Coronavirus Information and Update: Fall 2021 Plans

September 22, 2016

Looking Back, Moving Forward

After 146 collective years of service, several pillars of the law school retire.

After 146 collective years of service, several pillars of the law school retire.

At the end of the 2016 spring semester, four eminent members of the law school community handed out their last exams, graded their last papers, wrapped up final projects, and closed the final chapter on long, distinguished careers in legal education. We caught up with them and asked them to reflect on their experiences at Lewis & Clark.

Paula Abrams

Edward Brunet Professor of Law

Years of Service: 28

What was your path to Lewis & Clark?

I became an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark in 1984. I was serving as executive director of the Oregon Commission on the Judicial Branch, which was located at the law school at the time. I was named a visiting professor of law in 1988, and I joined the full-time faculty in 1989.

What have been your favorite courses to teach?

I’ve been fortunate to teach several courses that have been both fun and rewarding, including Constitutional Law, Reproduction and the Law, and International Art Law.

What have you enjoyed most about your work?

Pretty much everything! My scholarship has been a consistent source of challenge and gratification. I work with supportive colleagues who share my passion for teaching and scholarship. But I have found my time with students to be the most rewarding. It is their energy, curiosity, and love of learning that has made my work so gratifying.

What do you consider to be your most memorable moment?

My work has been filled with many memorable moments. Some are of the simple variety, such as a conversation with a student or a fascinating discussion in class. If I had to pick, though, I would say these two: receiving the Leo Levenson Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Class of 2010, and being named the inaugural Edward Brunet Professor of Law, a title that recognized an esteemed colleague and mentor. Both were great honors.

What is your favorite place on campus?

Probably the amphitheatre, the site of so many formal and informal gatherings, and the place where we all celebrate those rare sunny days!

What will you miss?

My students and colleagues are at the top of the list. I also will miss the day-to-day drama of teaching constitutional law, a subject that encompasses some of the most challenging issues of our times.

What’s next for you?

Adventure!

Edward Brunet

Henry J. Casey Professor of Law

Years of Service: 44

What was your path to Lewis & Clark?

I quickly burned out while working as an antitrust attorney in a large law firm. A friend, Vince Blasi (now a faculty member at Columbia), advised me to look into teaching. Lewis & Clark was one of three schools that offered me a position and the only one in an attractive location. Doug Newell started working here in 1971 and I began a year later. He led the charge to get the law school its national accreditation and I joined him in that effort. It was one of the first major developments I had a hand in at the school.

What have been your favorite courses to teach?

All of them. Over the years I taught Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Antitrust, Administrative Law, Federal Courts, and Energy Law.

What have you enjoyed most about your work?

The super staff, sensational faculty, and terrific students.

What do you consider to be your most memorable moment?

Being honored by my former students with an endowed professorship in my name is quite memorable, in addition to working on obtaining national accreditation for the law school.

I do recall a few complaints from my students, as well. I taught a 9 p.m. civil procedure course in which students would sometimes fall asleep. I had a trick to keep them awake, though. I always maintained eye contact. At some point during class I would say, “There are four people asleep at this moment.” Everyone would wake up and look around to see who the guilty parties were.

If you hadn’t gone into law, what would you have done?

Sales or acting, although I’d probably be a poor actor. I love sales. I like the idea of marketing a product and bringing out the best of it that I can. Professor Ed Belsheim, who taught at Lewis & Clark from 1972 to 1992, was the best salesperson I knew.

What is your favorite place on campus?

The lectern in Room 2 is where I want to be.

What are you most proud of?

The great progress of Lewis & Clark Law School. I taught a bit at Emory School of Law and in my mind, the two schools are no different in quality.

What’s next for you?

I’m not sure. I’ve been extremely lucky in my career. Retirement will be a challenge for me, but life is good.

Stephen Kanter

Dean (1986–94) and Professor of Law

Years of Service: 39

What was your path to Lewis & Clark?

