PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 26, 2016

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Illinois governor signs bill expanding legal aid for juveniles in murder or sex offense investigations;
  • Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2020;
  • Bloomberg Law contributor’s perspective on ABA’s “Future” Report;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 22, 2016 – “Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that requires an attorney to be present when police question juveniles younger than 15 in murder or sex offense investigations. Illinois already mandates legal representation for children younger than 13 in those cases, even if they’re not the targets of the criminal probe. But lawmakers who sponsored the legislation argued 14- and 15-year-olds should receive legal protection, too. Rauner signed the bill Monday. Lawmakers say the new law is meant to eliminate false confessions.” (SFGate)

August 24, 2016 – While not public interest news per se, I always read this list each year before the 1Ls join us on campus. It’s a good reminder that not everyone has had the same experiences, and it’s a fun list to read.  Enjoy! Beloit College Mindset List

August 25, 2016 – Bloomberg Law contributor Stephen Poor, Chair Emeritus, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, writes a response to the ABA’s Report on the Future of Legal Services in the United States. He notes “the Report does not simply focus on access-to-justice issues. Rather, it addresses many of the range of issues facing the entire legal profession, including Big Law — from diversity, to business model innovation, to challenges with the criminal justice system, to the lack of funding for legal services. While the problems it identifies are hardly new, the Report’s power lies in the aggregation of facts and the overall perspective.” He then identifies with the camp that feels the Report is “insufficiently bold.” After a critique of the report, he posits an idea regarding big law support of the development of legal technology to assist in the delivery of legal services.  The article is an interesting read. (Bloomberg Law)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

When Steve Brust and a team from Smith, Gambrell & Russell decided to ramp up their pro bono involvement, it was clear they were ‘all in.’ ‘We’ve long supported Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and the delivery of legal services for the disadvantaged, but we know we can do more,’ Brust said. ‘We want to do the right thing for our community and we also want to do the right thing by training our new associates. Maybe with additional pro bono involvement we can do both.’ A conversation about these goals evolved into a new pro bono initiative: The Landlord/Tenant Pro Bono Project. It will provide legal assistance to low-income clients in housing disputes while giving new associates experience in client representation and court proceedings. Once a month at JALA, attorneys from the firm help interview clients during landlord-tenant intake and then accept pro bono cases. In turn, JALA provides training and expert resource guidance, such as recognizing and defining legal issues in landlord-tenant intake and common causes of action. (Jacksonville Daily Record)

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

Comments

Job’o’th’week (Fellowship Edition) – Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

Thousands of children come to the United States each year without a parent or legal guardian. Children placed in immigration court removal proceedings most often face court alone – without the help of a lawyer. Many of these children have been victims of abuse, abandonment, neglect, human trafficking or persecution—but need a lawyer to help them present their case in court to obtain relief from deportation and to navigate the complexities of the U.S. legal system. KIND’s mission is to find pro bono counsel for these children.

If this sounds like the fellowship for you, head to PSJD to check out the full post and apply. (Rolling Deadline)

Comments

Calling All Pro Bono Publico Award Nominations!

Photo By Moyan Brenn - CC-By-2.0

Photo By Moyan Brenn – CC-By-2.0

NALP is currently seeking nominations for the 2016 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award. Any 2L or 3L who attends a PSJD subscriber school and has significant pro bono contributions is eligible for nomination. The deadline is Wednesday, August 31 at 5pm EST. Nomination packets should include the nomination form, nominee’s resume, and a nomination statement. Find complete details, including the Nomination Form, on PSJD’s Pro Bono Publico Award page.

