February 09, 2023

Inaugural Speaker Series at Nike World Headquarters

The Center for Business Law and Innovation (CBLI) kicked off its Nike speaker series with a discussion on sustainability and career pathways.

Several high-ranking Nike executives recently sat with Lewis & Clark Law students to discuss corporate sustainability and career pathways in the Office of General Counsel as part of Lewis & Clark’s Center for Business Law and Innovation (CBLI).

Professor Samir Parikh, who leads CBLI, explained the opportunity, “The law school is located in one of the country’s most vibrant business and legal communities. The Nike Speaker Series is another CBLI event that allows Lewis & Clark law students to connect with that community and engage in the type of experiential learning unavailable at most law schools.”

Participating Nike employees included: Thallen Brassel (Assistant GC, Digital Commerce), Tommy Chau (Senior IP Transactions), John Coughlin (Assistant GC, Brand Marketing), Lindsay Dickston (Senior Counsel), Margo Fowler (Deputy GC), Tony Lim (Senior Counsel), Emily Rake (Assistant GC), Roger Sklar (Senior Director), and Adria Toliver (HR Director).

Nike executives fielded two panels. The first panel discussed various ways sustainability intersects with the need of a company client like Nike. Panelists covered everything from supply chain management to digital marketing. The second panel, featuring Lewis & Clark alumni, shared their paths to Nike, the difference between firm and in-house work, and advice for navigating early career trajectories. Following the panel presentations, students and Nike staff talked and exchanged advice over food and drinks in reception.

“It was especially exciting to hear from two Lewis & Clark Law graduates on the panel about their experiences,” said Jackie Dewart ’23 (Lezak Fellow). “We met lawyers who were in our position not long ago, and they had great advice on how to take advantage of our time at Lewis & Clark and find our way as young lawyers in the Portland area.”

Dominik MacKinnon ’23 added, “We were thrust directly onto the front lines of the corporate-ESG movement. We heard from the lawyers who work closely with operators to effectuate bold ideas in a way that minimizes legal risk. For a global company like Nike, subject to legal jurisdictions that touch almost every continent, it’s no small feat. To hear from, and later share a few drinks with, the everyday people behind the Swoosh was informative and fun.”

In addition to attracting students from the business law program, the event’s sustainability focus drew in several students from Lewis & Clark’s environmental law program. Janice Weis, Associate Dean & Director of Lewis & Clark’s Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law Program, addressed the benefit these interdisciplinary events have on students. “It showcases the relationship between a successful business and a healthy environment. Both business and environmental students benefit from sharing ideas about sustainable business practices and hearing how a successful business like Nike incorporates environmental values into its business ethic.”

Environmental student and Wyss Scholar Casey Bage ’23 found Nike’s environmental leadership encouraging. “Nike’s traceability innovations create levels of supply chain transparency that shed light on environmental externalities. It will help address everything from climate change to pollution reduction and fair labor practices. Beyond the environmental benefits, Nike has proven that these innovations will also help its bottom line. It shows us what successful execution of a transparent supply chain can accomplish.”

CBLI plans to hold the Nike Speaker Series annually as part of several events that connect Portland businesses with law students.