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Oregon Law Students Public Interest Fund

Chelsea Ray – Municipality of Anchorage

As a legal intern working for the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA), I supported the local government’s fundamental goal of serving its citizens. I performed a variety of legal tasks for MOA, and I was able to serve residents of the city and public employees alike. My experience was incredibly rewarding, and I felt that my work made a lasting difference in my home community of Anchorage, Alaska.

My dedication to the good of society is the root of my commitment to public interest law. Our society relies on the government, both state and federal, to protect its interests. Because I worked for the city, my clients, in all practicality, were the citizens of Anchorage. By attending assembly and attorney meetings, I learned about important issues affecting residents of Anchorage, including vagrancy laws, land use ordinances, and the seemingly endless series of lawsuits launched against the Anchorage Police Department. I worked with not only the attorneys in the Civil Department, but also the mayor, ombudsman, and the police and fire departments. While “Joe the Plumber” never thanked me directly, each lawyer I had the good fortune to work with was extremely appreciative of all my hard work. Not a single memo I wrote was received without a “thank you” and a pat on the back. It was clear to me that my work was benefitting not only the residents of Anchorage, but also the other municipal attorneys who were counting on me to help them tackle their caseloads.

Over the course of my internship with MOA, I gained valuable insight into the workings of local government. Additionally, I was able to hone my legal research and writing skills, make several public service connections, and obtain indispensable legal experience while working in the government sector. All of this was made possible by my receipt of an OLSPIF stipend. For this meaningful experience in government work, I thank the members of OLSPIF and their outstanding commitment to public service. With this meaningful experience in mind, I will continue to dedicate my efforts to the betterment of society through public interest law.

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