Gov. John Kitzhaber continued filling out his staff roster today, naming Liani Reeves as his general counsel.
The position is important for at least two reasons: the general counsel trouble-shoots legal issues for the governor. And of greater interest to ambitious Oregon lawyers, the general counsel helps the governor appoint judges.
Two other points worth noting: as a young woman who has been active in the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association, Reeves is a prime example of Kitzhaber bringing in new talent to his administration, rather than recycling Salem lifers or associates still around after Kitzhaber's prior two gubernatorial terms from 1995 to 2003.
Second, Reeves' career shows significant overlap with Attorney General John Kroger's career. Both worked at Lewis & Clark Law School before coming to the Oregon Department of Justice. That overlap suggests Kroger, a strong Kitzhaber supporter, should enjoy a strong relationship with the governor's office, which was not always the case over the past two years when fellow Democrat Ted Kulongoski was governor.
Here's the statement Kitzhaber's staff released about Reeves:
Governor Kitzhaber today announced the appointment of Ms. Liani Reeves as his General Counsel. Raised on the South Coast in North Bend, Ms. Reeves received her B.A. and J.D. from Willamette University. She has filled many roles at the Oregon Department of Justice, most recently as the Deputy Chief Trial Counsel.
In addition to working for the Oregon Department of Justice, Ms. Reeves served as a Staff Attorney for the National Crime Victim Law Institute (NCVLI), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, advancing and enforcing crime victims' rights, and co-taught Lewis & Clark Law School's Crime Victim Litigation Clinic.
“I have been fortunate to spend the majority of my career in public service at the Department of Justice. Working as the Governor's General Counsel allows me to continue in public service working on issues with broad implications throughout the state,” said Ms. Laini Reeves.
Ms. Reeves has served as the Co-Chair of the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association from 2002-2008. She received the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the Willamette University College of Law honoring work and dedication toward the ideals of equal civil and human rights and was recognized as an up and coming leader with a 2010 Portland Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award. She mentors law students and has been named Mentor of the Year by both Willamette University and Lewis & Clark College.