My work this summer encompassed everything from substantive legal research and writing projects to helping with receptionist duties. SALC primarily serves low-income clients with family law needs, and thus I was responsible for helping the attorneys and support staff with a multitude of projects focusing largely (though not exclusively) on family law related issues including divorce, custody, parenting time, and guardianship. In addition to contacting and working with clients and witnesses, I drafted several motions, orders, affidavits and dissolution judgments (among other things), attended hearings and trials, completed several research projects (both formal and informal), and even assisted the SALC team at their annual “Race for Justice.” I most valued the opportunity to observe and learn from the amazing attorneys, many of whom are very tenured in the practice of family law.
Receiving the PILP stipend was extremely important to me for two reasons. First, it meant that I was able to continue my legal education throughout the summer by using my work with St. Andrew to complete an externship. Working directly with public interest attorneys and family law clients meant that I was able to truly learn not only what it is like to work in public interest, but also the logistics of the career as well. The reflective component of the externship meant that I was able to really dive into my public interest work experience and consider the importance and impact of public interest work. Second, the stipend meant that I was able to dedicate my summer to serving disadvantaged and under-represented populations in the Portland area, which is one of the fundamental reasons that I came to law school. Helping clients who were facing some of the most difficult experiences of their lives and often had nowhere else to turn gave me perspective after a year of traditional studies and motivated me further to be as successful and dedicated in my career as ever!