PSJD Public Interest News Digest – February 12, 2016

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

Happy Friday! How can you demonstrate your love for the law?  Perhaps a pro bono clinic or a helpline?  Show your community some love this weekend by volunteering.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • New York Legal Assistance Group announces reorganization;
  • Mid-Shore Pro Bono (Maryland) accepting out-of-state attorneys;
  • Record number of veterans receive assistance during Syracuse’s Valor Day;
  • Wisconsin State Supreme Court seeks legislative study on access to legal services;
  • Ontario seeking feedback on proposal to make family law services more accessible;
  • PA Patent launched to provide pro bono assistance to inventors and startups;
  • Maryland 2014 Pro Bono Status Report released;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

February 5, 2016 – “The New York Legal Assistance Group, a growing nonprofit that provides legal services to low-income New Yorkers, has created two new executive positions and reorganized its general legal services unit. Randal Jeffrey, who headed the general legal services unit, has been appointed general counsel, according to a news release. The other new position, chief operating officer, was filled effective Monday by Sara Meyers, who most recently was an assistant vice president at Hunter College. NYLAG’s general legal services unit, the organization’s largest division, was split into three distinct groups that will focus on the unit’s major practice areas: housing, consumer protection and public benefits.” (New York Law Journal)(subscription required)

February 5, 2016 – “Attorneys licensed to practice in other states may now volunteer with Mid-Shore Pro Bono, thanks to a rule change by the Bar of Maryland. As of Jan. 1, attorneys licensed in good standing in another state are allowed to take on pro bono work in Maryland.” “Out-of-state attorneys must complete a certification process, after which they will be permitted to represent clients through Maryland legal services organizations as long as they receive no payment. They will not have to pay dues to the state’s Client Protection Fund.” (MyEasternShoreMD)

February 6, 2016 –  “North Dakota will soon have more staff fighting human trafficking and victims will have better access to emergency housing, legal help and other services using new state grants. The state recently awarded about $1.15 million in human trafficking grants that were set aside during last year’s legislative session. Those dollars, along with federal funding recently awarded, will address needs not previously met for victims of human trafficking in North Dakota. ‘Our philosophy when we gave the grants out was to make sure we had a comprehensive continuum of services,’ said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. ‘That starts with training for law enforcement, with emergency housing and then assistance for things individual victims might need like critical education, addiction treatment, mental health services and legal services.'” “Nearly $106,000 was awarded  to Legal Services of North Dakota to dedicate staff to assist human trafficking victims statewide. The legal help could include immigration assistance, helping a victim get a criminal record expunged or pursuing civil action against traffickers.” (Grand Forks Herald)

February 7, 2016 – Here is an example of the power of law students.  “A record number of military veterans from the Syracuse community received free legal services Saturday at Dineen Hall. Syracuse University’s sixth Valor Day event provided veterans and their families access to organizations and legal advisement close to home and free of charge. Valor Day is a shortening for Veterans’ Advocacy, Law and Outreach Day. The event was created in 2012 by College of Law student organization VISION, or Veterans Issues, Support, Initiative and Outreach Network. Valor Day services were provided by a culmination of student volunteers from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and the College of Law and professional representatives for career, legal, financial, personal and family advisement, said VISION President Matt Crouch.”(The Daily Orange)

February 8, 2016 – “The Wisconsin Supreme Court has asked the co-chairs of the Wisconsin Joint Legislative Council to study how to improve access to civil legal services for people who cannot afford a lawyer, the court noted in a press release last week. The Wisconsin Joint Legislative Council, co-chaired by Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), establishes committees to study major issues and to recommend legislation for introduction every two years. In a letter to the co-chairs, the justices unanimously requested that the Joint Legislative Council establish a study committee on improving access to civil legal services.” (State Bar of Wisconsin)

February 9, 2016 – “Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada are seeking public feedback on a proposal to help families access qualified family legal service providers. Family law includes divorce and separation, child custody and access, and child support. Currently, only lawyers are permitted to provide legal services in family law cases and this can lead to litigants choosing to represent themselves. In 2014-15, over 57 per cent of Ontarians did not have legal representation in family court. As part of Ontario’s work to improve access to justice for families, the Honourable Justice Annemarie E. Bonkalo will lead a review to consider whether a broader range of legal services providers, such as paralegals, law clerks and students, should be allowed to handle certain family law matters. Justice Bonkalo will also ask for input on what types of legal services, if handled by a broader range of legal service providers, could improve the family law system and how alternative service providers could be held accountable. The public is invited to provide comments on the consultation document by April 30, 2016.” (News Ontario)

