Attorney Ruta Oren Receives the First Faculty of Law Award

Attorney Ruta Oren Receives the First Faculty of Law Award


The Faculty of Law recently held the first-ever event honoring one of the most prominent figures in the Israeli legal community – Attorney Ruta Oren of S. Horowitz & Co. * The event was attended by many of the leading lights of the Israeli legal world in a special fundraising dinner for the Faculty * Several leading jurists spoke at the event in honor of the recipient of the award


In the luxurious conference center at Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv, round tables had been arranged around a long central table of honor, awaiting the arrival of the guests, many of them prominent figures in the Israeli legal community. The purpose of the gathering was to celebrate the launching of a new tradition: an award marking the achievements of graduates of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law. The recipient of the first award is Attorney Ruta Oren. As often happens at such events, the desire to share in the recipient’s happy occasion was combined with an event that became a “must” for all the leading lights in the legal world.


Slowly at first, and then in a veritable flood, the room began to fill with senior partners and founders from many of the leading law firms in Israel, along with former judges and senior members of the Law Faculty. The guests included senior partners from S. Horowitz, Agmon, Herzog Fox & Neeman, and other firms, including former Justice Minister Yaacov Neeman and Supreme Court President (Ret.) Aharon Barak.


In addition to marking Attorney Oren’s work, the evening also served as a fundraising event for the Faculty’s doctorate students. The program included an appearance by the Israeli conductor Gil Shohat and the international opera singer Ira Bertman, as well as a lecture by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari of the History Department at the Hebrew University, who offered some thoughts about the future development of humanity.


“In order to train our students,” the Dean of the Faculty, Yuval Shany, explained, “we need outstanding academics who can teach them to engage in legal research. The curriculum we offer today for advanced degrees can withstand comparison to our sister institutions in Europe and around the world.



Attorney David Tadmor of Tadmor & Co., chairperson of the organizing committee for the evening


Our program has been very successful and we have absorbed research and post-doctorate students who began their studied in the Faculty and have now returned to us. The funds raised at the evening help these programs, and therefore also help the legal community and the numerous other communities that rely on its assistance.”


Attorney David Tadmor of Tadmor & Co., who served as chairperson of the organizing committee for the evening, explained the idea behind the gala event: “I spent several years in the United States, where I first encountered the idea of the ‘legal dinner,’ which combines an award to a respected member of the local legal community with fundraising for important goals. And our own goal is, of course, pretty important: to help our research students. We decided to inaugurate a new tradition that encourages Faculty graduates to donate to its institutions, and there could be no worthier candidate than Ruta Oren as the first recipient of the award.”



A modest and honest jurist


Ruta Oren is hardly a household name in Israel and she is not in the habit of giving interviews to the media. As Tadmor noted, “Israel has changed and the world has changed, but Ruta is still the same Ruta.” In the legal community, and particularly in the field of commercial litigation, Ruta is widely seen as a model figure, as reflected in the impressive line of speakers who asked to add their own comments in her praise.

Oren had not always intended to enter the field of law. Her main dream was to become a member of a kibbutz. She began to study agriculture, but following the United Nations vote on the Partition Plan on November 29, 1947, she abandoned her studies and volunteered as a signal operator in the Palmach.




The Dean of the Faculty, Professor Yuval Shany, Attorney Ruta Oren and Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Aharon Barak


In 1953 she began to study law at the Hebrew University, and in 1958 she took on a post as an intern in the firm in which she would later become a senior partner – S. Horowitz.


Oren took an unusual course in the legal profession, concentrating on commercial legal consultation rather than litigation. Attorney Alex Hertman, one of her colleagues in the firm, recalls: “The clients were immediately enchanted by her warm, energetic spirit and by her thirst to learn and understand any new field she encountered.” In 1977, Oren became a partner in the firm.


Oren is now completing some five decades of work that have included involvement in the largest transactions in the Israeli economy. “Her modesty, honesty and integrity are well known,” Hertman comments. Professor Amnon Rubinstein recalled that “in the middle of one of the major corruption scandals in the Israeli economy, Ruta commented to me, ‘I don’t understand one thing – is it so hard to be honest?’ My answer was ‘Yes, it is hard – but not for you, Ruta.’”


Hertman added: “The admiration for her transcends boundaries. On more than one occasion she has found herself leading transactions that have no connection to Israel. Attorneys from all the countries involved let her lead the process and are full of admiration for her approach. She has a reputation as an attorney that helps close deals rather than leading to an explosion. She makes a real effort to understand not only her clients’ interests, but also those of the other side.”



“I owe a debt of thanks to the profession”


At last, the guest of honor took to the podium, excited and somewhat embarrassed, to receive the award from retired Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak and Dean Shany. “You promised me that I wouldn’t have to make a speech,” she reminded the dean, who replied with a smile: “I didn’t promise to keep my promise.” Oren confessed that “the remarks tonight by the distinguished speakers have solved a riddle. At last I’ve understood why on earth they insisted on giving me this award.”


In a short, modest speech, Oren mentioned her early days in the legal profession. “I didn’t know what to expect,” she explained.




Attorney Ruta Oren of S. Horowitz & Co.

“Suddenly I discovered an entire world out there. As I started to take my first steps in the world of law, I realized that my assumption during my studies that various subjects were irrelevant had been mistaken. I owe a debt of thanks to the Faculty for teaching me basic principles that you cannot learn anywhere else. The absence of these principles is evident in any jurist, and this gap can only be filled by academic studies.”


Oren continued: “The world of law has given me more than I have given back. Thanks to my profession I have met businesspeople, scientists, people in diverse positions and, of course, attorneys. These acquaintances have enriched me both personally and professionally. I’m glad to say that I have made many friends, and many of them have come here this evening.”


Concluding her speech, Oren commented: “I have been lucky enough to live a life doing something that interest me and that I like. I owe a debt of thanks to the profession.”


Additional pictures taken at the event are available here.