the law school also can be seen on its walls. He developed a program for regularly showcasing photography exhibits and art displays within the law school. This program has provided numerous Oregon artists with a venue at which to display their work for the viewing pleasure of the law school community and the general public.

Vetri earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was an editor on the law review and graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif. After clerking for a year for New Jersey Judge Harold Kolovsky (1964-65), he joined the New Jersey law firm of Meyner and Wiley (1965-67).

Previous Meritorious Service award recipients include:
2014 – The Hon. John V. Acosta and
              Former Oregon Law Dean Eugene Scoles (posthumous)
2013 – The Hon. David Schuman
2012 – The Hon. Procter Hug Jr.
2011 – The Hon. Martha Walters, James O’Fallon
2010 – Mary Lawrence, Carolyn Chambers
2009 – Mervyn Loya
2008 – Rennard Strickland
2007 – The Hon. Dorothy W. Nelson
2006 – The Hon. Wallace P. Carson, Jr., Phyllis Barkhurst
2005 – Alice Plymell
2004 – The Hon. Stephen Reinhardt, Senator Ron Wyden
2003 – Ellen Rosenblum
2002 – Norman Wiener, Minoru Yasui
2001 – Ray and Lois Ackerman
2000 – The Hon. Helen Frye
1999 – The Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor, Professor Emeritus Frank R. Lacy
1998 – Hardy Myers
1997 – Wendell Wyatt
1996 – Otto Frohnmayer, Noreen (Saltveit) McGraw
1995 – Oglesby Young, Anthony Yturri
1994 – Arthur Johnson, Sidney Lezak
1993 – Jeannette Hayner, John Luvaas, Eugene Scoles
1992 – John Jaqua, Frank Nash
1991 – Chapin Clark
1990 – John VanLandingham
1989 – The Hon. Alfred T. Goodwin, The Hon. Edwin Peterson
1988 – The Hon. Roland Rodman, The Hon. Richard Unis
1987 – Richardson Nahstoll
1986 – The Hon. Hans Linde
1985 – Lois Baker, The Hon. Kenneth O’Connell
1984 – William East, Orlando J. Hollis

United States District Court for the District of Oregon Judge Michael J. McShane to keynote at 2015 UO School of Law commencement

The University of Oregon School of Law is pleased to welcome the Honorable Michael J. McShane, of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, as the keynote speaker for its 2015 commencement ceremony.

McShane grew up in the town of Kennewick, WA. He attended Gonzaga University and obtained his English Literature degree, magna cum laude. After graduating from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College, McShane worked for the Metropolitan Public Defender in Portland for nearly a decade before being appointed to the state bench in 1997, where he presided over a variety of jury and bench trials in Oregon’s largest Circuit Court.

Judge Michael McShaneIn 2004, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski named McShane to the Governor’s Re-Entry Council, which strives to improve the success rates of parolees returning to society after their incarceration, by increasing the availability of counseling, mentoring, job training, and drug treatment services, in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. In 2012 he was awarded the Oregon State Bar President’s Public Service Award for his service to the community.

McShane was nominated to the federal court by President Obama in September of 2012, and was confirmed by the US Senate on May 20, 2013. He serves as a United States District Court Judge in Eugene.

On and off the bench, McShane has been especially committed to helping at-risk youth. He spent six years on the board of St. Andrew Nativity School, a tuition free middle school designed to prepare children living in poverty for a college preparatory education. As a state judge, McShane brought kids from alternative schools into his courtroom on a weekly basis to expose them to the justice system. In his own life, McShane is an adoptive and foster parent.

McShane also enjoys teaching. He taught evidence at Oregon’s New Judge’s College and is a frequent lecturer at bar association conferences, CLE seminars, and law school classes. His fields of expertise include evidence, search & seizure, capital litigation, and trial practice. McShane has been an adjunct law professor at Lewis & Clark College’s Northwestern School of Law, where he taught Trial Advocacy and the Criminal Practice Seminar. He was also involved in the Lewis and Clark’s mentoring program and was named “Mentor of the Year” in 2009. Today, McShane continues to lecture and mentor students from the University of Oregon School of Law.

