Archive for March, 2012

Making the Judicial Clerkship Work For You (from Above the Law)

From Above the Law:

While the writing and researching experience is invaluable, there are additional opportunities law clerks should look into before their clerkship ends. Now on to the tips….

As a practical matter, actively update a log of the cases and research projects you worked on throughout your clerkship. . . .

Be sure to maximize the additional training and CLEs you have access to for free at a major discount. . . .

In addition to CLEs and training, take advantage of other perks and discounts available to law clerks. Each federal judicial district has different local rules on admittance and practice. Some districts will waive special requirements and fees for current law clerks, and may expedite the process. . .

Master your researching skills on sites like Westlaw and LexisNexis. . . .

Don’t forget to keep your professional network active. . . .

Maximize your free time outside of chambers. This point doesn’t even have to directly enhance your career. Want to train for a marathon? Go for it! Become conversational in a new language? Why not? Consider taking a cooking class? Now is the time! If you are planning on the partnership trajectory at a major law firm, now may be your only shot at activities or goals that can be time consuming and non-legal. Do not look back at your clerkship with regrets — with either your life inside or outside the courthouse.

Read more here.

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Prepping for Public Interest Interviews? Use These Resources…

By: Steve Grumm

We know that some 1Ls and 2Ls are still interviewing for summer jobs. And of course many 3Ls are on the job hunt.  Here are resources for interview tips and best practices:

Good luck!

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Job o' the Day: Legal Internship at Mil Mujeres in Los Angeles!

Mil Mujeres is a non-profit legal services organization dedicated to providing comprehensive immigration legal services to Spanish-speaking survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Mil Mujeres is looking for legal interns for the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

Ideal candidates will have a strong interest in using the law as a vehicle for social change and advanced Spanish language skills required.

To learn more, see the listing at PSLawNet!

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Public Interest News Bulletin – March 30, 2012

By: Steve Grumm

Happy Friday, dear readers.  It was a pleasure to see friends and colleagues from out of town as both the Association of Pro Bono Counsel and the Pro Bono Institute held meetings in DC this week.  Especially now, in the aftermath of a recession that gutted legal services funding, and with further cuts to the Legal Services Corporation’s budget quite possible, it’s critical for access-to-justice stakeholders to find effective ways to channel law-firm and corporate resources into public interest work.   It’s fitting then that this week’s bulletin features several items related to this important task.  

  • Florida’s legal services community is hoping for a $2 million appropriation from the state legislature;
  • President Obama has asked the Senate to reappoint five LSC directors for new board terms;
  • the intersection of pro bono and attorney professional development;
  • a look at pro bono successes in my hometown, which is also home to universe’s most glorious baseball franchise, about which you will read much more next week (teaser or warning?);
  • a Massachusetts legislator wants to narrow the scope of indigent defense eligibility;
  • the fundraising success of D.C.’s “Raising the Bar” initiative.

This week:

  • 3.28.12 – the stakes are high in Florida, where the legal services community is depending on a state government appropriation to fund their work.  Bill Abbuehl, exec. director of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, highlights the fact that IOLTA proceeds in the Sunshine State, which historically have been a key legal services funding stream, have plummeted by 88% in 3 years.  State legislators have appropriated $2 million for legal services, but this has to get past Gov. Rick Scott.  (Full piece in the Daytona Beach News Journal.)
  • 3.28.12 - the intersection of pro bono and attorney professional development inside law firms.  Pro Bono Institute president Esther Lardent looks at why and how pro bono work offers skills development opportunities for law-firm associates.  As it happens the folks I work with at NALP, who approach this from the professional development side, will be doing some work on this issue over the next few months.  I’m very much looking forward to spending time in pro bono issues again after having started my career with a pro bono clearinghouse.
  • 3.27.12 – the Philadelphia-based Legal Intelligencer has run a “Pro Bono 2012″ special edition.  It includes pieces on how pro bono work aid in attorney professional development and on law school pro bono.
  • 3.26.12 – a Massachusetts state representative, citing budgetary concerns and questions financial eligibility screen system for clients who request indigent defense services, is advancing a bill that would limit access to those services based on the type of crime alleged and severity of possible punishment.  From Wicked Local (great name!): “To reduce spending, [Rep. David] Linsky has proposed indigent defendants charged with misdemeanors unlikely to lead to jail time shouldn’t get court-appointed lawyers.  ‘We’ve identified 41 very minor offenses that wouldn’t be eligible for court-appointed counsel. In 99 percent of the cases, they don’t lead to jail time,’ he said.” 
  • 3.25.12 -3.23.12 - the Blog of the Legal Times reports on the fundraising success of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission’s new ”Raising the Bar” initiative.  “Raising the Bar” encourages law firm monetary donations to legal services providers by asking them to donate certain portions of overall revenue.  Twenty-three firms’ combined donations totaled $3 million in contributions.  Here’s more about ”Raising the Bar” from the AtJ Commission’s website.  

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Job o' the Day: Public Benefits & Education Law Clerk at Homeless Persons Representation Project in B-More!

The Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP) is seeking to hire a full-time law clerk for the summer to assist its public benefits and education attorney.

HPRP’s mission is to end homelessness in Maryland by providing free legal services, including advice, counsel, education, representation and advocacy, for low and no-income persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

HPRP is a non-profit organization that provides free legal services and advocacy to maximize our clients’ ability to gain and maintain stable income, healthcare, housing, education and employment. HPRP primarily works with clients located in Baltimore City when providing direct services. The direct representation provided by HPRP informs the organization’s policy work which deals with complex legal and systemic issues facing people struggling with homelessness in Baltimore City and around Maryland. Therefore, HPRP provides both direct legal representation and corresponding client and community education in order to foster and promote the public interest.

