New Con Court Judge William Leo vows to be public servant for student body

William Leo is among 5,367 current freshmen starting their college experience at the University of Oregon. However, the philosophy major has not hesitated to immediately take on responsibilities and get involved on campus.

Less than eight weeks into his first year, Leo became the newest Constitution Court Associate Judge with a unanimous senate vote.

Con Court serves as Supreme Court for the ASUO and has the authority to rule on any question arising under the Green Tape Notebook.

Senate President Kevin Dobyns was impressed with Leo’s dedication.

“His ambition and drive stood out the most for me,” Dobyns said. “He’s spent a lot of time learning about Con Court and really care about the position.”

Coming to the new job, Leo’s set his agenda straight: to be a “public servant” defending the student body and to be a fair judge.

Leo says he wants improve problems in the past at Con Court, many of which due to the lack of communication among ASUO branches.

“When Con Court comes in at the end of a dispute and decides something without context, that can lead to a lot of problems,” Leo said. “To be in the know would better inform and improve Con Court decision.”

Leo has extensive experience practicing law. His political influence comes from his parents, who are both professional liaisons. At a young age, Leo started a fundraising campaigns, formed ideas about public services and shook hands with senators.

“The idea that we are in this bigger community was always around me when I was a little kid,” Leo said. “And being in that environment makes it hard to escape, but also makes me really think about the correct ways things should happen.”

His passion for law sparked when he joined the constitution team at Lincoln High School in Portland. Last year, his team was the National Constitution Champion with over 1,000 participants.

Last summer, through a connection with another UO student, Leo got his first internship a couple of blocks away from his high school. Leo worked as deputy clerk at Ninth Circuit Court in Portland Pioneer Courthouse.

“I had an opportunity to see how important procedure and clear communication is,” Leo said. “I feel like given these experiences I can give back the most I can in this position.”

Leo is also a member of UO Mock Trial and a is a law researcher for a law firm in Portland.

Paula Holm Jensen, Leo’s employer, said she has been working with Leo since early spring and respects his professionalism at such young age.

“He might not be the most experienced, […] but Leo’s shown maturity and judgment in his work. He’s also open-minded and reflective,” Holm Jensen said. “I can’t wait to see what he does next.”

A born and raised Oregonian, Leo has also traveled all around the country along with his parents on their business trips. Among all, he called Washington D.C. “his second state.”

Most of his family members, included his parents, uncles and grandparents, are all UO alumni. His father also participated in student government in 1974.

“Green runs in my blood,” Leo said.

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Tran Nguyen

Tran Nguyen