Founded in 1888, the University of Oregon School of Law (Oregon Law) was originally located in Portland before joining the main university campus in 1915. Throughout its history, the faculty and student body of of Oregon Law have been notably progressive. Graduate Minoru Yasui would challenge the legal restrictions placed on Japanese Americans during World War II. In the 1960s, Oregon Law would found the first environmental law program at a public university in the country. The environmental law clinic established in the late 1970s was the first of its kind in the world. In more recent years, the school has added additional programs in dispute resolution and entrepreneurship law. The school of law’s alumni include one governor of Oregon, several attorney generals, and 11 justices of the Oregon Supreme Court.
The Juris Doctor program at Oregon Law requires 85 credit hours and three years of residential coursework for completion. During the first year, over a third the required courses are completed. Students take six core courses that provide a foundation for all future studies: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Students also receive a two-semester course in the fundamental principles of legal research and writing. Finally, students take a unique class on career planning that introduces them to the career development process and the profession of practicing law.
Prior to graduation, all Oregon Law students must complete the second semester of constitutional law, a course in professional responsibility, as well as satisfy requirements for experiential learning and an upper-level writing assignment. In addition to these requirements, Oregon Law requires all students to take at least one course that broadens their understanding of diversity and the law. Diversity courses focus on legal history, discrimination, and the legal structures of inequality. Upper-class students may also focus on one of Oregon Law’s seven different concentrations including their highly regarded environmental law concentration–considered one of the top ten programs in the nation.
Along with its Juris Doctor program, Oregon Law offers a one-year Master of Laws (LL.M) program requiring students to complete 24 hours of coursework. The program has four different tracks: American Law (designed for international students), business law, dispute and conflict resolution, and environmental law. All students–regardless of track–must complete a course in legal writing and one covering the professional practice. Students who earned the first law degree in a foreign law school must take an overview course in the American legal system.
Non-attorneys who wish to understand the principles of dispute resolution can earn a Master in Conflict and Dispute Resolution in Oregon Law’s CRES program. The two-year CRES programs provides a year (three semesters) of coursework followed by a second year focused on building the practical skills necessary to be an effective mediator.
Oregon Law also offers several additional programs for their Juris Doctor students. Students may also earn one of nine concurrent degrees while completing their J.D. The school of law in partnership with other professional schools at the university allows students to obtain two degrees at once by sharing credits between the programs. Additionally, by studying two fields at once, students are exposed to the interdisciplinary nature of law and increase their job prospects. Concurrent degrees include a joint J.D./M.B.A. or combing the law degree with masters from Oregon’s acclaimed programs in environmental studies or water management.
Third-year students at Oregon Law also have the option of finishing their coursework at the law school’s Portland campus. Aside from residing in one of the premier cities in the United States, studying in Portland places students in one of the strongest legal communities in the region. Students from other law schools also have the option of spending a year studying at Oregon Law’s Portland campus.
Career and Career Placement
Over 90% of all graduates of Oregon Law are employed within 10 months of graduation. The overwhelming majority (98%) are employed in careers either preferring a law degree or requiring a law license. Oregon Law students, however, choose a variety of career paths. Oregon Law is one of the few schools in the country where students earn judicial clerkships (26% of graduates) almost as frequently as they opt for law firm work (29% of graduates). Oregon’s commitment to environmental law and natural resource law also drives numerous students into government offices or the public interest sector (34%). Roughly half of Oregon Law graduates remain in the state with substantial portions finding work in the surrounding states of Washington and California.
The school of law career services office provides a range of services to all Oregon Law students. First-year students begin their career search with a mandatory class that explores the breadth of options available with a law degree. The career services center offers one-on-one meeting, on-campus interviews, support to attend regional job fairs, and a library of resources dedicated to career development.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Oregon Law provides a range of opportunities to ensure that all students graduate as practice-ready attorneys. Oregon Law houses seven unique legal clinics that offer students the opportunity to earn credit hour while representing real clients across a broad spectrum of practice areas. The law school’s environmental law clinic was the first of its kind in the world. The school also offers clinical experience in domestic violence, criminal law (defense and prosecution), and business law.
Students may also opt for field placement in one of eight legal offices or, in necessary, design their own field placement to meet their career goals. In field placements, students spend a semester immersed in a legal office working alongside practicing attorneys.
Oregon Law students also have the opportunity to learn practical skills through a series of remote learning modules designed to provide students hands-on skills over the summer semester. Remote learning opportunities include legal labs, fellowships, and boot camp style coursework that immerses students in a practice area.
At Oregon Law, academics are infused with a passion for diversity and inclusivity. The student body prides itself on being a student body that celebrates the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of its student body. The law school’s robust student organizations reflect the commitment to celebrating diversity. On campus, students enjoy a range of wellness and health services designed to encourage students to balance academics with their broader lives. As part of the University of Oregon’s main campus, law students are part of the Oregon Duck family and enjoy the excitement of Olympic Track meets at Hayward Field and the school’s powerhouse football teams.
The town of Eugene offers students a wide selection of affordable housing, access to incredible outdoor recreation opportunities, and a short commute to the metropolis of Portland. Eugene is renowned as a college town with a bevy of activities while Portland is one of the western United States’ most important cities offering renowned restaurants and entertainment for students. To the east, students can see snow-capped mountains year-round. To the west, the Pacific Ocean awaits students beyond a stretch of stunning national forests