PSJD Public Interest News Digest – June 23, 2017

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

Happy Friday! The Digest is taking a vacation next week. We hope you have a safe and happy July 4th holiday, and we will return on July 7.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Bay Area legal tech firm announces funding partnership with Bay Area Legal Aid;
  • Legal Aid Manitoba faces increased refugee claims, flat funding;
  • Nearly $50 million in California state budget will go to expanded legal services for immigrants;
  • Two more Legal Aid Ontario offices unionize;
  • Ontario supporting increased access to justice in French;
  • BYU law school launching think tank to make legal system more accessible;
  • New legal hotline a lifeline for Ontario’s low-income Chinese and Southeast Asians;
  • LA County votes to contribute $1 million to LA Justice Fund;
  • Minneapolis legal service will continue to serve those who don’t speak English for free;
  • Consumer watchdog accuses student loan companies of preventing public servants from accessing loan forgiveness;
  • Wisconsin State Supreme Court to hold hearing on court-appointed lawyer rates;
  • Legal Aid Ontario offers funding to Ottawa community organization to support Black youth;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

June 15, 2017 – “One Legal, a North Bay based legal technology company, has today announced an extended partnership with Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal), the Bay Area’s leading provider of civil legal aid to the most vulnerable members of the community. This joint venture adds a revenue-sharing element to the ongoing donation of the firm’s technology, and has been launched in response to steep budget cuts proposed in the current draft of the federal budget for 2018. Headquartered in Oakland and serving seven Bay Area counties, BayLegal may be faced with losing up to one-fourth of its total funding in the coming year. Next year’s proposal eliminates the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), an independent agency established by Congress, which provides financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. Last year, BayLegal received $4.1 million from LSC, and client services will be severely cut if they cannot supplement the difference moving forward. With the Giving Back program, One Legal is stepping up to fill the gap made by federal budget cuts. In addition to providing no-cost access to its legal services and products to BayLegal, One Legal will invite law firm customers to enroll in a program whereby 5 percent of the net revenue arising from their use of the One Legal platform is donated directly to BayLegal. It is one of the most generous corporate/non-profit partnerships ever announced in the legal sector.” (PRNewswire)

June 15, 2017 – “Legal Aid Manitoba is experiencing a huge spike in applications, which a report out Thursday predicts could eventually lead to a staggering 11-year delay for refugees waiting for a hearing. Without an increase in funding, by the year 2021, refugee claimants could be waiting more than a decade for their cases to be heard, the report obtained by the Canadian Press states. Meanwhile, Legal Aid Manitoba is still waiting to find out how much funding it will get from the province this year. In just over two months — from April 1 to June 11, 2017 — Legal Aid Manitoba processed 243 immigration cases. Last year, 308 cases were processed for the total fiscal year.” (CBC News)

June 15, 2017 – “California state lawmakers approved $45 million in a state budget plan to expand legal services for immigrants, a response to the Trump administration’s call to increase deportations. The funds, greater than what Gov. Jerry Brown earmarked in May and which will be an ongoing allocation through 2020, will go to a coalition of legal services agencies, immigrant rights groups and faith-based organizations called One California. The $30-million legal assistance program, run by the state Department of Social Services, was first assembled to help thousands of immigrants apply for naturalization and former President Obama’s deferred action programs. With the additional money, providers will now also be able to help immigrants fighting deportation or removal proceedings. In a statement, the coalition called it a modest and reasonable investment to bolster much needed relief services.” (Los Angeles Times)

June 15, 2017 – “Workers at two Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) offices voted overwhelmingly in favour of joining the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) this week. Both the Central District office (with offices in Barrie, Peterborough, and Oshawa) and the North Toronto District office (with four offices in Scarborough) will be joining their partners at two other LAO offices already represented by OPSEU.” “Workers at the two LAO offices cited a number of reasons for wanting to unionize, including the security of having terms and conditions of employment that cannot be changed unilaterally, and having a voice to raise and address issues collectively, rather than individually.” (OPSEU)

June 16, 2017 – “Ontario, in partnership with the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, is improving access to justice in French by establishing the province’s first continuing professional development centre for Francophone legal professionals. The pratiquO pilot project will help Francophone and Francophile justice professionals in Ontario meet the Law Society of Upper Canada requirement to complete 12 hours of professional development every year, and help non-jurists upgrade their legal skills in French.” (Ontario Newsroom)

