Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

College of Law News

Law professors recognized for teaching and scholarship excellencePaul Diller, Symeon Symeonides, Kathy Graham and Richard Hagedorn

Three College of Law professors were honored this year at Willamette’s annual faculty awards ceremony. Kathy T. Graham, Richard B. Hagedorn and Paul A. Diller were among the 10 professors who received awards for their scholarship, leadership, service and teaching excellence.

Graham and Hagedorn were co-recipients of the Jerry E. Hudson Award for Excellence in Teaching, which celebrates distinguished teaching and leadership by a faculty member. Both professors will step down from full-time teaching in May, but will continue to teach part-time for the next three years.

Graham, who joined the Willamette law faculty in 1977, also has served as associate dean for academic affairs since 1988. Graham teaches on domestic relations and torts.

“During the last 11 years, I have worked closely with Kathy and have had the opportunity to observe her dedication, hard work ethic, good judgment and unselfishness,” said College of Law Dean Symeon C. Symeonides. “She has been a mainstay of our school for a very long time. Her service has been loyal, conscientious, efficient and effective.”

Hagedorn, a 1973 graduate of the College of Law, joined the law faculty in 1984. In 2003, he was appointed the Rosalind Van Winkle Melton Professor of Law in recognition of his excellence in teaching and scholarship. He was voted Outstanding Law Professor of the Year in 1994, and he received the United Methodist Award in 1996. Hagedorn teaches on secured transactions, payment systems and sales.

“Rich is a truly gifted teacher and a real treasure to Willamette,” Symeonides said. “Our law students, in their anonymous evaluations last semester, aptly described his talent, dedication and effectiveness as a teacher: ‘amazing,’ ‘outstanding,’ ‘the perfect professor,’ the ‘best professor I have had in all of my years of schooling,’ ‘a jewel.’”

Also honored was Associate Professor of Law Paul Diller, who received the Robert L. Misner Award. Named for former College of Law Dean and Professor Robert L. Misner, the award recognizes excellence in faculty scholarship.

During his five years at the College of Law, Diller has published five major law review articles in highly ranked legal journals. His most recent article will be published in the University of Chicago Law Review, one of the top-10 legal journals published in the United States. Diller’s research focuses on local government and national security law. He teaches about property, state and local government, civil procedure, and gives a national security law seminar.

“Publishing an article in such a journal is a remarkable accomplishment for any scholar,” noted Symeonides. “For this great achievement, Paul deserves both our recognition and encouragement for even greater accomplishments to come.”

Recent WUCL rankings

The College of Law has fared well recently in national rankings and other modes of recognition. A few highlights:
  • The Willamette University College of Law (WUCL) climbed 17 slots, from the top of the fourth tier to slightly above the middle of the third tier, in the latest edition of U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of the nation's law schools.
  • For the seventh consecutive year, WUCL graduates outperformed their peers on the Oregon Bar examination. In 2009, the passage rate was 88 percent compared to a state average of 77 percent. The 11-point difference is the highest in the last 30 years. Willamette law graduates also outperformed their peers on the Washington Bar examination by 13 percentage points, with a passage rate of 92 percent versus 79 percent.
  • Also, the WUCL was ranked 58th on The National Jurist's list of"Best Value Law Schools," defined as schools that "carry a low price tag and are able to prepare their students incredibly well for today's competitive job market"; 83rd in per capita faculty publications in the "top 50" journals;and 89th in the percentage of graduates included in the prestigious "Super Lawyers" list.