Archive for November, 2012

PSJD’s Career Central: Resources to Help You Land a Public Interest Job

With information on everything from postgraduate fellowships to student loans, PSJD’s Resource Center is full of helpful materials to guide your path to a public interest law career. If you’re just beginning the internship or job hunt, the Career Central page is a great place to start!

Figure out the basics of why you want to practice public interest law with Harvard Law’s Career Search Self-Assessment. Get tips on cover letters, resumes, and networking. Check out the Public Interest Career Fair Calendar for upcoming dates. If you’re interested in criminal law, browse PSJD’s Careers in Public Defense and/or Careers in Criminal Prosecution guides. We’ve also recently added a variety of specialty guides, also produced by Harvard Law, on practice areas ranging from conservative public interest law to LGBT Rights law, just to name a few.

All of these guides and more are available on the Career Central page in PSJD’s Resource Center!


Public Interest News Bulletin – November 23, 2012 (Turkey Edition!)

By: Steve Grumm

Happy Friday, ladies and gents.  I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, and that you’re able to spend the next few days eating leftover turkey and/or vegetarian/vegan turkey-like food products.  And stuffing.  Man, I love stuffing.  (Or “dressing”, if you’re a weirdo and are inclined to call it that.)  Earlier this week, I began taking inventory of all for which I am thankful.  Early in this process, the same thought again and again returned to me.  I wrote it down: “I count the many things I’m thankful for and realize that to be thankful is, in itself, a great privilege.”  Which is to say that, in light of all the people, ideas, and things that enrich me every day, it is truly my pleasure to stop, appreciate them, and feel a sense of humbled gratitude.  I am so, so fortunate.  Many of us are.  We should appreciate this fact more than once a year.  But once a year is a good start.

Yesterday’s Washington Post featured a terrific piece on my favorite Philadelphian, Benjamin Franklin.  Historian Walter Isaacson notes that Franklin exhibited both “strands” that make up our national character: the lover of individual liberty, and the community-builder.  (Isaacson didn’t quite get to this metaphor, but I began to see them as the two strands in the double helix of American DNA.)  Franklin’s work ethic, entrepreneurship, and boundless curiosity propelled him to individual success in commerce.  But his civic-mindedness was equally unbounded.   He launched innumerable civic and commercial programs, and was generous in his charitable giving.  Franklin believed in the power of community.

This piece helped me to understand how fortunate I am to be a part of the larger access-to-justice community, which counts among its members those from public interest organizations, law schools, law firms, and other groups.  For most of my professional life I have been able to learn and grow because of the access-to-justice community’s generosity and spirit of fellowship.  So I’d like to thank all of you, professional colleagues and collaborators, advocates, students, and clients, from whom I have taken so much.  It is truly a pleasure to try to repay those debts in the meager ways I do.

Before the bulletin, an important bit of NALP news, and a request for a (simple) favor from me:

  • NALP has just release research findings on law-school “bridge-to-practice” programs, which fund recent graduates to gain work experience in short-term placements while the grads search for long-term employment.  These programs have of course grown in number and size in the recession’s wake.  Notably, within our response pool 48% of the bridge-to-practice placements were with public interest organizations, and another 30% were in government.  One wonders what impact the growth in these school-funded programs has had on hiring for full-time positions within the nonprofit and government legal community.  Here’s a report on some of the research’s key findings.
  • If you have not yet circulated our 2012 public interest job market snapshot survey to your contacts, please do.  The survey response deadline is Friday, 11/30.  We need your support to make this unique and important survey effort a success.  Here are details and survey link.  Thanks!

This week’s public interest news in very, very short:

  • JALA says, “We have a new ED!”
  • NYSBA says, “More legal help for vets!”
  • ACC says, “More flexibility for in-house counsel to do pro bono!”
  • ABA law school accreditation committee says, “No mandatory pro bono!”
  • Harvard’s public interest dean says, “The public interest job search is unlike the law-firm job search!”
  • Music!

