Major university and donor investments help raise the bar in the Business Law Program

Business Law Knight Center

Eugene, Oregon. May 18, 2021

University of Oregon President Michael Schill recently committed $1.5 million from the Presidential Fund for Excellence to expand and enhance the Business Law Program. Oregon’s Business Law Program has world-renowned faculty, robust clinics and field placements, and highly regarded graduates in top businesses and law firms around the world. Program strengths include bankruptcy, business, finance, entrepreneurship, estate planning, green business initiatives, intellectual property, sports, and tax.

“The University of Oregon has a long tradition of innovation and impact,” said Schill. “As our new initiatives take shape and we equip our students for successful careers, a strong business law program is key. It allows us to leverage our expertise in applying research to industry and, at the same time, to train business law professionals who will support the state and regional economy.”

These investment funds will support the program’s strategic plan to expand its experiential learning opportunities to prepare law students to become practice ready in the area of business law. The support also will help the law school develop collaborative projects with the University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative.

“The University’s investment of donor funds, coupled with recent gifts from the law school’s alumni and friends, will have a significant programmatic impact for law students pursuing a career in business law,” said Dean Marcilynn Burke.

Current Expansion Efforts

Increased Field Placements and Fellowships – The Business Law Program has increased the number of in-house counsel field placements for second- and third-year law students. It also has expanded the Business Law Fellows Program to include 2Ls and 3L. The expanded fellows program will host its inaugural Lew and Ann Williams Fellow, Kaitlyn Lindaman, during the 2021-2022 academic year. This fellowship was made possible by Lew and Ann Williams Business Law Endowment. The new fellows program complements the existing 1L program. This addition will provide an opportunity for a 2L or 3L student to work closely with a business law faculty advisor on research and projects involving cutting-edge issues in the business law field.  

Portland Clinic Expansion – The Business Law Clinic is a practice-focused experience where second- and third-year law students work with a supervising attorney to form entities and to work on transactional matters for its clients. Beginning in Spring Semester 2022, students in the law school’s Portland Program will be able to work with the Clinic’s clients in Portland, and throughout Oregon, from the Portland campus.

Summer Experiences – The law school also is developing a 10-week, practice-focused summer experience to teach rising second- and third- year students transactional skills. This summer experience will complement the intensive Transaction Boot Camp course that the law school will offer during Spring Semester 2022.

Innovative Speaker Series – The Business Law Program also plans to expand its Business Law speaker series. In March, the program hosted its inaugural speaker event. The law school welcomed Professor A. Mechele Dickerson from the University of Texas at Austin for a discussion on bankruptcy and race, moderated  by Oregon Law Professor and Faculty Director of the Business Law Program, Andrea Coles-Bjerre.

“This investment will produce great dividends, in the form of enhancing our ability to train and graduate practice-ready business lawyers,” said Coles-Bjerre.

The University’s investment in the Business Law Program is a catalyst that will help the program further its goal of becoming a center of excellence at Oregon Law.

Oregon Law is the #1 ranked law school in Oregon and #2 ranked law school in the Northwest. The Business Law Program received a grade of A- from the National Jurist’s PreLaw magazine in 2020-21.