September 13, 2019

Incoming Class of 2022 Gives Back to the Community

Nearly 180 incoming students participated in an afternoon of service by volunteering their time to ten community organizations in August.

Nearly 180 incoming students participated in an afternoon of service by volunteering their time to ten community organizations in August.

Tasks ranged from sorting clothes at Dress for Success to sanitizing children’s toys at Ronald McDonald House. Students scanned and filed documents at both of St. Andrew Legal Clinic’s locations. They processed frozen cranberries at the Oregon Food Bank. They helped foster children shop for back-to-school clothing at Project Lemonade. They cleaned the community space at the Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Resource Center. At Habitat Restore, they processed donations of new and used building materials, furniture and appliances for sale to support Habitat for Humanity home-building projects.

The incoming students appreciated the opportunity to interact and give back to their new community.  “I think it’s really important that we, as law students and (hopefully) future lawyers, engage in the community because a huge part of becoming a lawyer is a desire to advocate for people who perhaps are not able to advocate for themselves,” said incoming 1L Mason Pierce. “I think it can be really easy to get lost in the law school bubble and become removed from the needs of the community. Engaging in service is a good reminder of what still needs to be done and what responsibilities we carry as we pursue this profession.”

Incoming 1L Mara Bauermeister shared her experience of volunteering at St. Andrew Legal Clinic: “It was nice to hear that St. Andrew Legal Clinic in Hillsboro already had such positive experiences with previous Lewis & Clark law students and was enthusiastic about having new law students there to help out. I had never really considered family law before, but seeing how St. Andrew Legal Clinic works and how passionate the attorneys are about their jobs was really inspiring.” 

Organizations had nothing but good things to say about the law student volunteers. Tess Debartolo from JOIN said that the students were “absolutely amazing” and  Habitat Restore staff said the student help “makes a huge difference for our organization” and looks forward to partnering with law students again. Students volunteered at the following organizations: Dress for Success, Friends of Tryon Creek, Habitat Restore, JOIN, Oregon Food Bank, Project Lemonade, Red Cross, Ronald McDonald House, Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Center, the St. Andrew Legal Clinic, and Media Foundation, who brought a community service project to campus in the evening for the part-time students.

The idea was conceived by Professor Sandy Patrick, who stated, “As lawyers, a large part of what we do is help others, no matter what kind of law we practice.  As a law school, we aspire to foster that sense of service in our students. Having students begin their legal career by volunteering with local Portland organizations helps students connect with each other and the local community; maybe more importantly, it instills a sense of purpose and fulfillment that will last a lifetime.”