"You have to expect to do things that haven't been done. You have to be courageous, you can't be constrained by the expectations of other folks who just have less vision. Ultimately, you don't change the world with the ideas in your mind, you change the world with the conviction in your heart."
Since the fall of 2011, 60+ OJRC students have contributed more than 10,000 hours of assistance to indigent clients! In both 2013 and 2014 OJRC students have received the Oregon State Bar Young Lawyer Division's Pro Bono Award for Law Students based, in part, on their school year work with the OJRC.
If you are interested in interning/externing with the OJRC, please contact Bobbin Singh, Executive Director, as firstname.lastname@example.org. To be eligible to participate work with the OJRC, you must be a full or part time law student and available to work in person in Portland, Oregon.
The OJRC is developing a training program for all students working with the OJRC. The purpose of this program is (1) to reaffirm our commitment to Gideon and address the right to counsel with the sense of urgency it deserves; (2) to respond and address the systemic civil rights violations caused by mass/over incarceration; and (3) to develop the leadership of future social justice lawyers so that they can better advocate for marginalized communities and reform the criminal justice system. At the heart of this is to train future social justice lawyers to be competent and accountable to their clients and the communities they serve and simultaneously engage in impact litigation that addresses systemic injustices, while fostering a strong community of criminal justice advocates at Lewis & Clark Law School. The program is designed to complement the work and Projects of the OJRC.
This program will review the most important and distinctive aspects of Oregon criminal law, Oregon criminal procedure, and the Oregon Evidence Code. Additionally, the program will consider the types of advocacy lawyers can use to effect reform, including appellate cases addressing ineffective assistance of counsel, affirmative systemic litigation, motions for caseload relief, development of standards with bar associations, development of court rules, informal advocacy with courts, prosecutors, law enforcement, and local governments, legislative advocacy, attorney discipline and judicial misconduct proceedings, and publications. Students will gain broad range of experiences in order to "advance social justice agendas and learn a formidable array of lawyering skills not utilized in conventional defense clinics.”
This OJRC “integrate[s] individual direct representation with initiatives designed to effect larger-scale change, such as impact litigation, legislative advocacy, community lawyering, and organizing.” The OJRC will help students develop important practical skills and while working in the community, connecting with practitioners and alumni, leading to both traditional and non-traditional positions.
For more information or if you have any questions please contact us at Info@OJRC.org
"As I continue to build a legal career that emphasizes respectful advocacy for client needs in the fullest context of social justice, I will take with me the ideals that the OJRC represents: true justice that does not discriminate, high quality legal services for the underrepresented, intergenerational investment in the betterment of society, and thoughtful engagement with the public on the civil rights and liberties that are the foundation of our community."
"I applied to the OJRC on a whim, but it has turned out to be one of the most important developments of my law school career. I have immensely enjoyed working with the great folks at the OJRC - the directors and fellow interns alike - and have felt very comfortable coming to them with questions and concerns. Working at OJRC has cemented my desire to be a criminal defense attorney, and encouraged me to concentrate on capital work. I have learned an enormous amount about capital litigation at the OJRC, particularly by getting the chance to work with an attorney who is an expert in the field, and I look forward to learning more in the rest of my time with OJRC. Overall, being a part of the OJRC has been a wonderful, edifying experience that I would recommend to anyone interested in social justice lawyering."
"Working on the Death Penalty Project with the Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC) has helped me to develop my writing and research skills, given me insight into the work done by capital (and other) defense attorneys, and helped me to get valuable experience working on appellate issues. The guidance and instruction of the OJRC has been a great supplement to the writing and research instruction available through Lewis and Clark Law School. Working with some of the top criminal defense attorneys in the nation on trial skills and exploring the complexities of capital cases have added a depth and richness to my law school experience that I would recommend to any student with an interest in these public interest fields. The close coordination between cooperating attorneys and OJRC staff has made it possible to get direct feedback from some of the best qualified practitioners possible. Even as a young organization, the OJRC is proving to be a potent force for educating new attorneys."
"OJRC has been wonderful in aiding my experience pertaining to immigration law. I've become better at legal research and legal writing, especially since Erin has provided extensive feedback and suggestions. I also appreciate OJRC's balancing act in helping interns with any questions or concerns but also giving them space so they can independently get things done. Most importantly, OJRC has given me an opportunity to get outside of the law school bubble. It's easy sometimes to get sucked into a world where grades and rankings matter. Having the chance to meet and interact with clients, particularly those who've spent years in refugees camps, does much to illustrate why learning the law is a powerful tool to achieve social justice. Thank you OJRC! Keep up with the excellent work!"
"My experience with the OJRC has taught me how to approach what might be the most complicated area of criminal defense law: capital punishment. I have improved my research and writing skills ten-fold, as well as my legal analysis skills. I have learned to be more articulate, both in writing and verbally, when expressing legal arguments and opinions. I have learned the value of corroboration in criminal defense, and the value of diligence in returning to the same issues over and over again to view them from new angles. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to work with the OJRC and I am excited to apply the skills I have learned in my career as a criminal defense attorney."
"Through OJRC, I interned/volunteered at Metropolitan Public Defenders (MPD) in downtown Portland. Most of my time was spent at the MPD office working with Training Director, Alex Bassos, to research legal issues, write pre-trial motions, prepare memoranda for MPD attorneys, and post a weekly summary of news that is relevant to Oregon criminal defense attorneys. We also have had bi-weekly trial skills classes where the students learn more about cross-examination and other trial skills that help put the work into perspective. This was a valuable internship because it gives students an opportunity to apply the law and practice their skills in a way that’s personally rewarding and engaging."
"I have had a wonderful experience so far. Having the opportunity to work directly with Alex Bassos is an incredible opportunity for a 1L and has directly supplemented and expanded my understanding of Criminal Procedure (which I am taking this semester.) The ability to do 'real work' makes law school more relevant and helps me to remain inspired about the reasons that I chose to come here. I have also received real, concrete feedback from Alex as to my research and writing, which is invaluable coming from someone in his position. Alex's trial skills class has also been very informative and has given me a taste of some of the skills I will need to develop as I continue to progress throughout school. Overall-- the best part of my semester and definitely something I'd recommend to others."
"My experience as an OJRC Intern has been great. I have learned a lot and enjoyed working for MPD. I have also really enjoyed watching OJRC grow and have enjoyed being a member of the inaugural class. The job has aided in my professional development by allowing me to increase my research and writing skills in addition to getting an inside view to how public defender offices function. I've enjoyed the job immensely."