by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships
Happy Friday everyone! Below is our last featured spring break pro bono trip. There are so many programs, we couldn’t feature them all. We’re so excited that so many of you spent your time off helping your community. You are truly outstanding public servants!
Here are the week’s headlines:
- Legal aid gives Tennessee economy a $188 mil boost;
- Oregon and California consider limited license practioners;
- Settlement reached in New York requiring court facilities to provide space for confidential defendant/attorney meetings;
- Ohio counties seek reimbursement increase for indigent defense;
- Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
- Super Music Bonus!
March 22, 2015 - “When we hear about economy boosts in Tennessee, we generally think of revenue generated by local businesses, by tourism, or farming. What we don’t always know is the amount of revenue generated in the legal industry. A newly released report show that civil legal services providers generated $188.6 million in economic impact from cases handled across Tennessee in 2013. The study also showed that every dollar invested in legal aid produced more than $11 in financial benefits to businesses, local governments and individuals across all social classes. ’This report demonstrates that access to free civil legal representation has a profound impact not only on individual clients served, but also on the state, which receives an economic benefit worth millions of dollars,’ TBA President Jonathan Steen said.” (Knoxville Daily Sun)
March 23, 2015 – “Washington is currently the only state with a program allowing limited license legal technicians to help civil litigants prepare legal documents and provide advice on legal procedures. But bar groups in two other states are taking steps that could lead to legal technician programs in their own jurisdictions. A task force of the Oregon State Bar issued a report last month recommending that the bar’s board of governors consider the concept of legal technicians to help increase access to justice, according to Robert Ambrogi’s LawSites. Now a California bar task force has published for comment a draft report that calls for a legal technician pilot program in one subject matter area, LawSites says. The report by the State Bar of California’s Civil Justice Strategies Task Force says the state bar should first study design of the pilot program, addressing how oversight and licensing would be handled. The California report also calls for a pilot program of volunteer navigators to attend hearings with self-represented litigants. The navigators could sit at the counsel table with litigants, but would not address the court. The navigator idea is based on a New York pilot program that uses nonlawyer navigators to help unrepresented litigants in housing and consumer-debt cases.” (ABA Journal)
March 24, 2015 - “East End towns and villages have settled a lawsuit brought last month by the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society over the towns’ justice court facilities.” The Legal Aid Society filed suit, alleging the court facilities in the towns of Riverhead, Southold and Southampton and the villages of Southampton and Sag Harbor did not “provide confidential meeting space for attorneys to confer with defendants in custody, compelling defendants to converse with their lawyers in the presence of law enforcement personnel. That arrangement violates the criminal defendant’s constitutional rights, the suit alleges. Under a settlement that’s already been signed and was filed yesterday in state court, the towns of Riverhead and Southold have agreed to undertake some construction work.” They are the only two jurisdictions that need to undertake construction, with the work in all facilities to be completed by April 30. (Southold Local)
March 27, 2015 - “Ashland County is joining with other counties across the state to support an effort of County Commissioners Association of Ohio to seek additional state funding for indigent defense reimbursement. Counties now are reimbursed for 40 percent of the cost of representing indigent people, and CCAO is lobbying the state to increase reimbursements to 50 percent– providing an additional $12 million in reimbursements to counties for fiscal years 2016 and 2017.” (Ashland Times-Gazette)(subscription required)
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: UC Irvine School of Law. Each year since 2011, the UC Irvine School of Law subsidizes an alternative spring break trip for 30 students to volunteer with the Mississippi Center for Justice. The past 2 years, the students have visited all three MCJ offices with a group in Biloxi, another in Jackson, and the final group in Indianola (“the Delta”). Student work has involved legal assistance on behalf of victims of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill as well intensive research in areas of education and consumer law. Each year the students have had a fabulous experience. Simply researching and applying the law in an area very different than California has been an eye opening experience. The students always comment on the surprising cultural differences, but most often they are humbled by the kindness of the Mississippians that they encounter. Read student Aaron Adams’ (2L) account of his work in both Jackson and the Delta in The Notice.
Super Music Bonus! https://youtu.be/nyFvDbwyhF8