What Is the Impact of a Law School?
The answer can be found in our thousands of alumni, who, with visions of a brighter future, use the law to improve their neighborhoods, their countries, and the world.
Our alums are leaders in critical areas of concern:
- Addressing Climate Change
- Improving Criminal Justice
- Strengthening Democracy
- Supporting Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation
- Preserving Our Natural Resources
- Ensuring Animal Rights
- Protecting Consumers
We asked some of our outstanding graduates these questions:
- What is the vision that propels you in your work?
- What are you striving to achieve?
Their answers inspired us; we hope they inspire you as well.
The law plays a critical role in enabling—or stalling—policy decisions and legislation that affect action on climate change. Our alums are leaders in climate-change advocacy all over the world, working in law firms, NGOs and governmental agencies.
Our oceans face unprecedented challenges from threats including overfishing, pollution, and climate change. The Pacific Ocean communities where I work are acutely feeling the impacts of these threats as residents witness their homes sinking beneath rising seas and historically productive fishing grounds disappear. However, I believe we can overcome these challenges with the appropriate commitment and resolve. I have a vision of humanity recognizing these threats and rising to the occasion the same way we have throughout history, whether defeating fascism in World War II or putting a man on the moon. Consequently, I advocate for precautionary conservation and management of Pacific fisheries as a way to ensure a future with a healthy and vibrant ocean teeming with life. My hope is that we realize our role in finding solutions and recognise that we can no longer consider ourselves apart from nature, but that we are a part of nature.
I envision a world where land is being restored; where we are more focused on making ecosystems thrive than preventing extinction; where global cooperation has enabled our oceans to start recovering and for progress to be made in stabilizing our climate; where the goal of economic growth has been discarded, and the economy has been reimagined; where the Doomsday Clock has stopped inching towards midnight; where people have stopped tolerating injustice, racism, and unnecessary suffering; where inequality within and among countries is disappearing; and where democracy means much more than it does today. I am working to create positive change by advocating for global cooperation, spreading awareness, and influencing law and policy related to climate change, marine conservation, and human rights. In my current role, I support the Republic of Palau’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism by developing and drafting new laws and regulations, advising the government on issues related to fisheries agreements, and developing ideas for sustainable tourism.
I am driven in my work to make our environmental laws work for everyone. We are lucky to have laws that protect our air, water, and land. But there are serious imbalances in access to justice and to the resources it takes to succeed in our legal system. By supporting those who are the most impacted yet underrepresented by government decisions, we can start to correct these inequities. Sometimes you need a good lawyer to stand up for you. Often, you need support and tools to stand up for yourself. I am hopeful that my work helps to balance the scales of justice, ensures the integrity of government process, and helps our clients achieve their vision for a healthy environment.
My vision is a global understanding that the diversity of life depends on a healthy planet, and that we live according to that truth. The Nature Conservancy’s mission is “to conserve the land, air, and water on which all life depends.” We will succeed only if people around the world collaboratively embrace and implement measures, based on the best science available, to halt the warming of the planet and adapt to the changes that are now inevitable. Our country’s debate is highly politicized in red/blue, and urban/rural narratives. Science shows, however, that natural climate solutions—based on conservation, restoration, and management of forests, grasslands, and wetlands—can deliver up to one-third of the emission reductions we need while providing long-term benefits to rural communities. I am striving for the implementation of these solutions so that our world can sustain all life, surrounded by beauty.
With almost 60 percent of our nation’s carbon-free power coming from nuclear, we know that nuclear power is a critical resource. But if our nation is ever going to achieve majority carbon-neutral power generation, nuclear energy must continue to be a significant part of our generation mix. Existing nuclear power plants are the safest power source the U.S. has ever enjoyed—there has never been loss of life from civil nuclear in the U.S. As our plants approach 40 years of producing carbon-free power, regulators anticipate plants will be able to safely continue operating for another 20–40 years. Even more exciting, small-modular and micro nuclear technology is being developed rapidly. This technology will enable communities and industries of many sizes to run on nuclear power. It’s thrilling to work in an industry that will realize safe, cost-effective, carbon-free power for so many Americans.
