Law students follow brief to U.S. Supreme Court

by University Communications,

Four Willamette College of Law students visited Washington D.C. this week to observe oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case for which they prepared a friend-of-the-court brief as part of their Clinical Law Program experience.

The amicus brief, prepared by law students Rachel Schwartz-Gilbert, Janna Giesbrecht-McKee, Cassandra Cooper and Joshua Savey, addresses international and foreign legal authority in Paroline v. United States, a case involving restitution of child pornography victims. It was written on behalf of the Dutch National Rapporteur, the Netherlands national agency that monitors child sexual abuse and human trafficking.

The unique opportunity to prepare such a brief is part of the Clinical Law Program’s goal of providing hands-on, professional experience in the practice of law.

Preparing the brief entailed months of work, multiple drafts and input from many. Warren Binford, director of the Clinical Law Program, and Paul De Muniz, distinguished jurist in residence at Willamette law school and a former chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, advised the students directly. Their names appear on the brief. Law professors Norman Williams, Jeff Dobbins, Symeon Symeonides, and Gwynne Skinner also provided expertise.

In addition to observing the Supreme Court session, the students attended a congressional briefing, a lunch with attorneys from the case, a reception for amicus parties and counsel and a dinner hosted by the Dutch embassy.

The students' efforts are featured in USA Today.