February 10, 2016 – “Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, a program of the the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, is formally launching PA Patent, a statewide effort to provide under-resourced inventors, startups and tax-exempt organizations the assistance of pro bono patent attorneys.” “During a pilot of PA Patent started a year ago, 43 patent attorneys volunteered to represent ‘members of the creative economy,’ the organization said. During the last 12 months, 14 cases made it through a screening process, and an additional 11 cases are in the pipeline. PA Patent is part of a national effort under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act to establish pro bono patent services in every state.” (

February 10, 2016 – “Of Maryland’s 38,863 licensed attorneys, 42.4 percent reported some measure of pro bono activity, logging a total of 1,144,952 hours of pro bono services, according to the Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers, Year 2014, recently published by the Maryland Judiciary. These findings reflect those pro bono reports filed by the February 15, 2015, deadline.” “Financial contributions to legal services providers and organizations that work to improve the legal system from 6,852 attorneys totaled $4,275,222.” (Maryland State Bar Bulletin)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (DCBF) has selected Jennifer L. Berger, Esquire, as the recipient of the 2016 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. Ms. Berger is a Supervisory Attorney at Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE).

The prize is awarded annually to an attorney who has worked for a significant portion of his or her career at a nonprofit organization providing direct hands-on legal services to the needy in the District of Columbia, has demonstrated compassionate concern for his or her clients, and has exhibited a high degree of skill on their behalf.

In her ten years as Supervising Attorney at LCE, Ms. Berger has worked to advocate for elderly citizens experiencing difficulty in the housing area. In her nomination, Jan May, Executive Director of Legal Counsel for the Elderly, said of Jennifer: “She shows a dogged commitment to enhance the quality of life for low-income D.C. seniors through legal advocacy, social service, and public outreach.” Mr. May also praised Ms. Berger for her passion and determination to provide her clients with the best representation. Congratulations! (DC Bar Foundation)

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


2 Upcoming EJW Webinars – 2/16

Equal Justice Works has two great programs for law students serving at organizations throughout the country for the summer. Learn more about these programs during our free webinar!

Applications are also still open for our Public Interest Awards, and we will also be hosting a student debt relief webinar next week. Details below.

Tuesday, February 16 at 2 p.m. ET

This webinar will introduce participants to AmeriCorps JD and the new Rural Summer Legal Corps program for law students with Equal Justice Works. Learn about the opportunity to earn up to $4,000 this summer working with legal aid organizations nationwide in underserved and rural communities. Topics discussed will include eligibility, program requirements, application process and timeline directly from Equal Justice Works staff.


Rural Summer Legal Corps connects public interest law students with LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities. Participants earn a $4,000 stipend for their summer service. Applications must be submitted by February 29 for the 31 positions open nationwide.

More information can be found at and questions can be directed to


AmeriCorps JD provides a $1,212 education award to law students who deliver critically needed legal assistance in underserved communities across the country. Our spring application deadline is April 15.

Learn more about the program and application by reviewing our website and guide. Questions can be directed to


Option Stipend Education Award Outside Funding
Rural Summer Legal Corps (standalone) $4,000 $0 More than $1,212
Rural Summer Legal Corps + AmeriCorps JD $4,000 $1,212 $300 or less


This year, Equal Justice Works’ National Advisory Committee is presenting awards to law students at Equal Justice Works member schools in eight regions who have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and pro bono work.

The Equal Justice Works Public Interest Awards seek to identify and honor law students who have provided extraordinary service through law school clinics, volunteer work, internships, and/or extracurricular projects. Recipients will be honored during an Award Ceremony with a commemorative plaque and $250.

Applications are currently open through March 1, 2016. Please find the application here as well as a list of our member schools divided into eight regions. If you have any questions, please email us at

For the third year in a row, the Obama Administration’s budget proposed capping Public Service Loan Forgiveness at the undergraduate loan limit (currently $57,500). We’ll discuss the implications of this and other legislative proposals on student debt in this month’s free webinar, JDs in Debt: What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know About Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

As it does every month, the webinar will also provide the in-depth information about programs like income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness law students and lawyers need to manage their student debt. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 16 at 3 p.m. ET. Click here to register.