Our planet is in a climate crisis. One critical element of recovery is replacement of fossil fuel produced energy with carbon free renewable energy—combined with overall reduction in energy usage. Promising technology is evolving at a rapid pace. I see continued growth of land-based wind and solar projects coupled with breakthrough efficiency- producing energy management and storage systems. We will also see a dramatic upsurge in development of offshore wind in the U.S.—first on the East Coast (underway now)—then the West Coast when floating platforms are fully commercialized. I am privileged to have worked on nearly 100 wind and solar projects in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Chile, South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, Ghana, and elsewhere. I have seen our work provide hundreds of jobs and steady tax revenue to impoverished communities in emerging markets—while simultaneously curtailing one fossil fuel plant after another. It is rewarding, uplifting, and necessary.
Ocean Conservancy works to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. My vision is a healthy ocean that is thriving, that provides for people and the planet, and that protects and inspires people and communities around the world. To accomplish this, we have to reimagine our relationship with the ocean. For too long, we have taken too much out (marine life) and put too much in (plastic, carbon emissions). Climate change is impacting the ocean and coastal communities in every conceivable way—but we do the ocean a disservice by only calling it a victim of climate change. The ocean is a powerful source of solutions that can reduce emissions, increase biodiversity, and protect people and places on this blue planet. Ocean Conservancy is working at the local, state, national, and international levels to bring the ocean into social, economic, and policy conversations to realize our vision. Join us.
My vision is to create a new generation of laws that protect the rights and interests of all life on our shared planet.
Our legal system is rooted in the exploitation of the natural world. Nature has no rights under the law but instead is defined as mere human property. Our economy also encourages the destruction of nature for profit. Although environmental laws limit the damage, they operate within this same flawed paradigm, treating the symptoms but not the disease.
I work to change this by writing and enforcing new laws that protect nature’s unique rights and interests. Although the journey has been difficult, I have successfully helped pass a suite of new “Earth laws” across the world. I am also a lead editor of a new law school coursebook called Earth Law: Emerging Ecocentric Law—A Practitioner’s Guide (Wolters Kluwer, 2021). Follow Earth Law Center online to learn more!
Mass incarceration, the lack of rehabilitative services, the difficulty for convicted felons to obtain employment and housing, the rights of crime victims—all these issues and more are being debated in our nation.
Lewis & Clark’s alums are at the forefront of these discussions, as are our clinics: the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic and the Crime Victim Litigation Clinic.
My vision is that of the “Beloved Community” that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sought. To effect this vision we must look at system change—both to better the treatment of individuals and to better understand how our communities thrive. Compassion and accountability are not opposing forces in the judicial system; rather, they are tools to ensure justice is served for both the individual case and the community at large.
My work over the last decade has addressed the weaknesses of our existing systems at the forefront of our courts—policing practices, mental health access to services for persons with disabilities, as well as housing and veterans’ rights. I have dedicated my professional and personal life to civil rights enforcement through community engagement.
My vision is a fair and humane justice system in Oregon that acknowledges and addresses racism and other systemic inequities.
While a law student at L&C, I had the good fortune to participate in an externship at the Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office. The experience provided a lasting impression of the daunting responsibility of education and of power. I returned to Michigan in 1990, and spent the next 30+ years as a criminal defense practitioner. I accepted the director’s position at the Conviction Integrity Unit a little over a year ago and did so for many of the same reasons I made other professional life choices. I wanted to protect individuals from government overreach. I wanted to be part of a solution in difficult times. Mostly, I wanted to return freedom to those who had it stripped away by a system that had lost its grasp on fairness and justice. And I wanted to show that where we see unfairness and injustice, that we are not afraid to make things right.
The vision that propels me in my work future in which we end mass criminalization. I work with public defenders across the country who are fighting to end mass criminalization alongside grassroots organizers and those who are directly impacted. Public defenders see and understand how the web of racist, unfair, and wasteful criminal laws and policies exacerbate poverty and public health issues and devastate lives without making communities safer. When public defenders move their advocacy outside of court they can challenge the public narrative and move lawmakers to change laws for the better. In my work we are striving to reduce the size and harm of the criminal legal system. And we are advocating for laws and polices that promote public health.
