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Naomi Haslitt JD’07 named one of “Forty Under 40” by Portland Business Journal »

The Portland Business Journal named Naomi Haslitt JD’07 to its annual “Forty Under 40” list of achieving young professionals in early May. Haslitt received her award at a luncheon held last Friday to honor the winners. She was the only person on the list with a Willamette University or Willamette Law education.

Naomi Haslitt JD’07Haslitt is a partner at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn in Portland, where she focuses on education and employment law. She has been with the firm for 12 years, two while a Willamette Law student and the last 10 as a practicing attorney. She said her connection to the position there came through Willamette Law’s Placement Office.

“I landed at a firm that has allowed me to excel both professionally and personally,” she said. “It has provided me a platform and resources to be the best lawyer I can be, and I am able to work in areas that have a direct impact on people, which is invigorating.”

Haslitt followed the traditional path from law school to a law firm. She said as a student, she didn’t understand the different ways to obtain a legal job, whether that be as a law clerk, in house counsel, corporate lawyer, or other position. She encouraged law students to work hard and think about different paths.

“Don’t close doors and think that an opportunity is no longer available to you because it didn’t happen in the way you thought it would,” she said. “There are probably 10 more ways to get to that goal.”

Although Haslitt knew she had been nominated for the PBJ list, she never expected to be named to it. She said she’s been provided opportunities to take on challenging matters that have stretched her and her practice, and she gave credit to the support and guidance of great mentors for getting her where she is today.

The Best Coffee Shops Nearby – According to an Undergrad »

Welcome to Willamette! You may have heard that Seattle is the coffee capital of the Northwest, but you needn’t go further north for great coffee — it’s right here in Salem. You may be tempted to search on Yelp for a coffee shop, or maybe you already have. Coffee fuels the mind, body, and soul, so it’s never bad to know where the best of the best is near you. Feel free to leave a comment with your personal experiences should you choose to go anywhere on this list!

The Governor’s Cup (“Gov Cup”)  

Reasons Why You’ll Love It:

– The baristas! I’ve never had a dull interaction; they are all so nice, fun and willing to help you through indecisiveness (the extensive menu can be daunting, at first).

– Incredible coffee … it definitely helps that they have their own coffee bean roaster. When you’re there and it’s in action, the smell is divine.

– Its social atmosphere — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great for focused work, too! Gov Cup has fun and spunky vibes, but on any given weekend, you’ll find many students doing group or solo work.

Personal Recommendation:

– Early mornings: A classic hot mocha never disappoints. Pair it with any of their menu items for a perfect start to your day. I have never ordered anything but the Romance in Durango bagel, because why keep searching when you’ve already found the one?

– Afternoons: The blended chai is absolutely amazing and should be on everyone’s “Top 10 Things to Drink Before I Die” lists.

Ike Box

Reasons Why You’ll Love It:

– Great for a study date! Gov Cup is awesome, but Ike Box takes the cake here, for sure. It has a huge open room and holds a number of secret back rooms that are quieter and ideal for group study or conferences. (You can also reserve these rooms ahead of time if you have more serious things to discuss.)

– The main room is mainly composed of windows which add so much natural light to the space — perfect for those sunny-but-cold days where you want to be outside, but you don’t want to freeze.

Personal Recommendation:

– You can never go wrong with tea at Ike Box, and their lattes aren’t too shabby either. If you’re looking for food, go for the scones.

French Press

Reasons Why You’ll Love It:

– French Press is more of a restaurant than a coffee shop, but their coffee is amazing, regardless.

– There is a deceiving amount of seating (as in, there is more than you’d expect), and I’ve always found a table, even when it’s a busy Sunday morning. On sunny days, they have a great patio area.

Personal Recommendation:

– If you like cherry, get the Black Forest. If you like mint, get the Grasshopper.

– I love their crepe omelets — it’s an omelet in a crepe? What more could you need?

Dutch Bros

Reasons Why You’ll Love It:

– All of their locations (there are at least six nearby) are drive-thru’s, so they are quick and easy!

– If you like coffee with your sugar like I do, this is the place for you. It’s almost difficult to detect the coffee in these drinks — which makes the more caffeinated ones that much more dangerous. 

– If you are feeling adventurous or overwhelmed, ask for the barista’s personal favorite — you’ll never get the same thing twice!

– Menu if you just can’t handle the pressure in line. I reference this on the reg, because there are so many fun things to try that I never would’ve considered.

Personal Recommendation:

– Coffee: 911 or a Black Forest

– Rebel: with mango and lime

– Tea: green tea with lime, pomegranate, and strawberry

Coffee in Motion

Reasons Why You’ll Love It:

– Similar to Dutch, this is a drive-thru cafe that could literally drive away. The cafe is inside a double-decker bus.