Oregon Law's commencement exercises will take place beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Eugene. Oregon Law also will be recognizing the Law Professor Emeritus Dominick Vetri with the school's Meritorious Service Award during the day's exercises.

Professor Mary Wood Discusses Climate Change, Public Trust Doctrine, & Atmospheric Trust Litigation with Bill Moyers

University of Oregon law professor Mary Wood was a guest on the final episode of the public television program “Moyers and Company” talking about the efforts to defend the climate on behalf of future generations.

Mary Wood on set of Moyers & CompanyInterweaving legal concepts inherent in a democracy, Wood's book “Nature’s Trust” explores a modern application of the public trust doctrine in light of climate change. Wood’s atmospheric trust litigation research is currently being used in lawsuits and petitions brought on behalf of children and youth throughout the United States and in other countries, spearheaded by the organization Our Children's Trust.

Moyers’ segment “The Children’s Climate Crusade” included an interview with Wood, who says, “If this nation relies on a stable climate system, and the very habitability of this nation and all of the liberties of young people and their survival interests are at stake, the courts need to force the agencies and the legislatures to simply do their job.”

Sports and Business Law interests intersect perfectly for 3L Max Forer

Oregon Law 3L and former Oregon offensive lineman, Max Forer feels that his experience as a collegiate athlete has had a tremendous impact on his success as a law student.

In addition to being a full-time law student, Forer oversees a mentor program for student athletes at the John E. Jaqua Center for Student Athletes and is a part of a student group called Sports and Entertainment Law Forum (SELF).

Max Forer Inside The Pac“Being on a sports team – where your job is to sacrifice your own individual aspirations for the success of the team – helped me when I was going into law school to realize that there might be a lot of things I want to do for myself, but if I can lead a student group that can help multiple people, I will be able to help myself in the process,” Forer said.

Although Forer no longer plays football, he still tries to incorporate athletics into his lifestyle by being an active member and the commissioner of the Legal Basketball Association (LBA).

“I’ll always need to stay competitive and physically active in my life or else I’ll lose my edge. Once I lose my edge I’ll be complacent and I can never be complacent in life because the competitive desire is what keeps me going and wanting more."

Forer came to the University of Oregon as an undergraduate student to play football. During his time as a football player, he won a scholarship and lettered twice. As an undergrad, it was difficult for him to juggle academics and athletics while trying to maintain a high enough grade point average to get into law school.

Both of Forer’s parents are lawyers and from a young age he had always been interested in their work. He had known for a long time that he, too, wanted to attend law school and choosing to go to Oregon Law was an easy decision for him as he could combine his interests in Business Law and Sports Law.

“Oregon is home to me. I knew it would be a great fit for me to go to law school here. All the people here are great. It has a community atmosphere – which is not a culture that all law schools have."

Recently, Forer got the opportunity to guest co-host for KVAL’s “Inside the Pac,” and provide sports analysis and commentary.

“If I get offered to do something, I always say yes – even if it’s last minute. Being available and flexible has allowed me to identify opportunities for me that I didn’t even know might exist.”

He is most interested in business and sports law, but is open to anything that may come his way in terms of his career path.

Forer said, “I don’t know what I want to do in life, but I know that everyday when I wake up, I want to be happy with what I’m doing. I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can to enjoy my life’s pursuit on a daily basis."

UO Conflict and Dispute Resolution Master’s Student Teaches Mediation Skills to Teens in the Classroom

Middle and high school students of Tillamook County are receiving hands-on mediation training by University of Oregon Conflict and Dispute Resolution Master’s program (CRES) student, Mason Hines.

Mason HinesHines, a second year CRES student, is currently an intern at Conflict Solutions for Tillamook County. As a part of his internship, Hines provides peer-mediating training to students in Tillamook County.

Last month, Conflict Solutions for Tillamook County arranged for trainers from Portland’s Resolution Northwest to attend schools in Tillamook County to provide basic peer-mediating training to students. Some of the skills they taught include active listening, asking open-ended questions, acknowledging and suspending personal bias, developing empathy for those involved in conflict and more.

