Campaigning for Equal Justice in Oregon Buried deep within the DNA of Henry H. Hewitt JD’69 is a gene for Willamette University College of Law. Hewitt’s ties to the school go back ﬁve generations. His great-greatgrandfather settled near Salem in 1843 — one year after Willamette University was founded. Not long afterwards, the ﬁrst in a long succession of Hewitt family members enrolled in the University. A good number of them studied law. Standouts include Hewitt’s greatgreat-uncle, a circuit court judge, who earned a law degree from Willamette in 1870 — 13 years before a separate College of Law was established. Roy R. Hewitt, his grandfather’s cousin and a prominent Salem attorney, earned his law degree from the college in 1909; he served as its dean from 1927 to 1932. Despite his family’s propensity toward law, Hewitt said he never planned to become a lawyer. An academic scholarship took him to Yale University, where he majored in economics and performed in several Yale singing groups. During his senior year, Hewitt was selected to sing with the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the world’s oldest and best-known collegiate a cappella group. He still travels and performs with the club today. “At the time I left for college, I had never been east of Pendleton, Ore.,” said Hewitt, a partner in Stoel Rives LLP in Portland. “Looking back, I can’t imagine what my parents must have thought about me choosing an East Coast school.”
After graduation, Hewitt joined the U.S. Army and served as a lieutenant in military intelligence, stationed in Germany. After two years in the Army, he returned to his home in Portland. Undecided on a career path, he applied to graduate programs in economics, business and law. Family history eventually won out, and he settled on a career in law. “I didn’t know any lawyers, but a friend of my grandmother told me, ‘If you want to practice law in Oregon, you should go to Willamette.’ I chose the school because of my family’s history with the University and because it is a very good law school.” Hewitt entered the College of Law in 1966, one year before the new Collins Legal Center was scheduled to open. That year law classes were held on the top ﬂoor of Waller Hall. Hewitt did his best to blend into the crowd. “I stayed mostly incognito my ﬁrst year,” he said. “I never wanted to be called on in class.” Before long, however, Hewitt was recognized as one of the top students in his class; he received four of the ﬁve high-paper certiﬁcates awarded in his ﬁrst semester. Following his second year, an interest in tax and business law led to a clerkship with Davies Biggs in Portland. The ﬁrm offered him a ﬁrstyear associate position after he graduated in 1969. Ten years later, the ﬁrm merged with Rives, Bonyhadi and Smith and took the name Stoel Rives. Today, Stoel Rives is one of the largest law ﬁrms in the Paciﬁc Northwest. Hewitt, who made partner in 1975 and served as chair of the ﬁrm for 13 years, currently heads its Business Services Practice Group.
24 | Willamette Lawyer
4/14/06 12:34:06 PM