In the summer of 1971, after I graduated from Yale, my wife Dory and I moved to Oregon. I took some time while preparing for the bar exam to meet with a variety of people doing interesting things with law and public policy, including members of the Lewis & Clark faculty. Shortly after that, I became the fourth lawyer at the newly formed Metropolitan Public Defender, where I represented indigent criminally accused individuals. Lewis & Clark gave me the chance to teach criminal procedure as an adjunct professor. I enjoyed teaching and deepened my contacts with the law school; we hired several graduates as the public defender’s office grew. The law school hired me for a tenure-track position in 1977 to teach in my preferred areas of criminal law and procedure and constitutional law. The rest, 39 eventful years later, as they say is history.

What have been your favorite courses to teach?

Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, First Amendment Seminar, and Constitutional Theory Seminar.

What have you enjoyed most about your work?

Teaching and working with our students and my faculty and staff colleagues, altogether exceptional and wonderful groups of people.

What do you consider to be your most memorable moment?

There have been many, but I’ll select one from 35 years ago: arguing before the Oregon Supreme Court, as friend of the court, the unconstitutionality of the 1978 Oregon death penalty, with some current and former students in attendance.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I wrote a children’s book, The Bear and the Blackberry. And I helped lead the unsuccessful effort to bring major league baseball to Portland in the early 2000s.

What is your favorite place on campus?

Two of my favorite places are the amphitheatre on a pretty spring day, with students and faculty sitting, chatting, and working; and the faculty reading room, with its majestic floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the trees of Tryon Creek State Park.

What will you miss?

Our vibrant community and colleagues, faculty, students, staff, and alumni.

What are you most proud of?

The contributions of so many of our alumni to their communities, and my role as dean in helping our ongoing effort to build a unique law school that maintains the highest standards of intellectual rigor and open inquiry in an environment that is remarkably collaborative and supportive.

What’s next for you?

The next chapter of life—I never know for sure what that will be. Certainly it will include travel, hiking, reading, family, and friends. Oh, and we have a new puppy. As I turn 70 this summer, I am not only stepping down at Lewis & Clark but also acknowledging that my days playing adult hardball baseball are over—though I might still be available for a cameo appearance. I wish everyone the very best and thanks for all the great friendship and memories!

Martha Spence ’84

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Years of Service: 35

What was your path to Lewis & Clark?

At the age of 32, I had just finished my undergraduate degree and was considering law schools. I hadn’t been much further west than Ohio and when I saw a Lewis & Clark poster, with its photo of a lovely domed building atop a dramatic bluff overlooking a river, rainbow in the background, I was intrigued. Why not go to law school in the West? I knew I would return to Washington, D.C., where I had lived and worked before going to college. When I got to Portland I was a little surprised to find that Terwilliger Boulevard did not lead to a high bluff overlooking a river, and that the law school was not in a small white building with a dome. It turns out that was Crown Point in the Columbia Gorge. However, Lewis & Clark was charming and beautiful in its own way, so I decided to stick it out. All told, I’ve now been here for 35 years. It was a great decision to come, and a great decision to stay.

What have you enjoyed most about your work?

The variety. The most satisfying has been working with students one-on-one. However, writing and publishing the viewbook, which I did for many years, was a delight because of the great people with whom I got to collaborate and the feeling we were producing something good.

Helping the school transition to using computers in the registrar and admissions offices was challenging and a learning experience. And traveling to do admissions recruiting was always great.

What do you consider to be your most memorable moment?

In my 32 years as an administrator, there have been—happily—many high points. I must say that being honored as a distinguished graduate this year was amazing and a definite highlight.

What’s something people might not know about you?

Until recently I don’t think very many people knew how much I like to sing.

What is your favorite place on campus?

I’m not sure if it technically counts, but I love Tryon Creek State Park. Even when I’m inside, the view of it makes me feel as if I were about to step into a forest cathedral. It’s soothing and inspiring at the same time.

What will you miss?

The people. My brilliant and generous colleagues, and, of course, the students.

What are you most proud of?

That so many people have let me know I was someone they felt they could count on to help.

What’s next for you?

Some volunteer work; a little travel; even more concerts, plays, and movies than I already go to; and more reading. I also want to be a tourist in Portland. I’d like to get to know the city better by walking the town and taking pictures.