Susan Gary, School of Law

Susan Gary

Practice Areas: Trusts and Estates, Estate Planning, Charitable Donations, Nonprofit Organizations, Purpose Trusts, Stewardship Trusts

Susan N. Gary has taught trusts and estates, estate planning, nonprofit organizations, and an undergraduate course on law and families. As a professor emerita and formerly Orlando J. and Marian H. Hollis Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, Gary has written and spoken about the regulation of charities and fiduciary duties, including the prudent investor standard, purpose trusts (also known as stewardship trusts) as a new form of business ownership, the definition of family for inheritance purposes, donor intent in connection with restricted charitable gifts, and the use of mediation to manage conflict in the estate planning context. 

Gary received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from Columbia University. Before entering academia, she practiced with Mayer, Brown & Platt in Chicago, and with DeBandt, van Hecke & Lagae in Brussels. She is a member of the American Law Institute and an Academic Fellow and former Regent of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the preeminent U.S. organization for estate planning lawyers and academics. She has also served on the Council of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Section of the American Bar Association. She served as the Reporter for three projects of the Uniform Law Commission: the Electronic Wills Drafting Committee, the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, and the Model Protection of Charitable Assets Act. She is currently a member of the Fiduciary Duty Working Group of the Intentional Endowments Network and has served as a member of the Advisory Board of the NYU National Center on Philanthropy and the Law. She has held leadership positions in three sections (trusts and estates, elder law, and nonprofits) of the Association of American Law Schools.

Significant recent articles are “Best Interests in the Long Term: Fiduciary Duties and ESG Investing,” 90 Univ. of Colorado L. Rev. 731 (2019) and “The Oregon Stewardship Trust: A New Type of Purpose Trust that Enables Steward-Ownership of a Business,” 88 Univ. of Cincinnati L. Rev. 707 (2019). Both are available on SSRN.



Recent Media:
Vanguard gets fresh pressure from retirement investors for relaxing its climate-change stance (MarketWatch, March 6, 2023)
How leaders in a small Oregon town positioned themselves for an Amazon ‘windfall’ (The Oregonian, Sept. 2, 2022)
Students at Yale and other top schools ask AGs to probe fossil-fuel investments (Reuters, Feb. 16, 2022) 
Harvard’s decision to ditch fossil fuel investments reflects changing financial realities and its climate change stance (The Conversation, Sept. 22, 2021)
Would You Write Your Last Will and Testament on a Napkin? (OZY, Dec. 16, 2020)
Epstein’s Sex Ring Employed His Network of Shell Companies, Lawsuits Claim (Bloomberg, Aug. 20, 2019)
Disappointed donors can’t count on getting their charitable money back (Philanthropy Daily, March 22, 2019)
Cryptocurrency may explain Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s mysterious asset surge (San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 1, 2018)