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Willamette Law student publishes three articles on the intersection of health care and government

by Jessica Rotter,

Oregon State Capitol building
Julie Parrish (JD '23)
Julie Parrish JD '23

Julie Parrish (JD ‘23) passed her first piece of Oregon legislation about health care; now years later, she has published three American Bar Association (ABA) articles on the intersection of health care and government. After building a successful career in politics and marketing, Parrish decided it was time to attend law school at Willamette. In many ways, she sees this education as a continuation of the work she has already devoted her life to and an opportunity to bring a new set of skills to her work.

After many years working in politics and serving eight years as a State Representative, Parrish became increasingly knowledgeable about the intricacies of health care policies. Now, she has published three articles over the last year that have focused on the intersection of health care and government. In deciding to tackle these articles, Parrish shared that “I think philosophically we all agree that we need health care, the real question is how? And that question of how we implement health care laws that are affordable and accessible is the focus of my work.” 

In her first article published by the ABA Health Law Section, “Deciding Bodily Autonomy and Individual Privacy Rights: should Jacobson v. Massachusetts be Overturned Based on Seminal Due Process Cases Decided Since 1905?,” Parrish explored the implications of Covid-19 policies on a patient’s fundamental privacy rights. While writing the article, she found it particularly interesting to be dealing with constantly shifting Covid-19 data and information. “Everyday, I was reading new articles and sources in order to be accurate before hitting ‘send’ on the final draft of the paper,” she said. “It was exciting to be working on this paper at the same time a new focus of health law was emerging, and all of it happening in real time.” 

Simultaneously, Parrish was drafting her second article, “Evaluating Compulsory Covid-19 Vaccination Mandates.” There was more information about Covid-19 than when she had originally turned the paper in for a grade. Preparing for publication with the ABA required her to redo parts of the original version. She reflected, “it made me a better writer and a sharper, more critical thinker.” Her editing process for the peer-reviewed articles pushed her to think critically about her sources, where she was getting her information, and to focus on the facts. As her articles were peer-reviewed, Parrish gained a great appreciation for the perspective and feedback of the multiple lawyers involved in the review process. “To have these lawyers review my work, make recommendations, and challenge my perspective made me a stronger legal scholar,” Parrish said.

Now having published her third article, “Legal Implications and State Budget Ramifications if Voters Vote ‘Yes’ for Oregon Senate Joint Resolution 12 on Their November 2022 General Election Ballot,” and as she anticipates her final semester of law school, Parrish would like to continue writing and helping people understand more about the intersection of healthcare and government. “Not only has my time at Willamette helped me firmly understand the academic side of the law, soon I can go out and practice it and educate others about why this all matters,” Parrish said. She credits Professor Bruce Howell with helping to challenge her to think beyond the walls of the classroom and to explore other ways to get involved in the legal system. It is her goal to encourage others to see beyond their own worldview and to learn about the big issues facing the legal system.

Parrish’s three articles were inspired largely by her understanding that “everything we learn in law school, any topic we cover, starts across the street at the State Capitol.” She shared that “lawyers have an obligation to understand the law and what is going on in our government, and to use that understanding in a fair and balanced manner.” 

Now, Parrish is looking forward to making the most of her remaining time in law school and continuing to learn as much information as she can. After graduation, she wants to continue doing the work she already has been focused on, just with an expanded set of tools. She shared, “I think everyone in law school should push themselves to have an open mind and to see opportunity everywhere.” Parrish encourages students to get involved in the government and to “walk across the street, knock on doors, seek out internships, and find ways to make change. It all starts with your local government.”

Parrish anticipates completing her JD with both the Certificate in Health Law and the Certificate in Law and Government.

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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