Public Interest Groups
The Public Interest Public Service Executive Board coordinates with several other student groups and university programs that have a public interest mission. Some of these other student groups are described below.
The University of Oregon Law School developed the first law school pro bono program in Oregon in 1996. Law students who perform 40 hours of pro bono before graduation receive a Pro Bono Statement of Completion and recognition in the graduation bulletin. Certificate recipients also receive a letter from the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon State Bar. Through the Career Services Office, the Pro Bono Program has access to a national database which contains over 10,000 of pro bono and public interest employers. The Committee helps students locate pro bono opportunities, provides current pro bono project listings, contact information, and information about pro bono organizations. The Committee also regularly contacts local organizations such as Lane County Legal Aid Services, District Attorney Victim Services, ACLU and many others, to develop referral sources for students interested in pro bono and invites organizations to send representatives to speak to students about pro bono with their organization.
Oregon Law has won the law school section of the Oregon State Bar Pro Bono Challenge every year since inception in 2001.
The Oregon Law Students Public Interest Fund (OLSPIF) is a non-profit run by and for the Students of the University of Oregon School of Law. Our mission is to enable law student employment in the public interest and to support greater community access to legal representation. Through our fundraising, we are able to award $3,000 stipends to qualified students who accept public interest positions that otherwise would be unpaid. In this way, we ensure that public interest organizations have the staff necessary to accomplish their goals, and that students receive the practical legal education they need to be strong advocates for under-represented communities. All students enrolled at UO Law who dedicate at least ten volunteer hours to OLSPIF are eligible to receive a stipend for their unpaid public interest legal work.
Streetlaw is a subcommittee of the Pro Bono Program and focuses on teaching legal principles to community members in a straight forward, easy-to-understand manner. The goal of the program is to offer legal information to community members who are interested in a broad overview of their rights, as well as to reach out to segments of the community who may have difficulty obtaining this information elsewhere. Law students teach one-hour informational classes to community groups around the Eugene/Springfield area.
The Public Interest Environmental Law Conference is the premier annual gathering for environmentalists worldwide, and is distinguished as the oldest and largest of its kind. Now in its 24th year, the Conference annually brings more than 3,000 activists, attorneys, students, scientists, and concerned citizens from over 30 countries around the globe to share their experience and expertise. The Conference is organized solely by the volunteers of Land Air Water, a student environmental law society, and is sponsored by Friends of Land Air Water, a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization. The four-day Conference includes over 125 panels, workshops, and multi-media presentations addressing the entire spectrum of environmental law and advocacy.
The CLA provides access and services to the various state and federal agencies, private firms, and not-for-profit organizations relating to criminal law. The CLA promotes an interest in community service through numerous internship opportunities and by encouraging volunteering. The CLA provides students with professional field-related contacts and mentors, as well as scheduling various speakers throughout the year. The majority of active CLA members go on to be public defenders or state prosecutors.
The American Constitution Society is devoted to the fundamental principles of respect for human dignity, protection of individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice in American law. The Society seeks to strengthen the intellectual underpinnings of — and the public case for — a vision of the law in which such values are paramount. The Society’s goal is that through reason and decency, we can create an America that is better for us all.
Consistent with the law school’s legacy of public service, the LRAP seeks to ease the debt burdens incurred during law school for graduates who choose to work in public interest and public service law. LRAP makes public interest law work a more viable career option for law graduates and will infuse Oregon’s public institutions with new talent, vigor and leadership.
The Child and Family Law Association (“CFLA”) aims to foster student interest in the study and practice of juvenile and family law. CFLA aims to introduce students to the broad array of practical, constitutional, and socio-political concepts related to family law. Toward this end, CFLA discusses such current topics as domestic violence, child abuse, child welfare policies, education law, adoption law, gay marriage, surrogate parentage, custody disputes in divorces, elder guardianships, and right to die legislation. CFLA sponsors speakers, training, and seminars on a variety of issues to increase awareness of the array of legal issues related to family structures and children’s rights. CFLA also provides networking and mentoring opportunities with professionals engaged in the practice of family and juvenile law. In addition, CFLA promotes student involvement in pro bono opportunities related to the practice of family, juvenile, and elder law. In all of these endeavors, CFLA seeks to collaborate with other law student groups, other undergraduate and graduate-level programs at the University, faculty, and the local community.
The Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation (“JELL”) is a student-managed two review that publishes two issues per year. JELL’s purpose is to provide an international, unbiased forum for the discussion of new ideas and theories in the natural resource and environmental law fields. JELL offers an academic experience to supplement the University of Oregon’s nationally recognized environmental law program. JELL selects its staff through a writing competition, held jointly with the Oregon Law Review, shortly after the end of spring semester exams.
The Green Business Initiative Student Association is dedicated to the creation and advancement of resources for law students to study the confluence of modern business and commercial and environmental law. Through these efforts, the group seeks to develop an understanding that better prepares students to practice in the growing number of areas in which the interests of business and the environment align. Alternative energy is a rapidly growing industry, and the State of Oregon — and especially the University of Oregon School of Law — is uniquely situated to stand at the forefront of this emerging market. Through interactive discussion, promoting panels and speakers in Sustainable Business, as well as expanding the School of Law’s available curriculum and certificates, the group seeks to prepare its members for excellence in the field of environmentally conscious business law.
OUTLAWS serves as a support group and provides both on-campus and off-campus social events. OUTLAWS is an active and vital part of the School of Law community, and serves as an educational resource for the School of Law, the University of Oregon, and the City of Eugene. OUTLAWS’ goals are to continue to sponsor speakers on gay issues, to administer its scholarship program and to seek additional funding for it, to increase outreach efforts to gay students, to provide support to gay students, and to serve as an information source on sexual orientation-related legal issues for all students and the community.
National Lawyers Guild
The National Lawyers Guild (“NLG”) is an association dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of the political and economic system. NLG seeks to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers of America in an organization that shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests. In addition to working for progressive political and economic change generally, NLG Committees work on more specific issues, including anti-racism, anti-sexism (women’s caucus), disability rights, international issues, labor and employment issues, “queer caucus,” Middle Eastern issues, prison law, United People of Color, and military law.
Student Oregon Trial Lawyers Association
The Student Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (“SOTLA”) is a group that partners with the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association (“OTLA”) to provide educational and networking opportunities to the students at the University of Oregon School of Law. The OTLA advocates for the rights of consumers by promoting safer products, workers’ rights, access to quality health care, and eliminating discrimination in the workplace. SOTLA works to bring top-quality legal speakers to the University of Oregon and provide great networking opportunities to University of Oregon School of Law students, with an emphasis on civil litigation.
The Women’s Law Forum (“WLF”) is a student organization dedicated to increasing the voice of female students at the School of Law. WLF members contribute to the School of Law and the greater community in three main ways: conference and speakers, networking opportunities, and public service.
Part of the course requirements for completion of the PIPS certificate is the completion of a clinic. The clinics provide students the opportunity to receive hands-on experience while providing free legal service for various clients. Oregon Law has a rich set of clinical opportunities including:
Environmental Law Clinic
Criminal Law Defense Clinic
Domestic Violence Clinic
Legislative Issues Workshop