The summaries:

  • 11.21.12 – “Jacksonville Area Legal Aid has named attorney James Kowalski Jr. as executive director, replacing Michael Figgins, who resigned in January to become the executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma.”  While this is the case for most legal services executive directors today, Kowalski is walking into a tough gig.  JALA has experienced a big funding decline and has laid off attorneys, as the Jacksonville Daily Record piece documents.
  • 11.20.12 – in a press release, “The New York State Bar Association Tuesday called for providing veterans of the U.S. military with better access to quality legal services. It also recommended the creation of more specialized veterans courts, such as the successful Veterans Treatment Court in Buffalo, the first of its kind in the nation.”
  • 11.19.12 – an update from the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) about their work to promote more flexibility in state practice rules (thus allowing in-house lawyers to do more local pro bono), and some insight on how in-house counsel can craft such proposals when advocating for changes in individual jurisdictions.
  • 11.19.12 – It appears that a New York-style pro bono requirement for law students won’t be going national anytime soon.
    Several organizations and legal leaders have asked the committee that is updating the American Bar Association’s law school accreditation standards to add a 50-hour pro bono requirement, but that idea got a chilly reception from the committee at its most recent meeting on November 16 and 17. None of the nine committee members in attendance endorsed the idea, which generated only a few minutes of discussion. Those who took a position said that requiring a certain amount of pro bono work is outside the scope of the ABA’s accreditor role.”  Here’s the National Law Journal article, and here’s a link to many of the proposals, which are housed on the National Center for Access to Justice’s website.  Finally, here’s a look at the committee’s actions on other law school accreditation change proposals, from the ABA Journal.
  • 11.14.12 – Alexa Shabecoff, assistant dean for public service at Harvard Law School, sets the record straight by responding to a Harvard Crimson article that had pushed for more promotion of public service within the law school.  Shabecoff writes: “Those of us who work in the community of public interest lawyers welcome media interest in the nationwide shortage of legal services for the underserved. We also understand the temptation to write stories that say that part of the problem is that on-campus recruiting by big private firms is so much more robust than on-campus recruiting by public interest employers, but to suggest—as the Crimson has done—that the way for Harvard Law School to address that imbalance is to “set up [on-campus] interview programs for public sector organizations akin to its efforts to facilitate student interviews for private companies” is to miss the mark. The vast majority of such organizations cannot spare the funds to send recruiters to law school campuses around the country. Nor do their hiring cycles lend themselves to the kind of unified recruiting ‘season’ adopted by large law firms.  The task for law schools is to maximize the support available for students who will not be deterred by the fact that it is indeed likely to be somewhat harder—and to take somewhat longer—to land a public service position than to obtain an offer from a private law firm….”


Job o’ the Day: Emerging Leader Fellow for the Juvenile Summary Representation with ACLU of Pennsylvania

The ACLU of Pennsylvania, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting individual rights and demanding equal protection of the law, is continuing their legacy as a leader in public school student rights with the Juvenile Summary Representation program. In recent years, the ACLU-PA has seen a marked increase in the issuance of summary criminal citations for “disorderly conduct” or “harassment” to students whose “crimes” are usually non-violent misconduct such as using profanity or yelling at a teacher. In many public schools, a call to the local police is a routine addition to school discipline – though the criminal prosecution, unlike school discipline, can result in a criminal record that will follow the student for the rest of his/her life.

From the PSJD job listing:

The ACLU of Pennsylvania is seeking a young lawyer or third year law student to partner with us in seeking funding for a one-year fellowship to design and implement a project to provide representation to public school students charged with summary offenses for misconduct in school. Full details are on the attached summary and at the Stoneleigh Foundation website:

The Fellowship is limited to those who have earned their J.D. between May 2010 and May 2013. Candidates must be admitted to or sitting for the Pennsylvania Bar in July 2013. Preference will be given to those with clinical or other experience representing clients in court.