June 19, 2017 – “A team at Brigham Young University is looking to make the law more accessible to those who can’t afford a lawyer. LawX, a legal design lab starting this fall at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, aims to create products and solutions to make navigating the legal system easier. The students will brainstorm, design a solution, test prototypes and implement a final solution, all in one semester. ‘We won’t just be thinking how to solve problems,’ said Kimball Parker, the founder of the legal education website CO/COUNSEL who will also oversee LawX. ‘We will build the solution.'” “The lab’s first project will be focusing on making sure people without a lawyer can answer complaints on time.” “The lab team will be made up of a handful of second- and third-year law students, along with a fellow who will do extra work such as helping a product continue after the semester ends.” (Daily Herald)

June 19, 2017 – “For some low-income people in Ontario, it could be a lifeline. A new toll-free hotline operated by the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (CSALC) went live Sunday, providing free legal consultations in five different languages for non-English speakers. ‘We know how much need there is out there,’ said Avvy Go, director of the CSALC and lawyer specializing in what’s informally called ‘poverty law.’ The clinic has been operating on Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto for nearly 30 years. New funding from Legal Aid Ontario allowed it to open its services to low-income Chinese and Southeast Asian people in every corner of the province.” “The grant of $100,000 helped cover costs of the hotline and two new staff members — one lawyer who speaks Mandarian and Cantonese and one who speaks Vietnamese —  as well as new community outreach. According to Go, most of the clinic’s work is related in some way to immigration or employment. ” (CBC News)

June 20, 2017 – “The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to contribute $1 million to a legal aid fund for people at risk of deportation and confirmed that anyone convicted of a violent felony will not be eligible to benefit from the fund. The eligibility requirements for the county’s share of the L.A. Justice Fund — specifically the prohibition of convicted felons — drew protests from immigration advocates in April and forced the board to cancel a planned vote on the matter.” “The board’s vote Tuesday focused on finalizing an agreement with the California Community Foundation to act as the county’s intermediary in granting aid. That agreement included an exhibit spelling out the eligibility criteria.” “Niels Frenzen, director of USC’s Gould School of Law Immigration Clinic, said the county’s money would free up other funds for immigrants with prior convictions. ‘When there are limited funds, it’s not always possible to provide for the representation of everyone facing removal proceedings,’ Frenzen said. “However, the county’s contribution to the L.A. Justice Fund provides significant new funding for immigrants under the threat of deportation who do not have felony records, which in turn frees providers to use non-L.A. Justice Fund funds to represent other immigrants, including those with criminal histories.’ The L.A. Justice Fund is aiming to raise $10 million. The county intends to contribute an additional $2 million in fiscal year 2018-19 and the city of Los Angeles has tentatively committed $2 million, an amount approved by a council committee Monday.” “Private entities are expected to contribute the remainder of the $10 million and can set their own rules for eligibility.” (mynewsLA.com)

June 21, 2017 – “Minneapolis’ Somali and Spanish speaking residents will continue to receive free rental legal advice services in their languages after the city of Minneapolis renewed funds to a nonprofit. The Minneapolis City Council approved $100,000 and a six-month extension for services from the tenant advocacy organization HOME Line to keep offering confidential service in English, Spanish and Somali to tenants in the state — particularly aiming to help immigrants and low-income households.” (Minnesota Daily)

June 22, 2017 – “Student loan companies are making it difficult for nurses, social workers, firefighters, cops, and other public servants to access the debt forgiveness to which they’re entitled, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officials said Thursday. That assessment is based on a review of thousands of student loan complaints submitted to the bureau between March 1, 2016 and Feb. 28, 2017. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) was the fourth most complained about issue among borrowers who submitted complaints about their federal student loans, the report released Thursday by the CFPB found.” “The CFPB’s findings come as the program faces an uncertain future — the Department of Education’s budget request asks Congress to eliminate PSLF for borrowers taking out loans after July 1, 2018. The CFPB’s analysis will also likely add fuel to consumer advocates’ concerns that borrowers who qualify for PSLF and are counting on it may be struggling to access the program, either because they don’t have enough information about it, or they have the wrong facts about its requirements. The Government Accountability Office estimated in 2015 that about 4 million workers are eligible for the program, but just 552,931 borrowers were on track to receive forgiveness as of the end of last year. The program’s first major test will come in October of this year when the first cohort of borrowers are eligible for forgiveness.” “Borrowers planning on using PSLF should make sure they’re submitting their ECF forms and checking to see that their accounting of their eligible payments matches what their servicer has on file, said Seth Frotman, the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman. The CFPB is launching a campaign Thursday, called ‘Certify Your Service’ aimed at helping borrowers who believe they qualify for PSLF know what to do to access it. ‘We know that for many borrowers Public Service Loan Forgiveness is incredibly important for their financial futures,’ Frotman said. ‘What we would strongly encourage borrowers to do is to make sure that they’re on track.'” (Market Watch)

