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September 2, 2010

OLSPIF Recipients Reflect on Summer Experiences

The 2010 recipients of the Oregon Law Students Public Interest Fund (OLSPIF) annual stipends are back to class after spending their summers engaged in public interest work throughout the state. OLSPIF furthers Oregon Law’s legacy of public service by allowing students the opportunity to engage in public interest work during their time in law school. Below are comments from three of this year’s OLSPIF recipients reflecting on their summer experiences:

Shelley Aschenbrenner
Lane County Legal Aid and Advocacy Center, Eugene

“During my summer at Legal Aid I gained immeasurable experience in a number of areas. The attorneys in the building were extremely helpful and took an active role in assisting me with my client case files. I improved my communication skills in doing intake interviews with prospective clients each day. I worked on my negotiation skills when dealing with opposing parties.”

“I was not court certified, so I was not able to represent my clients in trial, but I was able to advocate for my clients in various hearings. I represented two clients in hearings with the housing authority and was successful in keeping them on the subsidized housing program.”

“This internship was a great way for me to take what I had learned in my first year in the classroom out into the real world. It was an eye-opening experience in how the law has long and lasting impacts on the day-to-day lives of individuals.”

Allison Folks
Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services (CCILS), Portland

“I expected the work to be high pressure and that I would have little responsibility. My experience was just the opposite. There was very little stress and I was surprised to find myself drafting documents to the Portland Immigration Court, researching complex legal issues, and preparing applications for various forms of immigration relief.”

“The attorneys at Catholic Charities were supportive and made themselves available to answer questions. I worked under the supervision of an attorney, but also had the opportunity to meet with clients and do casework independently.”

“I worked with clients from many different countries and was able to help with the complicated process of obtaining legal status. I gained confidence in my abilities and now feel that I have chosen to focus on an area of law that I will enjoy practicing in the future…the experience was both challenging and rewarding.”

Brent Wilkins
Western Environmental Law Center, Eugene

“Working for the Western Environmental Law Center was a wonderful experience and an absolute privilege. My internship at WELC allowed me to work with experienced attorneys to protect public health and the environment, and to ensure individuals in Western communities are able to participate in decisions affecting their lives and natural resources.”

“I obtained a better understanding of agency action by reviewing administrative records and writing comments on permits before administrative agencies. Moreover, I learned how to develop legal strategies based on statutory and regulatory authorities alone. I also honed my ability to comprehend statutory and regulatory schemes quickly.”

“I came to Oregon Law to pursue a career in public service focusing on environmental law. My OLSPIF stipend allowed me to begin such service before graduating from law school. I am thankful for such support and the dedicated students who ensure public interest legal experiences are possible during law school. I look forward to helping OLSPIF raise funds next year so that Oregon Law students can continue to pursue legal experiences in public service.”

OLSPIF is a non-profit run by the students of Oregon Law. The mission of OLSPIF is to enable law student employment in the public interest and to support greater community access to legal representation. Through fundraising efforts, the group is able to award up to $3,000 stipends to qualified students who accept public interest positions that otherwise are unpaid.

Related Link:

OLSPIF Announces 2010 Stipend Recipients

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