Sunday, October 30, 2011

Professor Don Pedersen Returns to the LL.M. Classroom

Professor Don Pedersen addressed the LL.M. class last Wednesday, delivering a fascinating lecture on the history of agricultural law as a legal discipline in the United States and the history of the LL.M. Program.  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.

We were pleased to also have another agricultural law leader in attendance -  Professor David A. Myers from Valparaiso University School of Law was visiting the LL.M. Program.  Professor Myers served as the Chair of the American Association of Law School's section on Agricultural Law and was one of the founders of the American Agricultural Law Association. He was delighted to reconnect with Don Pedersen and greatly enjoyed his lecture.

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 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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.

Appreciation is extended to Don for all that he has done for agricultural law and for the LL.M. Program.  We look forward to his return to the School of Law this Spring when an all-LL.M. alumni reunion is planned.  More later on this exciting event!

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