June 22, 2017 – “The state supreme court will hold a public hearing on a petition requesting increased pay for court-appointed lawyers and a declaration of unreasonableness concerning rates paid to attorneys who take public defender cases. At the court’s open rules conference yesterday, the last one of the term, the court unanimously voted to set a public hearing date, likely in December, and solicit comments related to petition 17-06, which would raise the per hour fee paid to court-appointed attorneys, under Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 81.02(1), from $70 to $100. The petition also asks the court to declare, through SCR 81.02(2), that an hourly rate less than $100 for legal services rendered by private attorneys who take appointments from the State Public Defender, under Wis. Stat. § 977.08, is unreasonable.” (State Bar of Wisconsin News)

June 22, 2017 – “Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is providing $100,000 of funding to a project headed by an Ottawa-based organization to provide services to Black students facing suspension or expulsion hearings. The Somali Centre for Family Services of Ottawa has been given a one-time grant worth $100,000 to provide legal representation, advocacy or legal education to Black students who are in conflict with the education system. The funding for this grant is from an investment begun by the Province of Ontario in 2015 that was earmarked to create new legal aid services. In consultations held as part of LAO’s Racialized Communities Strategy, community partners reported that Black children are among those that are disproportionately punished, suspended and expelled. LAO is offering these grants to help students and their families because expulsion can often lead to the heightened involvement of youths in the criminal justice system.” (Cision)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

The Volunteer Lawyer Program of Northeast Indiana announced 26 area attorneys donated 50 or more hours of pro bono legal assistance in 2016. Although not required, 50 hours of free legal assistance to low-income people is a goal established by the Indiana Supreme Court. Attorneys achieving this benchmark are: Douglas Adelsperger, Laura Boyer, R. David Boyer II, Johanna Campbell, John Cowan, Jonathan Cress, Melanie Farr, Travis Friend, Ronald Felger, Yvette Gaff Kleven, Stephen Griebel, Damian Gosheff, Alan Hofer, Nicholas Hursh, Roy Kiplinger, James McEntarfer, Jerri Mead, Timothy Stucky, Joshua Tourkow, Douglas Ulmer, Konrad Urber, David Van Gilder, Benjamin Williams, Nathan Williams, Sarah Wladecki and Michael Yates. Sarah Sladecki was named new VLP attorney of the year. Steve Rademaker and Timothy Claxton of Allen County, James McEntarfer of Steuben County, Andrew Kruse of DeKalb County and Johanna Campbell of Wells County were named pro bono attorney of distinction. Shambaugh Kast Beck & Williams was named law firm of the year. Adelsperger & Kleven LLP was given the Pro Bono Award for Passion & Excellence. (News-Sentinel)

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

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Job’o’th’Week (Entry-Level Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Assistant Attorney General

The Organization

The Utah Attorney General’s mission is to uphold the constitutions of the United States and of Utah, enforce the law, and protect the interests of Utah, its people, environment and resources.

The Position

The State Agency Counsel Division of the Attorney General’s office seeks a dynamic attorney to represent the Utah Department of Human Services (DHS). This attorney will advise DHS on Juvenile Justice issues, civil rights compliance, and pending legislation, and will represent the DHS in matters before the juvenile courts and district courts and in administrative hearings. This is a one year, non-merit, entry to mid-level position. Preference will be given to an attorney with human services experience, experience with GRAMA, or HIPAA issues, or experience drafting and negotiating contracts on behalf of the State. Two to five years experience in juvenile or criminal justice preferred. This attorney will be co-located with the Department of Human Services, but will report to the State Agency Counsel Division. Must be an active member in good standing of the Utah State Bar. Some travel may be required.

