“Civil Rights in the 21st Century”: University of California’s Upcoming Public Service Conference

The Place: On September 23rd and 24th, University of California will again host its inaugural Public Service Law Conference at UCLA’s Luskin Center.

The Event: “In partnership with the UC Office of the President, Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), Berkeley School of Law, UCLA School of Law, UC Davis School of Law, and UC Irvine School of Law, the conference will bring together more than 500 law students, faculty members, lawyers, and nonprofit professionals committed to advancing civil rights and the public good. Panels and speeches will focus on the people, organizations, and systems working on the legal aspects of vital issues like immigration, homelessness, police accountability, water rights, and veterans’ issues during a day-and-a-half long conference.

Keynote Speakers and Panelists Include: Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California; Peter Neufeld, Co-Founder of the Innocence Project; Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director at the National Immigration Law Center; Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean at UC Berkeley School of Law; Jennifer Mnookin, Dean at UCLA School of Law; Kevin Johnson, Dean at UC Davis School of Law; L. Song Richardson, Interim Dean at UC Irvine School of Law; and more.

Registering: Individuals interested in attending the conference may register here. Registration is $150 and includes a lunch and evening reception on the first day with speakers and sponsors, breakfast on the second day, and all CLE costs (if applicable).”

Why We At PSJD Would Go: Due to University of California’s large network of schools and outreach within the state, the speakers at this event are among the best attorneys in the Public Sector and in their respective fields. Each is an expert on the topic they will be lecturing on and could potentially offer a plethora of insights into their specialties. In addition, the conference has particular workshops focused on furthering your own career in public service, including a panel entitled “How to Get a Job: Panel of Experts.” Plus, who doesn’t want a good excuse to soak up some Southern California sunshine?


Call for nominations for 2017 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award

PSJD is now accepting applications from law school nominators for the 2017 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award. The Pro Bono Publico Award recognizes the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, the public interest community, and legal education by performing pro bono work.


The Pro Bono Publico Award is available to any second- or third-year law student at a PSJD U.S. or Canadian Subscriber School. Each Subscriber School may submit up to 2 nominees. The recipient will be announced during National Pro Bono Week – usually held in October – and honored during an Award Ceremony at the recipient’s school thereafter. The award recipient will receive a commemorative plaque and a monetary award of $1,000.

Award Criteria

Selection is based on the extracurricular commitment the nominees have made to law-related public service projects or organizations; the quality of work they performed; and the impact of their work on the community, their fellow students, and the school. Actual pro bono work will be the primary consideration.

Nomination Deadline & Packet Contents

Initial nominations must be received by Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 5pm Eastern Time, by fax, mail, or email (to cjackson@nalp.org). Along with the nomination form and a résumé, nomination packets should include a two-page statement detailing the work the nominee has done, the impact it has had on the nominee’s community, and why this nominee is deserving of the award. Input or quotes from those involved in the work or from impacted community members may be included and are strongly encouraged. PLEASE SUBMIT ONE PDF CONTAINING ALL THE NOMINATION MATERIALS.


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 18, 2017

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday! With all that has happened this week, you may be looking for ways to combat the hate. PSJD has many resources to help you find and connect with pro bono opportunities in your area.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Duke Law School emphasizes public interest with new certificate program;
  • DC lawyers support record-breaking legal aid fundraising campaign;
  • Pennsylvania county launches domestic violence court;
  • Broadway performers vocalize support for Legal Service Corporation at ABA rally;
  • ABA launches second site to assist veterans;
  • SOAR for Justice announces inaugural scholarship;
  • ABA Center for Innovation announces eight inagural fellows;
  • Akin Gump announces new pro bono counsel;
  • Stanford Law School clinic announces website for nonprofit pro bono support;
  • Missouri sued over lack of attorneys for parole violators;
  • New York University School of Law launches new center to support state attorneys general in environmental litigation;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 11, 2017 – “Duke Law School recently announced its first certificate for Juris Doctor students. The new program—the Public Interest and Public Service Law Certificate—is specifically designed for students who have an interest in public service. Stella Boswell, assistant dean of public interest and career development, said public service jobs have become more competitive in recent years.  As a result, law students have to clearly demonstrate a strong interest in public work—something they can accomplish with the new certificate.” “Students in the program must perform at least 75 hours of community service and work full-time in the public sector during a summer while pursuing their degree. ” (The Chronicle)