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 19, 2016

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

Happy Friday!  It is with great pleasure that we welcome the 2016-2017 PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris.  She comes to us from Syracuse University College of Law.  We’re so excited to work with her!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • New ABA President Linda Klein announces Veterans Legal Services Initiative;
  • Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services requests budget supplement;
  • U.K. legal chatbot expanding to help the homeless;
  • ABA announces creation of Center of Innovation to increase access to justice;
  • DC Bar Foundation awards $950,000 in grants for foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment;
  • Free online site will answer legal questions in Mississippi;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 10, 2016 – “ABA President Linda Klein has announced an effort to provide legal representation and resources for veterans. Klein says in a video that she became aware of the needs of veterans when members of her law firm volunteered at a homeless shelter. She learned that over half the needs of homeless veterans are legal. The ABA Veterans Legal Services Initiative launched by Klein will be led by a 20-member volunteer commission, according to a press release. The commission is expected to:

• Build a comprehensive website that informs veterans of legal issues and directs them to appropriate resources.

• Encourage law schools and bar associations to promote legal-services incubators that could help veterans while providing training to new and underemployed lawyers.

• Promote partnerships between doctors and lawyers to help solve veterans’ legal problems.

• Extend the National Pro Bono Celebration Week in late October to include Veteran’s Day, and sponsor additional volunteer efforts around Memorial Day.” (ABA Journal)

August 14, 2016 – “The Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services is asking for a supplemental appropriation in January of over $2.8 million. John Pelletier, executive director of the commission, says lawmakers rejected an attempt earlier this year to get additional money requested in the two-year budget, but not approved. ‘For ’16 they gave us the amount to increase the hourly rate, but they zeroed out the cost increase, saying that is the second year of the biennium,’ he says. Pelletier says the increased need in the commission budget is driven by a number of factors. He says there are more cases being brought against the poor who can’t afford to pay for their own attorney, and the complexity of cases is increasing. He said lawmakers did fund an hourly increase for lawyers from $55 an hour to $60 an hour.” (Maine Public Broadcasting)

August 15, 2016 – Another legal tech update: “The DoNotPay chat bot, created by 19-year-old Joshua Browder from London, gained international attention in recent months for helping citizens overturn more than 160,000 parking tickets in the U.K. Now, the world’s first robot lawyer is expanding its range and offering legal aid to people who are facing homelessness due to evictions. The bot will ask users a series of questions, including why they are facing eviction, and then respond with a document with legal advice to support the user. Its services are currently supporting users in the United Kingdom with plans to offer support to the U.S.” (Forbes)

August 15, 2016 – “The American Bar Association announced today the creation of the Center for Innovation, a venture designed to advance the ABA’s efforts to improve the delivery of legal services to the public through innovative programs and initiatives. The center will drive innovation in the justice system and the legal profession by serving as a resource for ABA members, maintaining an inventory of the ABA’s innovation efforts and the efforts of the domestic and international legal services community, and operating a program of innovative fellowships to work with other professionals, such as technologists, entrepreneurs and design professionals, to create models that improve the justice system.” (ABA News)

August 16, 2016 – “The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) awarded $950,000 in grants to five two-year projects focused on foreclosure prevention and community redevelopment. Lawyers funded by these grants will provide free civil legal assistance to DC residents living in poverty and who are facing situations including foreclosures, wrongful evictions, poor housing conditions, and expiring housing subsidies.” Follow the link for a complete list of grantees and details about their projects. (DC Bar Foundation)

August 18, 2016 – “Free legal advice to Mississippians who can’t afford an attorney goes online later this month, its sponsors say. ‘It’s a way to bring information to the public with answers to civil legal matters,’ said Tiffany Graves, executive director of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, which is partnering with the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project to offer the service. The online service, will provide information about common legal problems, such as divorce, child custody, housing, landlord-tenant disputes, land issues, trust and estate matters, will and probate matters, wage and employment issues, bankruptcy, and consumer disputes, Graves said.” (The Meridian Star)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

Thomas F. Garrett retired this week from the top post of the Legal Services Law Line of Vermont, where he had been the executive director since the Law Line formed in 1996. His last day on the job was Monday. In that post, Garrett managed a staff of attorneys who provide free consultation, advice, intake, referral and education for low-income Vermonters primarily through the Vermont Law Help hotline. The hotline, a joint project of Vermont Legal Aid and Law Line, is funded in part by the Legal Services Corp. Garrett also oversaw the Vermont Volunteer Lawyers Project, a cooperative effort of the Vermont Bar Association and Law Line. It is the only organized pro-bono legal services project in the state. Through Garrett’s efforts, Law Line received and implemented several technology innovation grants from the Legal Services Corp. Congratulations on your retirement and thank you for your service! (Times Argus)

