June 10, 2024

Professor Janet Steverson Honored with 2024 Leo Levenson Excellence in Teaching Award

Professor Janet Steverson was chosen by the graduating class of 2024 to receive the Leo Levenson Excellence in Teaching Award for her outstanding dedication to her students’ success and well-being.

At the 2024 commencement, the prestigious Leo Levenson Excellence in Teaching Award was proudly bestowed upon Professor Janet Steverson by the graduating class of 2024. Presented by Mariah Hogan ’24, this accolade recognizes Professor Steverson’s unwavering dedication to her students’ success and well-being. As Mariah noted in her speech announcing the award, “Professor Steverson creates a classroom environment in all her substantive classes that is fair, supportive, and respectful at all times so that we as students could all be encouraged to learn fearlessly, by allowing ourselves to make mistakes along the way without the fear of being criticized, either by our professor or by our other peers.”

Throughout her tenure at Lewis & Clark Law School, Professor Steverson has made a profound impact on her students, nurturing their growth as both aspiring attorneys and compassionate individuals. Her approach to teaching is characterized by high expectations coupled with a deep appreciation of each student’s unique potential. As Professor Steverson noted in her acceptance speech, “It’s one thing to expect students to give their best, and it’s another thing to have students actually give their best. You all actually gave your best to acquire the knowledge and the skills that you will need to be exceptional in your careers and I am so proud of you.”

At Lewis & Clark, Professor Steverson is known for her rigorous courses in Contracts, Commercial Law/Sales, Children’s Rights, and Family Law. Her commitment to teaching excellence was formally recognized in 2009 when she was named the Douglas K. Newell Professor of Teaching Excellence. This accolade reflects her dedication to enriching the academic experience with pragmatism, rigor, and humor.

Professor Steverson’s contributions to the field of law extend beyond the classroom. She has published extensively on topics such as interspousal tort immunity, children and the law, contracts, and drug-addicted mothers, demonstrating her deep engagement with complex legal issues. Her work on children’s rights, in particular, showcases her commitment to advocating for vulnerable populations.

In her role as the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion from 2016 to 2019, Professor Steverson championed initiatives that fostered a supportive and inclusive environment at Lewis & Clark. This ethos of support and compassion is something she actively encourages her students to carry forward into their legal careers. As she passionately conveyed in her speech, “You’ve been collaborative, and you’ve been fun. You’ve brightened up my day when you pop into my office or yell ‘Hi’. I will miss you doing that.”

In her closing remarks, Professor Steverson expressed her confidence in the class of 2024, emphasizing their hard work, compassion, and collaborative spirit. She encouraged them to continue showing the world that lawyers can be both caring and competent, making a positive impact wherever they go. “You all embody the L&C ethos of creating ‘a supportive intellectual environment.’ I know that you will carry that ethos into practice and, in the process, make the world a better place,” she concluded, leaving her audience inspired and motivated.

Professor Janet Steverson’s recognition with the Leo Levenson Award is a testament to her exceptional contributions to legal education and her lasting influence on the lives of her students.