The law is a tool of the powerful, used to protect their property and their power. In this country, that has always meant that the law protects and promotes white supremacy. But it does not have to. It can also be used to give a voice to the oppressed, to expose the distance between our country’s promises and its practices, and occasionally, when deployed with surgical precision, to eradicate some of the cancer of white supremacy.
I’m privileged to serve as director of the Oregon Youth Authority, the state juvenile justice agency. OYA’s vision is to help youth lead productive, crime-free lives. Statewide, it serves about 500 youth in secure facilities and 700 youth in community settings. I’m driven to make a difference in the lives of young people and to make our communities better. My work focuses on implementing a juvenile system where youth and families are viewed as resources to be developed, not as villains or victims. Where we provide life skills and education instead of punishment and isolation. Research shows that approach makes kids more successful and communities safer. But Oregon still incarcerates more youth than many other states, and institutional racism and bias persists through overrepresentation of youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth in justice settings. I am proud to lead an agency that works to address these inequities and improve opportunities for Oregon’s young people.
I work with victims and survivors of sex trafficking to overcome legal barriers and achieve their life goals. This is not a career path I envisioned as a law student. But there’s a direct path from studying domestic violence victims’ rights with Doug Beloof, to drafting a state DV statute as a law student, to crafting the first major domestic sex trafficking victims’ bill in the U.S. Senate, to my current legal advocacy work. The common thread is redressing exploitation: a mission to strengthen statutory rights and increase access to justice through litigation on behalf of trafficking survivors. Our clients lack power, privilege, and resources. Given their exploitation and trauma, it’s extremely difficult for them to clear legal hurdles that stem from being trafficked. With an understanding of their experiences, we help overcome trauma, rebuild lives, and pursue dreams so they are not bound by their pasts.
I became a lawyer to fight for the rights of victims of crime and survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Advocacy through litigation and practical change through policy have been the cornerstones of my practice. By taking a holistic approach to representation, my goal is to ensure that every client who walks in the door leaves better off than when they arrived. There are many paths to justice, each as varied and unique as the individuals we serve. We must be willing to redefine traditional norms and transcend the bounds of convention if we are able to truly tailor effective remedies for those who need them most. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healing and recovery: this is the guiding principle that propels us forward, as we strive to achieve the best possible outcome for each and every client.
Today, many people are questioning the basic tenets of what constitutes a democratic way of life. What is the proper intersection of religion and individual rights? What are the limits of presidential powers? Are voting rights threatened? The many elected officials, judges, and leaders of advocacy organizations who we count among our alumni are all working to support their vision of a strong democracy.
This is an unprecedented year. As our state moves through a pandemic and a historic wildfire season, and as Oregonians raise their voices in a clarion call for racial justice, I am committed to crafting policies that build a safer, stronger, and more resilient Oregon—for everyone.
This year, I convened a Racial Justice Council to make real change in the rooms where budgets and policies are created. Together, we can dismantle the institution of racism the way it was built: brick by brick.
Oregon has long been a national leader in voting access. I am grateful that in a global pandemic, Oregonians will not have to risk their lives to safely cast their ballots.
We must also take climate action—and soon. Climate change has had devastating impacts. I continue to strive to create climate policies that protect our environment and grow our economy at the same time.
I believe that we are the change we want to see in the world. We must root ourselves in the agency we hold and do what we can to make the world a better place, to create a society where we take care of one another, where we welcome one another, where everyone is set up to thrive.
MoveOn is a community that allows me to live in that purpose, it allows me to empower others to take action, to pool our collective power together to affect change. It is incredible what we can do when we join together and speak with one voice. I became a MoveOn member when I was at Lewis & Clark Law School and joined a protest in downtown Portland. In that moment I recognized our collective power. I recognized that I am not alone, we are not alone, there are millions like us who believe that our society can be structured to care for one another, who believe in a democracy that works for everyone.