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

Comments

Job’o’th’week (Internship) – Center for Children’s Law & Policy (CCLP)

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

The Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) seeks first- and second-year law student applicants for its summer internship program. CCLP is a public interest law and policy organization focused on reform of juvenile justice and other systems that affect troubled and at-risk children, and protection of the rights of children in those systems. The Center’s work covers a range of activities including research, writing, public education, media advocacy, training, technical assistance, administrative and legislative advocacy, and litigation. Based in Washington, DC, the Center’s staff work with federal, state, and local officials throughout the country on a range of issues that include reducing the unnecessary incarceration of youth, promoting racial and ethnic justice, and eliminating dangerous and inhumane conditions in facilities that house children.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD (Application Deadline February 1, 2017).

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 12, 2016

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

Happy Friday!  Postgraduate fellowship and government program deadlines are fast approaching.  The 2016 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide and Federal Legal Employment Guide are now live and available on PSJD to assist you in researching and applying to these programs.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Pro bono requirement for bar licensure in California passes state Assembly;
  • ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services releases final report;
  • Lawyer reflection on clemency work after executive action;
  • Push for Maine to cover indigent defense costs on appeal;
  • Legal Service Board Chair remarks to ABA – public at large needs to be concerned about justice gap;
  • New York State awards funds for disability assistance legal services;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 5, 2016 – “Before a law student can become a lawyer in California, he or she must make it through the toughest bar exam in the nation. A new bill written by Sen. Marty Block would require would-be lawyers to do something else too before they can be admitted to the State Bar: complete 50 hours of pro bono legal work. It’s an idea New York has already implemented, and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has said all states should be doing. Block’s bill passed the Assembly this week and is headed back to the state Senate for a final sign-off.” (Voice of San Diego)

August 6, 2016 – “As expected, the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services delivered plenty of recommendations for how the bar can close the access to justice gap in America, while steering clear of the most contentious issue: whether alternative business structures—most notably nonlawyer ownership of law firms—should be permissible. After two years of work, the commission released its final report (PDF) on Saturday during the 2016 ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The underlying message of the report, said ABA President Paulette Brown, is that ‘The future is not going to wait for us. We have got to go with it. We have to not let the future get away from us.’ Citing statistics showing that in some jurisdictions, over 80 percent of the civil legal needs of lower-to-middle income individuals went unmet, the commission called on the legal profession to support the idea that all people should have some form of legal assistance for their civil legal needs. To that end, the commission found that the legal profession ‘should support the aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs.'”  In order to meet that standard, the Commission  made several recommendations:

  • courts should be open to innovations in the delivery of legal services and were called upon to adopt the ABA Model Regulatory Objectives for the Provision of Legal Services (PDF);
  • the ABA open a Center for Innovation that would amount to a research and development division for the legal industry;
  • all members of the legal profession should keep abreast of relevant technologies; and
  • the legal profession should partner with other industries to design, develop and create new delivery models and technological tools.

“The wide-ranging report also called for criminal justice reform; increased diversity within the legal profession; regular preventive legal checkups for individuals; and utilization of statistics and metrics to determine how effective the intended reforms really are.” You can read the details here. (ABA Journal)

August 9, 2016 – The National Law Journal has an excellent reflection from lawyers working with the Clemency Project 2014.  The Project is a “working group of lawyers who review clemency petitions. Through the project, inmates who qualify for clemency under the guidelines are assigned a lawyer, who works the case pro bono. The project seeks inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes, such as drug offenses, with good prison records, no gang affiliations, who have already served more than 10 years in prison, and who, if sentenced today, would likely have received less time. When the project first launched in January 2014, 37,000 interested inmates were surveyed to evaluate their potential eligibility for clemency.” (National Law Journal)(subscription required)

