2023 O’Connell Conference


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2023 Conference Schedule


1:00-2:30             Race Conscious Admissions after the Ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard

Panelists: Professor Garrett Epps, Professor Stuart Chinn, Professor Alison Gash, UO General Counsel Kevin Reed

Moderator: Dean Marcilynn Burke


2:30-3:15             Navigating Water Policy after Sackett v. EPA

Panelists: Professor Adell Amos, Professor Adam Ward (Oregon State University)

Moderator: Professor Greg Dotson


3:15-3:30              Break

Refreshments Available


3:30-4:15             303 Creative LCC v. Elenis and Groff v. DeJoy: The Implications of Recent U.S. Supreme Court Decisions on Free Speech and Religious Freedom

Panelist: Professor Robin Maril (Willamette School of Law), Professor Jim Oleske (Lewis & Clark Law School)

Moderator: Assistant Professor Sarah Adams-Schoen


4:15-5:00              Moore v. Harper, Election Law, and Questions about the Future of Federalism

Panelists: Professor Paul Diller (Willamette School of Law), the Hon. Jack Landau

Moderator: Rachel Sowray

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2023 Speaker Information

Marcilynn Burke

Marcilynn A. Burke (moderator) serves as Oregon Law’s Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law. Her expertise spans leadership, property, environmental, and natural resources law, with published works in esteemed journals. Recently elected as the chair of the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) Board of Trustees, she champions its mission to advance law and justice by supporting diverse, talented individuals in the study and practice of law. From 2009-2013, Dean Burke served in the U.S. Department of the Interior as appointee of President Barack Obama, first as the Deputy Director for Programs and Policy of the Bureau of Land Management and then as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. Dean Burke holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a J.D. from Yale Law School. 

Professor Stuart Chinn

Stuart Chinn is a Professor at Oregon Law. He writes and teaches about constitutional law, legislation, and legal and political history. His book, Recalibrating Reform: the Limits of Political Change, was published by Cambridge University Press. Additionally, he has published in peer-reviewed venues such as the University of Chicago Press, Law & Social Inquiry, and Polity, and has published in law reviews such as the Houston Law Review, Maryland Law Review, Utah Law Review, Wisconsin Law Review, and others. A native of Eureka, California, Stuart received his B.A., Ph.D. (political science), and J.D. degrees from Yale University. 

Professor Garrett Epps

Garrett Epps is a Professor of Practice at Oregon Law. He returned to Oregon from the University of Baltimore Law School. Before heading east, Professor Epps taught Constitutional Law at Oregon Law. While at Baltimore, he served for ten years as Supreme Court Correspondent of The Atlantic, publishing more than 400 essays analyzing the Supreme Court’s evolving jurisprudence and constitutional issues. His book To an Unknown God: Religious Freedom on Trial is a comprehensive history of Employment Division v. Smith, the 1990 Oregon “peyote case.” His scholarship has appeared in law journals including Duke Law Journal, North Carolina Law Review, and American University Law Review.  Garrett Epps received his LL.M. and J.D. from Duke University and an M.A. from Hollins College. 


Alison Gash

Alison Gash is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on the intersection of law and social policy with a specific interest in race, gender, sexuality, and disability, particularly in the context of housing, family and youth advocacy. She is the co-author of Democracy's Child: Young People and the Politics of Control, Leverage and Agency (Oxford University 2022) and author of Below the Radar: How Silence Can Save Civil Rights (Oxford University 2015).  Professor Gash's work has appeared in numerous law and political science journals as well as the Washington Post, Washington Monthly, Politico and other public media outlets.  She holds a B.A. from Vassar, an MPA-URP from Princeton, and a Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley.   

kevin reed

Kevin S. Reed serves as vice president and general counsel for the University of Oregon. He is responsible for the management of the legal affairs of the university, including the provision of legal guidance to all university units, schools, and colleges. His work involves drafting and counseling on a wide array of issues including promotion of diversity. He previously served as vice chancellor, legal affairs at UCLA, general counsel of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and the managing attorney for the western regional office of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., in Los Angeles. Kevin received his J.D. degree Harvard Law School and his B.A. from the University of Virginia. 

Greg Dotson (moderator) is a faculty member with Oregon Law’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center, where he leads the Energy Law and Policy Project. Prior to joining academia at Oregon Law in 2017, Dotson served as the Vice President for Energy Policy at the Washington, D.C.-based multidisciplinary think tank the Center for American Progress. Dotson has also held senior environmental staff positions in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. From February 2021 until October 2022, Dotson served as the Democratic Chief Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. In this position, he worked on the American Recovery Plan Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. Professor Dotson holds an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech and a J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law. 