Job’o’th’week (Internship Edition) – Law Students for Reproductive Justice

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

Attention Students! The Law Students for Reproductive Justice’s (LSRJ) National Office in Oakland, CA is seeking interns for a 10 week paid summer program running from mid-June to mid-August. LSRJ is a national nonprofit network of law students and lawyers. Their organization educates, organizes, and supports law students to ensure that a new generation of advocates will be prepared to protect and expand reproductive rights as basic civil and human rights.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD. (Application Deadline: March 1, 2016).


Regional Summer Funding Opportunity: Virginia State Bar (VSB) Local Government Fellowship

Money Bag

Attention students! The Virginia State Bar (VSB) Local Government Fellowship seeks to attract promising future attorneys to the practice of local government law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To this end, the Board of Governors of the VSB Local Government Section will award a $4,000 fellowship to an outstanding first or second-year law student who has committed to working full-time for a minimum of 10 weeks at a Virginia local government attorney’s office during the summer of 2016, or divide the fellowship between two students working full-time for a minimum of 5 weeks each. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to submit an article on a local government topic or an interview for potential publication in the VSB’s quarterly Journal of Local Government Law.

Sound like you? Then check out their website for more information.

For additional funding opportunities, head on over the PSJD for national and regional funding opportunities.


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – February 4, 2016

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • UCLA to provide major new services to veterans;
  • DLA Piper adds pro bono counsel in D.C.;
  • Maryland relaunches Access to Justice Commission;
  • Texas Appleseed celebrates 20 years of service;
  • Ohio legal aid adds service for veterans;
  • Social Justice Hackathon winners present ideas;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 28, 2016 – “UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald today announced a stronger academic affiliation to benefit our nation’s veterans as UCLA committed to providing $1.15 million annually in support of new programs and services, approximately $200,000 of in-kind contributions and $300,000 a year in fair-market rent for the continued use of Jackie Robinson Stadium. New and expanded services will include mental health, family support, legal advocacy and recreation services.” The new initiative includes “$400,000 annually to expand and relocate the UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic to provide enhanced legal services to veterans on the West Los Angeles VA campus, emphasizing the benefits of advocacy and the legal needs of homeless veterans.” (UCLA Newsroom)

January 28, 2016 – “One of the rarest areas for lateral hires has a new face: Suzanna Brickman joined DLA Piper as full-time pro bono counsel. Brickman becomes one of the global firm’s seven pro bono lawyers, some of whom work on cases the attorneys handle and some of whom work with the nonprofit the firm owns, New Perimeter. Brickman said she’ll split her time between New Perimeter and projects in the U.S., which focus on veterans, criminal justice, domestic violence, education, fighting hunger and access-to-justice legal work.” (National Law Journal)(subscription required)

February 1, 2016 –  “The University of Victoria Faculty of Law has established the Access to Justice Centre for Excellence with plans for five research projects to help determine need in the province. Kathryn E. Thomson, who helped develop the centre, says the centre is preparing for the two-part research colloquium to take place in May and September of this year, ‘just to talk about the research needs in British Columbia and the role ACE plays in helping to support and facilitate or partner in those research needs.’ There are also five projects on the go for the justice centre at the moment, the Data Map Project, Justice Integration Project, the Justice Metrics Conversation, the Access to Justice Education Project, and the Access and Information Technology Project.” (Canadian Lawyer)

February 1, 2016 – “Rep. Elijah Cummings and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh will launch the newly re-formed Maryland Access to Justice Commission on February 2, 2016. The renewed commission is an independent entity devoted to driving systemic change in Maryland’s justice system. Among the commission’s foremost goals are improving Marylanders’ awareness of their legal rights and providing all residents equal access to justice.” “[T]he Access to Justice Commission plans to back legislation in the General Assembly to provide lawyers in custody and domestic violence protective-order cases to those who can’t afford them. They also aim to collect data to better understand how poor people fare in the civil courts. The commission existed previously as a project of the state judiciary but had become defunct.”(Maryland Access to Justice Commission)(The Baltimore Sun)

February 1, 2016 – “A legal organization that has spurred big changes in Texas through lobbying and litigation is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Founded in 1996, Texas Appleseed works to find justice and solutions to social and economic problems for underrepresented Texans, such as children, disabled people and low-income families. By galvanizing pro bono efforts of major Texas law firms, the nonprofit works toward change by lobbying the state, city and counties for new laws, and by using targeted litigation to force change.” Congratulations! (Texas Lawyer)