I grew up poor in rural Oregon, raised by a single father with my two brothers. My mom struggled with addiction throughout my life. Public schools and hard work gave me the opportunity to succeed. As an Oregon lawmaker, and a mom to two young kids, I’ve never forgotten those tough times or the values that drove me to public service. I know what it’s like to be hanging on by a thread. I believe that progress starts with access to the ballot and I fight to make sure that progress is within reach for all Oregonians. As a lawmaker, I created the Office of Small Business Assistance in the Secretary of State’s office. In the Oregon House and Senate, I helped make it easier to vote from home with prepaid postage and automatic voter registration, and passed legislation to protect Oregonians from losing their homes during the pandemic. I strive to make sure every Oregonian knows that their voice, their actions, and their ballot can make a difference. Because when democracy works, progress is always within reach.
I believe that the drive, vision, and wisdom of young people is crucial to our development as a more compassionate and just civilization. Youth activists are some of the most forward-thinking people around, and by supporting their change-making strategies and abilities, we can organically and effectively empower new generations to create a more sustainable and peaceful world for people, animals, and the environment.
After law school, I discovered a deep passion for policy advocacy in the realm of civil rights and criminal justice reform. As legislative director at the ACLU of Oregon, the Office of Public Defense Services, and now the Department of Justice, I strive to bring stakeholders together in collegial collaboration. By developing meaningful relationships and seeking common ground, we can shape policy that promotes equity and healthy communities, at the same time protecting our cherished constitutional rights. I often think of Professor Brunet’s urging that we not see our advocacy as a zero-sum game, but instead look to “widen the pie,” and Professor Kaplan’s insight into the importance of lifting up the voices and leadership of those most impacted by the problems we seek to address. So much of what I learned at Lewis & Clark guides me, and I am truly grateful for that.
My vision is to have everyone who comes into my courtroom feel they were treated fairly, so they walk away seeing the value of the judicial branch in our democracy. I look forward to the day when more women and lawyers of color (where we are still a minority) reach top echelons in our legal profession.
If small business is the lifeblood of our economy, innovation is the currency of all business leaders, whether they are successful entrepreneurs or Fortune 500 C suite executives. Our alums use their knowledge of the law to help business professionals achieve their dreams.
I went to law school and into practice to help others use their creativity to change the world. Innovative and dynamic people start companies because they have a vision of something they can’t find elsewhere. Cofounders and employees join the company because they believe in the founder’s vision, and ultimately “business” to me is just a means of organizing people to tackle problems that are too big for one person on their own. Legal knowledge is a tool, and my vision is that I and my toolbox can solve business problems and hopefully allow powerful ideas to succeed.
“Achievement” and “accomplishment” are not synonyms. When a task is accomplished, it’s complete. When a task is achieved, it opens new possibilities. Every day I work to achieve a collaborative environment in which mutual success is possible. This includes business in harmony with nature and owners who care for employees.
I am propelled by the need to help legal professionals harness modern business tools and practices to scale their impact and deliver quality, affordable legal services to all who need them. I envision a legal profession where diverse providers can access capital and partner with aligned professionals to innovate and serve the public interest, and where they can do so without running afoul of the many anachronistic and institutionalist regulations that were xenophobic in their origins and remain protectionist in their nature.
We aimed to create a different kind of law firm—one that allowed our legal team to embrace individuality, creativity, and an ability to leverage our unique skills and experience to provide high-quality legal services to a broad range of businesses. Our practice is tech-focused, both in terms of the industries we serve and our commitment to a paperless office. Our size permits us to take into consideration the particular attributes of any client and to tailor the advice to them. We work hard to maintain a supportive, flexible, and approachable firm. Along those lines, we’ve embraced a variety of alternative fee arrangements to better suit our clients’ needs. We emphasize a self-service model that empowers our clients to handle day-to-day matters while leveraging templates we’ve developed for their situation.
