Congratulations, Environmental Law. I remember your uncertain beginning. When I started law school in 1967, the school was in transition. It was in the process of applying for accreditation by the American Bar Association which would enable it to grow from a state oriented school to a national one and it was adding a day program.
By my second year, it was recognized that a law review also needed to be part of the plan. The primary purpose was to provide a forum for student writing. Dean Wren insisted that the emphasis would be the environment. He knew the subject would give the law review a unique focus. There were several meetings about the meaning and scope of the journal, but Dean Wren continued to insist on the name. I wish I had a better understanding why he chose the environment; I know he enjoyed the beauty of the Northwest and felt we had something special we needed to preserve.
We hoped to get a prominent person who had shown an interest in the environment to write an article for the first issue. Our faculty advisor Bill Williamson contacted Justice William O. Douglas. Although Justice Douglas replied favorably to our request, we didn’t hear from him after that and we began to feel very uneasy. However, those were the days when Justice Douglas liked to disappear into the forests of the Northwest where he couldn’t be reached. At the very last minute, his contribution arrived and we scrambled to check the accuracy of his citations, which were notoriously unreliable. As part of that process we still were struggling to determine the best format for printing the publication. Our last correction to the first issue was to the title of the first article, which everyone had neglected to read while we all were checking for errors in the body of the material and the footnotes.
Bill Williamson and I, and later together with the editorial board after it was chosen, had many discussions about how broadly we could interpret the term “environment” as we struggled to fill each publication. For example, we accepted articles about criminal law feeling we could justify including them because of the effect of crime on our social environment.
It was not easy to attract authors to an unknown journal that did not have a clear mission, but in those days, law schools were not offering courses devoted to environmental issues. Cases we now categorize as environmental were considered administrative or business law.
The biggest controversy in the environmental area in Oregon in the late 1960’s revolved around the timber industry and the potential effects of listing the spotted owl as an endangered species. When I went to talk to the President of Lewis and Clark College about the possibility of soliciting scientific articles from the college faculty, I was accused of being a “tree hugger” and alienating donors. In addition to our struggles to create a journal, we also were threatened with a lack of funding.
As I have looked at recent issues, it seems that all these problems no longer exist. The law school has an international reach. Environmental courses are taught throughout the country and environmental law is recognized as a specialty. The law school offers a certificate to graduates as well as an advanced LL.M. degree. I was delighted to learn there’s even an Environmental Moot Court competition and that the law school has earned recognition there. Well done, Environmental Law and Lewis and Clark!
Best wishes for the coming decades,
Ann Morgenstern Reynolds, First Editor in Chief of Environmental Law