June 01, 2009

Laura Muranaka

Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO), Portland, OR

Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO), Portland, OR

Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO) is a statewide nonprofit law firm that provides legal services to low-income people and other special populations.  LASO provides free legal services to clients who meet our financial eligibility guidelines.  We believe that the low income people of Oregon should have equal access to justice.  We attempt to provide services to those clients who are most vulnerable or who are unable to assist themselves due to language barriers or disabilities. 

As a nonprofit office, LASO has a tight budget and does not have funding to hire summer law students.  Law students are able to provide needed assistance to advocates in the office, and make an impact on the case to improve the life of the client.  I had the opportunity to assist with client representation, conduct client and witness interviews, speak with interpreters at Multnomah County Courthouse, organize discovery documents, prepare trial notebooks, conduct legal research and writing, draft pleadings, and speak with clients in Spanish.  I also assisted LASO with staffing the Bankruptcy Clinic and the Night Clinic at Stoel Rives, and I created and updated community education materials.  One of LASO’s most important projects in the community is operating the Domestic Violence Project.  Over the course of the summer, I conducted intake, offered advice on restraining order hearings in English and Spanish, and placed clients with pro bono attorneys.  LASO provides law students with amazing client contact.  Thank you, PILP!