In a fast-paced, technology-focused environment, I am striving to achieve ongoing efficiencies in the way that I provide legal support to business leaders within my organization. This involves collaborating with other in-house counsel, researching software to enhance automation or process development, and taking time to understand the needs and priorities of the business I support. I think that technology and innovation are critical elements to the success of any business and I want to advance that mindset as it relates to the practice of law.
I am driven to be the best attorney that I possibly can, and also an attorney who is committed to his community. I have held several roles in which I have been the first “Hispanic” to serve on boards of directors, such as the Oregon Community Foundation and the Oregon Health & Sciences University. Additionally, I was the first Hispanic to serve as board chair of the Portland Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. In all of those roles, I try to raise the voice and issues affecting the Oregon Hispanic community because if I did not raise them, no one would. I believe in diversifying the legal profession, which in Oregon is only 1.77 percent Hispanic. A judiciary and bar that better reflect the diversity of Oregon is important for the administration of justice. To this end, in 2002, along with two friends, I helped create the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association. I also served as national president of the Hispanic National Bar Association. Our society is better served by a diverse legal profession.
The average age of Oregon farmers and ranchers is near retirement, and most do not have succession plans. And despite Oregon’s land-use program, we have lost half a million acres from production in 50 years, some of it permanently to development. What happens to this land, these businesses, and our future agricultural entrepreneurs is uncertain in the decades ahead. Our statewide agricultural land trust, Oregon Agricultural Trust, envisions a future in which Oregon’s agricultural lands are protected and productive, and where farmers and ranchers are thriving. To reach that vision, we partner with farmers and ranchers to protect agricultural lands for the benefit of Oregon’s economy, communities, and landscapes. Our work includes permanently protecting land for agricultural use with working land conservation easements. We also support succession to either family or nonfamily members. And we support policy that helps protect agricultural land. Learn more at oregonagtrust.org.
I work with companies that buy and sell cutting-edge technology for corporate and consumer transactions, including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools. When I started working in technology law, after graduating as a second-career lawyer in 2011, clients were all about extracting as much personal information from their users as possible, without much regard for data security and privacy. Now, companies realize that respect and protection for personal information is a selling point, and they want to feel confident that they meet or exceed local and global privacy requirements. As a citizen, consumer, parent, and lawyer, I see privacy as a fundamental human right. I’m grateful to be able to combine my background as a technology businessperson with my training as a lawyer, so that I can help young companies design for privacy, and help mature companies negotiate deals that support sincere and achievable privacy practices and policies.
Our natural resources are threatened by encroachment, land-use policies, and pollution. Alumni are on the front lines advocating for our deserts, rivers, public lands, and the flora and fauna that thrive there.
My vision is to be the lead animal lawyer in Africa. I envision being the largest law organization in Africa, which educates and advocates for animal protection and conservation laws.
I’m striving to secure and protect the rights to water, wildlife, fish, and other natural resources associated with lands held in trust for Native American tribes. These resources are held in trust by the United States for the benefit of tribes. I’ve mostly focused on water rights in the western United States that were reserved by tribes to support the needs of a permanent homeland. These needs often include enough water for agriculture, drinking water, fish and wildlife, and cultural practices. As a trial attorney, I litigate these rights to meet the needs for a permanent homeland, provide certainty for tribes to determine their future, and protect the use of such rights free from unlawful interference.
Our nation has long wrestled with acknowledging and holding ourselves accountable for all the ways in which the powerful abuse the vulnerable. Through my work, I can tackle a small piece of an enormous task: fighting for the rights of ALL living beings—all humans, and all nonhumans—to simply “be okay”… to live on their own terms, be treated fairly, and be free from cruelty and exploitation. It is a ubiquitous and unwieldy challenge, but that greater goal is what drives me—and the fulfillment that comes with the ability to strategically apply my legal and analytical skills to the focused area in which I work (animal protection policy in the state of New Mexico) is what refuels me every day. Small victories change lives. People in positions of power are morally responsible for advocating for the victims of injustice, and that’s never felt truer to me than today.
