James M. Kennedy Receives OSB President’s Sustainability Award


In November 2011, Jim Kennedy was presented with the Oregon State Bar President’s Sustainability Award. The award was created in 2010 to recognize extraordinary leadership by an Oregon lawyer or law firm in promoting sustainability within the Bar and legal profession.

Jim has been a leader in promoting sustainability in the legal profession for many years. In 2007, Jim served as Chair of the Oregon Lawyers for a Sustainable Future Sustainability Task Force and was actively involved in drafting legislation related to corporate sustainability (House Bill 2826). As a result of Jim’s efforts (with Dick Roy) and the persuasive case they presented to the Board of Governors, an OSB Task Force on Sustainability was formed in 2008. Due in large part to the work of that Task Force, of which Jim was a member, the Board of Governors in 2009 approved formation of the Sustainable Future Section of the bar and adoption of the OSB sustainability Bylaw (Section 26).

As the first Chair of the new Sustainable Future Section, Jim has provided strong leadership for the Section during its first two years. Though his term as Chair concludes at the end of 2011, he continues to serve on the Executive Committee and his contributions to the Section continue to impress.

Jim’s involvement in sustainability is both personal and professional. He identifies four factors that played a significant role in developing his interest in sustainability:

(1) a concern for the future welfare of his three children and others of their generation; (2) the mentorship of Dick Roy, recipient of the OSB President’s Sustainability Award in 2010; (3) his interest in how the legal system needs to change in order to protect the interests of future generations and meet the challenges of the next century; and (4) restoration of rural timber property in Grant County, Oregon owned by Jim and his family. Having witnessed the explosive growth in the length and complexity of legal documentation and the corresponding increase in the use and waste of paper, Jim and Rhonda, his wife and law partner, sought to regain a sense of personal equilibrium through their timber property restoration. Their efforts have included planting over 30,000 trees, restoring forest health, bringing back native grasses for forage, restoring riparian areas, eliminating invasive species and improving wildlife habitat, giving them extensive hands-on knowledge of the intricacies and challenges of sustainability.

The results of Jim’s efforts regarding sustainability are equally evident in the legal profession and around the bar. For his tireless commitment and patient leadership, the President’s Sustainability Award is well-deserved.