August 9, 2016 – “A criminal defendant in Maine stripped of his right to an attorney at his trial after threatening his sixth lawyer is at the center of a push to have the state cover the costs for indigents to petition the U.S. Supreme Court. Joshua Nisbet of Scarborough handled his own defense in 2014 with two standby attorneys after threatening a string of defense lawyers; he was convicted in the robbery case and sentenced to seven years in prison. Since then, attorney Jamesa Drake of Auburn has taken up his petition to the Supreme Court on a pro bono basis. The Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services has declined Drake’s request for the state to pay the petition costs. Maine is the only state in the nation that lacks an intermediate appellate court and also refuses to pay the costs for indigent defendants to petition the country’s highest court, the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said in arguing for the state to cover the costs. The group says the law doesn’t prohibit such assistance. Drake also has told the commission that Supreme Court justices have never endorsed the theory that a defendant can forfeit his right to counsel.” “Commission members said Tuesday they may ask a legislative committee for explicit authority to cover the petition costs.” (Portland Press Herald)

August 9, 2016 – “The Legal Services Corp. is expanding its efforts to provide innovative technology to close the justice gap and trying to raise public awareness of the legal aid crisis, said John G. Levi, the board chair of the publicly funded nonprofit, to the ABA House of Delegates at the association’s annual meeting in San Francisco. As for expanding the use of innovative technology, among many existing, new and proposed uses of technology to increase availability of legal services, Levi said the LSC has partnered with Microsoft Corp, which has committed $1 million to develop statewide legal portals to direct those with legal needs to where they can get assistance. Levi spoke at length about the need for more funding and increasing the availability of legal services, and the need to get that message to the public. ‘We can no longer leave this issue just to the lawyers,’ Levi said. To raise public awareness of the legal aid crisis and resulting justice gap, the LSC formed the Leaders Council to connect with the public , with high-profile, influential people from various walks of life. Among them are the legendary baseball player Hank Aaron; author John Grisham; University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh; former commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig; and well as former U.S. attorneys general Eric Holder and Dick Thornburgh, and former ABA presidents Paulette Brown, William Hubbard and Bill Neukom, among others.” “In a 2005 study and a follow up in 2009, the LSC found that most civil legal needs of low-income people went unmet. Levi said that a new report will be issued early next year and that, he’s confident it ‘will reveal a continuing, alarming justice gap.'” (ABA Journal)

August 10, 2016 – “The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance announced Wednesday that it has allocated $8.2 million to provide legal assistance for those who have been denied federal disability benefits. The funding will be divided up among 11 organizations that provide legal services for lost benefits including Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. Providing more funding ensures that these nonprofit organizations can provide adequate legal assistance for those seeking appeals.” (Watertown Daily Times)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

This Day in History: On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law the Social Security Act. Press photographers snapped pictures as FDR, flanked by ranking members of Congress, signed into law the historic act, which guaranteed an income for the unemployed and retirees. FDR commended Congress for what he considered to be a “patriotic” act. Although it was initially created to combat unemployment, Social Security now functions primarily as a safety net for retirees and the disabled, and provides death benefits to taxpayer dependents. The Social Security system has remained relatively unchanged since 1935. (History.com)

Music Bonus!

Comments

Job’o’th’week (Experienced Edition) – Brennan Center for Justice

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

The Brennan Center for Justice (New York, NY) seeks a mid-level or senior attorney, with a minimum of five years’ experience in the legal, academic, governmental or nonprofit advocacy sectors, for a three-year Fellowship. The Bernard and Anne Spitzer Fellow will work as an attorney in the Democracy Program, primarily on the Voting Rights and Elections team, which works to ensure that voting is free, fair, and accessible for all citizens of the United States.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD. (Application Deadline: August 26, 2016).