First, I’ve loved exploring and working to protect Oregon’s vast sagebrush landscapes in extraordinary places like Steens Mountain and the Owyhee Canyonlands. I especially appreciate how effectively ONDA blends legal defense with campaigns to protect public lands and on-the-ground work to monitor and restore lands and waters. So all at the same moment, we might be in court challenging rollbacks to federal sage-grouse management plans, working on legislation to preserve large expanses of that imperiled bird’s habitat, and out in the field with volunteers doing predawn lek counts or removing obsolete barbed-wire fences that block migratory corridors.
Legal action is a crucial part of this public interest conservation work. When a presidential administration backs out of a treaty or guts an environmental regulation, legal action can roll back the rollbacks. Where government agencies are pressured by industry and anti-conservation special interests, citizen enforcement is often the only meaningful enforcement.
I envision a conservation movement that focuses on reversing and remedying the inequities built into our environmental laws and their implementation. Clean air, clean water, safe communities, and welcoming wildlands must be available to everyone. To make this happen, we must focus on issues affecting communities that are disproportionately deprived of these rights.
I strive to do this by leaning on tools we learned in law school: seeking accountability through the courtroom, reforming unjust laws, and centering marginalized voices—not our own. Through my day job, I work to improve water quality, flows, and habitat for the people and aquatic species that are harmed by dam operations in Oregon’s Willamette, Deschutes, and Snake River basins. Through my service as board member for two statewide organizations, I strive to make Portland a healthy and livable city, to educate the next generation of environmental leaders, and to prioritize equity in conservation work.
My vision is to use my skills as an attorney to achieve maximum protection for our natural environment and the fish and wildlife that inhabit that environment, to counter impacts to wild habitats and wildlife through litigation, and to ultimately achieve lasting protection for ecosystems that will sustain a wide diversity of species for future generations.
Facing the extinction emergency, I believe that people can and must re-envision their relationship with wildlife and nature. The current pandemic is a symptom of our unhealthy relationship with our planet and of the ongoing extinction crisis. As more people enter pristine ecosystems, exploit wildlife, change our climate, and convert our wild places for human use, not only do we risk new diseases emerging but we also risk destroying the fabric of our world and the great diversity that binds it together. Last year UN experts called for transformative change or we risk losing a million species in the coming decades. I fight for that change. I can envision a different world where people have reworked their relationship with wildlife and nature; where our greatest biodiversity is preserved in half the land, fresh water, and oceans; and where livelihoods are transitioned to work for people and the planet.
Protecting the special places and people of Appalachia propels me in my work. Whether it’s fighting to keep a 60-year-old organic farmer on the farm on which she was born and protect it from an unnecessary 36-inch natural gas pipeline, or it’s fighting to force a billionaire governor’s coal company to stop dumping toxins into the streams around its mines, I strive to achieve justice for a place and people too often overlooked in America. My vision of environmental justice for these mountains also drives my commitment to teaching environmental law and its practice to the next generation of Appalachian lawyers at Washington & Lee University School of Law. I don’t win every battle, and there are plenty of scars on the landscape to remind me of my losses, but the people I help, the mountains I protect, and the students I teach keep me in the fight.
Working with amazing colleagues at Columbia Riverkeeper, my vision is a Columbia River that supports abundant life. A river people can enjoy without the risk of toxic exposure. I want a river where poor people don’t ingest the brunt of the toxic pollution. A river where people can eat fish caught in North Portland, Longview, or Richland without increased cancer risk. I want the list of 187 contaminated sites reduced to zero. I want my kids to have the joy of teaching their kids how to catch Columbia River salmon and climb on Mount Hood’s glaciers. Neither is certain. I want oil, coal, and gas corporate executives to never again mutter the name “Columbia River” after their stunning and systematic project defeats. Getting “Columbia’d” will become the boardroom euphemism for underestimating the passion a region has to protect what it loves. I want the Pacific Northwest to lead by example as innovators whose economy is based on clean water, renewable energy, and healthy communities.
