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Commencement speaker

Honorable Darleen Ortega

Honorable Darleen Ortega

Oregon Court of Appeals

The Honorable Darleen Ortega has served as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals since 2003 and is the first woman of color and the only Latina to serve as an appellate judge in Oregon.

Before becoming a judge, she practiced law for 14 years, focusing her practice on all types of civil litigation at the trial and appellate levels. In her time on the bench, she has distinguished herself as a court leader on issues of juvenile dependency and on efforts to address the structural inequities that affect operation of the legal system.

Judge Ortega teaches Access to Justice at Willamette University’s Salem campus. She is also a frequent speaker on topics related to equity, privilege, combating structural and internalized racism and oppression, and learning to recognize and value the perspectives of people at the margins. She spends hours each with law students and new lawyers, especially those from marginalized communities, helping them to navigate the legal world. Among her many outside activities, she is a co-founder of OneGeorgeFox, an alumni organization of George Fox University supporting LGBTQ+ students. She also is an avid movie and theater critic; her reviews appear regularly in the Portland Observer. Judge Ortega teaches Access to Justice at all three Oregon law schools.

Willamette University


Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.