Women's Justice Project - Law Student Externship

2017-2018 Academic Year

Now accepting applications


Oregon Justice Resource Center

Oregon Justice Resource Center (OJRC) is a public interest law firm and nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon. We provide legal services to currently and formerly incarcerated individuals, with a particular focus on populations that have often been underserved in the past. We work to reform the criminal justice system in Oregon through our legal work, policy and advocacy initiatives, public education, communications, and strategic partnerships.

Women’s Justice Project

The Women’s Justice Project (WJP) is the first and only program in Oregon to exclusively address issues related to women intersecting with the criminal justice system. Our work includes providing individual “limited” legal assistance to women incarcerated in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility and to formerly incarcerated women. We help clients identify primarily civil legal issues that might become or already are barriers to successful reentry into the community, and work with them to resolve issues or plan around legal road blocks. Our goals are to ensure that the criminal justice system treats women fairly, protects their health and safety, and makes it possible for them to successfully rejoin their communities when they are released. Our clients’ experiences, our HerStory Oregon work, and conversations with community partners inform us about issues affecting women in Oregon’s criminal justice system. We track these issues and identify opportunities to advocate for changes in practice, policy, and law. WJP is staffed by one full-time attorney/project director.

The position

We are seeking a law student to extern with us during the 2017-2018 school year. Under the supervision of the WJP staff attorney/project director, the extern will work on individual cases, including assisting during intake of prospective clients, researching legal issues, conducting interviews, and drafting memos and communications. We anticipate that the extern will be meeting with clients in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility and at Mercy Corps NW’s Reentry Transition Center in northeast Portland. The extern will also work on our reform efforts, including researching issues, communicating with stakeholders, and participating in discussions with the OJRC staff about opportunities for change in practice and policy.

The candidate

The ideal candidate will be:

  • Inquisitive about current systems, both civil and criminal, and be able to recognize ways in which current systems disadvantage less-privileged individuals and communities
  • Interested in working with clients and be respectful to clients, mindful that many women have experienced traumatic events, and understanding of the varied lives people lead and choices that people make, while maintaining strong and professional boundaries with clients
  • Enthusiastic about researching and analyzing a wide range of issues and unafraid of diving into new issues
  • An organized thinker and writer
  • Diligent, self-motivated, unafraid to ask questions, able to respond well to feedback and guidance, and someone who takes pride in building a reputation of professional work product and conduct.

Details and requirements

  • Candidates must be willing to extern at least 15 hours per week during the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Position is based in our Portland office, but some travel to Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville and to Mercy Corps NW’s Reentry Transition Center in north Portland to meet with clients will be required. The extern will not be meeting with clients alone, so they will be able to coordinate some transportation with the WJP attorney.
  • Position reports to the WJP’s attorney/project director.

How to apply

Submit all materials by email to Julia Yoshimoto, WJP Attorney/Project Director at jyoshimoto@ojrc.info with the subject line “WJP Externship Application”.

Include in your application:

  • A cover letter, including the name of your law school, what year you will be in law school during the 2017-2018 school year, and the number of hours per week that you will be available to extern;
  • A copy of your resume; and
  • A writing sample (maximum 5 pages)

After we receive your application, we will you contact you for an interview. For applicants from outside the Portland metro area, interviews can be via phone or video. At the time of the interview, be prepared to provide 3 references.

Download this internship description as a PDF.