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Emily Marrer ’11 Continues Tradition of Nicole Richardson

Oregon Law 2011 graduate Emily Marrer is this year’s recipient of the Nicole Richardson Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award. During her time at the law school, Marrer volunteered at Lane County Legal Aid, participated in both the Domestic Violence and the Criminal Defense Clinics, and served on the board for the Oregon Law Students Public Interest Fund (OLSPIF).

The Pro Bono Service Award Fund honors Nicole Richardson, a 2004 Oregon Law graduate who died in 2006. The fund honors her dedication and success by awarding a law student annually whose pro bono work represents Richardson’s passion for justice.

The recipient must demonstrate pro bono work that has made a significant impact on the community and shows a passion for public/indigent defense or the commitment to representing vulnerable groups. They also must be involved in public service oriented groups within the law school.

After her first year at Oregon Law, Marrer earned a summer stipend from OLSPIF to work as a law clerk for the Juvenile Rights Project (JRP) in Portland for two summers, where she primarily researched, analyzed and designed a termination of a parental rights case and statute database as well as contributing to researching and designing the juvenile criminal sentencing grid.  Since 2009, she has served as a law clerk for a Eugene family law attorney, where she conducts home visitations to children in foster care and then represents the children’s interests at the Citizen Review Board hearings. Marrer first began her work in the public interest field by volunteering at the Lane County Legal Aid and Advocacy Center during her senior year at the University of Oregon.

“No single lesson has been more valuable in the course of my law school education than my work within public service,” Marrer said. “My experience with public service, in both the courtroom and outside, reminds me on a daily basis what’s most important in life. It’s better to give than to receive and I look forward to continuing Oregon’s tradition of public service upon graduation and hope that one day I can make a small but influential change in the lives of those who have given so much to me.”

Marrer’s classmate Amy Johnston ’11, recommended Marrer because, “like Nicole, she has passion, spirit, and a commitment to justice. We as Oregonians are lucky that she will be representing the interests of the underprivileged and underserved in our communities.”

Richardson was a passionate law student with extraordinary dedication to underserved populations, especially indigent criminal defendants. After graduation, she took a job as a public defender for the Colorado Defender Office in Denver, where she was known as an uncompromising crusader for justice — a trait she displayed throughout law school. A three-year member of Oregon Law’s Pro Bono Executive Board, Richardson was a fundamental part of  building the school’s Street Law program that was created to be a community outreach program in order to educate high school students and low-income tenants of basic legal rights. She developed the program’s first classes in Search & Seizure and Landlord & Tenant Law.

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