Is this the perfect opportunity for you? View the full-post on PSJD.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – June 16, 2017

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

Happy Friday! This week has been a tough one. Thank you to all of those who have rendered aid and worked to bring people together.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Boston Bar Foundation awards grants;
  • Report says Tennessee’s public defender system needs more money;
  • Legal Services Corporation presents new justice gap report to Congress;
  • Endowment fund for veterans honors memory of Texas lawyer;
  • Over $900,000 awarded to prevent foreclosures and redevelop DC communities;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

June 11, 2017 – “Nearly $1 million in grants will be given to 20 community organizations that provide legal services to domestic violence survivors, veterans, at-risk children and others. Last year, groups that received the grants helped more than 38,000 people who needed legal assistance. The grant recipients this year include Casa Myrna Vasquez, Boston’s largest provider of shelter to domestic violence victims. Other groups to receive the grants include the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts, the Irish International Immigration Center, Prisoners’ Legal Services and Veterans Legal Services. The Boston Bar Foundation and the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts will provide the grants.” (Lowell Sun)

June 12, 2017 – “A new report says Tennessee is not meeting its constitutional obligation to provide an adequate legal defense to residents who can’t afford an attorney. The report was compiled over an 18 month period at the request of the Tennessee Supreme Court. The task force report concludes that Tennessee is failing to provide the state’s system of public defenders with adequate resources to represent indigent residents in court. The final report makes seven recommendations. Among them: Increase the pay private attorneys receive from the state when they are asked by the courts to defend a poor client.” (WMOT)

June 14, 2017 – “Today Legal Services Corporation (LSC) will issue a new report, The Justice Gap: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans. The report is a study of the ‘justice gap’ in the U.S.—the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet them. Last year, 86% of the civil legal problems reported by low-income Americans received inadequate or no legal help at all.” The full report is available here. (Legal Services Corporation)(ABA Journal)

June 14, 2017 – “A legal aid endowment fund for Texas veterans has been established to honor the legacy of Texas trial lawyer Joe Jamail. The Joe Jamail Endowment for Veteran Legal Services was established by Jamail’s longtime friend and one-time employee Richard Mithoff. Mithoff contributed $100,000 to launch the fund which has grown to $400,000. The money will be used to help veterans avoid homelessness, promote stability in their family relationships and help them with employment problems. Jamail, who died in 2015, was a Marine before he was a lawyer. The endowment is managed by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation which was created in 1984 to provide funding for civil legal aid in Texas.” (Houston Chronicle)

June 15, 2017 – “The DC Bar Foundation announced the recipients of the third distribution of the Foreclosure Prevention and Community Redevelopment Legal Assistance Grants Program. A total of $939,000 was awarded to projects that will increase access to justice by:

  • Representing low-income and elderly residents in foreclosure cases at DC Superior Court;
  • Ensuring that affordable housing properties in DC transition to market rate in a way that avoids displacement of low-income DC tenants;
  • Combatting the causes of affordable housing loss due to significant rent increases, sale of properties, termination of government subsidies, and unsafe conditions; and,
  • Assisting tenant groups with the establishment and maintenance of their affordable housing limited equity cooperatives to prevent them from converting to market rate housing.”

Click on the link for a full list of grantees and projects. (DC Bar Foundation)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

Law students in action: Duke University School of Law students Eleni Bakst ’17, Suzie Jing ’18, and Blair Mason ’18 share their experiences working with families detained while seeking asylum at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas. Their project was one of many organized by the Duke Law Office of Public Interest and Pro Bono as part of its annual Southern Justice Spring Break Trip. (YouTube)

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

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Job’o’th’Week (Internship Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Summer just started, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next semester and academic year internships!

Volunteer Legal Internship/Externship – Fall, Winter, or Spring 2017-18

The Organization

Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) is an innovative partnership among the Microsoft Corporation, Angelina Jolie and other interested philanthropists, law firms and corporate supporters. KIND is dedicated to providing both pro bono representation and positive systemic changes in law and policy to benefit unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children. Launched in fall 2008, KIND is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has ten field offices across the country.

The Position

KIND’s Seattle field office is seeking volunteer legal interns who want to develop their lawyering skills while assisting KIND’s Seattle office’s direct representation and pro bono programs, which matches volunteer lawyers with unaccompanied children needing representation in immigration court.

