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Professor Warren Binford accepts endowed chair at University of Colorado

by Sarah Bello,

Warren Binford Professor of Law

It is with mixed emotions that Willamette Law shares the exciting news that international children’s rights expert Professor Warren Binford has been named to an endowed chair position at the University of Colorado, effective July 1, 2021. Binford will be the inaugural W.H. Lea for Justice Endowed Chair for Pediatric Law, Ethics and Policy and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine, as well as Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School. She will leave Willamette Law at the end of the 2020–21 academic year.

“Teaching at Willamette has been one of the highlights of my life,” Binford says. “I feel so fortunate to have been able to support our law students these past 16 years as they worked to provide first-rate legal services in Oregon and beyond.”

Binford joined Willamette Law in 2005 as an assistant professor of law and director of the Clinical Law Program. She immediately began significantly expanding the College of Law’s experiential programs, including creating more clinical and externship opportunities and practical skills courses for law students.

Since then, Binford has continued to be engaged as a passionate teacher and clinic director, while also establishing an international reputation as a children’s rights advocate and scholar. She has provided expertise and support to UNICEF, Save the Children, and the International Red Cross, among others. Her commentary and expertise has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, BBC and NPR.

Willamette Law Dean Emeritus Symeon Symeonides says he still remembers the powerful impression Binford made on him when she interviewed 17 years ago.

“Since then, she has more than exceeded my expectations. Besides doing such an outstanding job reorganizing and reenergizing the [Clinical Law] program, she has been a respected community leader, a thoughtful university citizen and a trustworthy colleague,” Symeonides explains. “I continue to be amazed by her inexhaustible energy, but also by her thoughtfulness and selflessness in always lending a helping hand to those who needed it.”

As a law professor, Binford taught international children’s rights, business and nonprofit law, and almost all of Willamette Law’s clinics at one point or another. Her core clinic was the Child and Family Advocacy Clinic, which she created in 2006 to provide free legal services to children and families in crisis.

Binford also designed and taught many other courses, including Civil Rights and the Law in Education, Deposition Skills and others. She taught in the Atkinson School of Management, Willamette’s former School of Education, and supervised and mentored Willamette undergraduate students, in addition to forming collaborative learning opportunities for law students with OHSU and the Oregon Department of Justice.

“Professor Binford has made numerous contributions to our community, and we are so proud of her many accomplishments. I know I speak for our entire community when I say that we will miss seeing her on campus,” says Willamette Law Dean Brian Gallini. “We congratulate her and wish her well in this next chapter of her career.”

Binford was selected as a Fulbright Scholar in 2012 in South Africa and the inaugural Fulbright Canada-Palix Foundation Distinguished Visiting Chair in Brain Science and Child and Family Health and Wellness in 2015 at the University of Calgary in Alberta, where she researched the multidisciplinary effects of child sex abuse trauma on survivors. She received the 2020 Hans Linde Award from the American Constitution Society Oregon Lawyer Chapter and was named a “Woman of Influence” in 2020 by the Portland Business Journal for her work advocating for children and families at the US-Mexico border.

“The decision to leave Willamette was the most difficult decision I have ever made,” Binford says. “I don’t think most people understand what a special and unique place Willamette is. The Willamette community — its students, alumni, faculty and staff — are like family to me, and I will always consider Willamette my first academic home.”

About 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.

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