OWLS Celebrates the Recipients of the 21st Annual Roberts and Deiz Awards March 8.
The Honorable Jean Kerr Maurer, Multnomah County Circuit Court, is the 21st Annual recipient of the Justice Betty Roberts Award.
Julia Markley, Partner, Perkins Coie LLP, Portland, is the 21st Annual recipient of the Judge Mercedes Deiz Award
Title Sponsor: Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC
21st Annual Roberts-Deiz Awards Dinner
Like Betty Roberts, Justice Virginia Linder is a pioneer among women lawyers. Justice Linder graduated from Southern Oregon University and Willamette University College of Law. While at Willamette, she worked as a law clerk in the Appellate Division of the Oregon Department of Justice, and after graduating, she took a job there as an assistant attorney general. Four years later, she became assistant solicitor general, and by age 33, she was the first woman to serve as Oregon’s solicitor general. She was also the first woman in Oregon’s history to represent the state before the United States Supreme Court. As solicitor general, she worked to create an inclusive workplace where employees knew that they were welcome, valued, and respected.
Virginia Linder left her role as solicitor general when she accepted an appointment to the Oregon Court of Appeals by Governor John Kitzhaber in 1997. In 2006, with the retirement of Justice Wallace Carson, Judge Linder took on the challenges of a statewide campaign and won in a runoff election. She became the first woman in the history of the state of Oregon to attain a seat on the Oregon Supreme Court through a contested election, rather than appointment by the governor. She is also the first openly lesbian judge to serve on a state supreme court anywhere in the United States.
Throughout her career, Justice Linder has served as a valuable resource for women and minorities. She has been a speaker and facilitator for the Oregon State Bar’s Opportunities for Law in Oregon (OLIO) program, a mentor through Willamette Law school’s mentorship program, a judge for high school constitutional law competitions, an executive committee member of the Willamette Valley American Inn of Court, and a member of the OSB’s Leadership College Advisory Board. A longtime member of the Oregon Gay and Lesbian Law Association (OGALLA) and of OWLS, Justice Linder has served as a panelist and speaker at many OWLS events and is a former OWLS board member.
Other organizations have also recognized Justice Linder’s outstanding leadership and contributions. She has received the Women’s Leadership Award from the Portland State University Center for Women, Politics & Policy; the OGALLA Merit Award; a local YWCA Tribute to Outstanding Women award; and the Southern Oregon University Outstanding Alumni Award.
Many lawyers who have benefited from her guidance and wisdom have noted Justice Linder’s rare combination of keen intellect, humor, and warmth. As one lawyer explained, because of Justice Linder, “we all do more.”
Like Mercedes Deiz, Judge Angel Lopez is a trailblazer who time and time again has taken a leadership role in promoting minorities in the law. Judge Lopez graduated from Occidental College and received his law degree from Willamette University College of Law. He was appointed to the Multnomah County Circuit Court by Governor Ted Kulongoski in 2009.
Judge Lopez was the first person of color to serve as president of the Oregon State Bar. Under his leadership, the Oregon State Bar formed the OSB Diversity Section. Judge Lopez is also a stalwart supporter of the OLIO program, and is currently serving his third term on the OSB Affirmative Action Committee. Recently, he served on the steering committee for the 2011 Convocation on Equality. Judge Lopez has also been active in the community at large, co-chairing the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs and serving as a member and chairman of the Multnomah County Library board.
In addition to seeking institutional change, Judge Lopez has consistently reached out to mentor individual minority lawyers, both formally and informally. Judge Lopez was raised by his widowed mother in the Los Angeles barrio, where he witnessed the 1965 Watts riots firsthand. His willingness to share his personal story has inspired and motivated others to overcome barriers and pursue careers in the law. Judge Lopez generously gives his time to organizations promoting the advancement of minority students and aspiring lawyers and is a frequent speaker at Oregon CLEs and events, as well as at American Bar Association diversity seminars. In recognition of his leadership, mentoring, and excellence, Judge Lopez has been the recipient of the Occidental College Alumni of the Year Award, the Willamette College of Law Spirit of Excellence Award, and the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association’s Justice Paul De Muniz Professionalism Award.
The Justice Betty Roberts Award
21st Annual Roberts-Deiz Awards Dinner Sponsors: