Archive for December, 2012

Job o’ the Day: Robert L. Carter Fellowship with The Opportunity Agenda in New York City!

The Opportunity Agenda is a communications, research, and advocacy organization dedicated to building the national will to expand opportunity in America. Focused on moving hearts, minds and policy over time, the organization works with social justice groups, leaders, and movements to advance solutions that expand opportunity for everyone.

The Opportunity Agenda is currently seeking applicants for its Robert L. Carter Fellowship. From the PSJD job listing:

The Opportunity Agenda, a project of Tides Center, seeks candidates for the Robert L. Carter fellowship, for a two-year term beginning no later than September of 2013. The Opportunity Agenda is a communications, research, and advocacy organization dedicated to building the national will to expand opportunity in America.

The Fellow will participate in legal research and legal advocacy; work with coalitions on framing and messaging concerns; and collaborate with local and national public interest organizations and policymakers on policy and communications efforts. The Fellow will focus on promoting equal opportunity and protecting human rights in such sectors as economic opportunity and immigration policy. Activities are likely to include conducting research and writing legal and policy briefs; helping to create communications strategies and tools; and engaging in policy advocacy, often in partnership with coalition allies. This work will be done in close collaboration with The Opportunity Agenda’s legal, research, and communications staff, providing opportunities for social science research and media experience, as well as legal work.

We encourage applications from attorneys with 5-10 years of legal experience in relevant fields such as economic security and immigration who are interested in incorporating framing and messaging strategies into their work. Law students graduating in 2013 and judicial law clerks completing their clerkships in 2013 are also eligible. We are particularly interested in candidates with a background in the social sciences, journalism, and/or communications. Candidates must have a strong interest in working with advocates and communities in the field, and a demonstrated commitment to social justice. The Opportunity Agenda is an equal opportunity employer. We value a workplace that is diverse in terms of gender, race, class, geographic origin, sexual orientation, and other differences that enrich our society.

The application deadline is January 31, 2013. For more information, view the full job listing at PSJD.org (log-in required).

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Public Interest News Bulletin – December 21, 2012 (End-of-World and/or Holiday Cheer Edition)

By: Steve Grumm

Happy Friday, ladies and gents.  Depending on whom you speak to, it’s the beginning of winter or the end of the world.  I’m hoping for the former.  I’m one of the weirdos who loves our coldest season.  With that said, I’ve realized that embracing the Mayan doomsday scenario has considerably eased the guilt I feel in consuming the holiday junk food that seems to follow me everywhere I go.  So I’ve been an end-of-the-worlder for purposes of cookies.  Though I suspect there will soon be a reckoning.

Cookies aside, I wish you all a joy-filled, relaxing holiday season.  Travel safely if you are on the move, and enjoy time with family and friends.

We’re light on access-to-justice news this week.  In very, very short:

  • salary differences between an Ohio county’s prosecutors & public defenders;
  • improvements in Sin City’s indigent defense program;
  • a call for pro bono as a requirement for a bar license;
  • the continuing saga of Missouri’s indigent defense program;
  • $1 million supplemental approp. to LSC for Sandy relief work?.  

This week:

  • 12.20.12 – “Sitting on opposite sides of a courtroom, employees of the Clinton County [Ohio] Public Defender’s office and the Clinton County Prosecutor’s office often square-off judicially. Some of the attorneys, all employed by the same county, have much in common — knowledge of local cases, law degrees, years practicing — but in other ways, such as their salaries, they are treated very differently. ‘It’s almost universal across the state in terms of salary and resources available,’ said Tim Young, director at the office of the Ohio Public Defender. ‘Public defenders regularly make 10 to 30 percent less [than prosecutors] when they have the same amount of time in practice of law, and essentially the same work on opposite sides of the room’.”  (Story from the News Journal.)
  • 12.20.12 – an op-ed looks at recent improvements in the Clark County (i.e. Las Vegas area) NV public defense program, particularly its juvenile defense unit, which was once seen as emblematic of a failed indigent defense system.  (Piece in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
  • 12.17.12 –  UC Irvine Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky wants pro bono as a precondition for attorney licensing: “New York’s new requirement for pro bono work as a condition for admission to the bar should be a model for other states to copy. Last May, Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of New York, announced this proposal. On September 12, the New York Court of Appeals adopted a requirement that, effective January 1, 2015, admission to the New York bar will require an applicant having completed 50 hours of pro bono service. This is to be applauded: Pro bono work helps to meet the enormous unmet demand for legal services, provides law students valuable legal training and hopefully instills a lifelong habit of public service.  At a recent meeting, an American Bar Association committee considering possible changes to accreditation standards seemed unreceptive to the idea of requiring all law schools to insist on 50 hours of pro bono work from their students. But that won’t matter if states follow New York’s lead and require pro bono work as a condition for admission to the bar.” (Full piece in the National Law Journal.  For some more background on the recent, unsuccessful push to have the ABA’s law school accreditation body include a pro bono requirement in accreditation standards, feast your eyes on this here hyperlink.)
  • 12.14.12 – the latest in the ongoing controversy surrounding Missouri’s indigent defense system: “State lawyers have joined forces with private attorneys in the dispute over being involuntarily assigned criminal cases to lessen the burden on Missouri’s overworked public defenders.  Attorney General Chris Koster is asking judges in Boone and Callaway counties to waive several court orders appointing state workers as pro bono lawyers for criminal defendants facing jail time and unable to afford their own legal counsel. Koster’s office is representing at least six state employees opposed to the move, court records show.  The Associated Press obtained the public court filings from attorneys concerned about the practice.  (See the full AP story here.)
  • 12.19.12 – “This week, the Senate is considering a $60.4 million emergency disaster supplemental funding bill to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy in the recovery efforts. The bill includes $1 million for [the Legal Services Corporation], to support LSC grantees in the areas significantly affected by Hurricane Sandy for storm-related services. The funding for LSC matches the request submitted by the White House on December 7.  This is the first time since 1993 that a supplemental appropriations bill has included funding for LSC after a disaster. If passed, the supplemental funding would be used to give programs the necessary mobile resources, technology, and disaster coordinators to provide storm-related services to eligible clients.  LSC-funded programs in the areas most severely affected by Hurricane Sandy reported significant office damage and prolonged power outages. They are struggling to provide legal assistance to thousands of storm victims.  Supplemental disaster funding will help LSC’s grantees provide essential legal aid to low-income individuals and families.”  (News from LSC.)