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 5, 2016

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

Happy Friday!  Can you believe it’s August already?  For many, including us, the summer is over.  This week we bid a sad goodbye to our 2016 Publications Coordinator Mary Boothe.  She was a wonderful addition to our team, and her hard work and diligence made the 2016 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide and Federal Legal Employment Guide possible.  A big thank you to Mary!!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • New public interest law office opens in British Columbia;
  • Legal Services of Eastern Missouri receives $300,000 grant to help kids;
  • Morgan & Morgan announces new public interest scholarship;
  • Jenner & Block and the University of Chicago Law School open Supreme Court clinic;
  • John Marshall Law School’s Pro Bono Clinic receives $100,000 gift;
  • Missouri Public Defender assigns case to Governor;
  • Idaho counties apply for state money for indigent defense;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 28, 2016 – “There just aren’t enough lawyers in B.C. to fight all the environmental battles First Nations, individuals and groups face on a regular basis in the province, according to University of Victoria lawyer Chris Tollefson. As a solution, Tollefson, the founder of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, and a handful of legal experts and litigators recently launched a new public interest environmental law outfit that will take on some of the most powerful forces in B.C., from Malaysian-owned Petronas to government ministries to BC Hydro.The new legal non-profit, the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL), will focus on environmental litigation, legislative reform and, as Tollefson describes it, ‘training up the next generation of young public interest environmental lawyers.'” (Desmog Canada)

August 1, 2016 – “Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM) will continue its program, ‘Connecting Kids to Coverage,’ after receiving a two-year, $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2013, LSEM became the only individual legal services organization nationwide to receive this grant funding and in this recent 2016 round, LSEM is one of three legal aid programs nationwide to receive funding. Connecting Kids to Coverage is designed to build on historic progress already made increasing the number of children who have health coverage. A National Health Interview Survey shows only 4.5 percent of children remain uninsured in 2015.” (Hannibal Courier-Post)

August 2, 2016 – “National plaintiffs-only law firm Morgan & Morgan has announced that a new scholarship is available to first year law students who have worked to better their communities. The firm is offering a $2,000 award to be put towards tuition or other education expenses. Scholarship applicants will be evaluated on the quality of their answers and demonstrated commitment to community service. The essay questions ask applicants to describe their involvement in the community and how being involved has shaped their character and who they want to be as an attorney. Applicants must be currently accepted or enrolled in their first year of an accredited law school in order to be eligible. The deadline for applications is December 1, 2016. The winner will be announced on December 31, 2016. Full details are available on the firm’s website.” (PRWeb)

August 2, 2016 – “Jenner & Block and the University of Chicago Law School are pleased to announce the opening of the Jenner & Block University of Chicago Law School Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic, a rigorous education and training program for University of Chicago law students to help litigate cases before the United States’ highest court. The Clinic represents parties and amici curiae in cases before the US Supreme Court and other appellate courts. Students participate in the researching and drafting of merits briefs, amicus briefs, and cert petitions, conduct research on cases that may be suitable to bring to the Court, and help prepare and participate in oral arguments.  Assistance is provided pro bono.  Although the Clinic’s focus is the US Supreme Court, the Clinic may also handle cases at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Illinois Supreme Court.”  (PRNewswire)

August 2, 2016 – “John Marshall Law School alumnus Antonio Romanucci has given $100,000 to the law school’s Pro Bono Program & Clinic. This first-of-its-kind gift will help fund the clinic for the next two years, John Marshall Dean John E. Corkery announced today. Romanucci, a leading Chicago plaintiff’s attorney, hopes his gift will make the Clinic’s work more impactful. ‘I would like to see the Clinic not only help the individual client, but also help insure the right policies are put in place moving forward so society is affected positively by the work we do,’ said Romanucci, a 1985 graduate of the law school. ‘This gift will help fund our clinic and help provide real life, practical experience for our students to help them become more practice ready,’ Dean Corkery said in thanking Romanucci for his generosity.” (GlobeNewswire)

August 3, 2016 – “Fed up with what he says is the governor’s failure to properly fund his overwhelmed office, the state’s lead public defender ordered Gov. Jay Nixon this week to represent a poor person in Cole County this month. Michael Barrett said he was using a provision of state law that allows him in extraordinary circumstances to delegate legal representation ‘to any member of the state bar of Missouri.’ He’s starting with the state’s highest-profile lawyer: Nixon.” “Barrett never exercised this power before because he thought it was wrong to place the burden of public cases on private attorneys ‘who have in no way contributed to the current crisis,’ he wrote in a letter to the governor dated Tuesday.” “Just this June, the legislature granted the public defender system a $4.5 million increase, which would’ve helped in hiring 10 more employees and some private attorneys on a contractual basis.” “Last month, Barrett and the Missouri State Public Defender Commission filed a lawsuit claiming that Nixon withheld $3.5 million of that $4.5 million increase. Barrett claims Nixon is targeting the public defender system for budget cuts while leaving more money for other programs he likes.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

