PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 30, 2015

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

Happy Friday everyone!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • B.C. lawyer donates $30 mil to UBC law school;
  • ME’s legal services fund short $1.7 mil;
  • Law incubator welcomes inaugural class;
  • Congressman introduces bill to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy;
  • Ottawa pilot project offers legal information, but not advice;
  • Proposed legislation in MO would alter prosecutor system;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 22, 2015 – “A B.C. lawyer, philanthropist and businessman who has already donated millions to social justice causes has given the law school at the University of British Columbia the biggest gift it has ever received.  Peter Allard, a UBC law school grad, has donated $30-million to help the school promote human rights and social justice, as well as anti-corruption efforts around the world, the university said in a news release on Thursday. The donation is on top of $11.86-million Mr. Allard gave the school in 2011.”  The grant will be used, in part, to expand the school’s legal advice clinic.  (The Globe and Mail)

January 22, 2015 – “The state Commission on Indigent Legal Services told lawmakers the agency is short $1.7 million to meet its expected obligations this budget year.  Executive Director John Pelletier says not only do they need additional funds for this year, they are flat funded in the governor’s proposed two-year budget.  ‘These are requests that we believe are realistic, acknowledges the existence of these increasing costs and put the increases at a number that is based on data,’ Pelletier said.  Pelletier says actual costs are going up by about 8 percent a year and funding has not kept up.”  (MPBN News)

January 22, 2015 – “The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law has announced its inaugural group of participants for the Loyola Incubator Program, an intensive, yearlong mentorship and skills program for recent graduates in their first three years of solo practice. With 25 percent of participants’ time devoted to pro bono legal work, the Incubator Program addresses the unmet legal needs of poor or moderate-income individuals in the Greater New Orleans area. The first year of the two-year pilot program began this month and runs through December 2015.”  (Loyola University New Orleans Newsroom)

January 22, 2015 – “A lawmaker has filed legislation in Congress to allow student loan debt to be treated like other forms of debt that can be discharged in bankruptcy proceedings.  Rep. John K. Delaney, D-Md., introduced the Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy Act (H.R. 449).  ‘Student loan debt is dragging down economic growth, keeping the American Dream out of reach for many and is a monthly strain for millions,’ Delaney said in a statement. ‘While student loan debt is a complex problem that will require many solutions—increased support for grant programs, efforts to increase affordability, improved consumer education—we also need to reform our laws to help those with the absolute greatest need. Right now, there is effectively a huge student loan loophole in bankruptcy law that’s hurting real people.’”  (Accounting Today)

January 23, 2015 – “A new centre in Ottawa that provides free bilingual legal information is up and running after receiving $1.5 million from the federal government. The Ottawa Legal Information Centre, which opened its doors last week, offers free legal information and referral services, but not legal advice or representation. ‘We don’t represent in court, we won’t evaluate a case’s chances of success,’ said executive director Andrée-Anne Martel.  Martel says the centre will help Canadians who face legal issues but don’t know what to do or can’t afford to properly deal with their case.”  (CBC News)

January 25, 2015 – “Proposed legislation in the Missouri Senate could significantly alter criminal prosecution with a fundamental change in the structure of prosecuting attorney offices that is tied to structural reforms of the circuit court system.Senate Bill 79, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon (R-Greene County), would allow county commissions to abolish the office of county prosecuting attorney to join a state’s attorney system that could potentially have some elected prosecutors covering multiple counties.”  “SB 79 would allow a state’s attorney to be elected every four years beginning with the 2018 general election from counties in a judicial circuit that have elected to join the system.”  (Lake News Online)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: Akerman LLP has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation Award by the Florida Supreme Court and The Florida Bar — the highest recognition of pro bono legal service awarded in the state to a law firm.  This is the second consecutive year that the Florida Supreme Court and The Florida Bar have recognized Akerman lawyers for their pro bono work and efforts benefiting at-risk youth.  Thank you for your outstanding work!  (Orlando Business Journal)

Super Music Bonus! In honor of the Super Bowl, here is a great video about game watching stereotypes.  Enjoy!


Job’o'th’Week (Entry-Level Edition) — Champion Human Rights as the RFK Center’s Wilson Fellow

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

If you’re a 3L or recent grad with a passion for (and experience with) international human rights work, you shouldn’t miss your chance to apply for the Donald M. Wilson Fellowship at the Robert F. Kennedy Center’s for Justice & Human Rights.