August 11, 2017 – “The Generous Associates Campaign is a fundraising drive run by associates at Washington, D.C. law firms each summer. This year’s campaign kicked off on June 1. Although contributors to the campaign include associates, partners, non-lawyers, and the firms themselves, it is a campaign that allows the true generosity of the associates in our legal community to come through in spectacular fashion.” This year, the campaign raised $1.79 million, beating the goal by almost $300,000. (Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia)

August 11, 2017 – “Lancaster County [Pennsylvania] launched a Domestic Violence court Thursday with the goal of providing a safe avenue for victims and immediate treatment for offenders, while more efficiently handling domestic violence cases. A group of specialized prosecutors familiar with the intricacies of domestic-violence cases will handle the court’s caseload. Attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office will be on hand for defendants without private counsel. Twelve defendants appeared before the court during its first session. The court will be held every other Thursday at the Lancaster County Courthouse.” (Penn Live)

August 11, 2017 – “Broadway performers from War PaintHello Dolly and other productions voiced their support for the Legal Services Corp. on Friday by performing at a rally at the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City. The event, titled ‘It’s Only Fair! An ABA Concert and Rally for the Legal Services Corp.,’ was staged in an uncertain budget year for the LSC. President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating all funding for the agency, while House and Senate committees have recommended budget amounts below the LSC’s $527.8 million funding request for fiscal 2018. The LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid programs in the United States. ‘This is no time to eliminate or even cut funding to the Legal Services Corp.,’ ABA President Linda A. Klein said between the performers’ songs and speeches by LSC supporters.” “An ABA grassroots campaign has garnered more than 20,000 supporters whose message has been delivered to Congress, Klein said. It’s not too late for others to send their message through www.DefendLegalAid.org. The ABA was there for the birth of the LSC, and it was there in the 1980s and 1990s when policymakers threatened to eliminate funding. The ABA is making the case once again, Klein said, and this time it is armed with better information. Talking points for those who are sending a message to their representatives include the following: Every year, the LSC provides legal aid for 1.9 million individuals and their families. Funding for LSC only accounts for 0.0001 percent of the total federal budget.” (ABA Journal)

August 14, 2017 – “At its annual meeting in New York Saturday, the American Bar Association announced the launch of VetLex.org, a website, developed in partnership with the law firm Jones Day, that matches veterans in need of pro bono legal services with attorneys willing to provide such services. For now, the new site is only accepting registrations from attorneys, law firms and legal organizations interesting in providing services. By Veterans Day, the site will open on a pilot basis in a limited number of cities and states to accept veterans’ cases. The site will become fully operational nationally in 2018, the ABA’s announcement said. Once the site opens to veterans, it will provide an online tool for them to obtain pro bono counsel for their specific legal needs, including civil, criminal or administrative matters. It will also provide educational information on basic legal concepts, and serve as a repository for paperwork, such as DD 214s, that is required by various service providers. The ABA expects that the site will also be used by organizations that serve veterans in helping them find lawyers to assist their clients.” (Law Sites)

August 14, 2017 – “In furtherance of the goal of supporting survivors of abuse with the costs of obtaining a legal education and increasing the number of future lawyers committed to careers in domestic violence advocacy and law reform, the inaugural SOAR for Justice Scholarship awards $500 – $1000 to qualified California law students with proven track records in social justice. Individuals of all races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, ages, sexes, sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as differently abled persons, survivors of domestic violence, candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities and historically oppressed groups, bilingual and bicultural candidates, and those who are the first in their family to complete college or graduate school, are encouraged to apply.” “The deadline to apply is September 29, 2017 and awards will be announced during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2017.” (SOAR for Justice)

August 14, 2017 – “One will work with the Legal Services Corporation to develop web portals to help low-income Americans find appropriate legal aid resources. Another will help innocence projects develop a tool to better communicate with each other. These will be two of the eight first-time Fellows announced Monday who will work under the umbrella of the American Bar Association Center for Innovation. The Center was established in September 2016 at the recommendation of the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services to encourage and accelerate innovations that improve the accessibility, affordability and effectiveness of legal services and to transform how the public accesses the law and legal information. The Fellows, who were selected by the ABA Center for Innovation Fellows Committee, will begin work later this summer. Each will spend between three months and one year at the Center, and the group includes five NextGen Fellows, who will spend a year on projects, and three Innovation Fellows, whose fellowships run up to four months. ‘We’re thrilled to welcome these Fellows to the Center for Innovation,’ ABA President Linda A. Klein said. ‘They’re not only helping lawyers and their clients in creative new ways, they’re also giving us a glimpse into what legal services could look like in the decades to come.'” See the list of fellows and their projects at the link. (ABA Center for Innovation) (Legal News)

