Jeffrey C. Dobbins

Jeffrey C. Dobbins

Associate Professor of Law; Executive Director of the Oregon Law Commission

  • J.D. Duke University, summa cum laude, Order of the Coif
  • M.E.M. (Environmental Management) Duke University
  • A.B. Harvard University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Faculty Profile


2006-present Assistant Professor of Law, Willamette University College of Law
Willamette University, Salem, OR
Instructor in Federal Courts, Administrative Law, and Appellate Procedure classes.
Primary areas of interest: Federal / State Jurisdiction, Appellate Process, Standards of Review.

2002-2006 Associate, Commercial Litigation Practice Group
Perkins Coie LLP, Portland, OR
Manage, with limited partner involvement, substantial case load in environmental and general commercial litigation, taking cases from complaint through discovery and trial-level resolution, including settlement, summary judgment, and arbitration proceedings. Served as second chair at jury trial defending client in $17 million accounting malpractice case. Assist with representation of parishes and parishioners in Catholic Archdiocese bankruptcy. Rep resent clients in federal and state court appeals. Managed drafting of successful opposition to stay application in U.S. Supreme Court in Lautenberg / Torricelli Senate seat dispute. Member of office hiring committee. Helped lead development of appellate practice group.

1996-2001 Attorney, Appellate Section
Environment & Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Sole responsibility for appeals addressing issues arising in Division. Managed cases, wrote and filed pleadings and briefs, presented oral arguments, reviewed work of other attorneys, and prepared memoranda and draft U.S. Supreme Court briefs for the Solicitor General on issues ranging from takings jurisprudence to contract interpretation to criminal sentencing guidelines. Member of DOJ Honors Program Hiring Committee. More than 25 reported decisions in over 55 handled appeals include (see others listed below):

  • Eastern Minerals International, Inc. v. United States, 271 F.3d 1090 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (reversing finding of taking based on “extraordinary delay” in processing coal mining permit application)
  • Elias v. United States, 269 F.3d 1003 (9th Cir. 2001) (affirming conviction and 17-year sentence in RCRA “knowing endangerment” criminal case)
  • Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana v. Dept. of Interior, 255 F.3d 342 (7th Cir. 2001) (affirming Interior’s denial of petition for acknowledgment as Indian Tribe)
  • Users Protective Assn. v. Patterson, 204 F.3d 1206 (9th Cir. 1999) (affirming district court ruling that water users were not beneficiaries to dam management contract)
  • U.S. v. 4.0 Acres of Land, 175 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 1999) (grant of motion for new condemnation trial vacated and original verdict favorable to U.S. reinstated)

1995-1996 Law Clerk to Senior Associate Justice John Paul Stevens
United States Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.
Worked closely with the Justice in reviewing petitions for certiorari, addressing emergency applications, and considering cases scheduled for argument. Reviewed and edited draft opinions. Researched and drafted memoranda on other Court business.

1994-1995 Law Clerk to Judge David S. Tatel
U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Washington, DC
Developed bench memos for cases to be argued, drafted opinions, and assisted in the disposition of other court business, such as emergency stays, petitions for rehearing, and research questions. (Clerked 7/94 to 8/94 for Chief Judge Abner Mikva prior to his appointment as White House Counsel).

Bar Memberships

  • Member of Oregon and West Virginia State Bars; Multiple U.S. Courts of Appeals (D.C., First, Second, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits); D. Oregon and S.D. W.V.

Public Service/Professional Memberships

  • Pro bono postconviction representation of Alabama capital defendant, 3/2003-present.
  • Member, Executive Committee, Oregon State Bar Appellate Section, 1/2005-present.
  • Volunteer attorney for Carry Oregon Vote Protection Team, 2004.
  • Harvard Schools Committee Member (interviewer / school representative), 2002-present.


1990-1994 Duke University School of Law Durham, NC J.D. with highest honors. Order of the Coif. First in Class.

