The 2022 Legal Citizen of the Year Award
About Our Honoree
Judge Angel Lopez attended law school at Willamette University. As a scholarship student, he understood that many people had invested in his future, and following his law school motto, “It is not unto ourselves we are born,” he embarked on a career marked by public engagement and community service, beginning as President of the law school’s Minority Student Association.
After finishing law school, Judge Lopez’s first job was as the Affirmative Action Director for the Oregon State Bar. There, he worked to promote diversity by working with students of color from high school through law school, offering financial aid support, work study opportunities, and placement assistance for young lawyers. Judge Lopez then accepted employment with the Metropolitan Public Defender’s office, where he became the youngest attorney in their major crimes unit.
From the Public Defender’s office, he and his wife Wendy opened their firm, Squires & Lopez. Together, they provided court appointed criminal defense and plaintiff’s privately retained personal injury matters, specializing in representing Spanish-speaking clients. In 2009, Judge Lopez was appointed to the bench by Governor Ted Kulongoski. During his tenure, he presided over two treatment courts: Drug Court and Mental Health Court. Additionally, he presided over hundreds of cases, both civil and criminal – from motion practice to settlement conferences to trials.
Judge Lopez has been an active volunteer and leader in the community. Some of his activities include:
- We the People and Moot Court Competition Judge
- Legal Advisor to the Mexican Consulate in Portland
- Chair, Oregon State Bar Affirmative Action Committee
- Committee Member, Oregon Hispanic Bar Association
- Board of Trustees, Oregon Historical Society
- Oregon Commission on Bench/Bar Professionalism
- Speaker, Conference of Western Attorney Generals – US & Mexico Relations
- 2011 Oregon Convocation on Equality Steering Committee
- Federal U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshal Appointment Committee
- Member, Governor’s Interview Committee, Oregon Supreme Court Candidate Selection
- Member, Federal District Court Magistrate Selection Committee
About the Legal Citizen of the Year Award
The Jonathan U. Newman Legal Citizen of the Year Award recognizes the late Judge Newman for his leadership in encouraging and instilling respect for civic education in Oregon. Each year, a leader is honored for demonstrating a commitment to the mission and principles of Classroom Law Project including advancing the ideals of civic education and inspiring future generations. View a list of all our honorees over the years.
As part of the Legal Citizen of the Year Award & Celebration, Classroom Law Project also honors an exemplary educator in Oregon with the Civic Educator of the Year Award. The 2020-21 honoree, announced December 4 at the annual Oregon Civics Conference for Teachers, is Deborah Mueller of Village Home.