June 01, 2012

Maura Fahey

Crag Law Center, Portland, OR

I spent my summer working as a summer associate with the Crag Law Center in Portland, OR.  This experience provided me with many opportunities to improve my legal research and writing skills as well as gain a better understanding of how a nonprofit law firm operates.  I would not have been able to take part in such an enriching and beneficial experience if it were not for my PILP stipend.

Crag is a community focused nonprofit environmental law firm that is devoted to preserving and protecting the Pacific Northwest’s natural legacy.  Because Crag offers most of their services at reduced or no cost to their clients, they are unable to finance the employment of summer law clerks.  The PILP stipend program has made it possible for me and many other Lewis & Clark students before me to work with and learn from the exceptional attorneys at Crag. 

During my time at Crag I was able to get more than just the legal research and writing experience I was looking for out of a summer internship.  I was able to meet clients and hear their stories first hand; this allowed me to better connect with the cases I was working on and to really understand what we were fighting for.  I often sat-in on conference calls with other attorneys, organizers, and community members who were involved with our cases.  This allowed me to see the broader picture of many of the issues I was working on and to appreciate the many different interests and components involved in our matters.  I spent my summer working primarily on land-use issues throughout the state of Oregon.  This focus involved work in many different areas of the law ranging from Oregon state and county land-use provisions to federal aviation regulations.  I was able to work on a number of matters involving issues that I never would have imagined I would ever gain experience in.  I also had the opportunity to draft major portions of an appellate level brief as well as prepare for the oral argument to present that brief at a hearing in front of the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals.

Without the assistance of the PILP stipend program I would not have had the ability to work for Crag this summer and thus would not have gained the great wealth of knowledge and training that I have from the experience.  PILP has allowed me to further my education and training into the field of public interest legal work and I am grateful for that opportunity.