The deadline to apply is next week on 11/29/2012. For more information, view the full job listing on (log-in required).


Job o’ the Day: 2013 Graduate School Fellowship with Education Pioneers

Are you committed to using your law degree to help ensure that all children have access to a high-quality education? Education Pioneers recruits and develops talented business, law, policy, and education graduate students and recent graduates with diverse professional backgrounds and helps them launch high-level education leadership careers through the Graduate School Fellowship.

From the PSJD job posting:

Building on the success of the 10-week Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellowship, the Graduate School Fellowship Yearlong Placement is a 12-month leadership development program that places top professionals in roles outside the classroom with top education organizations.

The Fellowship provides hands-on, real-world experience as well as training in leadership skills and issues in K-12 education. Fellows also gain the unique support and networking opportunities offered by Education Pioneers and our robust and rapidly growing nationwide network of over 1,600 Fellows and Alumni.


Austin, TX Bridgeport, CT Chicago, IL Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
DC Metro Area Denver, CO Detroit, MI Greater Boston Area
Houston, TX Los Angeles, CA Memphis, TN Nashville, TN
New Orleans, LA New York Metro Area Sacramento, CA San Francisco Bay Area
Seattle, WA

Total Number of Fellowship Positions (10-Week & yearlong placements):  425

Dates: June 2013 – May 2014

About Education Pioneers

Education Pioneers has been building a nationwide network of change agents since 2004. To date, we’ve connected more than 1,600 talented professionals with top school districts, charter school organizations and nonprofits.

Education Pioneers mobilizes and prepares a national network of talented leaders and managers to accelerate excellence in education and transform our education system into one that equips all students with the skills they need to thrive in college, career, and life.

Through the Graduate School Fellowships (10-week and Yearlong Placements), the Analyst Fellowship and Alumni programs, Education Pioneers increases the talent supply of top leaders in education to improve the leadership capacity in key education organizations—such as school districts, charter school organizations, and nonprofits—and to advance our goal to make education the best led and managed sector in the U.S. economy.

For more information on application instructions, qualifications and deadlines, view the full listing at (log-in required)!


K Street Careers: A “Lobbying Degree” is Useful, but Becoming a Lobbyist Takes More

credit: KP Tripathi

Here’s a Washington Post article which looks at the value of degree and certificate programs for aspiring lobbyists.  But degree programs aside, this is worth a read for anybody who’s considering a lobbying career, particularly one in DC.  Lobbying is a strange mix of art and science.  A lot of lobbyists quoted in the piece emphasize the art side, i.e. good instincts, a friendly demeanor, and tact.

In short, you can go to school to learn about lobbying, but you don’t become a lobbyist by going to school. “I always start off the first night by saying, ‘If you thought when you finished this course you could be a lobbyist, you’re wrong,’ ” explains Julius W. Hobson Jr., a senior adviser at Polsinelli Shughart and former top lobbyist at the American Medical Association who graduated from the George Washington program in 1980 and has been teaching a course there twice a year ever since 1994. “Not everybody has the instincts to be a good lobbyist.”

[I]t’s not so much the culture you learn when you study lobbying as the nuts and bolts of the process and its various components, something its supporters call “applied politics,” compared with traditional political science, which is far more theoretical. “Let’s be candid,” says James Thurber, a political scientist who runs American’s lobby program. “It’s an area that pure academics look down on.” This semester, for example, George Washington’s 36 credit hour, two-year degree program in “political management” includes courses on fundraising, international lobbying, communications strategy and principled political leadership.

“One misconception about lobbying is that it’s simply hiring somebody who goes into Congress and talks to people to influence legislation. That’s a very narrow view,” says Thurber, adding that “what we think lobbying is, and what we teach, is that it’s important to develop a clear strategy.” These include everything from TV and print ads, social media, using survey research to evaluate how effective your lobbying campaign is to the public, developing grass roots and grass tops, coalition building, and knowing the law.”