“Theoretically, peer mediation returns the responsibility for behavior modification back to the students,” Hines said. “It's a process in which students in conflict are empowered to use dialogue and facilitated information exchange to resolve issues and can chose to memorialize an agreement modifying their behavior.”

The training lasts for one full day, but in order for mediation skills to stay sharp it is best if they are refreshed on a regular basis. For this reason, Hines now visits with the majority of the County’s peer mediators weekly. He also co-teaches a leadership class at Tillamook Junior High School that is made up of students who attended previous training events. Most of Hines’ lessons focus on mediation and further developing the conflict management skills they were taught last month.

“In my opinion, conflict management and similar relational skills are underemphasized in many education systems, especially at the teen and pre-teen level,” Hines said. “Even if these students mediate a relatively small number of cases at school, the skills we're covering translate to, and will benefit them, in everyday social situations at home, work and in friend groups.”

University of Oregon School of Law joins Gideon’s Promise Law School Partnership

Oregon Law has joined the ranks of a dozen other elite national law schools by becoming a Gideon’s Promise Law School Partner. In addition to Oregon Law, Gideon’s Promise partner law schools include American University Washington College of Law, Georgetown Law, University of Michigan Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, William & Mary Law School, Boston University School of Law, George Washington University Law School, Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, University of Chicago Law School, UCLA School of Law, Vanderbilt Law School, and Berkeley Law.

Gideon’s Promise is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reforming the public defense system in the South, the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, and participating law schools and public defender offices. The goal of the program is to recruit exceptional third-year law students with an interest in public service and place them in positions at underserved public defender offices where their skills are needed the most.

Oregon Law graduates who participate in the program will receive a post-graduate fellowship from the law school and the promise of a permanent job within one year of graduation at the public defender offices at which they are placed. Participating graduates will also receive three years of ongoing training and education from Gideon’s Promise in how to provide meaningful representation to clients under difficult circumstances and to learn strategies to resist pressures to conform to dysfunctional public defense cultures.

Through the Partnership Project, Oregon Law can turn one year of fellowship funding into a permanent career and support our graduates in becoming the leaders of one of today’s civil rights movements. Oregon Law is proud to partner with Gideon’s Promise in this important effort to enhance public service career opportunities for our students and to address a critical need for access to justice.

Professor Mary Wood to offer Environmental Law CLE in Portland

Oregon Law Professor Mary Christina Wood will present “Is Environmental Law Working Any More? A Nature’s Trust Alternative to the Status Quo” on December 11, 2014 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the White Stag Block in Portland, Oregon. The event is being held in collaboration with the Oregon State Bar Association’s Sustainable Future section. CLE credit is available. The event is open to the public. Reservations are required.

Professor Wood’s speech will focus on the key premise of her recently published book Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age, that environmental law is broken. Far from realizing its promise of the 1970s, environmental law now facilitates continued ecological degradation. In contrast, the ancient public trust doctrine imposes a trustee’s fiduciary duty on federal and state legislators and administrators to protect the ecological integrity of public trust assets for the benefit of present and future generations of citizens. This sovereign duty finds its apex in the accelerating climate crisis. In this program, Professor Wood will describe the role of the trust doctrine in modern environmental law and its application to climate responsibility.

Mary Christina Wood is the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon Law School and author. She is Faculty Director of the University of Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center.

Event Details:

Date/Time:  Thursday, December 11, Noon to 1:15 pm
Location: White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch Street
Wayne Morse Suite (Floor 3)
Portland, Oregon
Lunch: Brown Bag (bring your own)
Cost: No cost for SFS members or law students
$15 at door for others (or $20 to join the section)
CLE: 1.0 hour CLE credit (being applied for)
RSVP to: Jan Flynn
Bar Number: Please provide at time of registration if requesting CLE credit
Phone: If you must participate by phone, let Jan Flynn know by e-mail, and she will send the call number and pass code.

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