August 4, 2016 – “All but one county in Idaho has applied for additional state money to help pay public defenders. The Idaho Public Defense Commission on Tuesday met to discuss how to split the $5.4 million in new funding made available by the Legislature for public defenders. Previously public defense offices have only been funded by county commissions.” “Idaho lawmakers designated the funds earlier this year to improve how the state provides legal representation to those who can’t afford their own attorney.” (The Washington Times)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

A longtime advocate for the disadvantaged, Robert Spangenberg led a study showing that Boston’s poorest residents don’t get the legal help they need, even when it’s available for free. Fewer than half who qualified knew legal help was available to them at no cost. And the number of those who miss out skyrocketed among the homebound elderly and residents who didn’t speak English fluently. Those findings might sound like they’re from a current news report, but Mr. Spangenberg conducted this particular study in 1976, fresh off his stint launching and establishing the Boston Legal Assistance Project.

“Many poor people are unaware of their legal rights. Even when poor people are aware of their legal rights, they are often reluctant to enforce them because they fear retaliation,” he told the Globe that December, adding that among the most vulnerable there is “a distrust of the legal system and a pervasive feeling that all efforts will be futile.” As a lawyer, consultant, and leader in the field of providing legal assistance to the indigent, Mr. Spangenberg helped design and launch programs across the country, and his studies shaped the debate from state courts and legislatures to the US Supreme Court. “I think he can truly be called the father of the modern indigent defense reform movement,” said Steve Hanlon, general counsel for the National Association for Public Defense. Mr. Spangenberg, who was diagnosed more than three years ago with Alzheimer’s disease, died June 22 in hospice care at Newton-Wellesley Hospital from an infection that was a complication of the illness. He was 83 and had lived in Brookline after many years in Newton. Read more about his amazing contributions here – Boston Globe.

Music Bonus!  Music pick from the 2016 Publications Coordinator, Mary Boothe.

Comments

Job’o’th’week (Entry Level Edition) – CASA de Maryland, Inc.

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

A CASA de Maryland staff attorney is on the front line in defending immigrant workers against abuse by employers, the police and immigration officials. This is an excellent opportunity to build your legal skills, build power in the immigrant community, make a lasting difference in the state of Maryland and to work with a dynamic group of paralegals, lawyers, organizers and social service staff in a friendly, fast-paced, bi-lingual and multi-cultural office.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD. (Application Deadline: Rolling)

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – July 29, 2016

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Massachusetts Governor signs bill to pay indigent defense lawyers for FY16 bills;
  • Free expungement clinic part of Delaware’s efforts to reform juvenile justice system;
  • Shake legal app goes nationwide;
  • US firms lead in UK pro bono;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 22, 2016 – “Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday signed a supplemental budget with money for private attorneys who represent indigent clients in criminal and some civil litigation, including guardianships, classifications by the Sex Offender Registry, and children in need of services in juvenile courts. The attorneys have gone without pay for several weeks while a supplemental budget for Committee for Public Counsel Services to cover expenses from the last fiscal year made its way through Beacon Hill lawmakers and onto Baker’s desk, attorneys said. The CPCS is the state public defender agency and has a cluster of full-time staff attorneys sprinkled across the state, but it relies more heavily on some 3,000 private lawyers who agree to be paid fees that are generally less than what they would charge for private clients.” (Boston Globe)