Yet there is widespread agreement that perhaps the only sine qua non to becoming a successful lobbyist is a prior job on the Hill. “It’s not just understanding the mechanics,” says House, “it’s having a feel for how Congress operates and the mood of Congress, and the only way to get that is to have been part of the process.”

 And for a career-related resource, check out Yale Law School’s 2012 edition of “Working on Capitol Hill.”


Job o’ the Day: D.C. Legislative Lawyer with Immigration Equality

Immigration Equality (IE), based in New York, is a national organization dedicated to ending discrimination in U.S. immigration law, reducing the negative impact of immigration law on the lives of LBGT and HIV-positive people, and helping obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV-status. The organization provides information and support to advocates, attorneys, politicians and clients through education, outreach, advocacy and the maintenance of a nationwide network of resources.

I.E. is currently looking for a legislative lawyer to work in their Washington, D.C. office. From the PSJD job posting:

The Washington legislative lawyer will engage in legislative, administrative and regulatory advocacy and policy work on behalf of LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and their families. This position will focus almost entirely on legal and policy issues that affect LGBT immigrant families. This is a policy position – there will be no direct representation and no asylum work.

The Washington legislative lawyer’s work will focus on legislative and administrative advocacy for LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and their families. While the position may include some limited client “legal hotline” contact, it is primarily a policy position. This work will include:

  • Draft proposed legislation on a number of LGBT-related immigration issues;
  • Research and develop opportunities for administrative advocacy that would benefit LGBT immigrant families as a group as well as other LGBT and HIV related immigration issues;
  • Participate in meetings with immigration coalition members and government officials to address LGBT-specific immigration concerns;
  • Analyze proposed legislation and regulations for impact on LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and expand on recommendations Immigration Equality has made on regulatory advocacy issues affecting LGBT/H immigrants;
  • Research and develop expertise on legal issues unique to LGBT immigrant families, including but not limited to: parenting issues; property ownership issues; tax issues; and inheritance issues;
  • Research and develop opportunities for impact litigation or amicus work in areas that would benefit LGBT immigrant families;
  • Represent Immigration Equality at conferences concerning LGBT immigration issues.

The organization is seeking applicants who are admitted to practice in at least one state, with experience working on legislative, policy and/or administrative advocacy issues. For more information on qualifications, salary, and application instructions, view the full listing at (log-in required)!


From The Girl’s Guide to Law School: An Introvert’s Guide to Law School Networking

Law students are stereotypically viewed as having “Type A” personalities: over-achieving, competitive, aggressive, excessively ambitious, etc. While these personality traits may not make for the best Thanksgiving family dinner, they can be of great benefit while climbing the legal ladder of success – especially in a job market that values who you know, almost as much as what you know.

So where does that leave all the law school introverts? Girl’s Guide to Law School guest blogger Michelle Williams, a 3L and self-described introvert, weighs in:

As a 1L, I was obviously overwhelmed by the reading, the writing, and the classes. But, I was also overwhelmed by the sheer amount of social interactions required by….NETWORKING. Networking is a buzzword, and I used to groan every time I heard the word.

I now understand that networking is simply building a network of professional support.

Therefore, your goal is to form bonds with people who understand your professional capabilities.

The checklist below offers some thoughts about networking that put an introverted twist on the information you have gotten from your local career services office.

 1. Get prepared.

You will likely feel more comfortable at the event if you plan ahead. You need business cards. Perhaps your law school can have some printed up for you. There are also several internet shops that will print at least 100 business cards for ten dollars or less. Your business card should have your name, e-mail address, and mobile telephone number.

Next, check your schedule. Figure out when you are available to go to events, and stick to your schedule.

2. Look for non-traditional networking opportunities.

The most well-advocated form of networking involves going to mixers or happy hours and generally striking up what is meant to be a worthwhile conversation with someone you don’t know. Epic introvert fail.