August 15, 2017 – “Akin Gump has found its new pro bono counsel, announcing recently that an associate at the firm with a history of work with nonprofits and programs aimed at providing service to immigrants fleeing violent situations would be taking over the position. Lauren Connell, previously an associate in the firm’s corporate practice, will succeed Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s first pro bono counsel Fiona Brett and step into a role that will have her assisting in the management of the firmwide pro bono practice, both maintaining relationships with the organizations Akin Gump has previously partnered with, and looking in a variety of fields for new pro bono opportunities for the firm’s attorneys.” (Law 360)(subscription required)

August 15, 2017 – “Stanford Law’s Organizations and Transactions Clinic announced today the launch of a website offering free access to hundreds of sample legal documents for attorneys who represent nonprofit organizations. As described on the website, model legal documents for nonprofits are often hard to find. Several organizations make available corporate governance models, though it’s difficult to find examples of other documents, especially materials relating to charitable programs and other activities specific to nonprofits. ‘We wanted to make a contribution toward addressing that gap in the resource base,’ said Jay A. Mitchell, Professor of Law and director of the clinic. The site’s roughly 200 form and precedent legal documents relate to a wide range of matters, including corporate governance, programmatic and earned income activities, and fiscal sponsorship, resource sharing, affiliation, and other relationships unique to nonprofits. The website also contains brief discussions of the clinic’s approach to the design of legal documents and client communications, which centers on accessibility and practical use by clients. ‘We think it’s instructive to try to learn from the design community in how we approach legal documents. We thought the site was a way to share that point of view in a concrete way,’ continued Mitchell, who has published about the intersections of design and legal documents. Mitchell and Michelle Sonu, Lecturer in Law and Clinical Supervising Attorney, led the project with support from the Robert Crown Law Library and Stanford Law’s communication and information technology departments.” (Stanford Law School Press)

August 15, 2017 – “While many states try to reverse incarceration rates, Missouri is held back by thousands of offenders returning to prison each year for not honoring the terms of their early release. The revolving door from parole violations isn’t unique to the Show-Me state. But a new class-action lawsuit filed Monday alleges that the parole revocation process is a ‘sham’ and ‘byzantine’ because hearings are often never held and Missouri Department of Corrections officials don’t provide attorneys. ‘Plaintiffs are constantly rotated in and out of the prison system — often at the result of non-criminal technical parole violations, and often based upon unsubstantiated accusations that the parolee committed a new criminal offense,’ according to a copy of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. ‘The vast majority of parolees in the State of Missouri need and are entitled to appointed counsel to help them navigate these arcane proceedings. Yet, as a matter of practice, procedure, and custom, the Defendants systematically deny indigent parolees their right to counsel.’ Instead, the lawsuit claims, parolees often don’t speak on their own behalf, nor present evidence or cross-examine witnesses during parole revocation proceedings ‘to which they are also constitutionally entitled.'” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

August 17, 2017 – “NYU School of Law announced today the creation of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center (State Impact Center) dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory roll-backs and other actions that undermine key clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. The non-partisan State Impact Center will support state attorneys general on clean energy, climate, and environmental initiatives of regional or national importance in a number of ways, including providing legal, analytic, and communications support, as well as facilitating coordination across multiple offices of state attorneys general.” “A primary goal of the State Impact Center is to enable interested state attorneys general to expand their capacity to take on important clean energy, climate, and environmental matters by recruiting and hiring NYU fellows to serve as special assistant attorneys general.” (NYU News)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

ABA Medal winner John Feerick called on lawyers to help close the justice gap by volunteering to help those in need and by supporting the Legal Services Corp. “Why not find a place to serve or create a program that can make a difference?” he asked. Feerick, the former dean at Fordham University School of Law, spoke Saturday in New York City at the ABA Annual Meeting’s General Assembly where he received the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor. (ABA Journal)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett.


Job’o’th’Week (Experienced Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Assistant/Associate Professor of Law

The Organization

The University of Oregon is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), and is a major research university committed to combining high level research with strong undergraduate and graduate teaching. Founded in 1876, UO enrolls almost 24,000 students from all 50 states and more than 95 countries; and offers over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. There are also 30 research centers, institutes, and core research facilities. Since July 2014, the University has been governed by an independent Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon. One of two AAU institutions in the Pacific Northwest, the University is widely known for a mix of highly ranked departments and innovative interdisciplinary programs; a strong commitment to research and education; and a collaborative, non-hierarchical institutional culture.

