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Nontraditional student walks Camino de Santiago and continues path through law school »

After spending 15 years as the wife of a military officer and building a resume with a list of varied jobs, Jennifer Trundy JD’19 started law school at age 48. With fellow students older than her children and professors younger than she is, you’d think she is a little out of place. But, as she goes into her second year, she knows she’s on the right path.

Trundy said her first year of law school has been good for the most part, although law school isn’t easy, and there are social challenges to being an older student.

“I hadn’t taken a final in 25-plus years,” she said. “I joke that my brain is fuller than when I was younger.”trundy-1425-2

During study breaks, Trundy needed a goal to work toward in order to be doing something physical. For a dozen or so years, she had wanted to walk part of the Camino de Santiago, a network of pilgrim routes that goes across Europe and ends in northwest Spain. So, she studied hard, walked a lot, and bought her tickets to Spain last October, completing the trip in May.

“They say your Camino starts when you step out your door,” Trundy said. “I feel like mine started when I began school last fall. My start to law school was a bit of a whirlwind — I took the LSAT in June 2016, applied and was accepted in mid-July and started in August. So really, the last year has been quite a life-changing journey.”

Trundy had lots of time to think during her walk. She traveled 151 miles in 13 days, walking nine to 16 miles a day on varied terrain. She brought headphones but never listened to them. Instead, she passed the time thinking or talking to other people along the route.

She met a Spanish man who spoke little English, but was able to make do and communicate with her for about five hours before he left the trail. A 60-year old couple from Zurich had walked more than 1300 miles in 89 days and told her they could buy almost anything, but not the experience of the Camino. She spent another few hours with a Franciscan friar from Poland and more time with two German ladies.trundy-1425-5

“We were walking on a road that reminded me of the ‘Wizard of Oz,’” Trundy recalled. “They hadn’t seen the movie, so I tried to explain it. I’m sure I sounded crazy.”

Trundy said she could tell lots of stories about the people she met. As they go on their way, the pilgrims wish each other a “buen camino” — good way. When she wasn’t talking to people, Trundy considered her law school journey.

“I thought about law school often as I walked. I thought about the last year, the coming years, what the future holds, the rock in my shoe,” she laughed. “There are some parallels, in that there are times at the end of the day when I was exhausted and thought, ‘Why am I putting myself through this?’ Then you have a glass of wine, get some sleep, and wake up the next morning ready to face the day’s challenges head on.”

During her time on the Camino, Trundy experienced blisters, a swollen knee and a torn ankle tendon. She ended up skipping a section when her knee started swelling, but finished the final 62 miles to earn her compostela, a Latin certificate confirming the completion of the pilgrimage.

Trundy said the sights and scenery along the Camino are beautiful. In the future, she may return to walk another route. For now, she clerks at the Department of Justice, hoping to eventually practice elder law and help veterans. She awaits the start of her second year of law school.

“It sounds so cliche, but if you want to do something, just take the first step,” she said.

Two Willamette Law alumni appointed judges »

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown appointed two Willamette Law alumni to open judge positions this week. Steven R. Powers JD’01 was named to position seven on the Oregon Court of Appeals, and Christopher A. Ramras JD’96 was named to position 15 on the Multnomah County Circuit Court. Both appointments are effective July 17.

Powers has worked at Parsons Farnell & Grein, LLP, since 2015 as an insurance coverage and appellate attorney. Prior to his position at the law firm, he served Steven R. Powersin Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office, where he was deputy general counsel and public safety policy advisor. He has also worked for Multnomah County, the Oregon Department of Justice, and the Oregon Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision.

Powers is a founding board member of the Oregon Filipino American Lawyers Association. He received his bachelor’s degree from Western State College of Colorado in 1997 and his JD from Willamette Law in 2001.

Ramras has been a senior deputy district attorney in Multnomah County since 2002. For a short time, he worked at Smith, Freed and Eberhard, and from 1996 until 2001, he served as a JAG Officer for the U.S. Air Force. He has Christopher Ramrasexperience as a military prosecutor and defense attorney for the military.

Ramras received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California San Diego in 1988 and his JD from Willamette Law in 1996. He is an active member of the Alliance for Safer Communities and the Multnomah County Sexual Assault Response Team.

In all, Gov. Brown appointed eight new judges to fill openings on Oregon courts.

“Oregonians will be rightly proud to welcome this group of exceedingly talented and diverse lawyers into judicial service,” Brown said. “This group entrusts some of Oregon’s finest lawyers with the fair and impartial administration of justice in our state.”

Read the full press release.

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.