Among other responsibilities, the recent law grad selected as Fellow gets the opportunity to conduct human rights research, prepare documents in support of litigation before international tribunals and contribute to litigation strategies, and report on Congressional hearings.

If this sounds like you, check out the more detailed, full post on PSJD (application deadline: 02 February, 2015).




PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 23, 2015

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

Happy Friday everyone!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • TX panel recommends case limits for indigent defense;
  • Montgomery County, AL Public Defenders Office takes first cases;
  • NY State Bar seeks budget surplus funding of new legal aid center;
  • Goodwin Proctor opens applications for Public Interest Fellowship;
  • Dayton, OH grants $25,000 for immigrant legal services;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 15, 2015 – “Criminal defense attorneys across Texas should have specific limits for caseloads, according to a state commission study released Thursday.  Based on information collected from defense lawyers statewide, the Texas Indigent Defense Commission recommended guidelines on the number of cases attorneys can handle, saying it would help ensure that court appointed lawyers have enough time to devote to each client.  According to the study’s findings, a Texas attorney should handle an annual full-time equivalent of no more than 236 Class B misdemeanors, 216 class A misdemeanors, 175 state jail felonies, 144 third-degree felonies, 105 second-degree felonies or 77 first-degree felonies.  The report was applauded by legislators who have long sounded the call for lower caseloads and more resources.”  (Chron)

January 19, 2015 – “Starting Tuesday, Montgomery County defendants who are unable to pay for attorneys for court cases will have an option.  The Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office will begin representing indigent clients Tuesday. The office is headed by Aylia McKee, formerly of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defenders Office for the Middle District of Alabama.”  (Montgomery Advertiser)

January 19, 2015 – “The New York State Bar Association is seeking $5 million in state funding for the creation of a legal services center in Albany to enhance the availability of legal services to low income individuals.  ‘With the state’s surplus, there is now an opportunity to make a one-time investment that could be very meaningful in terms of improving the access of people needing legal assistance to available services and enhancing the ability of lawyers to provide these services,’ State Bar President Glenn Lau-Kee of New York City (Kee & Lau-Kee) wrote in a letter to Governor Cuomo.”  “The Association’s proposal is supported by the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Empire Justice Center and the Legal Project, all of which are providers in the Capital District.”  (Read Media)

January 21, 2015 – For the 10th consecutive year, Goodwin Proctor LLP is offering “its 2015 Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color program, which provides awards of $7,500 to law students of color who demonstrate outstanding academic performance, leadership skills and a commitment to community service. The fellowships are designed to help support students who plan to work in public interest law positions in the summer following their first year of law school. This year, four fellowships will be awarded. Application guidelines and forms are available online; the application deadline is March 13, 2015.  (Business Wire)

January 21, 2015 – “Dayton City Commissioners approved a grant that may have a major impact on immigrants.  The grant for $25,000 is all part of an initiative to make Dayton a friendlier, more welcoming community.  It was awarded to Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE), a non-profit firm that provides legal services for immigrants.  The non-profit estimates that through this grant, and more in the future, it will have the funds to aid nearly 5,000 people who are eligible for temporary stays through President Obama’s executive action in November.”  (

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: Chatham County Assistant Public Defender Christopher Middleton has been named winner of the State Bar of Georgia’s 16th annual Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service for the state’s District 1.  The award, to be presented Feb. 17 at the Georgia Bar Center in Atlanta, was created in 1996 by then-Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Benham and others amid concerns that a decreasing number of the state’s lawyers were active in leadership positions in public and community services.  The award, which is administered by the state bar and the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, recognizes lawyers who continue to value the tradition of community service and who measure their success in ways other than financial gain.  Congratulations to Mr. Middleton, who has impacted his community in numerous positive ways!  (Savannah Morning News)

Super Music Bonus!


Job’o'th’Week (Experienced Edition) — Lead the NLCHP’s Advocacy Efforts

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

The National Law Center for Homelessness & Poverty is the only national legal advocacy organization dedicated solely to using the legal system to combat homelessness in the United States. This week, they dropped a big policy job on the market. They’re looking for an attorney with a background in impact litigation and policy and 2-3 years of experience supervising staff (among other things) to help set the organization’s strategic vision and to lead program planning (among other things).

If this sounds like you, check out the more detailed, full post on PSJD (rolling deadline).