Research increasingly shows that animals are sentient beings, with emotions and conscious awareness. This new understanding of animals and their importance in our lives has prompted a new area of law: animal law. Our alumni, both JDs and LLMs, have risen to the challenge to educate, inform, and advocate for animals who have no voice and few or no legal rights.
The vision that propels me in my work is a future society in which animals are not used as tools or raw materials, especially in industrial settings. Animals are living, sentient beings, and yet tens of billions of them are instrumentalized on a routine basis to serve humans’ interests in all possible industrial sectors. A massive quantity of animals are treated as manufactured, consumption goods not only in food production, but also in entertainment, scientific research, or as disposable natural resources in the cases of wildlife animals. In advocating for the end of industrial animal usage, I strive to make the animal protection movement in Europe ever more effective. One way I believe this can be done is through raising awareness of the central role of law as a tool to achieve reform, and more broadly, legal thinking as a method to attain more systemic change for the animals.
Our modern capitalist and predominantly urban societies increasingly commodify all aspects of the natural world. In doing so, we continue to find new and more harmful ways to exploit nonhuman animals. Sentient and emotionally complex animals are caged for their entire miserable lives to satisfy unsustainable diets, others are shot in national parks as sport, some live and die in laboratories to test cosmetic products, and others are bred in backyards for fighting or just for profit. It doesn’t have to be this way. Along with my colleagues from Humane Society International, we are working to highlight and end these and other harms. We advocate for a reassertion of our basic values of empathy, compassion, humility, and dignity in our interactions with all nonhuman beings, and campaign for a collective transition to a society not premised on the suffering of billions of animals.
The vision of Help African Animals is to become Africa’s leading expert in animal law. Our mission is to protect the lives of African animals living in Uganda by influencing the human mindset and behavior towards animal protection. Help African Animals accomplishes this mission by raising awareness about wildlife crime and other crimes against animals, their nature and effect, the laws protecting animals, and punishments for violation of the laws. We are striving to make the world a safe place for animals.
Right now, animals are dying at an alarming rate due to myriad human-caused factors, possibly heralding the beginning of a sixth mass extinction. One of those factors is poaching—this is where I’ve focused my efforts, propelled by a vision where Earth’s animals are recognized as possessing certain rights, including the right not to go extinct. I strive to achieve protections for animals by addressing the actions of certain humans who would hasten the animals’ extinction through poaching. I coauthored the law banning shark fin soup in Oregon, and drafted a law in 2017 that significantly increased fines for poaching Oregon’s wildlife, specifically targeting the poaching of bears and cougars. I also sit on the International Board of WildAid, an environmental organization dedicated to reducing the demand for endangered species, while envisioning a world that adheres to our motto: “When the buying stops, the killing can, too.”
The vision that drives my work is of a future where exploitive, profit-driven economics and policies are replaced by a culture of compassion and regeneration that recognizes the intercon- nection among all life on planet Earth. The mentality that as a society we can endlessly abuse and degrade the environment and our fellow earthlings must, and will, end. The factory farm system is the quintessential example of this failed and dangerous mindset, and my work is focused on holding these polluters accountable and fostering a transition away from factory farms. The corporate stranglehold over nearly all animal agriculture in the U.S. is determined to maximize their profits and externalize the myriad harms their production practices cause, and we must say enough is enough. For the sake of the environment, animals, and our own wellbeing and community health, I work to empower those on the front lines fighting for a livable future.
What propels my work is the dialectic tension between two elements: the understanding of the existence of absolute equality in dignity, value, and consideration among all sentient beings, and the anachronistic cultural view that redefines these individuals and treats them as commodities for the satisfaction of human needs. My efforts are directed at contributing to the dogmatic development of animal law in Chile; to position new ideas within the animal discourse; and to help create awareness about essential animal issues that are being ignored. I put my work at the service of those who need it, either by assisting in legislative discussions, collaborating with NGOs, or resolving particular consultations. I expect to keep carrying out legal research and develop strategic litigation soon. In this way, I hope to contribute to the production of a major cultural change that will allow us to generate equitable conditions in our relations with nonhuman animals.
