I worked at Metropolitan Public Defenders (MPD) this summer and had a fantastic experience. I had the opportunity to work on research projects, letters to judges to waive fines and fees, motions to suppress, and even a rule challenge that was filed with the Oregon Court of Appeals. Working in an office full of public defenders was truly amazing and has completely solidified the trajectory of my legal career.
I thought that I wanted to do public defense going into this summer, but was nervous that I would be intimidated by the work load and would change my mind. However, this office showed me how supportive and uplifting a public defender’s office can be. On Tuesdays, we would attend a lunch time meeting where people could ask questions about their cases and the other attorneys would brainstorm. Those Tuesday meetings quickly became the highlight of my week. I feel like I learned more about the practical implementation of the law over the course of my summer internship than I did through my entire 1L year.
I also had the opportunity, as mentioned, to research and write motions to suppress. These projects were very fulfilling because the attorneys often took the time to make edits and work through my reasoning with me. One of these times I was even able to go to court to watch the motion I had written be argued, and it won! That was one of the best days of the summer. I also had the opportunity to assist an entire trial with a CLS. From the trial prep, to meeting the client, to working on trial strategy throughout the two-day trial; I really felt like a necessary part of the team and like my opinion was valued and taken into consideration.
Receiving the PILP scholarship was another awesome opportunity. The extra money not only allowed me to take a summer job without pay, but also tuned out to be a massive relief. My husband and I have tightly budgeted so that I can be in school full time while he works as a mental health practitioner. We have always known that since we are both interested in fields that traditionally pay less, we would need to rely on the generosity of groups such as PILP until we can one day hopefully contribute to students furthering their education toward work that will advance social progress. Receiving this award greatly reduced our financial stress and allowed me to focus solely on my internship. I am excited to continue to work with PILP to offer this opportunity to other deserving students so that Lewis and Clark can continue to excel in Public Interest.