– Don’t let the janky bus exterior fool you, the people inside are anything but that. They are so friendly and fun, and there’s rarely traffic, so you can have a nice chat.

Personal Recommendation:

– If you thought the blended chai was good at Gov Cup, then this one will blow you away. Did someone say homemade whipped cream?!

Of course, our beloved Bistro and Rick’s Cafe

Reasons Why You’ll Love It:

– Super close — it’s next to the millstream on campus where you can chill and enjoy your coffee outside on nice days. It also has a wonderful atmosphere inside for cold winter days.

– The coffee isn’t what you’d expect from on-campus coffee — it is actually really good!

Personal Recommendation:

– The house blend from Rick’s is my favorite. At the Bistro, you have to get an Italian soda; my favorite syrup combo is mango and lime.


Reasons Why You’ll Love It:

– Relaxing atmosphere, nice for light reading or just spending time with friends.

Personal Recommendation:

– I always get their Macchiato. It’s delicious.

I realize this information may be a bit overwhelming, considering you HAVEN’T HAD YOUR COFFEE YET. So, here’s a chart to get you started.


Good luck on today’s LSAT! »

Good luck on today’s LSAT!

– from your friends at Willamette Law.


Good Luck on the LSAT Spotify Playlist Meme

Law Review »

Willamette Law Review is the oldest academic journal on campus, and publishes three issues each year. To join law review, the top third of the 1L class is invited to participate in a write-on competition the summer after their 1L year.  After serving for a year on law review, members may run for editorial board positions through an election process by other law review members. It is an academic honor to be invited to join law review, and an excellent addition to a student’s resume.

Law review publishes articles from a variety of authors with a J.D.  These authors do not need to be affiliated with Willamette University, and usually engage in substantive legal analysis on an assortment of current issues. In addition, current Willamette Law students have the opportunity to write a “note” or “comment” for the journal. Regular articles and student notes and comments go through the same publishing process – they are subject to rejection or acceptance by the Articles Editor or Editor-in-Chief.  After acceptance, members of law review thoroughly edit and verify the sources contained in the article. Generally speaking, the student notes and comments go into less depth than published articles written by authors with J.D.’s.

The school also hosts several other law journals. For example, Willamette Law has journals about environmental law, international law and dispute resolution, and social justice and equality. Those all have separate editorial boards from Willamette Law Review. To read more, click here.

For further questions about Willamette Law Review, please contact the Editor-in-Chief, Melissa Vollono (mvollono@willamette.edu) or the Managing Editor, Anne Wynn (aswynn@willamette.edu).


Putting her heart and soul into law »

The second graduate of Willamette College of Law’s 3+3 program hopes to use the law to improve people’s lives.

Usually, professors inspire students. But this year, former Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice and Willamette law faculty member Paul De Muniz found himself particularly impressed by one of his student’s dedication and commitment to social justice.

De Muniz JD’75 worked with Lauren Sharkey ’15, JD’17 through the Street Law program, which introduces high school students to the legal field and its career prospects.

Sharkey approached De Muniz, Willamette College of Law’s distinguished jurist-in-residence, to be a faculty advisor. He says her remarkable efforts developed Street Law into a program far beyond any expectations.

“I was inspired by my relationship with her and the students, who are now seeing a path forward,” he says. “It was her priority to affect the lives of those young people.”

As this year’s executive director, Sharkey initiated Street Law’s first three-day mock trial, presided over by Judge Darleen Ortega of the Oregon Court of Appeals. She also introduced a mentorship program that pairs law students with youth from Willamette Academy, the university’s initiative providing academic support to young members of communities that are historically underrepresented at colleges.

Willamette Law graduate Lauren Sharkey

Academic fast-track

Universities in California, New York and Washington offered Sharkey a spot in their undergraduate programs, but she chose Willamette’s accelerated 3+3 law program, which allowed her to finish a bachelor’s degree and law degree in six years instead of seven. Sharkey is only the second graduate of the program.

From an early age, Sharkey was certain she wanted a law career. Growing up in Oak Harbor, Washington, she immersed herself in legal thrillers by John Grisham and Lisa Scottoline. She watched television shows like “Law & Order” that offered insights into the challenges and impact of a law career. While these books and shows sparked her interest in the field, she also appreciated the complexities of law, which she says doesn’t always “have a black and white answer.”

Even before she arrived at Willamette, Sharkey was on the academic fast-track. She spent her summers at Brown, American and Stanford universities attending weeks-long law programs designed for high school students. She also enrolled in a dual-credit program with her local community college. By the time she graduated, she had earned an associate’s degree and was fully prepared to study politics and go to law school.

A memorable experience

Sharkey made full use of her time at Willamette Law, including working for Willamette Law Online, a publication summarizing U.S. Supreme Court cases and Oregon Court opinions that shape law in the Pacific Northwest, and becoming an editor and writer for the Oregon Courts.