The Position

Seeking an individual who has demonstrated academic excellence, demonstrated success or the potential for success in scholarship and teaching, and a JD from an accredited law school or its equivalent. Successful candidates must have strong interpersonal skills sufficient to inspire and work effectively with diverse groups of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and members of the bar. Preference will be given to applicants with scholarship, teaching, or practice expertise in criminal law and related fields.

Is this the position for you? See the full-post on PSJD.


What Exactly Is a Split Summer?

By: Brittany Swett, J.D.

A new trend known as the “split summer” is gaining popularity among large law firms across the country. Despite the growing popularity of the split summer, a lot of law students and legal professionals have never heard of it. Today at PSJD, we are taking a quick look at what a split summer is and what some of the benefits and drawbacks are.

What a Split Summer Is:

Split summers come in a variety of forms. Most commonly, a split summer allows a law student who has secured a summer associate position for their 2L summer to spend the first half of the summer working at a law firm and the second half of the summer working for a nonprofit organization. Under this basic model, the law firm will then continue to pay the salary of the summer associate during the second half of the summer while they are at a non-profit. Some firms have taken this basic idea and added their own twist. Firms may require that the summer associate remain at the law firm for more than half of the summer and spend less time at the non-profit. Others have specific requirements about the non-profit chosen by the summer associate, while still others will only pay the summer associate for the time spent working at the firm. Each program is unique, but overall there are benefits and drawbacks to consider regarding a summer split.

Benefits to Splitting Your Summer:

Splitting a summer allows for a law student who is torn between the private sector and non-profit world to explore careers in both. The law student still gets to complete a summer associateship and enjoy all the benefits that come along with doing so, such as writing experience, the salary, professional contacts, and a potential offer at the end of the summer. In addition, the student gets to explore the non-profit sector, potentially working more closely with the public and for a cause they feel passionately about. In addition, if the student is someone who likes new experiences, two jobs in a short time span will keep them on their toes. Split summers also allow for a student to make a larger number of professional contacts in both fields. In addition, some split summer programs allow for their summer associates to work in two different cities over the course of the summer.

Drawbacks to Splitting Your Summer:

While eight or ten weeks can sound like a long time, it will fly by. One potential drawback of a split summer could be that the student is spreading themselves too thin. It may be more difficult to gain all the benefits of the experience at a law firm or at a non-profit organization if the student only spends a short time at each. In addition, forming meaningful professional connections with employees at each place may be more difficult due to the shortened length of time. Additionally, some law firms will give summer associates the time off to work at a non-profit, but will not compensate the summer associate for this time. Finally, the non-profit law world is also becoming more competitive in terms of job placement after graduation. If a law student knows that this is the field that they ultimately want to go into, spending a full summer at an organization ultimately may be more beneficial.

The split summer is an interesting new trend definitely worth exploring. To further research specific split summer programs, visit PSJD’s resource guide.





Fellow Field Trip! – USPTO

By: Delisa Morris, Esq., M.S.

Last week I, Delisa Morris, former PSJD Fellow, had the opportunity to visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for educational programming about the office, and its internship and job opportunities. The audience got to hear from six offices inside the USPTO: Office of the Chief Communications Officer (OCCO), Office of Equal Employment and Opportunity and Diversity (OEEOD), Trademarks, Office of Human Resources (HR), Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) / Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) and Patents. Each office representative shared a little about what she does day-to-day, the initiatives the office is pursuing, the type of jobs the office has and what hiring managers in each office look for in applicants.

The USPTO was listed as the Best Place to Work in Government in December 2013.  The agency is self-supported, which allows it to be insulated from government shutdowns.  Additionally, the USPTO allows for alternate work schedules and full-time work from home capabilities. Sounds like a great agency to start a career right?  It’s also a great place to work for the long haul!  Many of the presenters commented that they had been with the agency for decades.  They contribute their longevity with the USPTO on their ability to do ‘Details’ (a stint with another office or agency entirely for a period of time).  Some Details have lasted for years.

Below, I’ve pulled out a few key facts from what I learned about the USPTO.


