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University of Oregon School of Law

University of Oregon School of Law
1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR 97403

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Jennifer Hubbard Geller
Public Law and Policy Program Managing Director
[email protected]


Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator.


Description of Programs

Oregon Law cultivates a culture of service, and new students will find robust participation in the law school’s Pro Bono Program. The Public Law and Policy Program Managing Director (Managing Director) coordinates the Pro Bono Program, and student leaders initiate a variety of projects each year.

Students can connect with pro bono opportunities throughout the year. In the fall, Oregon Law holds a pro bono fair with local and regional nonprofits that work with student volunteers. Periodically, Oregon Law professors initiate pro bono projects in their areas of expertise. New pro bono options are also publicized weekly to students, and the Managing Director is available for individualized consultation about pro bono work that aligns with students’ interests.

Critical to the success of the pro bono program are the connections between the program and its relevant legal communities. The Managing Director serves as the liaison for pro bono efforts between the law school and the local, state, and national bar associations. During ABA Celebrate Pro Bono Week, Oregon Law recognizes students and serves as a local host for the Oregon State Bar’s Pro Bono CLE and Celebration. Oregon Law also partners with local organizations to provide CLEs relevant to high-demand areas of pro bono and makes these CLEs available to students.


Location of Programs

The Public Law and Policy Program Office



The Managing Director serves as the primary staff for the Pro Bono Program. Pro bono records are maintained on a secure database.



Oregon Law supports the Pro Bono Program through a dedicated budgetary allocation.


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Oregon Law student groups run a variety of pro bono groups and projects. Below are examples of ongoing efforts that groups have sustained over time.

St. Vincent de Paul’s Second Chance Program : students coordinate student instructors who teach law-related classes in a series designed to help low-income individuals to become successful renters who understand their rights and responsibilities.

Student-led trips to assist asylum seekers: during the week before the spring semester starts, students have coordinated trips to the US-Mexico border to volunteer with legal nonprofits assisting asylum seekers.

Monthly Clinic with Sponsors: the pro bono program works in cooperation with a local reentry nonprofit to provide a monthly legal clinic for individuals reentering from Oregon correctional facilities. Students provide interviewing and intake support for volunteer attorneys.

National Lawyers Guild and OUTlaws: these organizations lead educational programs including Know Your Rights trainings.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

There is no formal faculty and administrative pro bono policy, but many faculty members and administrative staff lead or are involved in a variety of pro bono efforts. Recent examples of Oregon Law faculty efforts include leading a group of students volunteering with Wills for the Underserved; filing amicus briefs with the help of students in criminal cases; and advising environmental lawyers throughout the world. Oregon Law faculty also serve on local and statewide boards of organizations that raise funds for legal aid organizations.

In addition, Oregon Law houses the Oregon Law Commission, a legislatively funded office that works on the continuous improvement of Oregon’s statutes. Faculty members devote many hours serving on or providing advice to Commission workgroups, sharing their expertise at no cost to the Commission.



Students who engage in pro bono are recognized multiple times during each academic year. During ABA Celebrate Pro Bono Week, students who have participated in pro bono the previous year are recognized. Oregon Law awards multiple awards at the end of each academic work, including Pro Bono Honors for any 3rd year student who has met the pro bono hour goal for students. Other honors include recognizing a student from each class who has done the most pro bono in the past year. Two 3Ls are selected each year for outstanding pro bono service and awarded scholarships.


Community Service

Life at Oregon Law includes active student groups that initiate many service projects each year. The following are some illustrative examples.

Oregon Law’s Women’s Law Forum runs an annual toiletry drive every fall for an organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence.

OUTlaws, Oregon Law’s LGBTQIA affinity group, provides Know Your Rights training for visiting high school students. The group also fundraises for scholarships.

Land Air Water organizes efforts such as the Great Willamette Cleanup. In the spring, members have also volunteered to plant trees and native shrubs throughout local neighborhoods and natural areas


Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Jennifer Hubbard Geller
Public Law and Policy Program Managing Director
[email protected]


Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Law students may earn a Public Interest Law Concentration. To earn this Concentration, students complete a cluster of relevant coursework, participate in a clinic or externship with a public interest focus, and complete a research paper related to the practice of public interest law.

