Three recent Oregon Law graduates now work in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington in Tacoma. Suzanne Daigle, JD ‘20, Taylor Jones, JD ’19, and Bryan Williamson, JD ‘19, serve in chambers and in reconfigured courtrooms, collaboratively, yet at a distance.
Daigle and Jones clerk for the Honorable Brian D. Lynch, and Williamson clerks for the Honorable Mary J. Heston. Each of these outstanding Oregon Law Ducks share their unique Oregon Law experiences which led them to serve in prestigious clerkships.
Different paths to a common destination
Every student that arrives at Oregon Law has a unique background.
Suzanne Daigle, for example, triple majored in political science, economics, and French at Colorado State University. When she visited Oregon Law, she knew her focus would be on employment law and general business law. Bankruptcy was not on her radar.
Taylor Jones, on the other hand, focused his undergraduate coursework on the hard sciences. His goal, at the time, was to pursue a career in either medicine or in another science-based field. However, an experience he had had working at a small vodka distillery business changed his career trajectory. Jones found he had a passion for business. He thought a law degree from Oregon Law would provide him with the tools and skills he would need to form and work with small businesses.
Bryan Williamson was 16 years old when he decided to be an attorney. He pursued his undergraduate degree in political science at Oregon State University with law school in mind.
In high school and college, Williamson interned at a construction litigation firm, where he drafted documents and saw the practice of law first-hand. This experience solidified his decision to apply to Oregon Law. When he joined the law school, he had a strong interest in litigation, especially as it pertained to the Americans with Disabilities Act and disability law.
A common thread – the Business Law Program
Coming to law school, each alum took classes in the Business Law Program – setting them on a path that could have led them anywhere.
When Suzanne Daigle ended up taking Professor Andrea Coles-Bjerre’s Bankruptcy course – she was hooked. Reflecting on her time at Oregon Law, Daigle says that her courses prepared her to enter the world of bankruptcy.
“UO Law’s business law courses, in addition to being the best part of my academic experience, gave me the working knowledge necessary to hit the ground running at my clerkship,” Daigle said.
Tyler Jones also took Coles-Bjerre’s Bankruptcy course, which he credits with giving him the breadth and depth of his bankruptcy knowledge and informs the work he does in his clerkship. Jones also points to his Secured Transactions and Business Associations professors with providing him with a strong foundation in business law.
As a 1L student in Professor Suzanne Rowe’s Legal Research and Writing course, Bryan Williamson reveled in legal writing and in formulating legal arguments. He also notes that his Business Associations, Secured Transactions, and Bankruptcy courses also sparked his interest in litigation and in business law.
Connecting the dots: bridging the classroom with the real-world
All three alumni point to their experiential learning as key to their success. Through the Business Law Program they took advantage of rich opportunities inside and outside of the classroom.
There were clinics, fellowships, externships, and moot court competitions – all of which introduced them to a wide array of topics - and honed their legal skills.
For example, the summer before his first year at Oregon Law, Jones received the 1L Business Law Fellowship. Although Jones thought he would pursue a career in patent law, the bankruptcy research he did in his Fellowship, pertaining to Securities Investor Protection Act litigation and the Bernard L. Madoff bankruptcy, intrigued him.
Jones also participated on a Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court team and was an editor with the Oregon Law Review. Reflecting on his experience at Oregon Law, Jones says that being a law student granted him numerous opportunities to develop his interest in bankruptcy.
“I gained a solid and encompassing foundation in bankruptcy and business law from my coursework, while also gaining practical experience through various externships, clinics, and research positions,” Jones said.
Williamson had a similar – yet slightly different experience. He served as an associate editor and operations editor of Oregon Law Review. He also competed in the National Native American Law Student Association’s Appellate Moot Court in Tucson, Arizona.
Through Willamson’s externship with the Honorable Michael J. McShane of the US District Court for the District of Oregon and work in the Civil Recovery Section of the Oregon Department of Justice, he saw a path to working in litigation and bankruptcy. +
“I had an opportunity to work on a Chapter 11 case and realized I enjoyed being in court,” Williamson said. “I decided if my goal was to pursue a career in civil law, the best way would be become a bankruptcy lawyer.”
Daigle’s summer externship for now Chief Judge Marco A. Hernández of the US District Court for the District of Oregon, motivated her to apply for a clerkship with the Bankruptcy Court. She also credits her professors with going above and beyond to help her pursue her career goals.
“I am grateful that Oregon Law’s faculty is willing to go the extra mile as far as interview prepping and connecting students with postgraduate job opportunities,” Daigle said.
By School of Law Communications