July 22, 2016 – “Lawyers were at Delaware Law School Friday offering pro bono legal aid to minors – and those who have records from when they were a minor – seeking expungements.” “The clinic was made possible through a $150,000 planning grant awarded from the federal government. Delaware was one of four states selected for the grant. The Delaware Center for Justice also partnered with the Office of Defense Services to provide additional funding for the expungement fees. The state’s Criminal Justice Council applied for the grant, and Lisa Minutola, Chief of Legal Services at the Office of Defense Services, is helping chair the grant committee. The committee is looking into other reforms for the juveniles involved in the criminal justice system. ‘Everything from making sure juveniles have attorneys, to making sure those attorneys are qualified, to looking at ways to keep juveniles out of the system, and if they’re in the system looking at ways to make sure their experience is as successful as possible,’ Minutola said.” (Delaware Public Media)

July 26, 2016 – “Starting this month, millions of Americans will now have the ability to create, sign and send more than 300 free legal documents by completing a few questions on their phone through the new Shake by LegalShield app. Shake is the only mobile app of its kind available in the marketplace today. Shake—an award-winning startup that changed the landscape of the legal field by providing easy to understand, free legal forms to everyday Americans—significantly expanded their initial offerings after joining LegalShield, one of the leading providers of pre-paid legal services. Shake offers instant access to a wide variety of free legal forms used in day-to-day activities, without the burdensome cost of legal fees. The documents include loan agreements, advanced care directives, non-disclosure agreements, name change documents, power of attorney forms, roommate agreements, lease agreements, skilled labor contracts, contract work agreements and much more. Shake also provides new state-specific versions of many forms—such as leases and bills of sale—that can vary distinctly from state-to-state, doing the legwork for users so they don’t have to worry about tailoring a form on their own.” (PRNewswire)

July 27, 2016 – “Lawyers at US firm Seyfarth Shaw averaged the highest number of pro bono hours in the UK last year, a new survey has revealed. According to the Trustlaw Index of Pro Bono fee-earners at the firm, which has 11 lawyers in London, chalked up more than 61 hours each on average, with 40 per cent of them doing at least 10 hours. The firm that occupied top spot in the 2015 Index, Arnold & Porter, performed strongly again, with every single one of its London fee-earners contributing at least ten hours of pro bono last year. Overall, participation in the survey among law firms with offices in England & Wales increased, from 26 to 37. However, once again the vast majority of those were US-founded. American firms made up the top six spots on the list. The best-performing British-founded firm that made its details public was Linklaters, whose lawyers averaged 46 hours of pro bono last year.”   (Lawyer 2B)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

The National Association of Women Lawyers (“NAWL”) is pleased to announce the 2016 award recipients. These awardees are leaders of their industry who have dedicated themselves to strengthening the legal profession by working toward parity for women and minority lawyers.

The 2016 awards to be presented are:

Vanita Gupta.jpg Arabella Babb Mansfield Award in recognition of professional achievement, positive influence, and valuable contribution to women in the law and in society. – to Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Facebook.png President’s Award for the advancement and retention of women attorneys by an organization – to Facebook, Inc., for the company’s implementation of creative, impactful ways to support and advance diversity, including the comprehensive Managing Unconscious Bias training, annual salary reviews to ensure fair salaries, and the diverse slate approach to encourage recruiters to look longer, harder, and smarter for more diversity in the talent pool.

Bryan.jpg Lead by Example Award for a leading male attorney in a law firm, company, government unit or public interest entity who supports the advancement of women within his organization – to Alan Bryan, Senior Associate General Counsel, Legal Operations & Outside Counsel Management, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Johnson.jpg M. Ashley Dickerson Diversity Award in recognition of lawyers who promote diversity – to Sheri Lynn Johnson, Associate Dean for Public Engagement and the James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law, Cornell Law School.

Virginia S. Mueller Outstanding Member Award recognizing leading NAWL members for their exemplary work and contributions to NAWL – to

Baier.jpg

Beth K. Baier
Principal Counsel, Media Distribution
The Walt Disney Company

CardMina.jpg

LTC Mary E. Card-Mina
Staff Judge Advocate
U.S. Army 

Carlson.jpg

Lindsay G. Carlson
Partner
Alston & Bird LLP

Music Bonus!  Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Eulen Jang.

Comments