  • Article editor, Duke Law Journal.
  • Editor in chief (’93-’94), contrib. editor (’92-’93), Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum.
  • Am. Jur. Awards in Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Conflict of Laws.
  • Bidlake Award for Excellence in First Year Writing.
  • Moot Court Bd.: 1994 Catholic U. Sutherland Cup; 1st Place, Best Brief, Best Oralist.
  • Teaching Assistant for Intro. to Environmental Science and Policy class (1993), Legal Writing class (1992), and Freshman Writing Program (1991).

1991-1994 Duke University School of the Environment, Durham, NC M.E.M. (Master’s of Environmental Management) in Resource Economics and Policy.

1985-1989 Harvard University,Cambridge, MA A.B. magna cum laude (Concentration: History and Science). Phi Beta Kappa. Sr. Thesis: The Lay American Response to Relativity & Quantum Mechanics, 1910-32.

Additional Work Experience

Summers 1990, 1988, 1987 Tutor/Counselor, Dorm Head, and Live-in Teacher
Upward Bound Program, Keene State College, Keene, NH
Teacher, counselor, and manager in college prep program for low-income high school students.

1986-1989 Observatory Staff Member & Student Director
Michael-Loomis Telescope, Harvard University Science Center, Cambridge, MA
Staffed and managed (1987-89) campus observatory centered on 10-inch refractor.

1986-1990 Graduate & Undergraduate Discussion Leader
Harvard College Core Program, Harvard College, Cambridge, MA
Section leader in science class for non-science majors taught entirely in sections. Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, 1990.

Publications (Published and in Process)

  • “The U.S. Supreme Court’s Review of Oregon State Court Decisions in the First Half-Century of Statehood, 1859-1909,” Oregon Appellate Almanac (2006).
  • “The Pain and Suffering of Environmental Loss: Using Contingent Valuation to Estimate Nonuse Damages,” 43 Duke L.J. 879 (1994).
  • “Ties that Bind: The Cross-Circuit Effect of MDL-Consolidated Petitions for Review,” in process. Circulation planned for August 2006.

Reported Decisions

(*unless otherwise noted, decisions are in appeals briefed and argued by me for the United States)

  • G.A.S.P. v. Environmental Quality Com'n, 118 P.3d 831 (Or. App. 2005) (briefed; amicus for private client)
  • G.A.S.P. v. Environmental Quality Com'n, 108 P.3d 95, 198 Or.App. 182 (Or. App. 2005) (briefed and argued; amicus for private client)
  • In re General Adjudication of All Rights To Use Water In The Big Horn River System, 48 P.3d 1040, 2002 WY 89 (Wy. 2002)
  • Alabama Dep't of Envt'l Mgmt. and U.S. Dept. of the Army v. Coosa River Basin Initiative, 826 So.2d 111 (Ala. 2002) (briefed; no argument held)
  • Families Concerned About Nerve Gas Incineration v. Warr & U.S. Dept. of the Army, 826 So.2d 857 (Ala. Ct. Civ. App. 2002) (briefed; no argument held)
  • Davis v. Mineta, 302 F.3d 1104 (10th Cir. 2002)
  • Cadillac Fairview/California, Inc. v. Dow Chemical Co., 299 F.3d 1019 (9th Cir. 2002)
  • Shields v. Norton, 289 F.3d 832 (5th Cir. 2002) (briefed only)
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands v. U.S., 279 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2002)
  • Eastern Minerals International v. United States, 271 F.3d 1090 (Fed. Cir. 2001)
  • U.S. v. Elias, 269 F.3d 1003 (9th Cir. 2001)
  • Spirit Lake Tribe v. State of North Dakota & United States, 262 F.3d 732 (8th Cir. 2001) (briefed)
  • Friends of Gateway v. Slater, 257 F.3d 74 (2nd Cir. 2001) Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana v. United States Dept. of the Interior, 255 F.3d 342 (7th Cir. 2001) Mohave Valley Irrigation & Drainage Dist. v. Norton, 244 F.3d 1164 (9th Cir. 2001)
  • Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri v. Norton, 240 F.3d 1250 (10th Cir. 2001) (also drafted “friendly” opposition to certiorari)
  • Palm Beach Isles Associates v. U.S., on reh’g, 231 F.3d 1354 (Fed. Cir.), denying rehÕg en banc, 231 F.3d 1365 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (briefed petition for rehearing only).
  • Firebaugh Canal Co. v. U.S., 203 F.3d 568 (9th Cir. 2000)
  • Klamath Water Users Protective Ass'n v. Patterson, 204 F.3d 1206 (9th Cir. 1999) (also drafted opposition to petition for certiorari)
  • Alaska v. U.S., 201 F.3d 1154 (9th Cir. 2000)
  • U.S. v. City of Challis, 133 Idaho 525, 988 P.2d 1199 (Idaho 1999) (also drafted cert. petition)
  • U.S. v. 4.0 Acres of Land, 175 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 1999)
  • U.S. v. Accra Pac, Inc., 173 F.3d 630 (7th Cir. 1999) (briefed; no argument held)
  • Friends of Boundary Waters Wilderness v. Dombeck, 164 F.3d 1115 (8th Cir. 1999)
  • Collord v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, 154 F.3d 933 (9th Cir. 1998) (briefed, argued, and rehearing petition filed and denied; petition for certiorari drafted)
  • U.S. v. Navistar Intern. Transp. Corp., 152 F.3d 702 (7th Cir. 1998)
  • Associations Working for Aurora's Residential Environment v. Colorado Dept. of Transp., 153 F.3d 1122 (10th Cir. 1998)
  • U.S. v. Henry, 136 F.3d 12 (1st Cir. 1998)
  • Bass Enterprises Production Co. v. U.S., 133 F.3d 893 (Fed. Cir. 1998)
  • Fund for Animals, Inc. v. Thomas, 127 F.3d 80 (D.C. Cir. 1997)
  • U.S. v. Silva, 122 F.3d 412 (7th Cir. 1997)
  • Stuart v. U.S., 109 F.3d 1380 (9th Cir. 1997) (argued)