Learn more about this position and apply at PSLawNet!

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Civil Rights Division is the Conscience of the Justice Department

From NPR news:

When community leaders wanted justice for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, they went knocking on the door of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. And that’s been happening a lot lately.

Over the past three years, the unit has brought record numbers of hate crimes cases, uncovered abuses in local police departments and challenged voting laws in Texas and South Carolina.

“I wish discrimination were a thing of the past,” says Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “I wish we were living in a post-racial America. I wish my phone were not ringing, but regrettably it’s ringing off the hook in the voting context; it’s ringing off the hook in the hate crimes context and in so many other contexts.” . . .

“The Civil Rights Division I think is the conscience of the Justice Department,” Holder says.

But for political conservatives, this unusually active Civil Rights Division represents something else.

“It’s a very liberal Civil Rights Division. I think by far the most liberal I’ve seen,” says Roger Clegg, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank that follows issues of race and ethnicity.

According to Clegg, this Justice Department is pushing the boundaries of the law when it comes to voting rights and fair lending, and it’s not doing enough to prevent racial quotas in school admissions.

Read or listen to the rest of the story here.

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Job o' the Day: Staff Attorney at Legal Aid Society's Parole Revocation Unit in NY!

The Legal Aid Society’s Parole Revocation Defense Unit has an opening for one or more Staff Attorneys. The position is based in our Manhattan location, with significant amounts of time spent at the Rikers Island Judicial Center. The PRDU Staff Attorney’s have significant client contact and represent clients at parole revocation hearings held at the Rikers Island Judicial Center, federal detention facilities, and hospital prison wards throughout New York City. The PRDU staff attorneys also appear on behalf of clients at related habeas corpus proceedings, administrative appeals, and other post-conviction proceedings. The practice is fast-paced and litigation intensive.

Key responsibilities include: handling all case appearances, motion practice, negotiations and hearings in parole cases; directing investigations; locating and interviewing witnesses; and identifying cases that are suitable for alternatives-to-incarceration intervention by the Unit’s social workers.

To apply, see the listing at PSLawNet!

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Labor Movement Champion Cesar Chavez Honored at the Department of Labor

From Fox News Latino:

¡Sí Se Puede! -Yes, We Can– echoed throughout the halls at the U.S. Department of Labor.  The standing-room only crowd, their applause, and chants of a simple mantra born of the farm worker strikes fifty years ago electrified the main auditorium as it was renamed the César E. Chavez Hall of Honor.

The co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union and civil rights icon admitted that in his lifetime, he would likely not see a national union for these laborers.  And although this is one of the movement’s unfulfilled goals, the commemoration is at once an honor for Chávez’s work and should serve as an inspiration for the struggles ahead, such as more protections for field workers and comprehensive immigration reform which is stalled in Washington, says Paul Chávez, son of César and leader of the National Farm Workers Service Center. . .

Chávez’s teachings which mixed those of civil rights icons Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhihave inspired thousands to work to advance social justice and equality for all.  Still, members of the Chávez family acknowledge that this attention would have made the humble activist uncomfortable.  UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta reminded the audience that the best way to honor her colleague’s memory is by leading through his example of commitment and peaceful action.  “Leadership can be learned, not taught,” she said.
Read more here.

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Job o' the Day: Civil Rights Internship at Equal Rights Center in DC!

The Equal Rights Center is seeking applicants who will be in the Washington, DC area during Summer 2012 to participate in its Civil Rights Internship Program. Civil Rights Interns work closely with the staff of the ERC to combat illegal discrimination in the Washington, DC area and across the nation. Interns work on a variety of substantive tasks related to ongoing studies, investigations, and complaints, and also help out with day to day administrative duties in our Washington, DC office. The Summer Internship runs from June 2012 through August 2012.

The Equal Rights Center (www.equalrightscenter.org) is a comprehensive civil rights organization with a mission to identify, challenge, and eliminate discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, and government services in and around the nation’s capital and across the country. Through a variety of activities including education and outreach, complaint intakes and counseling, testing and private enforcement, and filing complaints, the ERC attempts to address the many harmful impacts of discrimination.

Learn how to apply at PSLawNet!

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What Not to Say in an Email to a Prospective Employer

by Kristen Pavón

I know job searching can get frustrating and time-consuming — so, I thought I’d pass along this instructional and hilarious story from a Chicago blogger about the email missteps she has made.

Her first piece of advice? Don’t send an email to a prospective employer while sick with a cold and sleep deprived (I have to agree with her on this one… Wait it out or have someone else proofread for you before sending!).

Dear Readers:

Do not let this happen to you.  Never, and I mean ever, apply for a job at dawn with a cold and little sleep because you might mess up and never get the job.

Here is but one example, if you will.

Dear Serge:

It is essential that you hire me to write for your publication.  I grew up in the area, have a love for the community, which is why I moved back from LA, and I like to write.

Aside from one theatre review, most of my work has been in the opinion genre, though I am interested in branching out.  For now, the links to the following clips will tell you more about who I am and what I can do for your online publication.

Thanks and I will call in about a week for your thoughts or to set up a time to meet.

Sincerely…

What was I thinking?  “It is essential that you hire me?” . . .

Most recently, I emailed an editor and told him that I liked his video about “growing a bear,” and that the accompanying Irish music made me want to do a “jog.”  After I hit send, I reread it and realized that it is impossible to grow a bear as they can grow themselves and that the Irish music wouldn’t make me want to do a jog but a jig.

You can read the rest here.

Moral of the story? Read your message through three times, then read it backwards twice before hitting “send.”

Do you have any email horror stories? Care to share? ;)

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