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Public Interest Law Project

Tara Gallagher

October 10, 2011

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    Tara Gallagher

Crag Law Center

CRAG Law Center, Portland, OR

When I applied for law school, I pictured myself having an amazing career as a public interest attorney.  I wanted to be like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Riverkeepers, fighting for environmental justice in the court of law.  But when I arrived at Lewis & Clark, I wasn’t sure I had what it took to be a litigator.

This summer, however, my PILP stipend allowed me to work for Crag Law Center.  Crag offers a laid back, enthusiastic work environment where the attorneys are passionate about their cases and committed to educating the future generation of lawyers.

Working with Crag, I was mentored by talented and experienced environmental litigators.  I was privileged to be a part of some really big moments such as receiving a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that logging roads were point sources under the Clean Water Act and watching President Obama announce that there would be no offshore drilling in Alaska this season.  Throughout the summer, I improved my research and writing skills, received in the field training, and ran the upper Clackamas in an inflatable kayak.  I realized the life and career I pictured were attainable.  It will take lots of hard work, perseverance, and mentors like the Crag staff, but it is possible.  That very well may be the biggest lesson I learned at Crag: it is possible to do what you love and make a difference doing it.

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