2021 Keynote Speaker
The Hon. Martha L. Walters, Chief Justice, Oregon Supreme Court
The Importance of Equal Access to Justice and the Paralegal's Role Towards that Goal
NFPA’s Keynote Speaker, Chief Justice Martha L. Walters, was elected by her colleagues as Oregon's 44th Chief Justice and began service on July 1, 2018. Chief Justice Walters joined the Oregon Supreme Court as an Associate Justice in October 2006. Before joining the court, Chief Justice Walters practiced law for almost 30 years, emphasizing employment law and civil litigation as well as general civil practice. She practiced law in Eugene with Walters Romm Chanti & Dickens, P.C. and its predecessor firms (1985 - 2006), serving as firm president (1992 - 2006) and secretary (2004 - 06) practiced law in Eugene with Harrang, Swanson, Long & Wilkinson, P.C. and its predecessor firms (1977 - 85).
In 2007 after four years in other leadership positions, Chief Justice Walters was elected to a two-year term as the first woman president of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. She joined the Conference of more than 300 members in 1992 as one of Oregon's four commissioners. The Commission is a nonprofit organization that has worked to make state laws more uniform since 1892. All Commissioners are lawyers; none is paid for this work. 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 as well.
Chief Justice Walters is a regular speaker, instructor, and author on the law and law improvement, including teaching law school classes, speaking at continuing legal education programs, and teaching for the Sakhalin/Oregon Rule of Law partnership.
Chief Justice Walters also writes professional articles on the law, including a 2002 article that she co-authored for the Brandeis Law Journal -- "When the Only Way to Equal is to Acknowledge the Difference: PGA Tour, Inc., v. Martin."
Chief Justice Walters was born in 1950, and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Michigan with distinction (B.A., 1972) and the University of Oregon School of Law (JD 1977; Order of the Coif).