Oregon Law also offers other concentrations that are relevant for students who wish to pursue public interest law. These concentrations include Child Advocacy Law, Dispute Resolution, Environmental & Natural Resources Law, Law & Public Policy, and Ocean & Coastal Law.


Public Interest Centers

Public Law & Policy Program – This program serves as an umbrella for a range of Oregon Law’s public interest and public policy programs. Led by a managing director, this program brings together multiple public interest fellowship programs, the pro bono program, the loan repayment assistance program, and a range of signature events related to public interest, public service, and public sector practice.

Oregon Law Commission - Funded by the Oregon Legislature, this independent Commission is housed in the Oregon School of Law building. The Commission is dedicated to the continuous improvement of Oregon statutes. The Commission brings together experts in the field to study critical issues and suggest revisions to Oregon laws.

Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center – With an emphasis on social justice and positive change, Oregon Law’s ADR Center provides student opportunities to learn how to navigate the field of appropriate dispute resolution and manage complex interactions outside the traditional litigation setting through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and other alternative approaches. Partnered with the ADR Center, the Conflict and Dispute Resolution (CRES) Program offers law students an opportunity to earn a master’s degree and a J.D. in 4 years. The ADR Center also hosts the Oregon Office for Community Dispute Resolution, a state office supporting 16 community dispute resolution centers in 25 Oregon counties.

The Environmental and Natural Resources Center- For more than fifty years, the University of Oregon School of Law has been a national leader in public interest environmental law. In keeping with this legacy, the nationally ranked Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center (ENR Center) launches research projects to assist our communities and prepares students for leadership in the rapidly changing area of environmental policy. Key programming includes the Environmental Law Clinic, externships, the Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation and Western Environmental Law Update. The annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference brings together activists, attorneys, students, scientists and concerned citizens from across the globe to share their experience and expertise.

Oregon Child Advocacy Project: Participants in this project work pursuing justice for children. Faculty and students associated with OCAP work on legislative proposals and provide research assistance and consultation to attorneys in cases that advance the project’s goals. In addition, this project organizes a range of dynamic programs and lectures on cutting edge of legal and policy issues that impact children’s rights and their health and wellness.

The Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics – This independent center housed at Oregon Law organizes programming that brings together students, scholars, activists, policymakers, and communities together to discuss issues affecting Oregon, our nation, and the world. The Center's Advisory Board selects themes of inquiry every two years, and sponsors a range of scholarly

Public Interest Clinics

Criminal Defense Clinic and Advanced Criminal Defense Clinic - Students work with the Public Defender of Lane County. Work includes conducting client and witness interviews, investigations, and help with defense of clients in circuit court.

Criminal Prosecution Clinic and Advanced Criminal Prosecution - Students prepare and try minor criminal cases under the supervision of attorneys and assist senior prosecutors on felony cases.

Domestic Violence Clinic – This Clinic offers two clinic tracks, a Protective Order Clinic, and a Civil Clinic. Both Clinics offer an Advanced Clinic Option. Enrolled students enrolled in the Clinic represent survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other forms of intimate partner.

Environmental Law Clinic - Students work with attorneys at the Western Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit public interest law firm with offices in Eugene, Taos, Seattle, and Helena. Students work with attorneys on active and developing litigation.

Nonprofit Clinic – In this interdisciplinary clinic, students conduct organizational assessments of nonprofit organizations and facilitate a dialogue between nonprofit organizations’ Executive Directors and Board of Directors regarding recommendations.


Opportunities for externships include a wide range of public interest field placement options for academic credit. Students frequently have externships with nonprofits such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Oregon Law Center, and Environmental Law Alliance. Public sector opportunities include work with government at all levels.


Classes with a Public Service Component

Students interested in public service can pursue a Law & Public Policy Concentration. While working on this concentration, students can select from a wide range of courses to that include a public service component or prepare students to work in public service careers such as Nonprofit Organizations, Local Government Law, Environmental Law Practicum, and Children and the Law.


Public Interest Journals

Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation


PI Career Support Center

Oregon Law’s Center for Career Planning and Professional Development (Center) tailors its services to individuals’ interests. They offer a wide range of support services and resources related to public interest legal careers. Students’ professional development and exploration includes a 1L course that introduces the full range of legal careers and supports students’ interests.