As an animal law attorney and educator, I am propelled in my work by a vision of a more just, equitable world for all living beings—one that ends exploitation of the individual. Through legal advocacy, my goal is to advance the emerging field of animal law while also considering the ways in which all oppression is linked. Now more than ever, attorneys have a unique set of tools that they can—and should—use at every opportunity to amplify voices that often go unheard, recognizing that there are many ways to use a law degree. While I do not practice law, I use my legal education every single day as I work with law students, instructors, and advocates to educate, inform, and inspire.
Our alums are actively involved in protecting the rights of consumers and workers. They help individuals achieve a fair solution when they have been injured or harmed, and help workers receive fair treatment from their employers.
Federal court law clerks about to jump out into the world always went to see Sid Lezak, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon through five presidential administrations, for a word of advice. The word we got was “serendipity.” You can think you know where you’re headed, and maybe that’s where you’ll go, but chances are life will move in unexpected ways.
There’s nothing like a small, private sector law firm in a wide- open state like Oregon to make anything seem possible. The vision that propels me frames the next time I pick up the phone or somebody walks into my office with a hare-brained idea. When I was in law school, I hoped that, at least once in my career, I’d be involved in a case that gave me a chance to nudge the law a little. I’m striving to engage with the next of those chances.
My longstanding vision has been to support and advance some of our most fundamental shared values in the public interest, including natural resource enhancement and aiding society’s most vulnerable. I am fortunate to work on behalf of clients whose programs directly touch large swaths of the public everyday in frequently profound, life-changing ways, like USDA’s rural development and school meals, SNAP, and WIC programs.
The connection between one’s vision and work isn’t always obvious or immediate. As such, I encourage students and practitioners alike to embrace the “everyday”—what one may deem minutiae (client calls, tracking caselaw, transactional reviews, etc.) is all significant, comprising the bedrock client service component that helps empower success in vital missions. And I recommend remaining genuinely open to the fullest variety of career options—you may be surprised at the environments and ways in which you can pursue your values and goals in a deeply meaningful practice. When client service and social benefit goals align, something very special can happen.
At Oregon Consumer Justice, we seek to train and empower present and future lawyers to represent victims of consumer injustice. We will educate, lobby, advocate, and litigate to enable consumers in Oregon to avoid being scammed, to provide better remedies, and to be represented by competent counsel if remedies are needed.
First and foremost, my vision is to help people who have been through life-changing experiences get some sense of justice and recovery in tragic situations. I’ve worked with clients who have experienced catastrophic losses due to the negligence of another party and who want to make sure that no other family experiences a similar loss in the future. I’m focused on making products safer for everyone by pushing companies to put safety first. I’m also passionate about America’s civil justice system and protecting our right to trial by jury, which ultimately strengthens our democratic ideals as a nation. I’m extremely grateful that my education at Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College, combined with my experience in the courtroom, gave me the tools to make a positive impact on the lives of my clients and on society at large.
I am a lawyer on the side of people dedicated to the proposition that privilege, wealth, and might do not make right. I work in the civil justice system. I believe in the rule of law and the critical role that our civil justice system plays in maintaining American democracy. In my work, I give voice to ordinary Oregonians and provide access to justice. My practice aligns with my personal values. I am fortunate in that respect and one of those happy lawyers you hear so little about.
Folks often say that labor advocates are the “voice for the voiceless.” To the contrary, farmworkers, immigrant workers, and other low-wage workers often have the strongest voices and tell the most compelling stories in the world. They perform the work that the rest of us will not or cannot perform, face threats and retaliation from all angles, and go to unfathomable lengths to provide for their families. It is our job as organizers and community lawyers to listen, help empower traditionally marginalized workers, and creatively work alongside communities to find a platform to lift their voices up. Dare I say: In an ideal world, we would not need labor lawyers at all, because every worker would have the information, power, and medium to advocate for themselves.
Judy Asbury, Assistant Dean, Communications and External Relations
Lewis & Clark Law School
10101 S. Terwilliger Boulevard MSC
Portland OR 97219