Job’o'th’Week (Entry-Level Edition) — 2015-2016 PSJD Fellow

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

Alright! This week’s entry-level Job’o’th’Week is…my own! Every year, NALP hires a recent law graduate to help strengthen PSJD’s services. Every Fellow is different, but we all try to bring a job-seeker’s perspective to the task of maintaining and improving PSJD. There are many aspects to this job, and anyone with ideas for improving the way we develop our content, communicate with our users, or educate students about career development should consider applying. (My predecessor, Ashley Matthews, made great strides developing our social media presence. I’m focusing my time on trying to improve the website’s inner workings.)

I believe in PSJD. It’s a vital resource for law students and lawyers trying to figure out a much less straightforward area of the legal market (public interest jobs) that simultaneously receives less attention from careers professionals because there are fewer public positions than private ones. I hope you agree. If you have an interest in our work, I encourage you to apply.

Check out the full post on PSJD (application deadline: March 6, 2015).


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 16, 2015

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

Happy Friday everyone!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • US federal government launches 2015 Workforce Recruitment Program for candidates with disabilities;
  • New endowment supports professional development and diversity efforts at University of Arkansas School of Law;
  • Prairie provinces contemplating overhaul of legal services delivery;
  • CA State Bar provides grant to start incubator;
  • Legal Aid of Marin launches lawyer referral service;
  • IU Maurer School of Law names first Director of IP Clinic;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 12, 2015 -The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects employers nationwide with university students and recent graduates with disabilities to internships or permanent jobs.  Individuals must work with their schools, who register with the program.  For details on how the program works, see the WPR website.

January 12, 2015 – “University of Arkansas School of Law alumnus and Walmart executive Jeff Gearhart and his wife, Lisa Gearhart, have created an endowed fund to enhance academic and professional development opportunities that advance diversity in the legal profession. The Gearhart Family Endowed Diversity Support Initiative was established through a $200,000 gift from the couple.”  “The initiative will support programs such as internships, student travel to conferences and competitions, and expanded diversity education. It will complement existing diversity initiatives at the School of Law.”  (University of Arkansas Newswire)

January 12, 2015 – “Putting your affairs in order might one day be as simple as another stop at Costco or the Alberta Motor Association, the dean of the University of Alberta’s law school says.  With seismic shifts already shaking the American and Commonwealth legal profession, Alberta has joined the Canadian conversation about changes in technology and service delivery that could improve access to legal services, break the virtual monopoly held by lawyers and radically change how and where legal advice is given.”  “In September, the Law Society of Alberta began working with partner societies in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to contemplate an overhaul of the delivery of legal services on the Prairies. Potential changes include rules around ownership of firms and the enhanced use of technology and paralegals.”  Alternatives to the traditional legal office are being considered across Canada, and changes may occur as soon as 2016.  (Edmonton Journal)

January 12, 2015 – “The State Bar of California’s Commission on Access to Justice has awarded a grant to Southwestern Law School, UCLA School of Law and Pepperdine University School of Law to establish a modest means incubator, a pilot program to help new attorneys launch and develop viable law practices serving modest means clients.
The law schools have partnered with local legal aid organizations and the Los Angeles County Law Library to create the Los Angeles County Incubator Consortium, through which 12 to 15 recent graduates –  four or five from each law school – will receive training in establishing law practices that provide legal services to low and modest income populations.”  (Southwestern Law School News)

January 13, 2015 – I have been in numerous discussions recently regarding lawyer referral services.  Here is one example of how the program could work.  “Legal Aid of Marin, a nonprofit based in San Rafael [CA], has launched a referral service to match litigants to qualified lawyers in relevant fields.  Under the service, called the Marin Lawyer Referral Service, residents pay trained volunteers $50 for each referral, and the lawyer agrees to provide a free 30-minute consultation. The participating lawyers are selected from a panel screened for experience and clean state bar records.”  (Marin Independent Journal)

January 15, 2015 – “The IU Maurer School of Law will bring in Norman Hedges as a new clinical associate professor of law and its first full-time director of Maurer’s intellectual property law clinic.  The clinic opened its doors in January 2014 to provide pro bono patent, trademark and intellectual property law counseling, according to an IU press release.”  (Indiana Daily Student)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  A moment of silence for the Nigerian victims of Boka Haram and those at Charlie Hebdo in Paris.  All lives are important and should be mourned equally.

