ENR Director Heather Brinton Wins OSB Sustainability Award

Oct 14, 2015

The Oregon State Bar (OSB) President’s Sustainability Award recognizes members who have made significant contributions to the goal of sustainability in the legal profession in Oregon through education, advocacy, leadership in adopting sustainable business practices, or other significant efforts. This year’s recipients are S. Ward Greene, Kimberlee A. Stafford, and Oregon Law’s Heather Brinton.

The award was created in 2010 by OSB to recognize extraordinary leadership by an Oregon lawyer or law firm in promoting sustainability within the Bar and legal profession. Brinton, director of Oregon Law’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center (ENR) joins an illustrious group of individuals receiving this honor. Past recipients of the President’s Sustainability Award include: Richard (Dick) E. Roy (2010), James M. Kennedy (2011), Diane Henkels (2012), Max M. Miller, Jr., (2013) and Steven R. Schell (2014).

As ENR's director, Brinton works to advance the center’s mission of “engaging the law to support sustainability on earth.” She accomplishes this goal through many avenues including by leading seven theme-based interdisciplinary research projects that are powered by law school fellows and faculty members. The seven projects, considered innovative for tackling some of the most challenging and cutting-edge environmental issues of our day are: the Conservation Trust Project; the Energy Law and Policy Project; the Food Resiliency Project; the Global Environmental Democracy Project; the Native Environmental Sovereignty Project; the Oceans, Coast and Watersheds Project; and the Sustainable Land Use Project. All of these projects, centering on concepts of sustainability, conduct research, and analysis— and provide innovative solutions to today's environmental problems. 

During her tenure as ENR director, the Center has received over $1.4 million in gifts and grants, participated in a ground-breaking National Science Foundation-funded interdisciplinary research project and more than doubled the number of funded fellowships and stipends available to Oregon Law students.

Brinton also cultivates relationships beyond the walls of the School of Law. She has been an invaluable and instrumental partner in the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Initiative and has greatly enhanced the law school’s ties with the University’s interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program. 

In addition to helping law students and graduates shape their legal educations to fit their career goals and navigate the legal profession to find meaningful environmental law work, she is also a teacher having co-taught Climate Law & Policy and currently teaching and is the faculty supervisor for the environmental law externships.

A 1996 graduate of Oregon Law, Brinton began her career as judicial clerk to the Honorable Raymond R. Bagley in Clackamas County, Oregon. She went on to represent municipalities on land use, water, environmental, public utility and local governmental law at Hutchison, Hammond and Walsh in West Linn, Oregon. Just prior to joining the law school administration, Brinton litigated public interest environmental law cases as a staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center in Eugene, Oregon.

The President’s Sustainability Award will be presented at the annual OSB Award Luncheon to be held on Thursday, December 10, from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at The Sentinel Hotel at 614 SW 11th Avenue in Portland, Oregon.