In the News

Our 2020 Legal Citizen of the Year: Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters

We are thrilled to honor Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters as our 2020 Legal Citizen of the Year!  She will be honored with a dinner and ceremony on April 23, 2020 at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.


Chief Justice Martha L. Walters has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to civic engagement and equal access to the law. She was elected by her colleagues as Oregon’s 44th Chief Justice – the first woman to hold the position – and began service on July 1, 2018.  Before joining the court as an Associate Justice in 2006, Chief Justice Walters practiced law for almost 30 years, emphasizing employment law and civil litigation as well as general civil practice. In 2007, she was elected to a two-year term as the first woman president of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. A member of the Oregon State Bar since 1977, Chief Justice Walters has served in leadership positions and on many bar committees and task forces. She is a regular speaker, instructor, and author on the law and law improvement, along with teaching law school classes, speaking at continuing legal education programs, and teaching for the Sakhalin/Oregon Rule of Law partnership.

Upon Chief Justice Walter’s appointment, her predecessor had this to say: “Oregon’s court system and judicial branch of government will be in great hands with Justice Walters… She will continue to face challenges keeping Oregon’s courts open and accessible to all Oregonians, especially to children, families and people needing the protection of the courts.”  – Justice Thomas Balmer (Portland Tribune, June 4, 2018)


The Jonathan U. Newman Legal Citizen of the Year Award recognizes the late Judge Newman for his leadership in encouraging and instilling respect for civic education in Oregon. Each year, a leader is honored for demonstrating a commitment to the mission and principles of Civics Learning Project including advancing the ideals of civic education and inspiring future citizens.