Projects may include:

  • Legal Screening: Assist with the initial screening of unaccompanied minor children, conduct communication with child clients, adult sponsors, and other agencies, including making psycho-social and other referrals as needed.
  • Legal Research: Research current trends in immigration law and family law, country conditions, and other federal laws to assist in case preparation.
  • Legal Writing: Draft legal briefs, declarations, and memoranda of law to assist in client cases.  Draft immigration forms to support in-house cases.
  • Case Management: Update case summaries, track important court dates and deadlines, process referrals and communicate with clients.

Are you interested in this internship? See the full-post on PSJD.

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Resource Round-Up: National Security Practice Area Guide

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

The PSJD Resource Center has valuable information for law students, career counselors and lawyers about public service law jobs.

The PSJD National Security Practice Area Guide is designed to give you a brief overview of the legal field in National Security Law.  It provides practical information regarding the types of employers with which you can pursue a career; steps to take during law school to help a future career in the field; security clearances; and resources to further research this rewarding field.

 


*Career Counselor’s Corner*

 

Lindsay McCaslin, Esq., Assistant Dean, Office of Career Services William & Mary Law School says “As more of my students become interested in national security work, I recommend this Guide to give them an idea of employers who work on national security issues, from various federal agencies to nonprofits. It also gets students thinking about the security clearance, which can be a lengthy process.”

Have a national security question not answered in the Guide? Send us an email and we’ll do our best to put it in the National Security Practice Area Guide.

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Fellowships 101: An introduction to postgraduate fellowships – dinner included in registration

Fellowships are awesome! That’s why Washington Council of Lawyers, NALP and Georgetown University Law Center are pleased to present Fellowships 101, an introduction to postgraduate public interest fellowships.

When: Thursday, June 22, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Where: Georgetown University Law Center
Cost: Free for Washington Council of Lawyers members; $8 for non-members  (It’s dinner!)

RSVP:  https://wclawyers.org/fellowships-101/

We will start the evening with an opening networking reception where you can chat with past and current fellows from a variety of programs. Next, learn about online resources like PSJD from NALP fellow Delisa Morris.  Up next, our panel of experts will share information about different programs and tips for putting together the best fellowships application possible. Our panel includes:

  • Adina Appelbaum (Equal Justice Works Fellow, CAIR Coalition)
  • Connor Cory (Skadden Fellow, Whitman-Walker Health)
  • Matthew Hendley (Director of Litigation, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs); and
  • Sterling Morris (Senior Manager of Fellowships, Equal Justice Works)

Fellowships 101 is appropriate for all law students – even if you just completed your first year!

Learn more and register to attend at https://wclawyers.org/fellowships-101/

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – June 9, 2017

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

Happy Friday! Lots going on this week — especially here in DC. And it’s also summer intern time. Check out PSJD’s Having Fun on the Cheap for tips for exploring and enjoying your internship city.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Connecticut experiments with legal advocates for abused animals in court;
  • New grant helps Ohio’s Community Legal Aid take community lawyering approach;
  • Maine appointed counsel working without pay as legislators debate;
  • Georgetown Law program offers fellowship for young DC police officers;
  • Opinion: the legal profession is failing low-income and middle-class people, proposes solution;
  • LA County drops $50 public defender fee for criminal defendants;
  • Opinion: why student loan forgiveness is a social justice issue;
  • New Mexico’s top court should acknowledge excessive PD workloads and craft remedy, ABA says;
  • DOJ ends settlement practice that funded community organizations;
  • Virginia State Bar proposal would encourage pro bono by retired lawyers;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

June 2, 2017 – “Many states have victim’s advocates or child advocates, people in the judicial system who represent those affected by crime or abuse. Now, one state has created legal advocates for abused animals, an experiment being watched across the nation for signs of success. There are eight approved volunteer advocates across Connecticut — seven lawyers and a UConn law professor, working with her students. It’s up to a judge to decide whether to appoint one, but they can be requested by prosecutors or defense attorneys. In the first six months of the law, advocates have been appointed in five cases.” (Fox News)

