Law Symposium brings health law community to campus

by Sarah Carlson,

  • Salem attorney Christine Moehl presents at the Equity in Health Law Symposium February 3 at Willamette University College of Law.
    Salem attorney Christine Moehl presents at the Equity in Health Law Symposium February 3 at Willamette Law.

The Willamette Law Review held its annual Law Symposium February 3, highlighting the topic “Equity in Health Law.” The journal hosts the event every year to educate attendees on current issues and allow the journal’s student members to network with academics and other legal professionals, said Hannah Hart, editor-in-chief of the Law Review.

Hart said planning for the symposium began nearly a year ago. Rachel Pavlich, symposium editor for the journal, and Aimee Costa, president of Willamette Law’s Health Law and Policy Society, organized the event. Their team worked for months to decide on discussion topics, find panelists and speakers and tweak the marketing materials.

“The speakers are often esteemed scholars and practitioners in the selected topic,” Hart said, “so the attendees are given an opportunity to mingle with them and receive instruction from some of the best in the field — an invaluable experience.”

The symposium’s topic, Equity in Health Law, was chosen because a previous symposium on a health-related topic was well-attended and because health law has been a growing interest at Willamette, Hart said. Though the event was planned before the election, with a new incoming presidential administration, health law promised to be a relevant legal issue for the 2017 symposium.

Panels at the event discussed employer accommodations and federal regulations, the importance of data in health care, protections and challenges of the modern Affordable Care Act, and Coordinated Care Organizations and the challenges they face. Panelists ranged from Portland- and Salem-area lawyers, to faculty members from Willamette Law and UCLA Law, to directors and attorneys from Oregon nonprofits.

“The open Q&A session at the end of each of the four panels buzzed with questions,” Hart said, “which made me feel like the attendees were engaged and genuinely curious.”

Lynne Saxton, director of the Oregon Health Authority, gave the keynote lunch address. She said 95 percent of Oregon’s population have access to health care, and the state is in a good place to get to 100 percent, making health equity a reality for everyone in the state.

Hart said she was pleased with the outcome of the event. Close to 40 people attended the symposium. Icy roads prevented about 25 people from making it to campus, but with a livestreaming option, they were able to watch the event online.

About Willamette University College of Law

Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship and mentorship. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.