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College of Law Dean's Corner

A message from College of Law Dean Brian Gallini.

March 2023

 Dear Willamette College of Law community,

When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor visited the College of Law on September 10, 1992 to deliver the keynote address at the rededication of the Truman Wesley Collins Legal Center, she reflected on the lawyer’s role as advocate. She said, “All too often, attorneys forget that the whisper can be more dramatic and compelling than the scream. Incivility disserves the client because it wastes time and energy.” As we work to instill fundamental changes in our legal system, we must remember that advocacy and how we advocate are two different things. Justice O’Connor’s words remind us how important our actions are as leaders and attorneys.

We continue to educate good attorneys who are good advocates on many fronts. On March 2, the Willamette University Public Interest Law Project held the annual Bid for Justice auction. Proceeds go to fellowships that support students pursuing public interest summer positions. The next day, we hosted the Oregon Supreme Court for a pair of arguments in a packed lecture hall where students were treated to extraordinary examples of strong appellate advocacy.

The College of Law is proud to remain on the forefront of national conversations around licensure reform. On March 13, after three years of work, the Oregon State Bar released the Supervised Practice Portfolio Examination (SPPE) for public comment. Through the SPPE, a law school graduate can have a provisional license and begin working for a qualified supervising attorney. The Board of Bar Examiners (BBX) will assess work samples the graduate provides from their supervision period to make sure their work is competent. Once they pass the BBX’s portfolio review, the graduates must complete 675 hours of legal work with their supervising attorney, submit a learning plan, pass the MPRE or an alternative professional responsibility assessment, finish the 15-hour “Learning the Ropes” CLE program, and perform 10 hours of activities that relate to diversity, equity and inclusion or access to justice. I’m proud that Willamette played an important role in rethinking the traditional bar exam, and that we are leading the way to designing licensure models for good, qualified attorneys.

I welcome your participation in this important conversation, and hope you’ll take some time to review the SPPE in more depth, then consider submitting a public comment on or before May 12. A more comprehensive summary of the initiatives in the article “Expanding the Bar” was published in the most recent Bar Bulletin.

Finally, we recently held our annual College of Law symposium, Our Money, Our Future: Promoting Economic Democracy in Oregon through Public Banking. With the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and shares dropping dramatically for institutions all over the world, the issue is both timely and relevant. This hybrid symposium featured an interdisciplinary panel of academics and policy experts discussing what we can do at the state and local levels to address some of today’s most pressing economic issues. I hope you were able to participate and attend. Willamette is continuing the conversation at an online panel discussing the shake-ups in the banking industry on April 3. Watch your email for an invitation.

My best wishes for an enjoyable spring ahead!


Dean Brian Gallini
Willamette University College of Law

Brian Gallini, Dean, College of Law
Willamette University

Alumni and Parent Engagement

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-375-5304 voice
503-370-6830 fax