June 2, 2017 – “Community Legal Aid Executive Director Steven McGarrity has big plans for a new Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation neighborhood stabilization grant. The grant, which is for up to $1.3 million over four years, will support community redevelopment legal assistance. ‘I’m beyond thrilled,’ McGarrity said. ‘The money is going to allow us to put in place a team of attorneys who focus specifically on community redevelopment efforts, working within neighborhoods and with collaborative partners to make real and lasting change.’ OLAF board members voted in March to approve the grant, with $350,000 to be released this spring. ‘Future funding will depend on the success of the first year,’ said McGarrity. ‘Most of the money will go to Youngstown to improve the educational system there. We will also be doing some work in Akron, using leverage of banks to invest in low-income communities.’ McGarrity said the grant will allow Legal Aid to do more ‘community lawyering’ work that will give people access to other support including education, job training and financial help, rather than simply addressing one legal problem.” (Akron Legal News)

June 4, 2017 – “But a system welcomed by the state’s poor has found itself in the midst of a political spat as lawmakers debate a $6.8 billion, two-year budget proposal from Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who now only wants to fund the commission through January without back pay for lawyers. As a result of shortfall that lawmakers created in the last budget deal, court-appointed attorneys who provide indigent legal services throughout the state are working without pay. Funding ran out last month, and several attorneys say it’s causing stress and uncertainty.” “LePage is calling for an overhaul of a system that he says doesn’t fully meet American Bar Association standards such as caseload limits, training, expertise and oversight over attorney quality. Lawmakers and lawyers have rebuffed his efforts to create a contract-based system, and the governor says he’s fighting back against an ‘inefficient status quo.’ ‘The right to counsel exists to ensure they receive a fair trial, it is not a ‘make work’ program for lawyers,’ his original budget proposal reads. But skeptics of LePage’s effort say funding is the issue. Maine Indigent Defense Center founder Robert Ruffner is calling for a state public defender representing indigent defense lawyers, and more resources for oversight, training and guidance. ‘There aren’t any improvements to the system that will have any effect, any meaningful effect, that are free,’ he said. At least one attorney is declining to volunteer as a lawyer of the day to send a message to lawmakers.” (McClatchy DC Bureau)

June 5, 2017 – “A select group of rookie D.C. police officers and some civilian employees are embarking on a two-year fellowship program through the Georgetown University Law Center aimed at identifying and training the next generation of police leaders. The program launched Monday. The 19 participants will join monthly workshops and community activities and will be expected to develop a special project. They also will have one-on-one mentoring with some top police officials.” “Workshops and other activities will center on various policing strategies, including changes being made in light of police shootings and other incidents that have angered neighborhoods.” “‘This is a unique opportunity for fellows to build critical connections and thoughtfully explore some of the toughest issues confronting both the police and the community,’ William H. Treanor, the dean of Georgetown Law, said in a statement. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, also in a statement, said the program is to ‘not only to strengthen our officers’ credentials and experience, but also the bond we have with the communities we serve.'” (The Washington Post)

June 5, 2017 – ” We do not expect charities and generous doctors to provide 80 percent of the medical needs for low-income patients, so why do we think this is possible for our legal needs? As law schools become increasingly unaffordable — resulting in plummeting enrollment and debt levels that make it impossible for graduates to offer legal services at affordable prices — the legal profession needs some major changes. Professionals must first acknowledge that not every legal task must be performed by a licensed lawyer. Instead, we need to adopt a tiered system of legal-services delivery that allows for lower barriers to entry. Just as a pharmacist can administer vaccines and a nurse practitioner can be on the front line of diagnosing and treating ailments, we should have legal practitioners who can also exercise independent judgment within the scope of their training. Such a change would expand the preparation and independence of the existing network of paralegals, secretaries and investigators already assisting lawyers.” (The Washington Post)

June 6, 2017 – “In response to growing concerns about fees that can burden poor people accused of crimes, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted to eliminate the $50 registration fee charged to people who need a public defender because they can’t afford to hire their own lawyer. Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas spearheaded the effort to eliminate the fee, which was created to bolster the county budget. ‘Though this isn’t the biggest move ever, this is important’ to remove what can be a barrier to justice, Kuehl said before the 4-1 vote. San Francisco and Santa Barbara counties also have stopped charging the fee.” “The county has charged the fee since 1996, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states must provide criminal defendants legal counsel free of charge if they cannot afford an attorney themselves. The fee is supposed to be waived for people who can’t afford it. But that often doesn’t happen, according to officials with the public defender’s office.” (KPCC)

