Update from the Dean, April 7, 2020

Update from the Dean

“I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one."
Mary Oliver, Upstream: Selected Essays

April 7, 2020

Dear Oregon Law Alumni and Friends:

During these uncertain times, we are rightfully focused on taking good care of ourselves and each other. At the same time, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the next generation of legal professionals who, like you, will drive positive change in Oregon and beyond for years to come. With that in mind, I wanted to provide you with a few updates about your law school and some information about how you can help our students—both now and in the future.

Academic Operational Changes

We continue to navigate the changing circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to minimize the effects on our students. What are the biggest changes so far?  

Dean Burke

The law school is delivering instruction and administering exams remotely for all of our academic programs for the spring semester.

Grading for the JD and LLM programs will be Pass/No Pass for all courses, given the challenges presented by changing to remote instruction, the closure of K-12 schools, sickness, and other related disruptions.

The in-person JD and LLM commencement for the Class of 2020 on May 16 will not be held as previously planned.  We are currently exploring other options.

Oregon Law's Employment Rates Rise

2019 JD Graduate Employment GraphThe Class of 2019 logged the highest overall employment rate since the recession, at 90.6%. And, 93.1% of those positions were in full-time, long-term jobs that require bar passage or for which having a JD degree offered an advantage. 

Amidst all that we are going through right now, we are proud of this achievement. Our graduates worked hard, and now their Oregon Law degrees are opening doors for them across the nation.


Opportunities to help the momentum continue

We know that other organizations are going through difficult times, too. When things settle back to a more predictable pace, please let us know if you have opportunities for our students. You can continue to help our students as they chart their professional paths by (1) posting jobs with us, (2) considering and hiring our students, and (3) mentoring our students and helping them network as appropriate during this time of crisis and physical distancing. Please contact the Center for Career Planning and Professional Development with your ideas, and remember that we advise both students as well as alumni!

Oregon Law Cares 

Recognizing that our students are experiencing financial disruptions, we know that some of you will be interested in helping students financially. You may have received an email from President Michael Schill regarding the University of Oregon Students in Crisis Fund. To provide direct support for Oregon Law students, please consider a gift of any size to the Oregon Law Cares Fund. This fund provides unrestricted aid to Oregon Law students and was created specifically to support students who have unanticipated financial hardship due to circumstances beyond their control.

Moving Forward Together

If you have a story to share about the work you or other Oregon Duck lawyers are doing to make a difference in the lives of those affected by this situation, please send it to us at lawnews@uoregon.edu. It can be related to legal work or anything else that is helping the community.

I trust that Oregon Law’s community will demonstrate its usual positivity, a collective effort to forge ahead, and an unwavering dedication to support one another. Thank you for all you do for our law school and for our world.

Be well,

Marcilynn A. Burke 
Dean and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law