  • There are 9,000 patent examiners (electrical, mechanical and physics)
  • 35 to 40% of the people who apply to become patent examiners receive full-time offers and 50% of those are JD holders
  • Fall externships are open now
  • There are opportunities to shadow employees on a case by case basis


  • Always searching for strong writers
  • Accepting interns, but no full-time opportunities upcoming
  • Interns get ‘a run at the salad bar’
  • Hiring officials look favorably at applicants who were previously interns


  • Helps make USPTO diverse
  • 18 staff members (Directors are attorneys)
  • The formal team has three attorneys
  • The hiring manager is looking for:
    • Passion for EEO & Diversity and Inclusion
    • Prior education/internships in the area
    • work with affinity groups (i.e. NAACP)
    • solid writing skills
    • proven use of alternative dispute resolution skills
  • No internship program currently


  • Attorneys are the bulk of the workforce. 860 employees, 555 attorneys
  • 1,000 applicants per 50 jobs
  • The hiring manager is looking for:
    • Detail oriented and decisive
    • Works well independently, most of the time it will be just you and your computer
    • Soft skills: staying abreast of pop culture/current news, well rounded knowledge from art to sports to history
  • 80 attorneys telework across the USA and Puerto Rico
  • Legal internships (paid and unpaid) are available, and they are very competitive


  • Wants the USPTO to be considered the Google of Government
  • Using storytelling to reach applicants starting with a new campaign #ChooseGov
  • 19% of recent grads are looking for government jobs, 74% of those seeking a government job are looking for work with the federal government
  • They understand the USAJobs is a tough system to work with, but working at the USPTO is wonderful and worth the application process
  • Veteran Hiring Program
    • Visit veteran recruitment fairs
    • Disabled veterans >30% are referred up to GS-15
    • Veterans with campaign medals are referred up to GS-11
    • Use the ‘Hire Vets’ mailbox to be matched before a position is broadcast to the public
      • Send an email to the veteran hiring coordinator and ask what’s available and if you qualify
      • Go through Recruit Military or Hiring Out Heroes


  • A 2010 startup
  • Works on European trademarks, economic & legal literature updates
  • Trademark registration is a leading indicator of economic ups and downs (The base of IP is econ)
  • Hiring manager is looking for:
    • PhD’s
    • Open to different communication styles
    • Team oriented
  • Office has unpaid externs that work on specific programming projects

Bonus: The cafeteria at the USPTO is amazing! I had a delicious made-to-order salad from the manifold of food stations including a pop-up BBQ.

Thank you Tanaga Boozer for giving us an inside look at your great agency!



PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 11, 2017

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday! This week is bittersweet here at PSJD.  We are thrilled to welcome our 2017-2018 PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett. Brittany comes to us from the University of San Diego School of Law. She is a fantastic addition to the team, and we couldn’t be more excited to start her fellowship year.  But that also means we have to say good-bye to our 2016-2017 PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris. We have had such a great year together, and it is sad that’s it’s coming to an end.  Her contributions to PSJD were invaluable, and we are extremely grateful for her hard work. We also say good-bye to our 2017 Publications Coordinator Allison Katona. She has put together the 2017-2018 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide and contributed in so many other ways.  We are excited to see what she does next.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Big Law’s bid to improve access to justice through pro bono (perspective);
  • Dean Susan Westerberg Prager Endowment Fund to benefit Southwestern Law School public interest students;
  • Virginia attorney general launches new resource guide to help servicemembers;
  • DC Mayor Bowser renews grants that provide legal help to D.C. immigrants;
  • Major new pro bono projects help imprisoned immigrants, struggling students in Atlanta;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 3, 2017 – Lisa Dewey, Pro Bono Partner at DLA Piper and Director of New Perimeter, Sara Andrews, Senior International Pro Bono Counsel at DLA Piper and Assistant Director for New Perimeter, and Eve Runyon, President and CEO of Pro Bono Institute share an excellent perspective on the expansion of global pro bono as law firms have become more global and government funding cuts have curtailed local response to legal needs. (Bloomberg Law)

August 4, 2017 – “Southwestern Law School announced the establishment of the Dean Susan Westerberg Prager Endowment Fund to benefit the Southwestern Law School Summer Public Interest Law Grant program which is supported through fundraising efforts of the Public Interest Law Committee (PILC). Sterling Franklin, trustee of Morris S. Smith Foundation and a friend of Dean Prager, established the Fund with a $50,000 gift.  The endowment will generate an annual $2,000 Prager Summer Grant to support one student doing public interest law work.  The Fund’s 2017 awardee is Ms. Jeannette Beaudelaire ’18.” (SWLaw Blog)

August 4, 2017 – “ A new online resource to help meet the legal needs of servicemembers, military families and veterans in Virginia has been launched. Attorney General Mark Herring announced the launch of the Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resources Guide on Friday. The resource will help them with legal protections, rights and resources that are currently available under the law.” “The Virginia Military and Veteran Legal Resource Guide was created by volunteer attorneys from Herring’s office who spent more than a year developing it. It is available online, and it will be distributed in hard copy and digital in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, veteran service organizations and others. Some of the topics covered in the new guide include employment help with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act and continuing health care. It also covers consumer protections such as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act limiting interest rates on loans, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, tax deductions and exemptions for certain military pay, family law regarding child custody and visitation protections, programs ensuring access to ballots for deployed servicemembers, and access to legal services.” (CBS 19)

