University of Idaho College of Law Public Interest Law Group

Wrap Up – Spokane Center for Justice

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As a member of the Public Interest Law Group I was able to participate in alternative spring break.  Although I am only a 1L, it was the most beneficial experiences I have had all year.  I spent my week at the Spokane Center for Justice (CFJ).  The CFJ is a privately funded non-profit organization that believes justice is indeed for all.  They believe that when a single citizen experiences justice, we all move closer to a true democracy.  The CFJ runs a community advocacy clinic where individuals can come with their legal issues and possibly attain help from the center.

Most of my time at the CFJ was spent in the clinic.  I worked on updating the law in their legal binders to make sure they were applying all current laws as of 2008.  I was also able research the issue for a number of cases that came into the clinic.  Within a span of two days I saw landlord/tenant issues, property deed issues, and products liability/tort issues.

I was also able to complete two research projects for which I had to write memos during my time at the CFJ.  I examined case law on an environmental issue relating to the Spokane River and the cities authority to close a portion of a navigable river due to overhead construction.  I also spent time looking for litigation regarding cost distribution of a mandatory arbitration clause and whether or not the dispute arises out of an employer promulgated plan or an individually-negotiated employment agreement.

Needless to say within a week I was exposed to real legal issues in all areas of law that I have studied in my first year.  I woke up excited to go to work every day and loved the opportunity I had to apply abstract concepts learned in class to issues that were really going to make a difference in the life of an individual.  There have been many times during this first year that I have wondered what area of law I really wanted to practice.  After this experience it is even harder to decide because I got to see how fun and exciting property can be, how simple civil procedure rules can make life, and even the contract dispute was an interesting issue that had real world applicability.

I really felt at home at the CFJ and I truly believe that everyone should love their job and want to go to work everyday.  It was a great overall experience and it reaffirmed my determination to be a lawyer and to make a difference, even in my own life.

by Heidi Tolman

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Written by jrdo410

March 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Posted in Spokane

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