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Public Interest Law Project

Kelley Amburgey

June 01, 2007

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Legal Aid Services of Oregon, Portland, OR

As a recipient of a 2007 PILP Summer Stipend, I worked for the Multnomah County Office of Legal Aid Services of Oregon. I worked on a wide variety of projects and was able to work with each attorney in the office.

My two favorite learning experiences during my clerkship were participating in Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) section 8 and public housing hearings and doing Domestic Violence Project (DVP) intake. In the hearings I participated in, I wrote a memo in support of my client, and was able to actually speak on behalf of my client, and question my client and witnesses. These hearings allowed me to practice all of my legal skills (research, writing, client interviews, oral argument) and this was invaluable. The attorney I worked with on these hearings allowed me to feel like I was really representing the client while at the same time supporting me as I worked on each aspect of the case.

DVP intake was something that I knew I would like coming into the clerkship because of my background as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence. The intakes I did varied from straightforward to very complicated and each one was a good experience. I was able to place clients with volunteer attorneys, with attorneys inside our office, and also to advise clients on the restraining order process and effective self representation.

During the summer, my supervisor and other attorneys made a point of being available to discuss class selection and future career plans with me. I wrote memos on a wide variety of public interest issues in addition to my experiences working directly with clients. My work experience and work environment at Legal Aid has made me even more committed to being a public interest attorney when I finish law school.

At the end of the summer, I feel like I had so much practical experience and client contact that I am even more sure about my choice to attend law school. I know I am more prepared for future clinics, clerkships and jobs because of this summer. As a first year, I was able to work at my first choice public interest summer job, and because of PILP I was also able to be paid for this work. In general, I can’t say enough how grateful I am to have received a PILP stipend to fund my clerkship.

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