February 2, 2016 – “Legal Aid of the Bluegrass recently advanced its goal of increasing legal services to veterans of the U.S. military. The veteran population is underserved in the communities of Legal Aid’s geographic area, according to information reported to the legal service agency. Potential clients now have a dedicated intake hotline available for advice and answers to their legal questions about civil matters. The veterans hotline is 866-516-3054. Legal Aid has an attorney designated for veterans services. That attorney is available for general advice and is accredited for appeals of Veterans Administration disability determinations.” (

February 3, 2016 – “Miguel Willis, a second-year law student at Seattle University, wants to do something about [the proper access to legal aid] problem. And that’s why he was inspired to create the Social Justice Hackathon, a two-day coding event sponsored by Seattle University which brought together 70 technology innovators and law professionals to address specific issues related to legal aid.” “The hackathon took place last November, and three teams moved on to develop fully functioning apps and web pages addressing a selection of obstacles in legal aid access. Those three winning teams will present their ideas to legal aid organizations and the public Wednesday night at the Social Justice Hackathon Demo Day.” “‘The core purpose of the hackathon is to solve real problems,’ Willis said. ‘These are all problems that legal aid organizations have faced, and these are solutions that legal aid organizations can use.'” (GeekWire)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

 Virginia Business Magazine, in cooperation with the Virginia Bar Association, has recently recognized attorney Tameeka Montgomery Williams of the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia as a member of Virginia’s Legal Elite in the category of Legal Services/Pro Bono. Williams has been with the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia – an organization that provides high-quality civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged people in 15 cities and counties, including James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg – since 2005. She currently serves as the director of pro bono & private attorney involvement. (Williamsburg Yorktown Daily)

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


Exciting New Announcement from our Friends at EJW

Equal Justice Works is excited to announce the Rural Summer Legal Corps program which connects public interest law students with LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities.

Applications must be submitted by February 29 for the 31 positions open nationwide. Participants must complete 300 hours of service by August 31, 2016 to receive the $4,000 stipend.

More information can be found below and at Please share this opportunity with any students who may be interested! Questions can be directed to


The Rural Summer Legal Corps program will operate between May-August 2016. Participants will begin the summer with intensive training from poverty law experts on housing, domestic violence, public benefits, migrant farmworkers, Native American, and family law. After the training, the law students will travel directly to their host site to begin their 8-10 week placement.

Participants will build their legal skills in various areas, such as direct legal services, outreach and education, and capacity building.


Position descriptions and more information on the Legal Aid Providers can be found on our website. Applications must be submitted here by February 29.


It is the participant’s responsibility to obtain housing and ensure adequate transportation throughout the summer placement. Legal Aid Providers (host organizations) will provide general information, however it is not the responsibility of the legal aid provider (host organization) to provide direct housing or transportation assistance.


  • Attend an Equal Justice Works member school.
  • Complete their first or second year of law school by the start of their summer placement.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident (e.g., green card).
  • Pass a criminal background check. Applicants are not disqualified for most criminal records.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license and access to adequate transportation during summer placement.


There are two funding options for Rural Summer Legal Corps members. As shown in the table below, the standalone option is favorable for applicants who have significant outside funding from their law school or another source.

Option Stipend Education Award Outside Funding
Rural Summer Legal Corps (standalone) $4,000 $0 More than $1,212
Rural Summer Legal Corps + AmeriCorps JD $4,000 $1,212 $300 or less


February’s Regional Highlights

NALP Regions Map - Final Version

It’s Feburary! Time to start applying to some of these great public interest positions! Find your region below to learn more about job opportunities and public interest events happening in your area this month. (Click image to enlarge map)

Here are February’s Regional Highlights:

West/Rocky MountainDirecting Attorney – Children and Youth Project (Seattle, WA); Directing Attorney – Economic Justice Project (Seattle, WA); 2016 QLaw Foundation Sher Kung Summer Fellowship (Wenatchee, WA); Summer 2016 Judicial Externs (Salem, OR); Research & Writing Attorney (Boise, ID); Summer 2016 Internships/Externships (Boise, ID); Legal Fellow – Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (Salt Lake City, UT); Assistant Attorney General (Phoenix, AZ); Summer Clerkship (Denver, CO); 2016 Summer Intern, Migrant Farm Worker Division (Denver, CO); 2016 Summer Intern, Migrant Farm Worker Division (Various Locations, CO); Emmett/Frankel Fellowship in Environmental Law and Policy (Los Angeles, CA); Legal Fellows Program (San Francisco, CA); Teaching Fellow for Stanford Law (Stanford, CA); Fair Housing Coordinator (Santa Clara, CA); Assistant Federal Defender – Temporary Position (Sacramento, CA); Direct Representation Attorney (Merced, CA); Public Interest Internship: Education Advocacy (Los Angeles, CA); Public Interest Internship: Child Advocacy (Los Angeles, CA); Attorney – Health Consumer Center (Oakland, CA); Intermediary Liability Fellow (Stanford, CA); Summer 2016 Judicial Externship Program (Los Angeles, CA); Summer 2016 Litigation Internship (Torrance, CA); Summer Intern (San Francisco, CA); 2016 Pro Bono Scholars Program (Los Angeles, CA); CA Attorney General Summer Legal Intern (San Francisco, CA); Staff Attorney (San Mateo, CA); Spring Law Clerk Positions (San Francisco, CA)

MidwestAssistant State’s Attorney II – With Underfill (Bismarck, ND); Assistant U.S. Attorney – Civil Division (Wichita, KS); Managing Attorney, Community Economic Development Program (St. Louis, MO); Summer Law Clerk (St. Paul, MN); Robins Kaplan Fellowship Attorney (Minneapolis, MN); Assistant United States Attorney (Hammond, IN); 2016 Law Clerk Position (Ann Arbor, MI); 2016 Summer Law Clerk Position (Ann Arbor, MI); Michigan Clinical Law Fellow – Entrepreneurship Clinic (Ann Arbor, MI); Michigan Clinical Law Fellow: Community and Economic Development Clinic (Ann Arbor, MI); Executive Director (Columbus, OH); Summer Intern (Cincinnati, OH); Managing Attorney (Steubenville, OH); Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Fellow (Dayton, OH); Part Time Extern – Capital Habeas Unit – Summer 2016 (Columbus, OH); Full-time extern – Capital Habeas Unit – Summer 2016 (Columbus, OH); Summer 2016 and Spring 2016 Internships and Fellowships – Unpaid (Chicago, IL); Summer 2016 and Spring 2016 Internships and Fellowships – Paid (Chicago, IL); Intern (Chicago, IL); Staff Attorney II (Chicago, IL)

SoutheastManaging Attorney (Louisville, KY); Faculty Position Criminal Law and Procedure (Chapel Hill, NC); Public Interest Summer Clerkship (Asheville, NC); Summer Intern (Raleigh, NC); Summer Internship (Memphis, TN); Pre-Arrest Diversion Initiative Coordinator (East Point, GA); Attorney (Macon, GA); Assistant United States Attorney (Tampa, FL); Assistant Director for the Academic Support Programs (Miami, FL); Human Rights Attorney (Sarasota, FL); 2016 Summer Internship (Montgomery, AL); Managing Attorney (New Orleans, LA); Summer 2016 Capital Litigation & Policy Law Clerk (Austin and Houston, TX); 2016 Pro Bono Scholars Program (Dallas and Houston, TX); 2016 Summer Law Fellowship (Houston, TX); Summer 2016 Legal Intern (San Antonio/Pearsall, TX); Staff Attorney – Veteran Advocacy Project (San Antonio, El Paso, and Weslaco, TX); Staff Public Defender (Rio Grande Valley, TX); Staff Attorneys – Civil Division (All TRLA Office Locations, TX); Staff Attorneys – Defender Division (Various Locations, TX)

Mid-AtlanticLSAC Diversity Initiatives 2016 Summer Intern (Newtown, PA); Community Advocate (Melcroft, PA); Legal Intern (Washington, PA); Summer Law Intern (Pittsburgh, PA); Attorney (Arlington, VA); Attorney – Office of Chief Counsel, Administrative General Law Section (Arlington, VA); Attorney – Office of Chief Counsel – Diversion and Regulatory Policy Section (Arlington, VA); Pro Bono Fellow (Richmond, VA); JustChildren Intern (Charlottesville, VA); Staff Attorney (Norfolk and Hampton, VA); Part Time Attorney (Springfield, VA); Civil Advocacy Program Summer Intern (Charlottesville, VA); Managing Attorney (Baltimore, MD); Staff Attorney – CINA – FT Temp (Hughesville, MD); Staff Attorney (Baltimore, MD); Staff Attorney (Landover, MD); Trial Attorney – Child Support Services Division (Washington, DC); Director of the Departmental Ethics Office (Washington, DC); Chief, Educational Opportunities Section (Washington, DC); Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section (Washington, DC); 2016 Pro Bono Scholars Program (Washington, DC); Attorney – Office of the Assistant Attorney General (Washington, DC); Attorney Advisor (Washington, DC); Director of Advocacy (Washington, DC); General Counsel – Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (Washington, DC); Investigator: Criminal Justice Research and Writing Project (Washington, DC); Young Center Supervising Attorney (Washington, DC); Attorney Advisor (Washington, DC); Senior Staff Attorney (Washington, DC); Environmental Law Staff Attorney (Washington, DC); Summer 2016 Internship (Washington, DC)

