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Public Interest Law Project

Felicia Chapman

October 10, 2011

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Disability Rights Oregon

Disability Rights Oregon (Portland, OR)

Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) is a non-profit, independent law firm here in Portland that works to promote and defend the rights of people with disabilities. As a life-long supporter of disability rights, I was inspired to come to law school in order to become a stronger advocate for people with disabilities. Thus, I was thrilled to be offered a position at DRO for the 2008 summer and so grateful that my PILP grant gave me the financial support that allowed me to accept the position.

While at DRO for the summer I had extensive client contact and worked on an amazing variety of cases — the attorneys and staff at DRO learned what I was interested in and kept an eye out for cases to send my way. Every assignment and client I worked with over the summer gave me the opportunity to sharpen my legal skills, and learn more about disability law here in Oregon and across the nation. With the supervision of the DRO attorneys I worked on multiple cases and did everything from arranging retainer agreements, setting up and running client meetings, investigating claims, composing request letters, all the way through to reaching solutions and closing cases. Talk about a well-rounded experience—I was thrilled to partake in such a great opportunity!

Also, even though DRO is based here in Portland, it serves the entire state of Oregon. One of the most memorable experiences I had was a visit to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem to observe patient hearings and to enter wards to have interviews with potential clients. Not only did I get to witness administrative hearings, but I was able to see first-hand how someone like a DRO attorney is able to work as an advocate in a non-traditional setting.

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