Happy Friday folks! Let me first introduce myself – I am Christina Jackson, the new Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships. For those of you who don’t know me, I come from a law school counseling background after many years of law practice. I was most recently at American University Washington College of Law. I appreciate Steve in so many ways, but never more so than when I would read his weekly News Digests. I think it’s going to take me a little while to get used to reading news with an eye toward what the entire public service sector may want and need, but hopefully this first installment gets it done. The News Digest will now be posted as a Discussion so that those who want to comment may do so, and we will continue the weekly format. There is a story below that rehashes what we already know – big justice gap that should be met with unemployed lawyers. Easier said than done, but it’s always good to continue exploring ways we can get lawyers where they are needed most.
New Feature: Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants. Last week was Public Service Recognition Week. Well, I think that should be every day. So in each issue (I hope), we will be highlighting great work by great people! And today we have an amazing story.
And in homage to Steve, the PSJD Fellow, Ashley Matthews, will provide us with the weekly music bonus. So here we go. . .
Here are the week’s headlines:
- New York lawyers must now disclose pro bono hours;
- UMMC, Center for Justice form partnership to benefit those with HIV/AIDS;
- Legal Services New York staff goes on strike;
- Time to put lawyers back to work in the public service – my thoughts exactly;
- Another law school tries a 2-year law degree model;
- Are law schools changing their admissions standards in the wrong way?;
- 2013 Equal Justice Conference;
- Equal Justice Works announces 2013 EJW Fellows;
- Legal Aid is coming to Osceola County, Florida;
- New Jersey may be the next state to require pro bono;
- Spotlight on Public Service Servants – John Meynink, a Coos County public defender, retiring after 30 YEARS!
- Super Music Bonus featuring Ashley Matthews, PSJD Fellow!
May 6, 2013 – this story’s password-protected, but FYI: New York lawyers must disclose on their biennial registration forms how many pro bono hours they provided and the amount of financial contributions they made to pro bono programs during the previous two years. From the Legal Intelligencer
- May 14, 2013 – Op Ed response to the mandatory disclosure requirement – from the New York Law Journal
May 9, 2013 – “The University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi Center for Justice, both in Jackson, are forming a partnership aimed at providing free civil legal services for people living with HIV and AIDS. The Center for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law firm, will offer on-site legal assistance at the Crossroads Clinics. The assistance will focus primarily on HIV-related housing and employment discrimination.” (Story from the Mississippi Business Journal)
May 15, 2013 – from the Wall Street Journal and Thomas Reuters: The staff of Legal Services NYC, the largest civil legal services provider in the country, went on strike Wednesday morning for the first time in two decades. More than 200 attorneys, paralegals and other employees voted overwhelmingly to reject management’s proposal for a new two-year labor contract. The union has worked without a contract since July 2012. The last strike, in 1993, lasted for a month.
- And continuing coverage from the New York Law Journal regarding the “significant cut” in intakes.
May 16, 2013 – “A recent report by the non-profit Legal Services Corporation cites estimates that at least 50 percent of Americans who qualify for free legal assistance because of their income or needs don’t get the help they need because legal aid organizations don’t have the funding or capacity to meet their needs. That’s a large number when you consider that 61.4 million Americans qualify for legal assistance from non-profit and government-funded programs — a number that has increased by more than 10 million since 2007.” This is something we all know, but the Huffington Post does a good job of consolidating statistics on the issue. (Story from the Huffington Post)
May 16, 2013 – Brooklyn Law School joins a few other schools in offering a 2-year JD program. It is a 24 month program with no breaks, making it a very intense program. There will be a separate admissions process for this program. The program was created in an effort to target a new group of students who may not want to take off 3 years to gain a law degree and in relation to declining enrollment. (from the ABA Journal and the National Law Journal)
May 16, 2013 – For my law school peeps – here is one example of how law schools may be reacting to lower application rates nationally. Many law schools are considering other factors (other than LSAT scores) in admissions. This was a big topic of news this week, so I leave it to you to discuss whether this is a good or bad trend. (from the ABA Journal)
May 16, 2013 - The Equal Justice Conference was held last week, and by all accounts was fantastic. Sponsored by the ABA and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, it ”brings together all components of the legal community to discuss equal justice issues as they relate to the delivery of legal services to the poor and low-income individuals in need of legal assistance.” If, like me, you were unable to attend this year, you can access the workshops and materials on the ABA website.
May 16, 2013 – Equal Justice Works announces it 57 2013 EJW Fellows with a variety of projects in 11 states. The complete list of fellows is now available.
May 16, 2013 – The Osceola County (Florida) Bar Association voted to establish the first legal aid society in the county. The organization will initially focus on family law, veteran’s affairs, and credit card mediation. (from the Orlando Sentinel).
May 17, 2013 – A committee made up of attorneys, law school officials and retired judges has recommended the NJ follow NY’s lead and adopt a 50 hour pro bono requirement in order to sit for the Bar. The proposal is based on a broad definition of pro bono, which includes a number of existing law school programs, such as clinics, internships and clerkships. The committee will accept public comments on the proposal through June 21Under the proposal, the pro bono rule would apply to anyone admitted to the New Jersey bar after Jan. 1, 2015, as is the case with New York’s requirement. (from Thompson Reuters)
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: John Meynink, a Coos County public defender, is retiring after 30 years on the Southwestern Oregon Public Defenders Office. For more about this outstanding individual, here is the full article from The World.
Super Music Bonus! Our PSJD Fellow Ashley Matthews is fabulous! One of the things I love about her is her wide-ranging taste in music. So to honor Steve’s tradition and to get a new voice into the conversation – here is Ashley’s first super music bonus (a double!):