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Public Interest Law Project

Jennifer O’Brien

October 10, 2011

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Crag Law Center

Crag Law Center, Portland, OR

The PILP stipend program made it possible for me to spend my summer working at Crag Law Center as a Summer Associate.  Crag Law Center is a small client-focused, nonprofit law center that supports community efforts to protect the natural environment of the Pacific Northwest.  Crag provides legal representation to community groups, conservation groups, and local residents on issues that promote environmental conservation and sustainable natural resource management. 

At Crag, I was fortunate to able to focus primarily on issues relating to land use and public lands—two areas of law I am very interested in.  I had the uncommon opportunity to work on litigation related to former Measure 37 and Measure 49, land use laws which are unique to Oregon and present unusual questions of vested rights and takings.  Under the skilled guidance of Crag’s attorneys, I conducted research, discussed litigation strategy, and prepared various documents, including briefs, motions, petitions, and more.  But my work was not solely limited to office work.  I had the opportunity to observe a number of hearings in courts across Northwestern Oregon, attend meetings with clients, and sit in on settlement negotiations.  I was also able to visit the site of the Hemlock Dam removal, view the progress, and learn about the project from engineers, attorneys, and other specialists.  Additionally, I was able to observe many aspects of the management of a well-functioning nonprofit law center, ranging from case management to fundraising to member outreach. 

I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend a summer working at Crag.  I was able to learn from extremely talented attorneys who were committed to challenging me on a daily basis and helping me improve my skills whenever possible.  The skills and practical knowledge I gained will carry with me through the rest of my career.  The overall experience was overwhelmingly positive, and the assistance I received from PILP made it possible.

 

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