So long , 2010. We close out the year with two week’s worth of public interest news. We’re also happy that this week’s edition is packed with stories highlighting the extraordinary work of several extraordinary advocates. Our Inner Scrooge’s heart is warmed. Featured: a new place to look for new federal jobs; a law intended to help CA foreclosure victims hiccups; a report on whether the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau is actually helping clients who seek unemployment benefits; Cooley Law School establishes a new pro bono initiative with the private bar; a successful public interest employment “bridge” program at Florida Coastal Law; the tremendous public interest commitment of an award-winning UConn law student; adios, Federal Career Intern Program; a busy legal services development chief is profiled; $500K going to a clinic and public interest programs at Cardozo Law; the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s incoming president knows firsthand what it’s like to be a legal services client; the business case for supporting legal services in Eastern Missouri; a big federal-court win for a Yale Law School clinic; a Cleveland judge and two attorneys dig deep to help out a low-income defendant; here are some phrases to keep off of your resume; a five-part story on Missouri’s beleaguered public defense system; and the New York Times editorial board weighs in on the importance of supporting legal services.
- 12.30.10 – how do you find federal jobs? Pore through budget proposals. Not what you wanted to hear, we know. But here’s a great bit of job-seeking wisdom, courtesy of the Washington Post: “In each budget justification submitted to Congress, you get to see what an agency says it needs, as well any additional hiring requests to carry out its work … For the Justice Department to strengthen national security and counter the threat of terrorism the 2011 budget requests $300.6 million. The request includes 440 additional positions, including 126 agents and 15 attorneys. To enforce immigration laws the department is requesting an $11 million program increase, including 125 positions – 31 of them attorneys. You can read an agency’s budget proposal on its Web site.”
- 12.29.10 – Southern California Public Radio reports on an unintended consequence of a California law intended to benefit homeowners facing foreclosure proceedings: “A California state law to protect homeowners is backfiring—foreclosure lawyers can’t legally get any money until the case is done, so lawyers leery of losing or getting sued aren’t taking cases at all. That leaves homeowners facing foreclosure in a tight bind, effectively shutting them out of legal representation when they most need it.”
- 12.28.10 – the New York Times Freakonomics blog highlights what they characterize as a “remarkable randomized experiment (“What Difference Representation?”) with evidence showing that offers for free legal representation from the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau (HLAB) ended up hurting unemployment claimants.” Well, sort of. The circumstances are fairly complex, and we haven’t had a chance to read the researchers’ report yet, just the blog post. Anyway, we wanted to pass this along for those readers who are data dorks.
- 12.28.10 – yet another example of a pro bono collaboration involving a law school and volunteer attorneys. From the Examiner in Detroit we learn that the “Thomas M. Cooley Law School and the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (DMBA) have joined forces to create a new program to expand free legal services in Detroit and Wayne County. The Cooley Law School-DMBA Pro Bono Mentorship Program will allow students from Cooley’s Ann Arbor and Auburn Hills campuses to collaborate with a mentoring attorney in providing free legal services to clients.” Cases will be referred to the new program from local public interest organizations.