Professor Rohan Grey takes education seriously. Grey spent most of the past 15 years in or around institutions of learning — teaching daycare, K-12 and university students — in addition to earning six different degrees. This fall, he joins Willamette Law to begin his next chapter as a full-time assistant professor.
Grey is originally from Australia, where he grew up and went to college. He enrolled in dual undergraduate programs in international studies and music, and in 2009, moved to the United States to finish his studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Manhattan School of Music. Although the move was initially meant to be temporary, it quickly became permanent.
Grey, whose father was a barrister and whose mother came from a family of music educators, always felt torn between the two worlds. He knew he wanted to ultimately go to law school but decided to first complete a master’s degree in music education at Columbia Teachers College.
“While I was doing that, I got an opportunity to teach at a nearby elementary school where I had been volunteering,” Grey says. “So I deferred attending Columbia Law School and worked for a year as an elementary school social studies and music teacher.”
Around the same period, Grey developed an interest in monetary and macroeconomic issues.
“I ‘came of age’ during the global financial crisis of 2007-08,” Grey explains. “So when I moved to the U.S. at the beginning of 2009, I was already starting to ask questions about what money was and how the financial system worked. A lot of my friends from UPenn were in the (Wharton) business school, so after we graduated, they started working on Wall Street, while I was teaching in a public school in Harlem, New York. It was a pretty stark contrast.”
Grey entered law school intending to pursue a career in education law and policy. However, he quickly found child advocacy more rewarding and switched his focus to direct client services. During his final year, he enrolled in a joint-degree program with the London School of Economics, where he earned an LLM focusing on the monetary and macroeconomic dimension of copyright law and its relationship to federal arts policy.
Following graduation, he became a practicing children’s attorney in New York. However, the fascination with money and finance remained. Consequently, Grey used his free time to research various academic issues related to the legal design of money and finance, helping expand what he calls a recent ‘renaissance’ in that area of legal scholarship. He also collaborated with a community of economists and social scientists who go under the school of thought called Modern Monetary Theory.
When it became clear he could no longer maintain dual commitments to child advocacy and monetary research, he decided to switch careers and enter legal academia. He enrolled in a JSD (legal doctorate) program at Cornell Law School, focusing on the law of money in the internet age. He joined Willamette Law in the fall to teach Business Organizations, Securities Regulation and first-year Contracts.
Although Grey previously taught students of all ages, including law students, this will be his first time doing so as a law school faculty member.
“I’m looking forward to learning how to best provide what my students need and how to best prepare them to be lawyers in this changing legal world,” Grey says. “I want to help them make a difference that’s socially valuable.”
About the Willamette University College of Law
Willamette University College of Law was the first law school to open in the Pacific Northwest. Building on deep historic roots, we focus with pride on educating the next generation of problem-solving lawyers and leaders. Our location in Salem, Oregon, directly across the street from the Oregon State Capitol and Supreme Court, cannot be matched in the region. Our thought-leading scholars advance and promote our shared responsibility to make a difference in society, placing justice, fairness, and equality at the heart of everything we do.
The College of Law produces the best problem solvers, community leaders, legal dealmakers, and changemakers in the most innovative region of the country. We have had several years of remarkable growth in academic achievement, as our bar passage rates and employment outcomes reflect. We also consistently have the highest graduate employment rates among all Oregon law schools, and are among the best on the entire West Coast.
We are a dynamic force within our university’s vision of an “Only at Willamette” education and have worked to develop one of the most forward-thinking and creative legal education programs in the country. Our student-centric approach manifests in the robust experiential learning opportunities we provide alongside curricular strengths in public service, business law, advocacy, international law, and health law.