Distinguished Business Law Alum
February 11, 2014
Lewis & Clark Law School graduate Román D. Hernández is the 2014 Distinguished Business Law Graduate recipient. He will be honored at the annual Springtime Luncheon in April. His practice focuses on the areas of employment law, labor law, and business litigation.
Roman discusses his Law School experience, career and advice:
What led you to attend Lewis & Clark Law School?
Roman: I was drawn to Lewis & Clark Law School for a variety of reasons, including its strong academic background, its nationally-known environmental law program, and because I am from Oregon originally and I saw myself practicing in Portland upon graduation.
Were there any particular experiences, courses, or faculty at Lewis & Clark that helped to shape how you approach being a lawyer?
Roman: I have had a number of law school experiences that have helped me with my law practice, and a number of law professors who have been friends and mentors to me along the way. I will only mention a few here. First, I really enjoyed and benefited from the law school’s legal analysis and writing program, and I use the skills that I learned daily in my law practice. Professor Steve Johansen instilled some good writing habits and techniques that I still use. Second, Professor Susan Mandiberg volunteered to coach a moot court team that I organized and which competed at the Hispanic National Bar Association’s (HNBA) Uvaldo Herrera National Moot Court Competition. It was my first exposure to the HNBA, and several years later, I had the honor of serving as HNBA National President. Finally, I really enjoyed the oral advocacy courses and competitions which helped me experience what my current litigation practice would be like.
What drew you to employment and business law?
Roman: I was drawn to this area through several employment law courses that I took from Professor Henry Drummonds; I credit him with sparking an interest in this area of the law for me, and helping me begin to learn it while in law school. It is a challenging area of the law to practice in because it is constantly changing, but that is part of what makes it interesting.
What part of your career have you enjoyed the most?
Roman: I have enjoyed advising businesses on how to manage their personnel and workforces, and I have enjoyed assisting them with their compliance with the law and in minimizing risks. The personal interactions with clients makes my practice rewarding when I am able to help them with their legal issues, which allows them to focus on running their businesses with minimal disruption. I have made lasting friendships as a result of my interactions with clients.
What advice would you give to current or future law students?
Roman: I would recommend that they be open to new opportunities and challenges, and when opportunity knocks, they should answer the door. Our career paths are seldom known to us when we are in law school, but decisions that we make while in law school help shape us as individuals along with real-life experiences in the practice of law. I would encourage them to resist the urge to stay within their comfort zone. I would also tell the students that they should not let someone tell them what they can and cannot do. If they have the dedication, drive, and self-discipline, they can practice in any area of law that they desire, and make a positive impact upon society.