Judge Beth Allen JD’96 now knows how well her friends can keep secrets from her. The Willamette Law alumna was surprised this fall with not one, but two awards for her work in the community and judiciary.
OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon awarded Allen with its 2017 Community Service Award at its annual dinner October 20. Allen received the Chief Justice’s 2017 Juvenile Court Champion Award at the Through the Eyes of a Child Conference for juvenile judges in August.
Kamron Graham is co-chair of the OGALLA board, which determines the recipient of the Community Service Award. She said the board assesses a candidate’s contribution to the legal community and dedicated efforts for the LGBT community, social justice and equity.
“Judge Allen embodies what we look for in leaders in our community. She is dedicated and tireless in her contributions to the LGBT and legal communities,” Graham said. “She is an advocate for change, she is a role model, and she is humble.”
Graham said the award needed to be a surprise because Allen probably would’ve declined the attention had she known about it.
“She works hard not for recognition but to make the community better,” Graham said.
As part of the Oregon Judicial Department, Megan Hassen’s office solicits nominations for the Chief Justice’s Juvenile Court Champion Award. Chief Justice Thomas Balmer ultimately decides the winner, she said.
“The award goes to a judge who has made significant contributions over the past year to raise the profile and priority of child abuse and neglect cases,” Hassen said.
She said Allen has been active statewide and locally with LGBTQ issues, and she has been instrumental in helping judges and attorneys understand and be sensitive to LGBTQ youth involved in the court system.
Allen said there are disproportionate numbers of LGBTQ children in care, so she has been educating her colleagues on how to ensure they receive procedural fairness in court. She has also labored in Oregon courts to advance procedural justice for LGBTQ court participants. Despite her efforts, Allen explained her reaction to both awards as ‘shock.’
“But, also, I was pleased to see that the Chief Justice and others recognized how important the LGBTQ kids’ issues are and that there are things we can do, and must do, to ensure their proper care while in our system,” Allen said. “As for the Community Service Award, I was overwhelmed with the gesture.
“I do what many of us do and was just the lucky one of those many to have my work noticed.”
About Willamette University College of Law
Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship and mentorship. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.