Public Law & Policy

Make a commitment to public service. 

Opening doors to justice is integral to the mission of Oregon Law. The Public Law and Policy Program offers rich academic offerings coupled with multiple avenues for practical development of skills, allowing students to chart meaningful career paths. Students interested in public sector, public policy, or public interest legal careers will find a community dedicated to public service with opportunities inside and outside of the classroom.


PLP Concentrations


Alumni Highlight — Rose Gibson, JD ‘10

FEDERAL PROSECUTOR
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION
WASHINGTON, DC

Alumna Rose Gibson standing in DC with Washington monument in background

“I am living my dream. As a civil rights prosecutor, I have the distinct privilege of working on behalf of all Americans to protect the rights of some of our most vulnerable community members. Without my UO law degree none of this would be possible.”


Careers

The Public Law and Policy Program prepares graduates to pursue a wide range of careers. As a lawyer, you may work for a public interest nonprofit, represent a government agency, or lead efforts to shape and implement public policy.

Common careers for Public Law and Policy lawyers:

  • Government attorney (federal, state, local)
  • Career judicial law clerk
  • Law school professor
  • Legal aid attorney
  • Elected official or staff for elected official
  • College administrator
  • Court administrator
  • Policy analyst
  • Nonprofit director
  • Development professional
  • Lobbyist
  • Attorney for public interest organization

Academics

Sample of PLP Coursework

FIRST YEAR (1L) (Assigned courses)

Torts
Contracts
Civil Procedure
Constitutional Law I
Criminal Law
Property

SECOND YEAR (2L)

Required and recommended bar prep courses
Administrative Law
Business Associations
Domestic Violence Seminar
Human Rights Law
Immigration Law
Legal Profession
Nonprofit Organizations
Legislation
Employment Law
Remedies

THIRD YEAR (3L)

Required and recommended bar prep courses
Constitutional Law II
Criminal Investigations
Business Associations
Human Rights and the Environment
Labor Law
Law and Development
Legal Issues Workshop
Water Resources Law
Negotiation

ADDITIONAL COURSES

Animal Law
Children and the Law
Human Rights Law
Women and the Law 
Local Government Law
Race, Gender, Bias, and the Law
State Administrative Law
Tribal Courts and Tribal Law

Concurrent Degree Options


Public Law & Policy Projects 

  • Nonprofit Clinic
  • Oregon Law Students Public Interest Fund

Practical Experience

Type of available practical experiences

FIRST YEAR (1L)

Legal Research and Writing
Law-related Pro Bono

SECOND YEAR (2L)

Judicial Field Placements
Local Government Field Placements
Environmental Law Clinic 

THIRD YEAR (3L)

Civil Practice Clinic
Nonprofit Clinic

Examples of Recent Field Placements

  • Civil Liberties Defense Center
  • Portland Metropolitan Public Defender
  • Oregon Department of Justice
  • Oregon Law Center (legal aid clinic)
  • United States Department of the Interior

Professional Development

At Oregon Law, we take your future seriously. As a law student, you will take a required professional development seminar your first year.

You will also receive individualized, tailored professional development coaching from a professional who will guide you to make strong career choices throughout your time at Oregon Law.

FIRST YEAR (1L)
Professional Development Seminar
Explore Public Interest/Public Service law practice areas
Meet with career counselor
Summer ExperienceExamples: Oregon DOJ, judicial externship, legal aid, ACLU, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Alaska Office of Public Advocacy
SECOND YEAR (2L) 
Narrow career exploration to specific employers/locations
Seek out networking opportunities
Participate in Public Interest/Public Service summer internship/field placement
Summer ExperienceExamples: Oregon DOJ, judicial externship, legal aid, ACLU, Civil Liberties Defense Center, Alaska Office of Public Advocacy
THIRD YEAR (3L) 
Public Interest/Public Service Field Placement
Apply for jobs and post-JD opportunities

Extracurriculars

Oregon Law Students Public Interest Fund (OLSPIF)
Land, Air, Water (LAW)
American Constitution Society
Public Interest Public Service student group
Community Action Public Service
National Lawyers Guild
Child and Family Law Association
Student Animal Legal Defense Fund

Annual Events

  • Derrick Bell Lecture
  • O’Connell Conference
  • Public Interest Environmental Law Conference
  • Lunch with Leaders Series

Faculty Highlight — Stuart Chinn

ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR PROGRAMS AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, JAMES O. AND ALFRED T. GOODWIN SENIOR FELLOW

Professor Chinn making notes on a whiteboard as he lectures

Professor Chinn studies constitutional law, legislation, and legal and political history. His book, Recalibrating Reform: The Limits Of Political Change was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. Additionally, Chinn has published in peer-reviewed venues such as the University of Chicago Press, Law & Social Inquiry, and Polity. He has also published in law reviews such as the Maryland Law Review, Utah Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law.

Chinn currently conducts research that examines competing conceptions of legal impartiality.