Adell Amos

Adell L. Amos holds the Clayton R. Hess Professorship and serves as the Executive Director for the UO Environment Initiative. Her research emphasizes the jurisdictional governance structures that are deployed for water resources management. Her teaching and scholarship have been recognized by the UO Fund for Faculty Excellence and the Hollis Teaching Awards. Amos first joined the faculty in 2005 after practicing law with the U.S. Department of Interior. In 2008, Amos returned to Washington D.C. to serve in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Solicitor for Land and Water Resources at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Amos returned to the UO School of Law in 2011. Professor Amos holds a B.A from Drury College and her J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law.  

adam ward

Adam Ward serves as a professor and Department Head at Oregon State University’s Department of Biological & Ecological Engineering. He has written extensively and received numerous awards for his research, which has focused on environmental science, hydrology, watershed management, civil engineering, and water quality. Prior to joining OSU, Dr. Ward taught at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and had a Fulbright Fellowship in Birmingham, England, studying the management of societal and natural functions of river systems. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Ph.D. from Penn State University.  


Sarah Adams-Schoen is a faculty member of the University of Oregon School of Law Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center. Her scholarship, applied research, and service focus on climate change law and policy, state and local government law, and land use, focusing on climate resilience in the coastal and inland floodplains and wildland urban interface. Prior to embarking on her legal career, she received a Masters in Economics at the London School of Economics and worked as a senior policy analyst for Portland, Oregon’s Metro Regional Government. She received her J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School.


Jim Oleske is a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School. He joined the faculty after serving as Chief of Staff of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the first two years of the Obama Administration. Professor Oleske’s research focuses on the intersection of religious liberty and other constitutional values, and he was a Fulbright Scholar based at Cardiff University’s Centre for Law and Religion in 2019. His 2015 article, The Evolution of Accommodation: Comparing the Unequal Treatment of Religious Objections to Interracial and Same-Sex Marriages, was quoted by Justice Sotomayor in her dissent in 303 Creative v. Elenis. He holds a B.A. from Middlebury College and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.  

robin maril

Robin Maril is a professor at Willamette University College of Law. She teaches Constitutional Law, and her scholarship primarily focuses on nondiscrimination protections and religious freedom. Prior to joining Willamette, Maril worked with the Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”), where she served as the associate legal director and as senior legislative counsel. Her work at the HRC focused on federal programs, administrative policies, and legislation that impacted the LGBTQIA community. Prior to working at the HRC, she served as a Presidential Management Fellow for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She holds a B.A. from the University of Oklahoma and a J.D. from Temple University.  

paul diller

Paul Diller is a professor of law and the Roscoe C. & Debra H. Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Willamette University College of Law. His professional work focuses on state and local government law and public health law. He has written extensively about state preemption of local authority, as well as structures underlying that dynamic, including partisan gerrymandering. More recently, his scholarship has explored the use of emergency powers by state and local officials since Covid-19.  Prior to teaching, he practiced law as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he litigated constitutional, administrative, and FOIA cases, among others. He holds a B.A. and B.A.S. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from Michigan Law. 

jack landau

The Honorable Jack L. Landau served as an Associate Justice on the Oregon Supreme Court from 2011 through 2017. Before his election to the Supreme Court, Justice Landau served as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals for 18 years, including 12 years as a presiding judge on one of the court’s three-judge panels. He served in the Oregon Department of Justice, first as Attorney-in-Charge of the department’s Special Litigation Unit and later as the Deputy Attorney General. Justice Landau serves as Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Willamette University College of Law and as a pro tem instructor at Oregon Law. He holds a B.A. and J.D. from Lewis and Clark and an L.L.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law. 


rachel sowray

Rachel Sowray (moderator) is a Special Assistant United States Attorney in Portland who prosecutes benefits fraud and other white-collar crimes. Previously, she worked at the Washington County District Attorney's Office as a Deputy District Attorney and focused on domestic violence and stalking cases. In 2017, Sowray founded a nonpartisan nonprofit, Politisit, that increases civic engagement and voter turnout. Before law school, Sowray worked on domestic policy for several elected officials in Washington, D.C. Sowray currently teaches Constitutional Law at Oregon Law’s Portland campus. She received her B.A. from the College of William & Mary, her M.P.P. from George Washington University, and her J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law.