Harpole Award and Scholarship Presented
Leslie Abraham Keller ’84 and Elizabeth Lieberknecht ’10 were honored this April at the 12th annual Joyce Ann Harpole awards presentation and reception. Oregon Supreme Court Justice Virginia Linder served as the featured speaker at the reception.
Keller, executive director and senior attorney at Child Centered Solutions, received the 12th Harpole Award. She was praised for her work providing free legal representation to children in high-conflict divorce and custody cases.
According to her nomination, she also performs the never-ending managerial and fundraising duties required to steward a nonprofit organization while still devoting time to her family, friends, and community.
Before accepting her current position, Keller had a 20-year career as a Multnomah County deputy district attorney. She worked primarily in juvenile court and gained a reputation for collaboration and fairness. From the district attorney’s office, she transitioned to a part-time position as program attorney and coordinator at CASA for Children so that she could continue her work on children’s issues while playing an active role in her own children’s education and activities.
In 2006, Keller joined Child Centered Solutions because of her strong commitment to its mission to protect the rights and needs of children in family conflict. She has helped the organization grow from a fledgling nonprofit into a much-valued community resource. Aside from her legal work and directorial responsibilities, Keller is very active in the educational aspects of the organization. She frequently speaks to bar associations, Rotary clubs, and other groups about the positive impact that children’s attorneys can have on families involved in family court cases.
Since returning to a full-time position, Keller has continued to prioritize her family by remaining active in her children’s lives. The mother of three, Keller dedicates much of her time outside the office to volunteering at school events, helping with homework, and attending her children’s sporting events. She is an active board member of Central Catholic High School, from which her elder son graduated and where her younger son is a senior.
Keller’s nominator stressed that all who meet her are consistently impressed with her enthusiasm, kindness, and sense of fair play, whether she is negotiating a legal settlement agreement with parents struggling to cooperate or cheering on her daughter’s volleyball team. Her boundless energy is contagious and her commitment to both the rule of law and the needs of families continues to inspire her colleagues, friends, and family.
The 12th Annual Harpole Memorial Legacy Scholarship was awarded to Elizabeth Lieberknecht ’10. Her nomination noted that Lieberknecht is highly regarded by her peers as someone who is knowledgeable, compassionate, and fun to be around. She plays with the coed soccer community started last year by the class of 2011. She is also an active member of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) and a member of Environmental Law. For NEDC, Lieberknecht serves as the student coordinator of comments on water quality issues, working with other students to develop comments on DEQ permit proposals and other regulations. She also mentors a handful of first-year students and provides them with guidance and support on their NEDC work.
“As a member of Environmental Law, Lieberknecht contributes to a more relaxed and fun atmosphere in the otherwise tense Environmental Law office,” wrote her nominator. “Office hours with her are both fun and productive. Her positive energy to otherwise mundane tasks builds camaraderie within Environmental Law.”
Lieberknecht is mother to a young son, Cooper. She and her partner, Evan Driscoll, provide Cooper with a nurturing and supportive environment. Together they have taught him about agriculture and the environment; attempted to satisfy his insatiable appetite for trucks, fire engines, and trains; and worked to instill in him lifelong values.
Each year, the Harpole award is presented to an attorney who is dedicated to the pursuit of justice while maintaining a sense of balance among career, family, and community. Award nominations are received from the community at large. The Harpole scholarship is awarded to a third-year law student who demonstrates a sense of balance between scholarship, fellow students, and personal life. The Joyce Ann Harpole Scholarship is made possible due to the generosity of friends of Joyce Ann Harpole, law firms, and law alumni.