NortheastStaff Attorney (Various locations, NH); Summer 2016 Internship (Cambridge, MA); Lichten & Liss Riordan Wage Justice Internship (Boston, MA); Senior Staff Attorney (Boston, MA); Staff Attorney (New Haven, CT); Summer 2016 Law Student Volunteer (Hartford, CT); Supervising Attorney (Providence, RI); Attorney (Jersey City, NJ); Managing Attorney (Jersey City, NJ); Legal Intern (Newark, NJ); Law Intern – Summer (Albany, Buffalo, Plattsburgh and Ithaca, NY); Assistant Corporation Counsel, Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (New York, NY); Summer 2016 Internship (New York, NY); Post-Grad Law Fellowship, Fall 2016 (New York, NY); Housing Law Clerk (Albany, NY); Immigration Law Clerk (Albany, NY); Summer Intern (Brooklyn, NY); Staff Attorney (New York, NY); Legal Research Fellowship (New York, NY); 2016 Summer Internship (New York, NY); Staff Attorney (Ossining, NY); Americorps/EJW Summer Internship (New York, NY); Staff Attorney (Bronx, NY); 2016 Pro Bono Scholars Program (New York, NY); Staff Attorney (Geneva, NY); Assistant Corporation Counsel, Administrative Law (New York, NY); Summer Intern – FDIC (New York, NY); Disability Rights Researcher/Advocate (New York, NY); Attorney (New York, NY); Summer 2016 Legal Fellowship – Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (New York, NY); Assistant Federal Defender (New York, NY); Associate (New York, NY); Summer Internship (New York, NY); Legal Internship – Summer 2016 (New York, NY); NYLAG Special Litigation Unit Summer 2016 (New York, NY);

CanadaPSJD Pro Bono Resources


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 29, 2015

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

Happy Friday! I feel like we’ll never dig out of this snow. But, it reminded me that not everyone is as fortunate to have a warm place to sleep. Check out resources in your area for folks who may be out in the cold so that you know how to help if an opportunity arises.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • 2016 National Law Journal Pro Bono Hot List;
  • West Virginia Public Defender Services to no longer cut court-appointed attorneys’ fees;
  • Bloomberg BNA announces support of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia;
  • Texas Civil Rights Project announces Veterans’ Rights Program;
  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law to create a human trafficking law clinic;
  • Idaho judge dismisses ACLU lawsuit over public defense;
  • State of Utah and Washington County sued over public defender system;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 18, 2016 – The 2016 National Law Journal Pro Bono Hot List is out.  The work was varied and far-reaching and required thousands of hours and teams of attorneys working to solve complex problems. Check out their amazing work. (National Law Journal)

January 21, 2016 – “[West Virginia] Public Defender Services rescinded its emergency guidelines that were set to go into effect this week. Dana Eddy, the Executive Director of Public Defender Services, said the budget office was able to scrape together enough money to be able to withdraw the emergency guidelines. ‘I give full credit to the budget office,’ Eddy said. ‘They were able to scrape together $15.7 million, which made it possible to remove the emergency guidelines.’ Eddy said even if the emergency guidelines had gone into effect, they would’ve only lasted until the next fiscal year.” (West Virginia Record)

January 21, 2016 –  “Bloomberg BNA today announced it will provide Bloomberg Law, a leading all-in-one technology platform for the legal industry, at no cost to the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia (D.C. Legal Aid). Washington, D.C.’s oldest and largest civil legal services organization, D.C. Legal Aid provides pro bono representation to clients living in poverty on matters involving domestic violence/family, housing, public benefits, and consumer law.” (PR Newswire)

