Saturday, March 20, 2010

Professor Don Pedersen Addresses LL.M. Class


On Thursday, March 11, we were delighted to welcome agricultural law scholar, Professor Don Pedersen back to the LL.M. classroom. Professor Pedersen served as the Director of the LL.M. Program in the early years and is credited with shaping the basic elements of the Program as it exists today.

Prior to coming to the University of Arkansas, Don was already a recognized leader in agricultural law. He was a full professor at Capital University in Ohio and had been instrumental in the founding of the American Agricultural Law Association. When he was hired, he was already in the process of drafting an Agricultural Law casebook for West Publishing along with Law Professors Keith Meyer (University of Kansas), Norman Thorson (University of Nebraska), and John Davidson (University of South Dakota). That book was published in 1985 and was used extensively. Don subsequently published the West Nutshell on Agricultural Law with Keith Meyer of University of Kansas.

In 1987, Don and Dean Jake Looney worked with LL.M. alumnus Chuck Culver to obtain a grant to the law school for the creation of a National Agricultural Law Center. Don served as co-PI with Jake on this grant until his retirement in 1998.

Don received his B.A. from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and his J.D. from Northwestern University. He had practice experience in Minnesota and began his teaching career at William Mitchell College of Law.

During the years that he served as Director of the LL.M. Program, Don taught whatever courses were needed, and his expertise included Agricultural Finance & Credit, Forestry Law, Agricultural Labor Law, Agricultural History and Policy, and Agricultural International Transactions. His students knew him as a professor with very high expectations, an exceptionally strong work ethic, and a sense of professionalism that was the quintessential model for all.

Don's lecture to this year's LL.M. class was a survey of the development of agricultural law as a unique discipline. Weaved into the discussion was the development of U.S. agricultural policy and the history of the LL.M. Program. It was a fascinating class, and one that we hope is repeated next fall and expanded for the next class of LL.M. candidates. Appreciation is extended to Don for all that he has done for agricultural law and for the LL.M. Program.

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