Super Music Bonus!


Equal Justice Works’ Urgent Call: Help Preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness

When it comes to student debt problems, Equal Justice Works helps us all a lot. They’ve got their student debt blog on the Huffington Post, their free student debt ebook, and their monthly free webinar series JDs in Debt: What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness. (The next webinar is Thursday, January 22, from 3pm – 4pm EST, by the way.) Now, EJW needs your help. I’ll let them explain for themselves:

Help Preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) allows borrowers to earn forgiveness of federal student loans after making 10 years of on-time monthly payments while working full-time in a public service position. While we hear from countless borrowers about how critical PSLF is to making a public interest career possible, currently, there is little hard data on who is relying on the program and its impact. You can help by filling out this very quick survey to show the impact the ability to earn forgiveness through PSLF has on your career plans.

This data will be invaluable in helping Equal Justice Works and a coalition of interested groups advocate for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. PSLF is currently being challenged by groups alleging it contributes to rising tuition and unfairly benefits professional and graduate students, including lawyers, doctors and social workers. This spring, the Obama Administration recommended capping PSLF at the undergraduate loan limit (currently $57,500) in its FY 2015 budget request to Congress. Now, Congress might propose a similar cap during the ongoing reauthorization of the Higher Education Act this year.

Your responses will be aggregated for confidentiality. You have the option to share your personal story in the survey if you would like to provide anecdotal evidence of the importance of PSLF. You can also let us know if you would like to be contacted about additional steps you can take to advocate for PSLF, including in Congress.

The deadline for completing the survey is March 2, but please complete it as soon as possible in case Congress acts sooner. Thank you for your help on this urgent issue!

Share and Get Involved

Please share this post with anyone you think might benefit from the free webinar or whose voice should be heard and encourage them to respond to the survey as soon as possible.

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 9, 2015

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

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to 2015! Pro Bono hours are in, and I’m so pleased to see an increase in both hours and the number of individuals who have answered the call to service.  Keep up the great work!!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. receives 1.4 mil gift;
  • TX county tests indigent defense pilot project;
  • Crowd-funding a public interest career?;
  • CT boosts legal aid ranks with ‘LawyerCorps’;
  • DE launches Access to Justice Commission;
  • Washington State to license LLLTs;
  • New rules clarify NJ requirements for pro bono exemption;
  • Syracuse University College of Law opens veterans clinic;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants:  National Law Journal Pro Bono Hotlist – 10 firms making a real impact on their communities;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

December 22, 2014 – Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. covers 16 counties with “16 attorneys and seven paralegals trying to cover a geographic area where 200,000 people could be eligible for its services. 362 private attorneys also provide pro bono services, amounting to 5,600 hours of work.”  The agency “recently received a boost from someone it helped. William T. and Virginia N. Lyons never forgot the work that Legal Services provided for its clients and for the internship that [Executive Director Kris] Knab provided William Lyons over 30 years ago, when he took up law as a second career.  Legal Services this week announced receiving a gift of $1.4 million from the estate of the couple, now both deceased. To honor the agency’s single largest donation, Legal Services has renamed its Tallahassee office the William T. and Virginia N. Lyons Justice Center.”  The money comes at a critical time when all agencies are cutting staff and services in the face of budget cuts and funding shortfalls.  (Tallahassee Democrat)

December 28, 2014 – A central Texas county “will be the first in the country to give [indigent defendants] the ability to choose their own attorneys at the government’s expense.  It’s part of a pilot program in Comal County that could determine whether the idea could be adopted in other jurisdictions and provide a new wrinkle to how the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments are exercised.  Under the new system, a defendant who is declared indigent will be given a list of 30 to 50 attorneys who have been approved by the county. An individual will have a day to make a choice.  Legal experts have suggested that defendants will be more invested in their cases, and there will be more accountability for attorneys.”  The program is set to begin January 12.  (ABC News)

December 30, 2014 – Here is an interesting article from Above the Law about one student who is attempting to crowdfund her public interest law firm.  It is an intriguing idea, and, in her case, well thought out.  Give it a read.  (Above the Law)

