Willamette Law expands law clinic services

Willamette University College of Law is expanding its law clinic services to focus on the school’s signature strengths (some of which include public service and health law) and has appointed two new faculty members to help with the new programs. Sarah Matsumoto, from Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver, and Professor Susan Cook will put their expertise to use starting this summer.

The school’s clinical law program currently consists of four advanced courses for second- and third-year students: business law, immigration, child and family law, and trusts and estates.

“We are thrilled to announce our expanded commitment to clinical offerings," Willamette Dean Brian Gallini said. "We believe that our doing so provides strong evidence that we are growing into the Pacific Northwest’s leading experiential law school."

Matsumoto comes from Sturm College, which has a reputation for strong hands-on learning, and she has spent the last three years as a clinical teaching fellow.

Professor Matsumoto

“My hope is that clinic students and I will help people access meaningful legal options and opportunities that truly impact their everyday lives,” Matsumoto said. “Experiential offerings like a clinic are an essential part of students’ legal education, and I can’t wait to meet and work with the outstanding students at Willamette Law.”

Cook has had a private practice in Salem, ore., since 1996, specializing in estate planning, probate, wills, guardianships, and conservatorships. She has been adjunct faculty at Willamette since 2000.

Professor Cook

“When I started teaching as an adjunct professor in 2001, I was unsure how long I would continue,” Cook said. “But the more time I spent with students I realized my true passion lies in teaching. Every year seems to get better with the clinic. I am inspired by each new class of students who bring fresh ideas and a renewed desire to help our community.”

Gallini is hopeful for the future of the school’s clinic program and hopes it will continue to grow.

“Students not only want to learn how to think like a lawyer, but also practice how to be one,” he said. “At Willamette Law, our students get the best of both worlds, learning from our incredible faculty scholars, then applying their knowledge in real-world situations. Bringing in Professors Matsumoto and Cook to strengthen experiential opportunities for our students is another critical step toward becoming the premier law school for experiential learning in the Pacific Northwest.”

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