June 6, 2017 – “The budget proposal recently released by the Trump administration should greatly concern anyone who believes that higher education should be widely accessible, equitable, and premised on actualizing the American Dream.  Two components pertaining to student loan repayment and forgiveness are particularly troubling: the first would lengthen to 30 years the mandatory repayment window before graduate school loan debt can be forgiven; the second would eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.” “For disadvantaged students, higher education is the surest path to socioeconomic advancement; but the path is fraught with risks.  These students must essentially gamble on themselves and on the chances that they will be able to repay their loans and reap worthwhile payoffs beyond their obligations.  Student loan forgiveness provisions are intended to spread some of these risks across society, given the reams of data confirming the broad public benefits of an educated citizenry. Some people argue that disadvantaged students should simply forego law school in favor of other pursuits.  This is where the notion of social justice becomes particularly important.  Lawyers from disadvantaged groups are more likely to represent other disadvantaged people and interests, thereby, broadening access to justice.   The salaries for these lawyers tend to be lower than others.  Without income-based repayment options and loan forgiveness, it would be very difficult for many people to justify taking on the risks of legal education.  The result would be a legal profession that remains aloof and unresponsive to the needs of large swathes of the population – namely, the poor and most of the middle-class.  These issues are transcendent, impacting most any profession for which its societal value is not fully reflected in the typical salaries – teaching and social work, for example.  Therefore, in order to ensure the preservation of our democracy, we should remain true to the social welfare origins of the federal student aid system.  Loan forgiveness options must be fortified as a matter of social justice and equity, not restricted.” (The National Jurist)

June 6, 2017 – “An amicus brief filed by the ABA says the New Mexico Supreme Court should acknowledge public defenders have excessive caseloads in Lea County and craft a remedy that considers lawyers’ ethical obligations. The ABA brief (PDF), filed on Monday, says excessive workloads can force public defenders to choose among the interests of their clients. ‘The public defenders are in a classic Catch-22: competent work for one client inevitably results in unreasonable delay or lack of work for other clients,’ the brief says. If the state supreme court decides to impose caseload limits, the number should be determined using methodology that relies on the expertise of defense lawyers to establish the time needed to provided effective assistance of counsel, the brief says. The brief also says the state supreme court should order lower courts to allow the public defender to decline cases in the county until a workload study can be completed to determine the appropriate workload. If a study isn’t undertaken, courts should rely on the public defender to determine when workloads are manageable, the brief says. The ABA filed the brief in a petition filed with the court by the state public defender’s office. The PD is asking the court to order private lawyers to represent indigent defendants for free or to order court clerks to stop accepting new cases for minor crimes after a certain number has been reached, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported in March. The office also suggests the court appoint a special master to find long-term solutions.” (ABA Journal)

June 7, 2017 – “The Trump Justice Department is banning federal attorneys from reaching settlements in criminal and civil cases that direct defendants to give money to third-party organizations, a practice that Republicans criticized during the Obama administration. A June 5 memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the DOJ would no longer reach settlements requiring payouts to ‘third-party organizations’ that were ‘neither victims nor parties’ to the lawsuits. In a statement, Sessions said funds ‘should go first to the victims and then to the American people ― not to bankroll third-party special interest groups or the political friends’ of the party in power. ‘Unfortunately, in recent years the Department of Justice has sometimes required or encouraged defendants to make these payments to third parties as a condition of settlement,’ Sessions said. ‘With this directive, we are ending this practice and ensuring that settlement funds are only used to compensate victims, redress harm, and punish and deter unlawful conduct.’ The memo will hurt nonprofit groups that provide services to communities hurt by corporate wrongdoing like mortgage fraud and environmental abuses. Republicans have called out groups like La Raza, a Latino advocacy group; the Urban League, a civil rights group; and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which works to expand access to financial services in poor neighborhoods. Habitat for Humanity has also benefited, although that organization hasn’t come under criticism.” (Huffington Post)

