Law Day


 The 14th Amendment:

Transforming American Democracy

Portland State University
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Law Day is a conference for high school students. It is one day of energizing and thought-provoking seminars at Portland State University.

Law Day features 16 different workshops on legal issues concerning and of concern to youth. More than 500 students from Oregon and southwest Washington participate and learn from scholars, activists and other experts.


Since 1981, more than 20,000 Oregon and SW Washington high school students have attended the Law Day Conference featuring exciting workshops that explore our legal system.  The Conference was first started to celebrate National Law Day, May 1, by offering students a variety of provocative, informative, and timely workshops about legal issues and led by legal experts.  The success of the conference has led to full-capacity workshops each year as well as fostered dialogues and discussion on how the law affects us all.

Classroom Law Project sponsors this conference in order to provide students with information to help make well-reasoned decisions.  Workshops are interesting, topical, and so current that many are being argued in the courts today.  When students leave the conference at the end of Law Day, they will be more informed citizens, know more about where to go for help, and, we hope, develop new interest and appreciation for being an active citizen.


Students will attend four workshops – two in the morning and two in the afternoon – on a first-come, first-serve basis as room capacity allows.  Please note, this means students may not be assigned their top choices.  Using the Workshop Descriptions and Student Worksheet, students are asked to prioritize their top four morning choices AND top four afternoon choices. Students must return the registration form plus $10 (includes lunch and materials, non-refundable) fee to the teacher who will then write ONE check to the Classroom Law Project (or skip student payments if the school is paying for registrations).

Registration steps:

  1. Download the following handouts:
  2. Distribute the Workshop Descriptions and Student Worksheet to students.  Ask students to prioritize their top FOUR morning choices AND top FOUR afternoon choices.
  3. Collect completed Student Worksheets from students and fill out the Student Preferences. Please check that students have signed up for only morning workshops in the morning, and afternoon workshops in the afternoon. Use the key at the top of the Student Preferences form to double check.
  4. Collect conference fee ($10/person, including adults) from individuals or from your school.
  5. Fill out the Online Registration Form.
    • Upload the Student Preferences Form (or if you prefer, send to
    • Submit payment via credit card (or if you prefer, mail ONE check to CLP – see our mailing address at the bottom of this page).

Note: Registrations will NOT be complete until payment in full has been received by Classroom Law Project.

** REGISTRATION DEADLINE is Friday, April 21, 2017! **

When: Tuesday, May 2, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Where: Portland State University
Smith Memorial Student Union
1825 SW Broadway
Portland, OR

What: Schedule for the day
8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. Workshop 1
10:00 -10:05 a.m. Break
10:05 – 11:05 a.m. Workshop 2
11:05 – 11:20 a.m. Lunch
11:20 – 12:20 p.m. Workshop 3
12:20 – 12:25 p.m. Break
12:25 – 1:25 p.m. Workshop 4

Questions? Contact us at (503) 224–4424 or


A. Activism 101

Since the 2016 Presidential Election, participation in activism has dramatically increased as individuals seek to have their voices heard and heeded by our government. Representatives from local advocacy groups will be on hand to speak to students about ways to effectively and legally participate in protests and other activism.

Presenters: JoAnn Hardesty (NAACP); Kimberly McCullough (ACLU); Ricardo Varela (Oregon Immigrant Activist)

B. Careers in the Law

A lawyer is only one career in the field of law. There is a wide range of law-related career opportunities, among them private investigator, court interpreter, probation officer, handwriting expert, paralegal and corrections officer. Meet with the professionals and learn what different legal jobs are really like. Presenters: Enrique Andrade; Kelly Chaney; James Eastwood; and Robin Nodland

C. Conversations about Race

Dr. Cornel West once said, “a profound hatred of African people…sits at the center of American civilization.”  This session considers how race and racism shape societal relations through the legal system.  Students will engage in a discussion about how the law has developed over time with respect to issues of race. Presenter: Melvin Oden-Orr

D. Cyberbullying, Harassment, and the First Amendment

Cyberbullying can lead to emotional distress, school absenteeism, and, in severe cases, teen suicide. Some states have responded to this issue by criminalizing cyberbullying, or by amending existing laws to include harassing electronic communication. Some schools have responded with their own cyberbullying policies to help protect students from emotional harm. But, how far can those laws and policies reach without violating First Amendment protections to free speech? Can cyberbullying lawfully be criminalized? Can schools effectively stop cyberbullying without running afoul of the First Amendment? Come prepared to learn about this emerging area of the law and about the tension between protection of speech rights and the protection of young victims. Presenter: Rachael Federico

E. Gun Control

Always a controversial issue, gun control has been in the news a lot recently. Is this a violation of the 2nd Amendment or simply regulating weapons? Learn about the different sides to this issue by participating in a simulated town hall. Presenters: Marilyn Cover and Toni Berres-Paul

