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June 4, 2009

Legislative Issues Workshop ‘Breathes Life’ into Student’s Dream of Policy Work

Third-year law student Maria Di Miceli always knew she was destined for policy work when her law school education concludes — what she didn’t know was how to get her foot in the door.

All that changed during the 2009 spring semester when Di Miceli participated in Oregon Law’s Legislative Issues Workshop taught by Merv Loya, recently retired special assistant to the dean and adjunct instructor, and Dave Frohnmayer, outgoing president of the University of Oregon.

During the spring semester 22 law students took on internships in Salem with various senators, representatives, lawyers, lobbyists, and policy advisors within the Oregon Legislature.

Di Miceli worked with Andrea Meyer, legislative director and sole lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon. While working with Meyer, Di Miceli had the opportunity to attend House and Senate committee meetings, research the legislative history of various bills, draft memos, lead constituents during ACLU’s Lobby Day, and even testify before the Senate Judiciary on Anti-SLAPP legislation.

Di Miceli said that while she was lucky to have a mentor like Meyer, the hard work Loya and President Frohnmayer put into the class, “’ made it a complete experience.”

When asked about her favorite part of the internship, Di Miceli said naming one moment simply was not possible.

“My favorite part was being in Salem each week, honestly,” she said. “I enjoyed the experience every step of the way. This was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, not just law school.”

While the steps to a career path in policy work and lobbying seemed blurry for a while, Di Miceli said the Legislative Issues Workshop helped give her a clear direction.

“This class helped breathe life into my dreams of lobbyist work, even though that sounds really cheesy.”

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