Eugene, OR. June 8, 2021
Jessica Stipek, a rising second-year Oregon Law student, has been selected for the prestigious 2021 Rural Summer Legal Corps Fellowship. Jessica is one of 35 law students selected from 460 applications.
Each summer, Equal Justice Works partners with Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to support law students who want to give back to rural communities across the US and its territories. Program participants, called Student Fellows, spend eight to ten weeks during the summer exploring a career in civil legal aid, by providing direct legal services and building capacity at the organizations where they serve.
“My goal when applying to 1L summer internships was not only to improve my legal skills, but also to do something meaningful and that has a tangible impact,” Jessica said. “I applied because I thought it would be a great opportunity to help individuals who need support and to make a positive difference in the community.” Jessica’s academic interests include public interest law, legal aid, and family law.
Working remotely from Eugene due to COVID-19 restrictions, Jessica will work with East River Legal Services in South Dakota, a legal aid organization that serves low-income people. Jessica will assist individuals throughout rural South Dakota through improving current pro see form instructions and creating additional easy to read guidance materials. She will also assist in developing, editing, and curating informational materials on the South Dakota statewide help page.
“Equal Justice Works has the privilege of facilitating opportunities for law students to put their legal education to work in a rural community,” said Aoife Delargy Lowe, vice president of law school engagement and advocacy at Equal Justice Works. “We are honored to have Jessica join our Rural Summer Legal Corps.”
The Rural Summer Legal Corps supports 35 dedicated law students who want to spend their summer addressing pressing legal issues facing rural communities. Rural communities in the US and its territories face a shortage of talented lawyers, with a large population of the country being forced to travel hundreds of miles to find legal assistance.
“I have always lived in the city but am acutely aware of the unique legal problems that rural communities face, especially during a global pandemic,” Jessica said. “Many legal aid organizations in rural areas do not have the resources to help every person who walks in the door, so any work that interns can do to reduce the workload of the attorneys and to help individuals navigate legal problems on their own, means that more people can get the legal services they need.”
Following the completion of 300 hours of service in the program, participants earn a $5,000 stipend.