But she considers her involvement with Street Law the centerpiece of her time at college. After her own experience with expensive high school law programs, she particularly appreciated Street Law’s goal of offering youth interaction with law students, attorneys and judges for free.

“High school is the ideal time to really instill information everyone should know, like how to access the law and how to interact with police,” she says. “Street Law is where I poured my heart and soul and time, and it’s been my pride and joy.”

After she takes Oregon’s bar exam, Sharkey wants to continue to make a direct impact on people’s lives. In the future, she wants to work in appellate courts, likely somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

“The reality of the work is a lot of research and writing,” she says. “But on a more philosophical level, the appellate courts are where you impact and possibly change law.”

Read the full story by Jennifer Johnson at willamette.edu

You Can Still Attend Law School This Fall! »

If you are interested in taking the LSAT in June and want to attend law school this fall, here are some steps to maximize your ability to get accepted and start your path to a JD degree. The June LSAT is the final LSAT that can be used for enrolling in law school in Fall 2017. Willamette Law will accept test scores from this date. Note: this can also count for applying in Fall 2018.

Here are some steps to help you get ready for law school:
Take a sample LSAT test to gauge how much time you’ll need to study.  We can mail you one if needed. If you are happy with your score, plan on studying for about six weeks.
Study for the LSAT.  There are a lot of free resources available! Online there are plenty of tutorials about how to attack a certain section of the LSAT and have a strategy to find the best answer. There are also library books to rent and books online to purchase as guides. While paying to take a prep course can help, they are not mandated.
Take a practice LSAT at Willamette University College of Law on Saturday, June 3, 2017. There is no fee to take the test, and only you will see your practice score. RSVP online.
Keep studying for the LSAT.
Take the LSAT  (June 12, 2017 is the last chance for Fall 2017, otherwise it can also count for Fall 2018).
After you have taken the LSAT, work on and submit your application, even though you’re waiting on your LSAT score. There is no fee to apply at Willamette. You can submit the other pieces of your application while you wait for the LSAT results.
Your LSAT score will be available around the 4th of July. Once received, let us know so that we can review your file. Willamette is committed to reviewing your application within 48 hours of its completion.
Assuming you’re admitted, pay your deposit and get ready to move to Salem. If you have questions about life and housing in Salem, ask our Director of Housing, Suzanne for help! Email her at srjohnson@willamette.edu.
Attend our free Introduction to Law summer program (August 7—11). Law School Orientation begins on Wednesday, August 16, and classes begin on Monday, August 21. Mandatory orientation for international students begins on Friday, August 11.
We want to help. Let us know how we can assist you in your path to attending law school.

Call Willamette at (503) 370-6282
Email the Willamette Admissions Office
Schedule a visit to campus or a video chat with an admissions counselor

February Bar Results »

The results for the February administration of the Oregon and Washington bars came out a few weeks ago. Willamette Law students did very well.  First-time takers of the Oregon bar from Willamette passed at an 83% rate, compared to 74% for the state as a whole. First-time takers in Washington passed at a 75% rate, compared to 67% for the state as a whole.

This is a wonderful time for those who passed the bar, and as a community we celebrate their success. We talk about bar statistics a lot, but there is a very hard working new attorney behind each and every data point. We will not be satisfied until all graduates pass and will continue refining our bar preparation program.

Be a change agent at Willamette Law »

Willamette Law is at the confluence of law creation, adjudication, statewide policy development, and the pursuit of justice. In other words, we’re in an ideal location to study law if you’re interested in law and government and being an agent of change.

Willamette is located literally across the street from Oregon’s State Capitol and Supreme Court. Our neighbors here in Oregon’s capital city of Salem also include state agencies, lobbyists, and advocacy organizations, and a healthy collection of regional offices for large, medium, and small law firms, and solo practitioners.

Willamette Law students on the Oregon State Capitol Mall.













Our own legal centers, clinics, and Placement Office have close ties to the top echelon of the legal community. A good portion of our esteemed faculty consists of these influential legal minds as well, including a former clerk to US Supreme Court Justice Stevens and two former Oregon Supreme Court Justices, Paul De Muniz and Edwin Peterson.

Willamette’s relationships with our good neighbors enhance our students’ access to the processes and people who shape, write, advocate, and pass new laws and adjudicate, evaluate, and amend existing laws. To that end, students can earn a certificate in law and government, work on public policy at the Oregon Law Commission, or participate in our Center for Constitutional Government.

In addition to careers as lawyers, many of our alumni hold elected office including Washington Governor Jay Inslee JD’76, and Alaska’s US Senator Lisa Murkowski JD’85.