Oregon Law is a member of the Northwest Consortium of Law Schools that annually co-sponsors the Northwest Public Service Career Fair, bringing in a large number of public service employers for table talk and interviews. The Fair is held in February in both Portland and Seattle.

Connections with several organizations enhance students’ ability to pursue public interest careers. The Center staff and the Public Law and Policy Program Manager are active members of the National Association of Law Placement and participate in relevant sections related to public sector and public interest practice. In addition, Oregon Law is a member of Equal Justice Works. A partnership with AccessLex provides students with financial counseling and education while pursuing their selected career paths.


Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Oregon Law offers LRAP assistance to recent graduates who meet income thresholds and are employed in public interest positions as part of its ongoing commitment to support graduates who public interest careers.


Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Oregon Law’s ENR Center provides $5000 project stipends. Post-graduate fellows execute discrete research projects under the direction of a faculty supervisor.


Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Oregon Law has a broad range of fellowships that support students’ pursuit of public interest law. Focus areas for fellowships include appropriate dispute resolution, civil rights (Minoru Yasui Fellowship), empirical legal studies, environmental & natural resources law, family & child law, international law, leadership in the law, multi-jurisdictional issues (Hans Linde Fellowship), and public law & policy.

Oregon Law also offers a variety of scholarships with criteria that recognizes public interest experience and commitment.


Graduate Student Funded


Other Funding Sources:

The Multnomah Bar Association (MBA), in partnership with the University of Oregon School of Law, provides Portland summer fellowship opportunity for law students. The Lane County Bar Association (LCBA) also provides Eugene summer fellowship opportunities to law students. These two programs are designed to enhance the diversity of the legal community. In addition, the Oregon Law Commission, housed in the Knight Law Center, hires student fellows to assist with its work related to ongoing improvement of Oregon’s laws.


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Oregon Law’s Environmental & Natural Resource Center offers summer stipends for public interest work at environmental nonprofits to some of its fellows.

Graduate Student Funded:

The Oregon Law Students Public Interest Fund, a student organization, raises funds and provides stipends for students with summer public interest positions with nonprofits. Student group Land Air Water also provides stipends each summer for public interest work with environmental nonprofits.

Other Funding Sources:

The Wayne Morse Center, an independent center housed in Knight Law School, offers funded summer fellowships to law students with demonstrated commitment to public service. Wayne Morse Center Fellows provides paid summer fellowships in Washington, D.C. and Salem, Oregon. In addition, the Oregon State Bar offers several summer fellowships each year for public interest work.


Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Center for Career Planning and Professional Development: Holds numerous programs introducing students to a vast array of legal practice opportunities including the range of public interest and public service opportunities available to law students and lawyers.

Derrick Bell Lecture: Annual lecture in honor of Oregon Law’s first Black Dean. This lecture Is part of the University of Oregon’s African American Workshop and Lecture Series.

Lunch with Leaders: A Public Law and Policy Program that brings in local and state policy leaders for smaller group lunches and conversation with law students.

O’Connell Conference: Annual conference that explores a legal or policy issue of interest to judges and the legal community.

Public Interest Environmental Law Conference: Annual conference that brings together over 400 international advocates, lawyers, activists, and students.

The Frohnmayer Leadership Program: Provides students with ongoing opportunities to participate in activities that develop leadership skills. The program offers the opportunity to earn a Leadership in Practice Certificate of Completion

Rennard Strickland Lecture: Annual lecture in honor of Oregon Law Dean Rennard Strickland and his legacy of contributions to the field of Indian law and to Environmental and Natural Resources and Indian law programs at Oregon Law.

Minoru Yasui Day: Annual event held in conjunction with stakeholders to honor Minoru Yasui and his lifelong fight for civil rights. Oregon Law holds other programming events highlighting Oregon Law alum Minoru Yasui’s legacy at other times of the year as well.


Student Public Interest Groups

Oregon Law student life includes a wealth of active student groups. From time to time, students form new groups around emerging interests. Long-time public interest groups include the following:

American Constitution Society
Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
The Black Law Students Association
Child and Family Law Association
Green Business Initiative
Jewish Law Student Association
Land Air Water
Latinx Law Student Association
National Lawyers Guild
Oregon Criminal Defense Law Students Association
Oregon Law Students Animal Legal Defense Fund
Oregon Law Students’ Public Interest Fund
Women’s Law Forum