F. Know Your Rights: Drugs, Cars, Cellphones, and the Police

What are your rights if a police officer stops you on the street? In your car? What if you are merely a passenger in someone else’s car? Can a police officer force you to unlock and turn over your cellphone or open your social media page? Learn about your constitutional rights in these and other situations where law enforcement and individual rights come together. Presenter: Kassia Rutlidge

G.  Mock Trial: Landry Lopez v. Buddy’s Burgers, LLC

Landry Lopez blew the whistle on the local high school’s star athlete, accusing him of stealing from Buddy’s Burger’s charity booster fundraiser. Did Lopez get fired because he clocked out early and closed up shop the night of a big game or because he reported the theft thought to be an inside job? Presenters: Winning HS Mock Trial Team

H. Sexual Relations in the 21st Century: Consent, Sexting, and Sex Crimes

As if sexual relationships are not complicated enough, today issues of consent, social media and other technology use, and the changing nature of what is considered to be a sex crime are giving rise to new perspectives and legal standards. Hear from an experienced criminal defense attorney about these complex and important issues. Presenter: David McDonald


I. Border Walls and Mass Deportation: Immigration and Citizenship in Trump’s America

The rights of lawful citizens, legal residents, and undocumented immigrants is a complex and critical issue in contemporary American society, involving matters of security, economics, international relations, and constitutional rights. Learn about the many and varied perspectives and consequences of efforts to reform or enforce immigration laws by participating in a simulated town hall. Moderator: Marilyn Cover

J. Climate Change   

Scientists and environmental organizations agree that our climate is changing in ways that will seriously impact our lives on our planet. Together, political and legal tools can influence sustainable practices in areas such as conservation, development, and international relations. Learn from an environmental law expert about the legal response to climate change and how you can join efforts to protect the environment. Presenter: Erica Lyman

K. Death Penalty: Costs and Consequences    

Since the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the legality of capital punishment in 1976, more than 1,400 individuals have been executed. Given that the United States is the only Western country currently using the death penalty, questions about the effectiveness, morality, and costs of executions continue to increase. Learn about current research into this controversial issue, examining the costs and consequences associated with capital punishment. Presenter: Venetia Mayhew

L.  Fake News and Alternative Facts

President George W. Bush recently affirmed that the news media is not an enemy of the people but rather is “indispensable to democracy.” Today, journalists and the acceptance of facts are under attack at an unprecedented level. What is the role of journalists to uncover and report on political and cultural matters? How does an active and vigorous news media preserve and protect our democracy and the constitutional rights of individuals? Hear about these important topics as well as how the rise of fake news and the acceptance of so-called “alternative facts” challenge authentic journalism and threaten our democracy. Students will learn how to distinguish fake from real news sources. Presenter: Nigel Jaquiss

M. Human Trafficking

Did you know that the Super Bowl is one of the busiest events of the year for human trafficking in the United States? Human trafficking affects more than twenty million people around the world. Learn why this growing problem is so prevalent in Oregon, how and why people are sold by traffickers, the laws that affect these adults and children, and efforts to combat this growing problem. Presenter: J.R. Ujifusa

N. Are Elections Fair and Democratic? A Look into Voting Reform

Twice in the past five presidential elections, the winner of the popular vote has lost the election. In 2016, many questioned the fairness of both the primary and November election. Most new voters don’t join either of the country’s two major parties, meaning that many young people are denied the chance to vote in the primary. What is the future of the 2-party system? Is there hope for a competitive third party? What are the facts about voter fraud and voter suppression? Can we change our election system to make it more fair and democratic? Come prepared to discuss these questions and learn how they and other issues impact government in Oregon. Presenter: Blair Bobier

O. LGBTQIA Issues and the Case for Equality and Non-Discrimination

Can who you love make you different in the eyes of the law?  Should gay, lesbian and transgender persons have the same rights as heterosexuals? Should sexual orientation be included in anti-discrimination policies?  What about same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships? Learn about legal issues for the LGBTQIA community and what they mean to America as a whole. Presenter: Jackson Howa

P. Bystander to Hate? How to Recognize and Prevent Discrimination

Imagine yourself a witness to someone discriminating against another person or persons because of their race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual identity. This could happen at school, at your workplace, in a shop or restaurant, or a public place, such as a Tri-Met bus or Max train. How can you know discrimination when you see it? What are your responsibilities to come to the aid or document discriminatory and hateful acts? These are critical questions in a time when such conduct is on the rise, as well as the growing determination of bystanders and activists to affirm that such behavior will not be condoned or tolerated. Presenter: Erious Johnson


Classroom Law Project
Marilyn Cover
Scott Kerman

Lewis & Clark Law School
Toni Berres-Paul

Portland State University
Shalini Vivek

Marilyn Drichas, Rosemary E. Anderson, retired

The 2017 Law Day Conference was made possible with support from:
Portland State University
Lewis & Clark Law School
Classroom Law Project Founders Circle Members

The Law Day Planning Committee wishes to thank the many volunteers and speakers who have donated their services. The Conference is intended as a forum to discuss and foster a better understanding of the law. Viewpoints expressed by the workshop presenters are their own and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the conference sponsors.