University of Oregon law student Garrett Kampf stands outside a courtroom in the Deschutes County Circuit Court on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, in Bend. Kampf was a court certified law clerk for the summer and has had opportunities to work on cases in front of a judge in court. (Joe Kline/Bulletin photo) Like a lot of people, Garrett Kampf was scared the first time he went before a judge.
“There’s no amount of studying or sitting in a classroom that can prepare you for that initial appearance,” said Kampf, a University of Oregon law student who worked this summer as a clerk in the Deschutes County Public Defenders Office. “It’s quite surreal.”
Thanks to the state’s Law Student Appearance Rule, second-year law students such as Kampf — who’ve passed classes in evidence and legal ethics — can get certified to work real cases in front of real judges under the supervision of certified attorneys.
Kampf was one of three law clerks in the public defenders office in Bend — also known as the law firm Crabtree & Rahmsdorff — but, as a second-year student law student, he was the only one certified to appear in court. Three clerks also worked in the Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office, writing motions in misdemeanor cases and shadowing deputy district attorneys.
“When I’m hiring attorneys, I look very positively on any clinical experience,” he said. “Law school doesn’t exactly teach you what the real world will be like.”
Due to time it often takes a case to work through the justice system, law clerks don’t often see a case through to resolution. But this summer, Kampf was involved to varying degrees in dozens that passed through the public defender’s office. He wrote memos and motions to suppress evidence, and appeared in court on mainly procedural matters between 15 and 20 times for cases involving wildlife violations, people caught with “usable” quantities of illegal drugs and weapons.
On one occasion he got tongue-tied in court — the result of his own confusion about something. It’s the kind of moment one remembers, and learns from, he said.
“They didn’t baby me. I […]