Environmental Attorney Laura Kerr Receives Oregon State Bar President's Public Service Award

Press Release

PORTLAND, Ore. Stoel Rives LLP is pleased to announce that attorney Laura Kerr has been selected by the Oregon State Bar to receive its 2018 President’s Public Service Award. The award recognizes attorneys who have made substantial contributions to the public through their involvement in pro bono legal work, the legislative/public affairs process, law-related education, coordination of public service law-related events, service with community boards or organizations, or similar activities. Kerr was honored at a luncheon on Nov. 7, 2018, in Portland.

Kerr is an associate in Stoel Rives’ Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources group, where she focuses her practice on helping clients solve complex challenges arising under federal and state environmental laws. She regularly advises on compliance issues, navigates permitting processes, manages environmental risks in transactions and resolves environmental disputes and enforcement actions.

Selected as an “Associate to Watch” by Chambers USA and as a “Rising Star” by Oregon Super Lawyers for 2017 and 2018, Kerr brings to her environmental law practice a wide variety of experience. She previously worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and for a natural resources nonprofit organization that partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey at Mount St. Helens.

Kerr worked to establish the nonprofit Oregon Center for Excellence to provide pro bono immigration representation. From the bar remarks at the awards luncheon:

“Laura Kerr has provided extraordinary pro bono services to Oregon’s immigrant and refugee communities. In 2016, nearly 2000 asylum-seekers were in the deportation courts in Oregon without representation and few resources available to help. That’s when Laura stepped in.

“Laura led an effort to create a brand new process for pro bono legal services for immigrants in Oregon. Collaborating with multiple partner organizations, Laura coordinated the creation of a Center of Excellence for immigration representation in Oregon. … Laura’s role included hosting a training session for more than 130 lawyers from all areas of practice.”

Immigration lawyer Stephen Manning, founder of Innovation Law Lab, through which the Center for Excellence is coordinated, nominated Kerr for the award and said of her: “Laura embodies this spirit of public service in so many ways. She routinely provides pro bono assistance to nonprofit clients and other individuals in need. Her incredible energy, positive attitude, ability to bring people together and make things happen, even under pressure, are all admirable. As a young attorney, Laura illustrates the bright future of the legal profession. In summary, she holds all the attributes one could look for in a recipient of the Oregon State Bar's Public Service Award.”

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