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March 14, 2005

They did it again! UO Law students win state pro bono awards for the fourth year in a row

Jane Steckbeck and Justice Balmer
Law students win state
pro bono award
for the fourth year in a row 
If you’re a teenager in trouble, a victim of domestic violence, an evicted tenant – the law may look like the enemy and legal help may be hard to find.
Enter the students of the University of Oregon School of Law.

For the fourth year in a row, they aced the Oregon State Bar’s Pro Bono Challenge by contributing more than 10,600 volunteer hours directly to the poor and to nonprofit and government agencies that help the poor.
At law clerk wages, that’s nearly $130,000 worth of free legal help. For the clients, it means friendly and knowledgable assistance from well-supervised law students. For the organizations, it means added resources in a time of tight budgets. UO students volunteered for Legal Aid programs, domestic violence clinics, public defenders, victims’ services programs, youth offenders projects, community mediation programs, district attorney’s offices and many others in Oregon and several other states.

Much of the credit is due to the class of 2005, who have contributed over 12,000 hours during the past two years, breaking all prior records for a single class.

Jane Steckbeck, the director of the law school’s pro bono program said, Pro bono work has a great impact right in our local community I think of David Eisenberg who is devoted to poverty law and who has been a steadfast intake volunteer Lane County Legal Aid. Or Jeremy Dickman who has expanded our Street Law program on constitutional rights to four local high schools.  They and others like them are really making a difference.

Each year the New Lawyer’s section of the Oregon State Bar records and reviews pro bono work by individual attorneys, law firms, and law schools and recognizes the top volunteers. The UO has held the law school title since the Challenge began in 2001. Oregon Supreme Court Justice Thomas Balmer conferred the awards at a March 10 ceremony in Portland and Steckbeck accepted the student award on behalf of the law school.
Of the 90 law students who participated in pro bono work last year, the following contributed the most hours:  

530 hours Misha Dunlap, third-year student from Eugene, for pro bono clients at the law firm of Lauren Regan.

520 hours –Tippi C.  Pearse, second-year student from Portland for the  Multnomah County District Attorney.

480 hours – Cheri Brooks, third-year student from Eugene for Public Defender Services of the District of Columbia.

400 hours – Molly Allen, second-year student from Carmel, California, for the Juvenile Rights Project in Portland.
300 hours – Kate Drewry, third-year student from Los Angeles, California, for the Nature Conservancy in Portland.

Four students talk about their experiences in the community 
UO School of Law Pro Bono Program 

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