January 21, 2016 – “The Texas Civil Rights Project recently announced a new Veterans’ Rights Program aimed at assisting the 40,000 or so veterans living in the Rio Grande Valley. ‘Veterans not only have the challenge of re-acclimating to civilian life – seeking health, education and other benefits to which they are entitled – but also often have the added challenge of navigating that process with physical or mental disabilities that they acquired during service,’ said Emma Hilbert, the program’s attorney, in a statement to Equal Voice.” “Any veterans or family members of veterans having trouble gaining access to public resources or residences will find themselves heard and represented at TCRP.” (AFBA)

January 22, 2016 – “Case Western Reserve University School of Law recently received $131,169 to create a human trafficking law clinic. The money came from the Crime Victims’ Fund, which was established by the Victims of Crime Act and provides a base amount of $500,000 to each state. In Ohio, the Attorney General’s Office distributes this money to Crime Victims Assistance Grant applicants who will support victim assistance and/or compensation programs. The focus of the human trafficking law clinic will be on providing advocacy and educating people on the issue of human trafficking. Students in the law school will be involved in the representation of human trafficking victims when they face criminal charges related to their victimization and will work with the courts to identify victims of human trafficking. Although they will not be involved in the prosecution of any human traffickers, students will also help victims who act as witnesses in such trials by providing information and support. The educational component will involve preparing educational materials for the community. All of this will be done with the oversight of Co-Directors and Professors Maureen Kenny and Judith P. Lipton, and students who become involved will be focusing on criminal law.” (The Observer)

January 22, 2016 – “An Idaho judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the state seeking to improve the public defense system in Idaho, saying the case did not merit judicial action because it is not up to the courts to legislate standards. ‘The court is sympathetic with plaintiff’s plight. However, the case invites the court to make speculative assumptions regarding the outcomes of individual cases,’ 4th District Judge Samuel Hoagland said in his ruling. He said the lawsuit asks him to presume ‘that all indigent criminal defendants in all counties are receiving the same ineffective assistance of counsel, and then issue blanket orders halting all criminal prosecutions until the issues are resolved.’ The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho sued the state in June contending that state officials have known for years that Idaho’s public defense system was broken and prevented defendants from receiving adequate legal representation guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Though the ACLU has brought similar cases over public defense systems in parts of Michigan, Washington state and other regions, attorneys on the Idaho lawsuit say it’s the first such case against an entire state. ACLU-Idaho Executive Director Leo Morales said the organization would appeal the ruling.” (Idaho Statesman)

January 22, 2016 – “A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed Friday against the state of Utah and Washington County on behalf of thousands of criminal defendants who are represented in court by public defenders. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Friday, claims the county’s current public defender system is broken, and that the attorneys who work those contracts are overworked, underpaid and are not given the proper support to defend their clients. The lawsuit claims this is violating the accused’s constitutional rights — which requires states to provide an attorney for those who can’t afford them. ‘[The county] enters into fixed-price contracts with local attorneys to provide indigent defense services to those charged with criminal wrongdoing in the district court,’ the lawsuit reads. ‘The contracts are structured and administered in a manner that impede the ability of the attorneys to provide constitutionally adequate legal representation to their clients.'” (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

The ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services has given its 2016 Louis M Brown Award for Legal Access to Suffolk University Law School in Boston for its program uniquely combining course work and clinical opportunities.

Suffolk’s Accelerator-to-Practice Program enables graduates to effectively and creatively provide personal legal services within the law firm setting. Courses include “Legal Problems in Everyday Life” and “Lawyering in the Age of Smart Machines,” along with an array of substantive law topics. Students spend their final year representing clients in fee-shifting cases in a law firm within the school in which they learn practice skills, client retention and service, risk management, and other skills necessary for efficient delivery of legal services.