August 8, 2017 – “After announcing $500,000 in grants to serve immigrants in D.C. facing or fearing deportation in January, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration is bringing the grants back for a second year. ‘It is a clear need for residents in the District, and we’re addressing it,’ says Betsy Cavendish, the mayor’s general counsel. ‘Washington, D.C. is blessed with a very civicly engaged bar and our lawyers are some of the most generous pro bono givers of their time and expertise in the country. And we are also fortunate to have a very diverse population that brings great cultural contributions from around the world to the city. We’re matching up that vibrant sector of our community with the attorneys to hopefully provide more security.'”  (DCist)

August 9, 2017 – “Pro bono leaders from the city’s big firms gathered at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton on Tuesday for updates from Dan Werner of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Michael Lucas of Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) on two ambitious new pro bono initiatives that are quickly gaining traction. The SPLC launched an unprecedented deportation defense project at the Stewart Detention Center in April, and AVLF last year started a project at Thomasville Heights Elementary School in southwest Atlanta that provides legal aid to resolve housing problems that cause children to struggle with school and miss days. Both pilot projects embed staff lawyers on-site—at the immigration court and the elementary school, respectively—and recruit volunteer lawyers from the private bar to help with individual cases. Each has gained enough support to start expanding to new locations, Werner and Lucas told the Atlanta Pro Bono Roundtable members.” (Daily Report)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

University of Windsor associate professor Reem Bahdi is the 2017 recipient of the Guthrie Award from the Law Foundation of Ontario, in recognition of her contributions to the field of access to justice. Bahdi says it has an intuitive appeal. “Wrapped up in the idea of human dignity is the idea that everybody is equal, everybody is entitled to human rights, everybody has potential.” “And in an ideal world, we would live in a way that allows individuals to live up to their potential and not put social or political or economic barriers in the way.” As a legal scholar, she’s particularly interested in access to justice. Bahdi helped develop the Palestinian justice system, created a model for judicial education to advance human rights in the West Bank by promoting human dignity and worked to form Windsor’s mandatory access to justice course for law students. Dean of law Christopher Waters noted Bahdi’s diverse contributions to legal education have put her at the forefront of access to justice, theoretically and literally. Read more about her amazing work at the link. (Windsor Star)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett.


Job’o’th’Week (Entry-Level Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Attorney I: City of Arlington Attorney’s Office 

The Organization: 

The City Attorney provides legal counsel and advice to the Mayor, City Council, and all departments of the City of Arlington. The City Attorney prosecutes all actions in the Municipal Court; represents the City in litigation, and is responsible for drafting and preparing contracts, resolutions and ordinances.

The Position:

This position is responsible for performing legal research; drafting legal opinions, legal memoranda, and other legal documents; advising city employees and officials regarding city legal matters; investigating claims and complaints made against the City; representing the City in legal proceedings; and in some instances, prosecuting violators of City ordinances.

Know you would be a stellar fit for the position? See the full post on PSJD.



The 2017- 2018 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide is live!

Fellowship Guide word cloud

The 2017-2018 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide is now available on PSJD. The Guide is your first stop in the search for post-graduate fellowships. An exclusively online Guide allows you to search in real time for the most current information. The Guide provides a portal to the database, which features over 300 fellowship opportunities. The database is continually updated, and we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Guide. PSJD also provides tips on applying for fellowships as well as a primer you can pass directly to students, including how to search by fellowship type, geographic location, or deadline. Check it out now; many fellowship application deadlines are quickly approaching.