Instead of attending events billed as “networking events,” go to non-traditional events such as community service events or CLEs.

These types of events have a focus other than networking and mingling, so there is not as much pressure to strike up conversation. Check with your local city’s bar association to find out if they will allow you to come to a CLE for free or a discounted rate (since you are still a student and won’t be using the CLE credit).

While networking with lawyers and legal professionals provides a promising route to a job or internship, don’t ignore the possibilities of non-legal social events.

Use the hobbies and interests that you have to open up more networking opportunities.

Book clubs offer opportunities to connect with people. Volunteering at a local public library or animal shelter allows you to get to know the community better. Such events offer an avenue to conversation because everyone is there for a common reason, and you will be under less pressure to say clever things about the law.

3. Prepare for conversation: think about your “grows and glows.”

You will need something to talk about at the event, guaranteed. Since you are building a professional support network, the people with whom you form bonds must know something about you.

Through conversation and contact, you need to express your glowing strengths as well as areas in which you are hoping to grow.

You also need to understand how you can use your strengths to assist the other person, and how her strengths can help you grow. Prepare yourself for this exchange of information by considering your grows and glows before you even get to the event.

For the full article, check out the Girl’s Guide to Law School blog!



Updated Summer Funding Resource Lists Available on!

Landed an awesome internship this summer, but in desperate need of funding? PSJD is here to help!

We just updated our Summer Funding Resource pages, available in the Funding & Debt section of the site’s Resource Center. Click here for a list of organizations that offer funding for internships located anywhere. For summer funding resources for work in a specific geographical region, click here.

These lists are continuously updated as the organizations renew their application cycles. PSJD is always checking for new deadlines, so stay tuned to the site for new updates.


Job o’ the Day: Project Attorney in the Alternative School Reform Project for the Center for Children’s Advocacy, Inc.

The Center for Children’s Advocacy is a non-profit organization dedicated to enforcing the legal rights of poor children. They are actively seeking an attorney for their new Alternative School Reform Project, an innovative program that advocates for systemic reform of alternative schools in Connecticut and impacts thousands of students The alternative schools usually have extremely low graduation rates and are often used to remove students from regular school who are low-achieving, have special needs, or poor school attendance. From the PSJD job listing:

The Project Attorney will work both in Hartford and with a coalition of community and government agencies in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to advocate for alternative school reform.

Responsibilities include:

  • researching and analyzing information regarding alternative schools in four Connecticut cities;
  • collecting case studies;
  • advocating for changes at individual schools found to be violating children’s education rights;
  • representing individual children impacted by inadequate alternative schools;
  • conducting media outreach;
  • developing advocacy products regarding alternative school issues;
  • educating parents about alternative school rights;
  • providing presentations to stakeholders regarding alternative school issues;
  • involving impacted families in advocating for systemic reform; and
  • advocating with state administrative agencies and legislators for alternative school reform.

This is a two-year position funded by a grant from a national foundation.

For more information on application instructions, salary and qualifications, view the full listing at (log-in required).



Public Interest News Bulletin – November 16, 2012

By: Steve Grumm

credit: rob shenk

Happy Friday, folks, from a blustery Washington, DC.  Two items of general interest before moving into to the public interest news:

Okay, on to the public interest news (of which there is much):

  • Mandatory pro bono in the ABA’s law school accreditation standards?
  • LRAP expansion in CO
  • Clinic funding at SUNY Buffalo
  • Rolling out a new foreclosure prevention program in OR
  • Cy pres in PA
  • Pro hac vice in NY (Vivat lingua Latina!!!)
  • Controversial expansion of pro se form use in TX
  • Possible defender layoffs in NOLA
  • Editorial supports bolstering NY’s indigent defense program
  • Federal courts fear the fiscal cliff
  • MO’s defender program chief fires back against a prosecutor’s criticism
  • Extending an indigent defense funding mechanism in MN
  • Sandy’s hobbled some NYC legal aid providers
  • CT prosecutors & defenders to see pay bump;
  • MI’s state house okays bill to create statewide indigent defense program
  • Atlanta’s Justice Café provides flat-fee services to moderate-income clients
  • Super Canuck Music Bonus!