Other Appeals

(*unless otherwise noted, decisions are in appeals briefed by me for the United States)

  • Wallace v. George E. Failing Co., 81 Fed. Appx. 922 (9th Cir. 2003) (briefed and argued for private party)
  • Arizona ex rel. Hull v. Norton , 7 Fed. Appx. 739, 2001 WL 357517 (9th Cir. 2001)
  • Hawaii County Green Party v. Clinton, et al., 9th Cir. No. 97-16955 (motion for stay pending appeal of launch of Cassini space probe denied 10/14/2001, appeal later dismissed)
  • Kickapoo Tribe of Indians v. Deer , 4 Fed. Appx. 728, 2001 WL 193810 (10th Cir. 2001)
  • Hopi Tribe v. U.S. , 215 F.3d 1333 (Table), 2000 WL 366273 (9th Cir. 2000)
  • U.S. v. Shurelds , 173 F.3d 430 (Table), 1999 WL 137636 (6th Cir. 1999)
  • Marathon Oil Co. v. Babbitt , 166 F.3d 1221 (Table), 1999 WL 3362 (10th Cir. 1999) (opposition to petition for certiorari drafted)
  • Eastern Minerals Intern., Inc. v. U.S. , 168 F.3d 1322 (Table), 1998 WL 658275 (Fed. Cir. 1998) (briefed and argued)
  • Delgado v. Department of Interior , 153 F.3d 726 (Table), 1998 WL 439661 (10th Cir. 1998)
  • Errecart v. Department of Trans. , 133 F.3d 926 (Table), 1998 WL 10366 (9th Cir. 1998)
  • United States v. Due , 141 F.3d 1171 (Table), 1998 WL 105863 (8th Cir. 1998) (Anders brief filed; decided without U.S. briefing)
  • Alaska Center for the Environment v. Hudson, 9th Cir. No. 97?35567 (motion for injunction pending appeal granted, halting timber harvest; appeal later dismissed as moot)
  • Island Range Chapter of Montana Wilderness Ass'n v. U.S. Forest Service , 117 F.3d 1425 (Table), 1997 WL 362161 (9th Cir. 1997) (argued)
  • Marks v. United States , 116 F.3d 1496 (Table), 1997 WL 273948 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (briefed and argued)
  • Stuart v. Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Dept. of Interior , 108 F.3d 1386 (Table), 1997 WL 121173 (9th Cir. 1997) (argued)