June 7, 2017 – “A Virginia State Bar panel is hoping to boost the number of retired lawyers who qualify for special status to provide pro bono services for needy clients. Bar rules allow for so-called ’emeritus members’ to provide no-cost legal service under specified conditions, even though they pay no bar dues and may not otherwise practice law. Participation has lagged. In fact, there is only one such member in the state, according to VSB records. Members of the VSB Special Committee on Access to Legal Services hope to remove an impediment by dropping a requirement that the work of an emeritus lawyer be under the ‘direct supervision of a supervising attorney.’ Under the revised rules, the chief requirement remains that an emeritus member must provide services only through ‘Qualified Legal Services Providers,’ which include legal aid offices and law school clinics. Qualified providers also would include the online service virginia.freelegalanswers.org, according to Karl A. Doss, the VSB director of access to legal services.” “The proposed amendment provides that to receive emeritus status, retired attorneys must submit to a competency review and provide the VSB Executive Committee with a letter from their physician certifying the applicant’s competency. Retired and associate attorneys applying for emeritus status must also fulfill any outstanding MCLE obligations, Doss said. The VSB Access Committee unanimously approved the proposed amendments May 9. The proposed changes are up for comment through June 30.” (Virginia Lawyers Weekly)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

Law students in action: “On the dusty outskirts of small-town Dilley, Texas, out of the sight of drivers traversing I-35, lies the South Texas Family Residential Center and the 2,400 beds it maintains for its temporary inhabitants: immigrant mothers and their children escaping desperate situations in their home countries. Many of these families come from Central America’s Northern Triangle— El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala—fleeing widespread gang violence and aggressive domestic situations. They arrive at the U.S. border seeking safety for their children and themselves. In January, a group of Fordham Law students traveled to the center to help the women prepare for their meeting with an asylum officer, an interview that could potentially save their lives.” Hear their inspiring stories at the link. (Fordham Law News)

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

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Job’o’th’Week (Experienced Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Staff AttorneyThe Organization

Nevada Legal Services is a legal service corporation funded non for profit with the mission of strengthening the community by providing equal access to justice for low income Nevadans.

The Position

Nevada Legal Services is dedicated to providing legal help to low-income people across Nevada.  NLS has received a grant that is allowing us to significantly increase our attorney staff.  Staff attorney positions are available to fill multiple office locations (Elko, Yerington, Pahrump, and Reno).

Requirements:

  • Applicants should be licensed to practice in Nevada or in another state and eligible for admission pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 72.1.
  • Applicants must have an interest and passion for helping low-income Nevadans, seniors and veterans.
  •  J.D. from ABA accredited law school.

Settle in the silver state. Check out the full-post on PSJD.

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Fellowships 101 – An introduction to postgraduate public interest fellowships – June 22nd at 6:30 pm

Fellowships 101 (2017)

When: 22 June 2017, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Where: Georgetown University Law Center – Gewirz Center, 12th Floor (120 F Street NW)

Cost: Free for WCL Members; $8 for non-members

Fellowships 101 introduces law students to post-graduate public-interest fellowships. It has three parts:

First, the evening starts with a casual reception, where you’ll meet current and past fellows.

Next, NALP fellow Delisa Morris will discuss PSJD and other online resources for finding fellowships.

Finally, our expert panelists will explain how to maximize your chances of landing the fellowship of your dreams, and they’ll take audience questions as well. The panel includes:

  • Adina Appelbaum (Equal Justice Works Fellow, CAIR Coalition);
  • Connor Cory (Skadden Fellow, Whitman-Walker Clinic);
  • Matthew Hendley (Director of Litigation, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs); and
  • A to-be-announced representative from the Partnership for Public Service.

Our moderator will be Sterling Morriss from Equal Justice Works.

Fellowships 101 is free for Washington Council of Lawyers members (join) and $8 for non-members.

Co-sponsored by Georgetown University Law Center, the Washington Council of Lawyers, and NALP.

REGISTER

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Job’o’th’Week (Fellowship Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Sidley Austin Appellate Advocacy Fellow

The Organization

Legal Aid was formed in 1932 to “provide legal aid and counsel to indigent persons in civil law matters and to encourage measures by which the law may better protect and serve their needs.” The largest part of our work is individual representation in housing, family law, public benefits, and consumer law. From the experiences of our clients, we identify opportunities for law reform, public policy advocacy, and systemic reform litigation.

The Position

The Sidley Austin Appellate Advocacy Fellow will be responsible for conducting legal research and writing; drafting legal and factual memoranda and briefs; conducting applicant and client interviews and meetings; reviewing and analyzing court filings and records; assisting with the maintenance of Legal Aid’s appellate case files, records, and dockets; engaging in oral advocacy, as appropriate; and other tasks as assigned to him/her by the Appellate Project Director, the Legal Director, or the Executive Director.

Take the lead with this new fellowship.  See the full-post on PSJD.

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