Jeffrey C. Dobbins

Associate Professor of Law

Jeff Dobbins joined the Willamette faculty in 2006 after practicing law in both public and private sectors. From 2002-06, he practiced law in the Commercial Litigation Group of Perkins Coie LLP in Portland. From 1996-2002, he was an attorney in the Appellate Section of the Environment Division at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. Throughout his career, Dobbins has briefed and argued more than 50 cases in federal and state appellate courts.

An Oregon native, Dobbins received his undergraduate degree from Harvard in history and science. He then enrolled at Duke University, where he attended both the Law School and the School of the Environment. He was editor in chief of the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum and an articles editor for the Duke Law Journal. Dobbins was elected to Order of the Coif and was first in his class at the law school. Throughout his educational career, Dobbins taught — first as a discussion leader at Harvard, where he received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, and then with Duke undergraduates, law students and School of the Environment students.

After graduation, Dobbins served initially as law clerk to Chief Judge Abner Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and then clerked for Judge Davis S. Tatel on the D.C. Circuit from Judge Tatel’s confirmation through June 1995. From 1995-96, Dobbins served as law clerk to Senior Associate Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dobbins’ academic interests focus on areas of civil procedure and federal jurisdiction, with an emphasis on appellate process and theory. He teaches Federal Courts, Administrative Law and seminars in specialized areas of civil procedure. Through the ABA’s Death Penalty Representation Project and his former employer, Perkins Coie, Dobbins has been involved since 2003 with the ongoing representation of a capital defendant in Alabama.

Dobbins is a member of the bars of the State of Oregon (active) and West Virginia (inactive), as well as of the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the First, Second, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, D.C., and Federal Circuits. He continues his local involvement in appellate procedures as a member of the Executive Committee of the Appellate Section of the Oregon State Bar.


  • JD, Duke University, summa cum laude, Order of the Coif
  • MEM (Environmental Management), Duke University
  • AB, Harvard University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa


  • The Inherent and Supervisory Authority of Appellate Courts," [in process]
  • "New Evidence on Appeal," 94 Minn. L. Rev. 2016 (2012).
  • "Methodology as Model, Model as Methodology," 47 Willamette L. Rev. 575 (2011).
  • "Structure and Precedent," 108 Mich. L. Rev. 1453 (2010).
  • "Judicial Communication, Elections, and the Oregon Supreme Court," 46 Willamette L. Rev. 479 (2010).
  • Chart of Oregon Supreme Court Justices, 1848–present, J. Dobbins, 46 Willamette L. Rev. 479 (2010).
  • "The Oregon Law Commission: Bridging the Gaps Between Islands of the Legal Profession," 44 Willamette L. Rev. 161 (2007).
  • "The U.S. Supreme Court's Review of the Oregon State Court Decisions in the First Half-Century of Statehood, 1859-1909," 1 Oregon Appellate Almanac (2006).
  • "The Pain and Suffering of Environmental Loss: Using Contingent Valuation to Estimate Nonuse Damages," 43 Duke L.J. 879 (1994).