Public Interest Law Project raises $25,000; will award eight fellowships

The 19th annual Bid for Justice auction sponsored by the Willamette University Public Interest Law Project (WUPILP) has raised $25,000. The money will be used for eight summer fellowships, the most ever, according to WUPILP president Aaron Jeffers.

 The auction, held earlier this month at the Mission Mill in Salem, featured a catered dinner, several auctions, performances by faculty members…and a wedding proposal.

 In one of the evening’s lighter moments, second-year law student Jack Dekovich arranged with Jeffers to propose to girlfriend Emily Skaer, a graphic animator in Portland. Jeffers called Dekovich to the front of the room; Dekovich announced that he and Skaer had been dating for seven years, and then he turned to her and asked, “I know it’s short notice, but…will you marry me?”

 Fortunately, Skaer said yes. They plan to marry next summer or the year after.

 “I don’t know how we’re going to top that next year,” Jeffers said. “You just never know what’s going to happen at a WUPILP auction.”

 The event, one of the biggest all year, raises money for fellowships that are given to law students working at nonprofits or governments. The work must be law-related and can be anywhere in the U.S. or overseas.

 Among the auction items were vacation packages, a trip to a Mariners v. Yankees game with Professor Paul Diller, and dinner with Dean Symeon C. Symeonides. Richard F. Breen, director of the J.W. Long Law Library, received the WUPILP public interest service award.