The summaries:

  • 11.15.12 – LRAP expansion in Boulder.  “University of Colorado regents Thursday approved expansion plans for a law school program that helps graduates pay off their student loans if they take modest-paying public service jobs — especially in the state’s rural areas. The nine-member Board of Regents unanimously approved future plans for the law school’s loan repayment assistance program, which includes an ambitious $10 million fundraising goal to support an endowment.”  (Story from the Daily Camera.)
  • 11.15.12 – a new foreclosure prevention program in Oregon.  “Free legal assistance is now available to eligible low-income homeowners and renters facing foreclosure, Oregon Housing and Community Services announced today.  The state agency has contracted with Legal Aid Services of Oregon (LASO) to develop and deliver the new program.”  (Story from the Statesman Journal.)
  • 11.15.12 – the expansion in the use of cy pres funds to support legal aid in PA is a very welcome development for Pittsburgh’s Neighborhood Legal Services Association.  “[T]he Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently promulgated new rules that encourage the use of unused funds in State cases to help provide legal services to low-income Pennsylvanians. The rules require that 50% of residual funds be designated to Pennsylvania’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (PA IOLTA), a non-profit program that provides funding for civil legal aid. The remaining 50% either go to the PA IOLTA Board or to other charitable organizations such as NLSA that promotes the interests of the lawsuit’s objectives.”  (Blog post from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.) 
  • 11.14.12 – New York is allowing out-of-state lawyers to provide pro bono assistance to Sandy victims on a pro hac vice basis.  (Story from Thomson-Reuters.) 
  • 11.14.12 – “Despite widespread outcry among family lawyers, the Texas Supreme Court yesterday approved a set of pro se divorce forms for indigent couples with no children or real property. The high court will accept public comments about the forms through Feb. 1, 2013, and may modify the forms in response.  In explaining its decision, the high court wrote in its Nov. 13 order that it ‘is confident that these forms will be a useful tool in addressing the burgeoning population of litigants who cannot afford representation and are unable to obtain representation through a legal service provider….’  [I]n a dissenting statement, Justice Debra Lehrmann wrote that she’s concerned the court’s endorsement of the forms will increase pro se litigation by people who can afford lawyers, and it may ‘lull people who could and should receive the benefit of experienced counsel into believing that the form will adequately protect their interests’.”  (Story from the Tex Parte Blog.)
  • 11.13.12 – facing continued fiscal struggles, including a possible 33% funding cut in city funding, the NOLA public defender’s office may lay off attorneys.  From Gambit: “The office receives most of its $7 million annual operating budget from a combination of state funds and local court fines, but the local cut will mean the office — which represented about 80 percent of the city’s criminal defendants in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases last year — will have to fire eight lawyers from its current staff of 55….”
  • 11.12.12 – the Albany Times-Union editorial board comes down squarely in favor of statewide indigent defense reform to get away from the current, patchwork county-by-county system.  The board also puts in a plug for continued support for civil legal aid.   
  • 11.12.12 – federal judges and court administrators worry that a ride off the so-called “fiscal cliff” could imperil the court system, or at a minimum slow up the wheels of justice.  (Story from the National Law Journal.)  
  • 11.11.12 – the head of Missouri’s indigent defense program fires back against a prosecutor’s  allegations of failed leadership.  “Eric Zahnd, president of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, has declared there is no Missouri State Public Defender caseload problem, just an imaginary crisis created by the leadership of the public defender system [“Much public defender work should be contracted out,” Oct. 29].  As proof, he points to the latest audit of the public defender system.  The audit he trumpets, however, does not support his conclusions…. Prosecutorial table-pounding does not change the facts found by each and every one of [recent studies]: Missouri’s public defender system has too many cases and too few lawyers to meet its constitutional obligations. Their findings are in fact supported by the findings of the audit, which states that ‘increases in the MSPD’s growth in caseload has outpaced its growth in staffing resources’ and that over the past 20 years, public defender caseload has increased by 70 percent as compared to staffing, which has trailed at a 58 percent increase.”  (Full piece in Missouri Lawyers Weekly.)  
