Professor Aliza Kaplan Receives OSB’s Highest Honor

The Oregon State Bar (OSB) granted Professor Aliza Kaplan its highest honor, the Award of Merit, in fall 2021.

“The Award of Merit is reserved for lawyers who’ve had an outsized impact on the law, and on those who rely upon a fair, accessible justice system,” noted OSB President David Wade. “Ms. Kaplan has offered hope to vulnerable individuals, while also advancing the law itself in meaningful ways. It is my honor to recognize her with our bar’s highest award.”

Numerous members of the legal community wrote letters in support of nominating Kaplan. The OSB nomination describing her contributions notes “her dedication to developing and supporting new lawyers in Oregon, and her work as a transformative force, an important and tireless leader, for criminal justice reform in Oregon and the nation.”

The award is granted only when a nominee is deemed exceptional. Past recipients read like a who’s who of the Oregon legal world, including Governor Kate Brown ’85. Kaplan is the director of Lewis & Clark’s Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC), where students work on issues including clemency, parole, access to courts for incarcerated youth, and forensic science in criminal cases. She also teaches lawyering skills and was the 2015 recipient of the law school’s Leo Levenson Award for Excellence in Teaching. (Leo Levenson received the OSB Award of Merit in 1952.)

Professor Kaplan discussing nonunanimous juries for an upcoming presentation with Terrance Hayes ... Professor Kaplan discussing nonunanimous juries for an upcoming presentation with Terrance Hayes (left) and Daniel Bluestein (right).

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