December 30, 2014 – “Connecticut’s legal aid community breathed a collective sigh of relief when lawmakers in 2014 approved a plan to continue using increased court filing fees to fund their legal services programs for the poor.”  Each of the state’s three largest legal aid agencies—Connecticut Legal Services, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, and the New Haven Legal Assistance Association—is in the process of reviewing applications for the new [LawyerCorps Connecticut] fellowships. Hiring committees will interview applicants and choose fellows, who maybe either in law school or recently graduated. The new fellows will work to help those in need obtain protection from domestic violence. They will also help clients with legal issues related to housing, education and health care.”  Law students and admitted lawyers interested in applying for the LawyerCorps Connecticut program can visit Applications are due by Jan. 20.
(Connecticut Law Tribune)

December 31, 2014 – “Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr. earlier this month launched the Access to Justice Commission, a task force focused on helping low- to moderate-income individuals obtain legal services for criminal and civil cases.  The commission’s main efforts will be to ensure organizations providing indigent legal services make the most of limited resources, increase attorney pro bono offerings, and lessen the economic hardship on attorneys representing low-income clients.  ‘All of the commission’s mandates are equally important,’ Strine told Delaware Law Weekly. ‘We will take the time to look specifically at these issues and how to go about addressing them with the talent that is relevant to those issues. You will see distinguished in-house attorneys look at increasing pro bono work or financial experts look at increased funding.’”  (Delaware Law Weekly) (free subscription required)

January 1, 2015 -Washington’s (and the nation’s) first limited license legal technicians are preparing for practice. The inaugural class of 15 “have taken the required courses and will sit for a licensing examination in March. The state will begin licensing those who pass in the spring.  These nonlawyers will be licensed by the state to provide legal advice and assistance to clients in certain areas of law without the supervision of a lawyer.  The first practice area in which LLLTs will be licensed is domestic relations.”  “So far, Washington stands alone in formally licensing nonlawyers to provide legal services. But California is actively considering nonlawyer licensing, and several other states are beginning to explore it. New York has sidestepped licensing and is already allowing nonlawyers to provide legal assistance in limited circumstances while also looking to expand their use.  In its January 2014 final report, the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education called on states to license ‘persons other than holders of a JD to deliver limited legal services.’ Now this issue of allowing nonlawyers to provide legal services is among the topics being taken up by ABA President William C. Hubbard’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services.”  The Washington and New York programs are detailed in the article.  (ABA Journal)

January 5, 2015 – “Rule changes aimed at helping New Jersey lawyers fulfill their annual pro bono obligations kicked in at the start of the new year.  The changes were proposed in 2012 by the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Task Force and adopted by the state Supreme Court last July, but had a delayed effective date of Jan. 1.  New Jersey has a unique system of mandatory court-appointed pro bono service, but lawyers can claim an exemption from it by doing at least 25 hours of pro bono work for a qualifying organization in the preceding year. It is known as Exemption 88.”  “New Rule 1:21-12 for the first time sets forth the exemption in the form of a single rule, stating that lawyers who certify to 25 hours of voluntary qualifying pro bono service in the prior year are exempt from court-appointed service under Madden. The other new rule, Rule 1:21-11, defines what constitutes ‘qualifying pro bono service’ for purposes of satisfying the obligation and requires certification of the programs through which lawyers provide such service.”  More information can be found on the Court’s website.  (The New Jersey Law Journal) (free subscription required)

January 8, 2015 – “Military veterans in Central New York will have access to free legal help through a new, year-round legal clinic opening today at Syracuse University’s College of  Law.  The Veterans Legal Clinic opens today at SU’s Dineen Hall. It will specialize in work involving the Department of Veterans Affairs such as appeals of adverse VA decisions and attempted  upgrades of military discharges.  Tom Caruso and Josh Keefe, both of whom graduated from SU’s College of Law and SU’s Maxwell School this year, helped create the clinic.  Each is returning to active duty as a judge advocate  - Caruso for the U.S. Navy, Keefe for the Marine Corps.”  (The Post-Standard)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: As law firms continue to expand their services globally, so too have their pro bono programs, with lawyers volunteering in 2014 to help with immigration matters, natural disaster relief and human trafficking cases. Last year also brought plenty of pro bono opportunities stateside. Attorneys devoted their time to gun control cases, voter identification laws, free speech issues, abortion rights and same-sex marriage cases.  Here is the National Law Journal’s list of the top 10 firms that made exemplary contributions to access to justice.

  • Arnold & Porter
  • Chadborne & Parke
  • Crowell & Moring
  • Farella Braun + Martel
  • Jenner & Block
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • Reed Smith
  • Sidley Austin

Read about their great work.  (National Law Journal)

Super Music Bonus!