  • 11.9.12 – The Minnesota Lawyer on indigent defense funding: “The Minnesota Board of Public Defense has asked that an increase in attorney registration fees to fund its office be extended through 2015.  The Supreme Court authorized an increase in 2009 and renewed it in 2011.  But Minnesota’s public defenders are handling caseloads that are 170 percent of state and national standards. The petition states that the board will ask the Legislature for funding but does not expect to receive enough to meet its needs, particularly with respect to advanced technology.  When the court approved the last fee increase, it said it would not do it again because the Legislature and the governor should provide adequate funding for the public defender system.  The complete notice is available here. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 15 and comments are due Jan. 7.”
  • 11.9.12 -Sandy didn’t just create more legal aid clients; she hobbled some legal aid providers: “As thousands of New Yorkers struggle to recover from Superstorm Sandy, three major legal aid providers seeking to help victims have been hampered by their own storm-related damage.  Legal Services NYC, the New York Legal Assistance Group and the Legal Aid Society were shut out of their downtown offices when Sandy struck last Monday and have been operating out of satellite offices or spaces borrowed from other non-profit groups and large law firms.”  Mad props to the NY/NJ legal aid lawyers who fought through their own Sandy setbacks to keep up with casework and intake.  I’m happy to write that there are too many of you to name.  (Story from Thomson-Reuters.)    
  • 11.9.12 – Connecticut prosecutors and public defenders are getting a pay bump.  Huzzah!  “A recent national study has found that pay for prosecutors and public defenders has barely budged since 2004. The situation is only a little better in Connecticut, where the public sector attorneys last got a raise in 2009. But that’s about to change. Next summer, Connecticut prosecutors and public defenders are slated to receive a 3 percent raise, adding about $1,850 annually to the current entry level salary of $61,900. Veterans with 10 years experience will see salaries increase from about $91,600 to about $94,000.  Jack Doyle, a prosecutor and president of the Connecticut Association of Prosecutors, the bargaining unit for the 250 prosecuting attorneys in the state, calls the raise overdue. He notes that other state workers have, overall, averaged 3.5 percent annual pay increases over the past decade….  The state’s public defenders, who are not union members and have no say in pay negotiations, get the same raises as prosecutors because of state law that requires equal pay for the two agencies.”  (The Connecticut Law Tribune article is password-protected.) 
  • 11.8.12 – The Michigan House approved a bill that would create the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission.  HB 5804 would create a 14-member board that would oversee the state’s underfunded indigent defense system.  The bill passed 71-36 after two substitutes.  According to the version that passed the House, the commission is charged with ensuring adequate funding for defense attorneys, which the bill describes as ‘equal partners with the prosecution, law enforcement, and the judiciary in the criminal justice system’.”   The bill’s gone to the Senate for consideration.  (Blog post from Michigan Lawyers Weekly.)
  • 11.7.12 – the latest example of the growth in flat-fee work for clients of modest means: “Many middle-income people seeking a divorce can’t afford to hire a lawyer but aren’t poor enough to qualify for legal aid. Michael and Shelia Manely hope to fill this gap with a new kind of family law firm, the Justice Café.  Located a block from the Fulton County, Ga., Superior Courthouse, the Justice Café will charge $75 an hour for a la carte help in divorces and other family law matters, with no retainer up front, unlike most family law firms.”  (Full story from the Daily Report.)

Music!  Northward to Canada for a great tune from the Tragically Hip.  (Thanks to PSJD Blog friend Bob Glaves for the recommendation.  Good stuff, Mr. Glaves.)