I invite you to come visit our beautiful campus and see for yourself the ties we have between our law school and government. Click here to get more information or to schedule a visit. And I hope that you will become the change you want to see.

Rising 2L Jackie Sandmeyer awarded Shepherd Legal Scholarship »

Jackie Sandmeyer works full-time and goes to law school, dedicating most days to the LGBTQ community and constantly striving to find ways to give back.

“Whether that be offering up my time to work with LGBTQ people with complex safety and legal concerns, or advocating for increased services or better policy to serve that population,” Sandmeyer explained. “Being someone with no family or traditional support network, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for community, so I try to give that back.”

Sandmeyer, a rising second-year, part-time Willamette Law student, was named one of the recipients of the Shepherd Legal Scholarship at the “A Class Act” benefit April 28. The scholarship is managed by OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon and awarded by the Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship committee.

Oregon law students who make a commitment to advance the equal rights and justice for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals are eligible for the scholarship. Other 2017 recipients included Demi Jacques and Hugo Gonzales Venegas, students from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Sandmeyer (who prefers gender-neutral pronouns) said they didn’t expect to receive the scholarship.

“I think every time you are recognized in that way, it tends to come as a surprise,” Sandmeyer said. “Being someone who came from a background of homelessness because of coming out as LGBTQ, it meant a lot to me to have a moment to acknowledge how far I’ve come in moving toward my goals.”

Willamette alumna Cierra Brown JD’15 is co-chair of OGALLA and on the scholarship committee. She said Sandmeyer will be a role model for others and exemplifies what the committee looks for in Shepherd scholars.

“From the first line of Jackie’s personal statement, the committee had no doubt we were offering them the scholarship,” Brown said. “Jackie’s story of coming out and overcoming so much, paired with the drive and passion of what they hope to achieve is not only amazing, but absolutely inspiring.”

Sandmeyer works as the campus coordinator for the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force. They provide training and Title IX and policy technical assistance to all higher education institutions in the state, clerking for firms on the side to gain additional legal experience.

After graduation in 2019, Sandmeyer hopes to practice civil law, specifically victim’s rights law focusing on civil remedies for crime victims and Title IX. They said their work is purposeful in promoting anti-violence and protections for LGBTQ people, while also amplifying the voices of those who have experienced violence.

“These types of scholarships are more than just acknowledging those on our campuses who are doing good work,” Sandmeyer said. “As a queer person of color who is also gender non-conforming, higher degrees, especially law degrees, are often seen as something unattainable. LGBTQ and students of color face barriers to being successful students that their peers never face.

“Scholarships like these make it possible for many of us to stay in school and create an environment where we can work to not only just graduate, but flourish as students.”

More information about other external scholarship opportunities can be found here on the Willamette Law website.

About the Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Fund

The Bill and Ann Shepherd Legal Scholarship Fund was the brainchild of the late Jeff Rose, Mr. Portland Leather 1993 and Susie Shepherd, International Ms. Leather 1989. As Rose prepared to step down from his title year in February 1994, he was determined to bequeath to the community a perpetual gift honoring the couple who had so deeply inspired him as a young gay activist, Bill and Ann Shepherd.

Bill and Ann Shepherd began a legacy of justice in 1972. In 1976, Bill founded the Portland Town Council Legal Resource Committee, forerunner of the Oregon Gay and Lesbian Law Association (OGALLA). That same year, Ann was appointed to a two-year term on then Gov. Straub’s Task Force on Sexual Preference. In 1977, with Chuck and Rita Knapp, they co-founded Parents of Gays, which later affiliated with the international organization Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, PFLAG.

Until his death in 1995, Bill provided low-cost legal counsel to same-sex couples who wanted to ensure their partners optimal decision making and inheritance rights. Ann “mothered” countless gays and lesbians rejected by their families and churches and worked with confused parents to heal the wounds caused by misinformation and judgmental attitudes. Ann and Bill fought every anti-gay ballot measure and candidate that crossed their path, and in 1985, the Shepherds received the first of many prestigious awards from the community, the Lucille Hart Award from the Right-to-Privacy PAC.

I Love Tamales! »

I love tamales! They are one of my favorite foods and Salem has a new “restaurant” on the west side of town serving up these delicious and delightful treats (I put restaurant in quotation marks because the restaurant is in a small kiosk – bigger than a food cart, but smaller than a Dutch Bros drive thru – outside of a local Chevron on Wallace Road). The name: Caché Tamales and Bakery. I’ll admit that I was a little apprehensive by the thought of someone selling tamales outside of a gas station, but fear not! These are some of the best tamales I have ever had. The owner of Caché, Ingrid Trujillo, makes South American-style tamales in large banana leaves. Ingrid’s customer service and friendliness was superior. We will definitely return. Here is more information about Caché in Salem’s local paper, the Statesman Journal.