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 4, 2017

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday! Can you believe it’s August already? As we move into the fall recruiting season, don’t forget about all the job search resources in the PSJD Resource Center.  And, as I yearn for cooler temperatures, my thoughts also turn to planning pro bono celebrations in October. If you are doing the same, check out the ABA’s Celebrate Pro Bono resources for all your planning needs.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Maryland Legal Aid creates subsidiary to expand statewide legal services;
  • Holland & Knight donates $100,000 to Miami Legal Services in honor of firm founder;
  • More students seeking public interest internships;
  • Mayor De Blasio, New York City Council reach deal limiting legal fund for immigrants facing deportation;
  • The International Trademark Association officially launches Pro Bono Clearinghouse;
  • North Carolina legal aid gets cut again;
  • Match site launches for progressive lawyers and non-profits;
  • Committee OKs plan to halt pro bono legal work by University of North Carolina School of Law Center for Civil Rights;
  • University of Georgia School of Law creates Veterans Legal Services Clinic;
  • Department of Education files response to ABA lawsuit regarding PSLF;
  • Montreal-based law firm EXEO launches free smart virtual assistant to help future immigrants;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 26, 2017 – “Maryland Legal Aid is expanding its services with a new, wholly owned subsidiary. The Maryland Center for Legal Assistance — through a contract with the Administrative Office of the Courts — will run the District Court Self-Help Resource centers located in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, Upper Marlboro, Salisbury and the Maryland Courts Self-Help Center in Annapolis. Running of the self-help centers is the first service the MCLA will offer. Its work may also be expanded to offer more legal services, Maryland Legal Aid announced Wednesday. The help centers work on a range of civil legal matters including landlord-tenant disputes, consumer matters such as debt collection and credit card cases, child support and criminal record expungement to remove barriers to attain housing, employment, a license, and child custody. In 2016, the centers helped more than 55,000 self-represented litigants, Maryland Legal Aid said. ‘The new Maryland Center for Legal Assistance will serve as another dependable resource for Marylanders to receive high-quality legal help and to gain the knowledge and tools necessary to represent themselves in court,’ said MCLA Managing Director Sarah Coffey Frush in a statement. MCLA is a separate legal entity which does not receive funding from the Legal Services Corporation, unlike Maryland Legal Aid.” (The Daily Record)

July 27, 2017 – “Holland & Knight is honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding partner Chesterfield Smith with a $100,000 gift to Legal Services of Greater Miami Inc. Smith, who was born July 28, 1917 and died in 2003, was a vocal advocate for pro bono legal services for the poor. The firm commits at least 3 percent of its billable hours to pro bono legal services each year.” (Daily Business Review)

July 31, 2017 – “While a summer job at a large firm is lucrative, a bumper crop of law students is taking low or no-paying public interest jobs instead, in part because it’s a way to gain hands-on legal experience. This year, the University of Georgia School of Law sharply increased the number of public interest fellowships it offered—from 22 to 36. That’s up from only eight or 10 summer stipends a couple of years ago, said Alexander Scherr, associate dean for clinical programs and experiential learning.” “UGA provided $68,000 in public interest fellowship funding this summer, a $15,000 increase from last year, Scherr said, thanks to a new initiative to raise contributions from alumni.” “Meanwhile, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society hosted 26 interns this summer, who came from all five Georgia law schools, plus Harvard, Yale, the University of Oregon and other schools nationally, said the group’s deputy director, Cathy Vandenberg. That’s up from 15 to 20 students it has hosted in the past, Vandenberg said.”  (Daily Report)

August 1, 2017 – “Mayor de Blasio and the [New York] City Council have struck a deal in a fight that had cut off legal help for immigrants facing deportation. The city’s $26 million will not go to pay for lawyers for immigrants convicted of 170 serious crimes — a restriction de Blasio had insisted on — but anonymous private donors have stepped in with $250,000 to aid those who can’t get the taxpayer money. The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, which provides lawyers for immigrants fighting deportation, had been refusing new clients since June because of the dispute. Mayor de Blasio said people convicted of serious felonies should not get city assistance, but Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito objected to that rule and inserted language into the budget legislation passed by the Council to bar any such restrictions. Under the deal reached Monday, the Council agreed to rescind that condition. While de Blasio will get his way on the city cash, the private money will go directly to NYIFUP to continue defending those with serious convictions, as it has done in the past.” “With the money out of limbo, the program will now resume taking new clients as soon as possible, according to the Legal Aid Society.” (New York Daily News)

August 1, 2017 – “The International Trademark Association’s (INTA) Pro Bono Clearinghouse has officially opened to potential clients facing trademark issues in the US and Germany. The clearinghouse had a pilot soft start on 1 January. In its current form, the clearinghouse offers a host of practitioners in the US and Germany that can help with trademark issues. Eligible clients will be matched with an INTA attorney to help guide them. The intended clients are low-income individuals and directors of non-profit or charitable organizations with low operating budgets that have no other option or don’t have access to legal advice in trademarks.” (IPPro The Internet)

