Saturday, February 18, 2012

Doug O'Brien Conferences with LL.M. Class

On Friday, we were delighted to welcome one of our most distinguished alumni, Doug O'Brien.  Doug serves as Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the USDA, where he oversees the extensive coordinated efforts of USDA to help rural communities.  Prior to this position, Doug served as a Senior Advisor to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and was the Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.

Doug spoke to our LL.M. class by Skype video conference, talking about his work, the experience that led him to USDA, and his support for the LL.M. Program.

Doug has had a fascinating career.  Before joining the USDA, he served as the Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and before that served as Senior Advisor to Iowa Governor Chet Culver. We are proud to recall Doug's days at the University of Arkansas School of Law, teaching in the LL.M. Program and serving first as Senior Staff Attorney and later as Co-Director of the National Agricultural Law Center in a joint position with the Drake Agricultural Law Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Doug is former counsel for the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, where he worked on the 2002 Farm Bill, focusing on livestock marketing, concentration, agricultural credit, and cooperative issues.

He also served as Legislative Assistant for Representative Leonard Boswell, focusing primarily on Rep. Boswell's work on the House Agriculture Committee, and as a Clerk for Justice Jerry Larson of the Iowa Supreme Court.

Doug graduated from Loras College and earned a Juris Doctorate with honors from the University of Iowa.  He earned his LL.M. degree in Agricultural Law and was in our 1997-98 class.  

As Doug's USDA Biography notes, he was "raised on a diversified farm in Iowa [and] has dedicated his career to agriculture and rural policy."

We are very proud of his achievements and grateful for his continued support.

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