The committee also recognized the Lawyer Entrepreneur Assistance Program, an incubator consortium of law schools in Orange County, California, with Meritorious Recognition. The program trains new lawyers to create solo or small firm practices that serve people who do not qualify for free legal services but are unable to pay prevailing market rates. Law schools in the partnership are the University of California, Irvine School of Law, Chapman University School of Law, Whittier School of Law, Western State College of Law and the Legal Aid Society of Orange County.  (ABA News)

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


Job’o’th’week (JD Advantage Position) – Human Rights Watch

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

The Disability Rights Division of the Human Rights Watch is seeking highly qualified applications for the position of Disability Rights Researcher/Advocate. This position will be responsible for developing and implementing research and advocacy strategies on the human rights of persons with disabilities. The position will ideally be based in HRW’s New York Office and will report to the Director of the Disability Rights Division.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post here. (Application Deadline: February 22, 2016)


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 22, 2015

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • San Diego County Bar Foundation awards $110,00 in grants;
  • Veterans Legal Assistance Foundation established to provide Canadian veterans better access to justice;
  • ACLU files suit against Orleans Public Defenders Office;
  • North Mississippi Legal Services celebrates 50 years;
  • Fort Bend County (Texas) to open public defenders office;
  • Grant provides legal aid to Indiana residents facing foreclosure;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 14, 2016 – “The San Diego County Bar Foundation (SDCBF) has awarded a total of $110,000 to 13 local nonprofit organizations, including Jewish Family Service, that offer legal services and promote understanding of the legal system to San Diego County residents.” “”Through these grants, we further our mission to ensure that legal aid is accessible to those who would otherwise be underserved by the legal system,’ said Brian Funk, president of the SDCBF board of directors. ‘We hope to raise even more funds in the coming year and continue to promote public understanding of the law.'” (San Diego Jewish World)

January 15, 2016 –  “Peter Stoffer announced this morning at the House of Commons a new charitable organization that supports access to justice for Canadian veterans. Funding for the initiative was announced in 2013 in conjunction with the Manuge SISIP Clawback class action settlement, but was made official in Ottawa today with the establishment of the Veterans Legal Assistance Foundation (‘the Veterans Legal Fund’). The$1-million donation was made by firms that received fees in the settlement – McInnes Cooper and Branch MacMaster – to fund a private foundation for the benefit of disabled veterans who apply and qualify for support.” “The mandate of the Veterans Legal Fund is to assist veterans with access to justice by providing funding assistance enabling them to retain qualified legal counsel. The framework for the funding assistance program would be similar to that of legal aid.” (Canadian News Wire)

January 15, 2016 – “The Orleans Parish Public Defenders office will have to defend itself against a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana. The office is refusing cases because it said it does not have the money or people for the caseload. The ACLU said it is a constitutional issue because the defenders’ office is denying people their Sixth Amendment right to an attorney. Since Tuesday, the office has refused six cases.” “The ACLU filed suit on behalf of three men who have been wait-listed, saying they are ‘helpless’ and losing invaluable opportunities to build a defense. The state relies on fines and fees collected from traffic tickets and other convictions to pay for public defense. [Chief District Defender Derwyn] Bunton said that means his office is dependent on inadequate and unreliable revenue. ‘This lawsuit is really an illustration of that, and so when we don’t have the resources we can’t provide the service and ethically we can’t take on cases that we can’t handle in accordance with the constitution and our ethical and state performance standards,’ Bunton said.” (WDSU)

January 15, 2016 – “In the past 50 years Mississippi has seen the civil rights movement, advances in employment opportunities for people of all lifestyles, an economic downturn and a society that has become more litigious. Through it all North Mississippi Legal Services has been on top of the game, helping poor and low-income Mississippians who need legal representation and offering more and more services as the years go by.” Through their work, northern Mississippians have seen great change and progress.  Congratulations, and here’s to many more years! (Oxford Eagle)

January 16, 2016 – “Fort Bend County’s new public defender’s office is getting ready to open for business, making preparations to handle about 10 percent of the county’s felony and misdemeanor indigent cases. Following last spring’s debate over whether the office was needed, state grant funding was approved by August and went into effect in October for the new county agency, which will provide criminal defense for those who cannot afford it. The public defender’s office will take its first case Feb. 1.” (Houston Chronicle)

January 19, 2016 – “Indiana Legal Services, or ILS, provides legal aid for Hoosiers in all 92 counties. On Tuesday, Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced that a new grant will help support their foreclosure prevention services for low-income residents. The grant will also be used to fund a partnership between Indiana Tech Law School and ILS. Attorney General Greg Zoeller says this grant will help residents who need legal aid during the foreclosure process.” “The grant comes from money received in a multi-state settlement with Chase Bank over alleged unlawful debt collection practices. The judge ruled the funds be used for consumer protection.” (WBOI)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others? – Martin Luther King, Jr.  I am asking myself this question often.  I hope you are too. Together we make a difference for those who don’t have the skills or experience to help themselves.  Thank you for your pro bono efforts of behalf of those individuals!

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