Congratulations BC Law on new role running Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy!

An announcement from our friends at BC Law:

Rappaport Foundation Makes $7.5 million gift to BC Law to Fund Center

Boston College Law School has been selected as the new home for the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy. The Center is funded by a $7.53 million gift from the Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation.The gift is the largest in the school’s history, and it will support both the Rappaport Center and the Jerome Lyle Rappaport Visiting Professorship in Law and Public Policy at BC Law.

The Center comprises the long-running Rappaport Fellows Program, which provides 12 paid summer internships to Greater Boston-area law students interested in public service, and the Rappaport Distinguished Public Policy Series, which will conduct scholarly research and host lectures, debates and roundtable discussions on public policy issues with the region’s leading policy makers and thought leaders. The Center will be led by Professor Michael Cassidy, who has held positions in public service ranging from Chief of the Criminal Bureau in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office to membership on the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission.

“This is a landmark moment for our law school,” said BC Law Dean Vincent Rougeau. “We were chosen by the Rappaport Foundation in part because of our track record in training public policy leaders locally and nationally. Our mission aligns closely with the Center’s aspirations and the leadership that Professor Cassidy will offer instilled great confidence in the donors. The Rappaport Center will give an even greater focus to what have always been important components of a BC Law education–serious discussion and study of law and public policy issues, and the training of thoughtful, ethical, and innovative public servants and leaders.”

The Center will open in the spring of 2015. For more, see BC Law Magazine Online.


You Need a Montage: Final Scene

Sam Halpert, 2014 – 2015 PSJD Fellow

Penguin is Ready!

Okay, grasshoppers. Over the last month, we’ve tackled your resumes and your cover letters. We’ve mastered the art of building, contacting, and maintaining your mentor-and-peer network. We’ve also developed a strategy for talking about work at a party without putting the room to sleep. Our holiday job search training montage is almost complete! The hardest stuff–the things I’ve needed to think through with an expert like Christina–is behind us.

But we’re not done yet. Over the winter break, in addition to putting this series’ advice into practice, remember that we have a few more outstanding holiday job search tips for you to consider. The ones that are left are pretty self-explanatory. You’ll just need to get out and get them done!

  1. Professionalize your online presence. Try Googling yourself. Remember, you’re not safe simply because many people share your name. Employers will have your resume, so see what comes up when you search for yourself using your name and also student groups on your resume, the name of your school, etc. Also look at your social media (employees of prospective employers may be part of your network). Clean up your image where you think you need to. (Ask a career counselor if you’re not sure what image you need to project in these semi-public spaces.)
  2. Visit the courthouse. It’s a great way to expose yourself to a legal work environment, and you might even get a chance to build your network.
  3. Volunteer with a legal aid office. Look through PSJD employer profiles if you’re stumped. See whether you can find someone doing work in your area who needs a hand (often organizations solicit volunteers on their websites).
  4. Write an article, or research a topic. Even if you don’t find a place to publish your ideas, it’s still a great excuse to talk to lawyers who do work you’re interested in. If you have an idea related to topics we cover on PSJD (e.g. a profile piece on what your upper-class friends think they’ve learned one year out from graduation), write to PSJD–we may be interested in publishing your work here on the blog.
  5. Join a bar organization. If you don’t know what practice areas you’d like to follow yet, consider asking your informational meeting network to help you decide.
  6. Update your professional references. The end of the year is a great time to check back in with the people who’ve offered to be your reference in the past. Let them know what you’re up to and at least give them a general sense of where your job search is taking you now. Also, evaluate your references. Are they still relevant for the types of legal positions you’re now seeking? If not, determine who else could potentially be a reference and make that connection. (This task has gone much more smoothly for me with the skills and tools I practiced during the informational meeting portion of the series.)

One more thing: Don’t forget to take a well-earned rest! Hopefully, contemplating these tasks isn’t as daunting as it seemed when we proposed them over Thanksgiving. If you can manage a restful break while still tackling even some of the ideas on this list, you’ll be ready to impress employers in the New Year.

So good luck, and let us know how it goes! If you find anything you’ve read here particularly helpful or you run into unexpected challenges, we’d love to hear about it. Write to us at, and you may see your triumphs or your concerns addressed in future editions of PSJDblog.

Happy holidays!