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Fall 2022 Dean's Message

Dear alumni and friends,

In a year of extraordinary disruption, our community continued to flourish. We entered the academic year hoping COVID was in the rearview mirror. With new variants, we saw an unpredictable mix of remote, in-person masked and unmasked instruction. Through it all, we continued listening, collaborating and working through challenging circumstances in a productive and supportive manner. This allowed us to point our shared focus to growing and improving the College of Law. We added new faculty members, recruited the largest and most academically well-credentialed class in more than a decade, broke another fundraising record, posted the West Coast’s highest 10-month gold standard employment numbers, and led our faculty to critically evaluate our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. The challenges were real, but our faculty, staff and students have grown in their ability to work collaboratively. The circumstances have been difficult, but they have strengthened our institution because we took action together. Through service on Oregon’s Alternatives to the Bar Exam Task Force, I am proud that Willamette has emerged as a national leader in attorney licensure reform conversations. On January 13, the Oregon Supreme Court approved “in concept” two new pathways to licensure: the Oregon Experiential Pathway and the Supervised Practice Pathway. These prioritize the protection of the public and the promotion of equity while opening the door for Willamette Law to continue pursuing leading-edge curricular innovation and the hiring of new faculty.

Since the court’s decision, the College of Law has rightly received significant media attention for its pivotal role in leading national conversations about licensure reform. Willamette has a strong history of being a leader in experiential education, and we look forward to continuing to be a catalyst for rethinking legal education and attorney licensure. I have deeply appreciated the continued support that many of you, our alumni and supporters, have shown me across the past year. Whether you have given to the annual fund, supported a student through our Attorney-Mentor program, or kindly offered your time to support our campus more generally, I have noticed. It is our community that truly distinguishes the College of Law from other law schools. I hope you enjoy reading this issue of the Willamette Lawyer half as much as I enjoyed reviewing its contents. You’ll read stories about the resilience of our Class of 2022, the evolution of licensure reform efforts, the hiring of new faculty, and the promotion of current faculty — among other important developments. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming reception and to your continued engagement with Willamette Law. In the interim, know that I’m always around to connect by phone, Zoom, or in person.

Brian R. Gallini

Brian R. Gallini

Dean of the Willamette University College of Law
Willamette University

Alumni Engagement

College of Law
245 Winter Street SE
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
(503) 370-6992