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May 19, 2014

Oregon Law alumna advances legal system in Micronesia

Felicity Chamberlain '11 works in the Chuuk State Attorney General's Office

University of Oregon School of Law alumna Felicity Chamberlain '11 is working hard to advance Micronesia's legal system. She is educating lawyers and judges as a legal trainer in the Chuuk State Attorney General's Office for the Federated States of Micronesia. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chamberlain always wanted to work abroad for part of her career, and gained the opportunity after being recruited by a department within the Federated States of Micronesia.

Micronesia is a nation where financial resources are limited, but it has adopted a legal system based on the U.S. legal system. Very few of the judges and lawyers, however, have attended law school.

"There are regular power outages, though those have significantly decreased in the time I have been here," says Chamberlain. "Supplies run out regularly, there is no network or filing system, and everything operates at a much slower pace than in the U.S."

chamberlain_micronesia1As a legal trainer, Chamberlain does some casework, but also teaches very basic law classes to judges and lawyers who have not attended law school. Chamberlain finds herself in the courtroom regularly as defendants insist on their right to a trial far more than in the U.S.

"I am in court a lot more than I would have ever been starting out in a law job in the states," says Chamberlain.

Chamberlain credits her success in Micronesia to her legal education at the University of Oregon School of Law.

"I would never have been able to handle this work without a legal education. The University of Oregon taught me key subjects very well," says Chamberlain.

Chamberlain enjoys teaching, litigating and scuba diving in Micronesia and is looking forward to trying cases in front of juries when she returns to the U.S.

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