August 1, 2017 – “Poor people who need help fighting a landlord or keeping government benefits can get an attorney for free through North Carolina legal aid programs, but new state budget cuts mean fewer may have that option.” “For years, the three leading legal aid groups have received state funds to represent people in civil matters in part through budget earmarks and a small portion of the fees from court filings and criminal cases. Legal aid funds already had been cut by more than half since 2008 to $2.7 million during the last fiscal year. This year the reduction looks deeper and permanent, and the reasons for the cuts remain unclear. The state budget approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly last month over Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto eliminated the practice of setting aside $1.50 from each filing fee and repealed the law distributing funds for general legal services. Of the $1.1 million that remains, most will go to help represent domestic violence victims for protective orders or child custody matters. Although the legal aid groups also get funds from other sources, their leaders said in interviews the new state cuts could mean nearly 35 attorneys and staff ultimately will be laid off, resulting in several thousand potential clients unable to get help each year.” (US News & World Reports)

August 1, 2017 – “President Donald Trump has inspired a new online dating service—between lawyers seeking pro-bono work and opposition non-profits in need of help. We the Action, launching Friday, will be an online portal to connect lawyers with legal work waiting to be done, from reviewing leases and contracts to filing Social Security claims to potentially heading to court in immigration cases. Non-profits will be able to post the services they need, and search through online profiles created by attorneys detailing expertise and availability. Several connections have been made already by the 501(c)(4), funded and incubated by the California-based Emerson Collective, the organization founded and led by Laurene Powell Jobs.” “Eleven larger organizations are forming the backbone of support and outreach: Access Democracy, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Equality New York, the International Refugee Assistance Program, the Latin American Coalition, Let America Vote, NARAL Pro Choice America, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands and Voto Latino.” (Politico)

August 2, 2017 – “A center founded at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to help the poor and disenfranchised moved one step closer to losing its ability to file lawsuits on Tuesday. A committee of the UNC Board of Governors voted 5-1, with one abstention, to strip the UNC Center for Civil Rights of its ability to sue on behalf of clients or provide legal counsel. Ban proponents say the center’s courtroom work strays from the university’s education mission, but supporters of the center say students gain valuable experience through working on cases and that the ban would effectively defang the center.” “The Board of Governors likely will consider the ban at its Sept. 8 meeting.” (WRAL)

August 2, 2017 – “The University of Georgia School of Law is establishing a Veterans Legal Services Clinic funded by a lead gift from renowned trial attorney and alumnus James E. “Jim” Butler Jr. in memory of his father, Lt. Cmdr. James E. Butler Sr., who was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy. Butler Sr. was also the grandfather of James E. “Jeb” Butler III, a 2008 graduate of the law school. The new clinic will provide veterans in Georgia with legal assistance they might not otherwise have access to or be able to afford, with particular regard to denied or deferred claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It also includes an educational scholarship component.” (University of Georgia News)

August 2, 2017 – “In court documents filed late Monday, the federal agency reaffirmed earlier statements that borrowers could not rely on FedLoan Servicing, the company overseeing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, to accurately say whether they qualify for debt relief. The department’s position signals that there are no guarantees of loan forgiveness for people who have received assurances from the servicing company, a troubling realization for the hundreds of thousands of people participating in the program.” “‘Though the department’s contractor has made occasional errors in individual notifications to borrowers, it has corrected those errors,’ Education Department attorneys wrote in Monday’s filing. ‘Moreover, it has provided borrowers … ample opportunities to seek reconsideration of its decisions.’ The attorneys said the final decision on forgiveness is, and has always been, in the hands of the Education Department. That means borrowers will know for sure that their loans will be forgiven only after they have completed the 10 years of payments.” (The Washington Post)

August 2, 2017 – “EXEO, a Montreal-based law firm specialized in immigration and international mobility, launches IVA (Immigration Virtual Assistant) a free, AI-powered virtual assistant to assist close to 180,000 people looking to immigrate to Canada each month. As one of Canada’s pioneering legal technology initiatives geared to the general public, IVA is the first tool to cover more than 25 permanent and temporary Canadian immigration categories.” “Accessible via Facebook Messenger, IVA uses a Q&A format to provide users with information regarding the possibilities that are open to them. IVA covers more than 25 immigration program categories, from work permit applications to student visas to permanent residence programs. IVA’s content is vetted by lawyers and researchers who track changes to the Canadian regulations. Updates are done in real time, using adaptive programming. This Canadian initiative is the result of more than 1,000 hours of research and programming, as well as the work of a multidisciplinary team of lawyers, researchers, copywriters, programmers, graphic designers, artificial intelligence specialists and web designers.” (Markets Insider)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

Wiley Rein LLP obtained a lifesaving ruling in a compelling pro bono immigration case, securing asylum for a teenage refugee who had fled to the United States to escape gang-related criminal activity, violence, and homelessness in his native Honduras. Read more about the case, and this win at the link. Congratulations to the team! (Wiley Rein News & Insights)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris.