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Public Interest Law Project

Erica Hayne

June 01, 2014

Federal Public Defender Portland

As a law clerk at Federal Public Defender, I not only had the opportunity to work with a group of brilliant attorneys representing indigent clients, but I was also able to develop my writing skills while learning practical strategies for legal practice. My summer there was unforgettable, and without a PILP stipend, that experience may not have been available to me. As someone dedicated to performing public interest work after law school, every bit of financial assistance makes my goal more possible. 

The Federal Public Defender office is responsible for representing defendants charged with federal crimes who cannot afford an attorney. The attorneys who practice in the office make the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee a reality, advocating fiercely for their clients at every stage. In my supporting role as a law clerk, I had the opportunity to develop legal arguments on the cutting edge of the law, dig through discovery to prepare motions, and explore complex areas of law. These areas included federal habeas corpus, career offender statutes, and the interaction between tribal and federal criminal law. In addition, because the office was able to bring on a larger group of summer law clerks with help from PILP, I was also able to attend brown-bag lunches and other focused seminars on federal criminal practice in addition to performing research and writing.

I am so grateful that the PILP stipend is available to students committed to furthering social justice and the public interest. Practical experience during law school is vital, particularly for public-interest law students who often need a broader skill set as they launch their careers. Consequently, PILP is an essential part of the Lewis & Clark Law School community, helping students stay focused on the reasons they went to law school

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