To dismantle systemic discrimination in the administration of justice by promoting civil rights and enhancing the quality of legal representation to traditionally underserved communities.
WHO WE ARE:
A non-profit organization created by two 2011 Lewis & Clark Law School graduates. We work to remove unfair barriers to the courts by improving the quality of counsel; to impart practical skills to future public interest lawyers; and to educate the local community on individual civil rights and current civil liberties issues.
Our offices are located on the campus of Lewis & Clark College. Lewis & Clark Law School works with the Oregon Justice Resource Center, an independent nonprofit organization, to facilitate meaningful opportunities to students in the areas of criminal justice and immigration law. The law school works closely with the OJRC by providing important financial and capital resources to the organization. The objective of this collaboration is to further develop practical skills opportunities for law school students and to help ensure OJRC’s goal of long-term viability and independence.
WHAT WE DO:
- Provide legal services, including research and legal writing, to attorneys and nonprofit legal organizations working on impact litigation in the areas of capital defense, indigent defense, and immigration law.
- Provide and supervise structured opportunities for law students to work in the areas of capital defense, indigent defense, and immigration law. The OJRC works continually with three specific nonprofit organizations: (1) the Oregon Capital Resource Center via the Eighth Amendment Project (EAP); (2) Metropolitan Public Defender via the Indigent Defense Project (IDP); and (3) Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees Immigration Legal Services (SOAR Legal) via the Immigrant Rights Project (IRP).
- Nonprofit law firms in these areas are overstressed and underfunded, leaving them unable to manage as many legal interns as they could use. Thus, the OJRC not only provides much needed assistance to current practitioners, but also helps prepare and inspire the next generation of advocates. The Executive Director manages the entire program on a full-time basis, which includes working with the cooperating organizations (MPD, OCRC, SOAR) to ensure students are receiving a meaningful internship; working with each of the students on a one-on-one basis, assisting them will aspects of the internship (research, writing, lawerying, etc); and assisting students with networking and pursing employment opportunities locally and nationally.
- The OJRC provides guidance and supervision to legal interns working with partner nonprofit law firms. By combining the close supervision of a law school clinic and the real-world experience of an externship, OJRC provides the best of both worlds to Lewis & Clark students. Additionally, the OJRC emphasize purposeful collaboration among legal professionals and encourages students to use each other as resources, further building and fostering the public interest community.
- WHAT WE ARE NOT: The OJRC does not place students with just any organization, it is not a “placement” organization; it works exclusively with three partner organizations. Moreover, the OJRC work closely with each organization to develop student opportunities and to ensure students are receiving a meaningful internship/externship experience. The OJRC has a long-term relationship with each of the partner organizations and each organization has agreed to continue working with the OJRC over the next several years, expanding and developing the Projects.
- Coordinate legal conferences and seminars, including the (1) ACLU NW Civil Liberties Conference in the Fall, (2) an OJRC Roundtable in the Winter to discuss the intersection of criminal and immigration law, (3) and other CLEs on our core issue areas.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:
- DONATE to the OJRC!!!
- Follow us on Facebook & Twitter(OJRCenter).
- Check out our blog DP9 on Ninth Circuit developments in capital punishment.
- Become a “Supporting Organization”: Join our coalition of allies, which includes ACLU of Oregon, Metropolitan Public Defender, Oregon Capital Resource Center, Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Ask us how!!
OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS:
- Eighth Amendment Project (formerly the Death Penalty Project): Under the direct supervision of the Executive Director of the OJRC and the Director of the OCRC, law school students in the Death Penalty Project will learn the skills required to defend those facing capital punishment. Working with experienced capital investigators and forensic experts, students will research and draft pleadings addressing the legal claims in courts, ranging from the state trial courts to the United States Supreme Court. Students will work on capital cases at the trial level, on direct appeal, and in post-conviction. The Death Penalty Project will take on work such as amicus curiae briefs, clemency petitions, petitions for writs of certiorari, and pretrial motions in capital cases.
- Immigrant Rights Project: Working with the OJRC staff and Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees Immigration Legal Services (SOAR Legal), students will learn the skills required to provide competent representation to refugees, asylees, and low-income immigrants. Students will assist with a range of immigration legal services, including assistance obtaining legal permanent residency (greencards), family-based visas, naturalization applications, consular processing, and employment authorization. Under the direct supervision of the IRP Project Director, students will assist with all aspects of case preparation, including fact investigation, developing case strategies, preparing applications for immigration benefits, and legal research and writing.
- Indigent Defense Project: Working hand in hand with the Training Director of Metropolitan Public Defender (MPD) and the Executive Director of the OJRC, law school students will learn the knowledge and skills required to handle a criminal case. Students in the Indigent Defense Project will be directly supervised and mentored. Depending on their year in school, students will work on a full range of projects from motions and memoranda to trial preparation and direct client representation.