Music!  Since winter is upon us, let’s go north to listen to my favorite Nova Scotian rock band.  This is Sloan with “Losing California.” 

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Job o’ the Day: Staff Attorney with Texas Defender Services in Austin!

Texas Defender Service (TDS) is a private, non-profit law firm recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Founded in 1995, TDS’s mission is to help improve the quality of representation afforded to indigent Texans charged with a capital crime or under sentence of death.

The Austin office is currently accepting applications for a staff attorney. From the PSJD job listing:

Texas Defender Service (TDS) seeks an experienced attorney with excellent legal skills and a demonstrated commitment to indigent defense to represent inmates in capital post-conviction proceedings in Texas.  The attorney will be responsible for developing and litigating claims in both state and federal habeas corpus proceedings, conducting evidentiary hearings and participating in litigation on behalf of inmates under warrants of execution. Given the nature of capital representation, the attorney should expect to work some evenings, weekends and holidays.  Travel throughout Texas is required.

TDS is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the Texas criminal justice system by reducing unfair use of the death penalty and by implementing an effective indigent defense system. In addition to providing quality direct representation, the TDS Capital Post-Conviction Project tracks the cases of death-sentenced inmates in Texas, assists and trains capital habeas attorneys and provides crisis assistance to defense teams whose clients are facing execution dates.  Attorneys are fortunate to work with the larger capital habeas community, which is composed of highly committed and talented lawyers.

This is a full-time position and the attorney hired may choose to live in Austin or Houston.

TDS will consider applicants with little experience if they have superior legal skills, a strong work ethic and a willingness and ability to learn quickly. The application deadline is January 15, 2013. For more information on qualifications and application instructions, view the full job listing at PSJD.org (log-in required).

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Looking for a public interest summer job? Check out these great resources!

Getting a summer job or internship is crucial for law students planning to enter the public interest legal field after graduation. As the year comes to a close, take some time out of your holiday break to check out these great resources on looking for a summer public interest job!

The Girl’s Guide to Law School site has a section dedicated to pursuing a public interest legal career. With tips from a public interest lawyer on how to get a job and guest posts from Equal Justice Works on financial options and support for public interest law students, the Girl’s Guide has really helpful resources for students interested in public interest work.

If working for free is not an option for you, check out PSJD’s Summer Funding Guides – including general and location-specific lists – for application information about funding opportunities.

PSJD’s Resource Center is also full of tips and advice directed solely to public interest law students and lawyers. The Career Central page in the Resource Center is a great place to start preparing for the summer public interest job hunt, with information on everything from drafting a cover letter to choosing a specific practice area within public interest law.

Don’t forget to use any resources within your law school available for public interest law students, and good luck with the summer job hunt!

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Job o’ the Day: Staff Attorney with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.!

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent federal agency that protects the rights of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve their wages and working conditions. NLRB is currently accepting applications for a staff attorney in its Washington, DC office.

From the PSJD job posting:

The National Labor Relations Board’s Contempt Litigation and Compliance Branch (“CLCB”) seeks a full-time attorney, preferably with litigation experience, to join the Branch immediately. The Branch typically hires attorneys at the GS-11, 12, or 13 level.

The National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency created in 1935 to enforce the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB conducts secret-ballot elections to determine whether employees want union representation and investigates and remedies unfair labor practices by employers and unions.

The CLCB’s principal function is to conduct civil and criminal contempt litigation in the U.S. Courts of Appeals to coerce compliance or to punish non-compliance with judgments enforcing orders of the Board. The CLCB initiates civil contempt proceedings in the court of appeals that issued the underlying judgment, and typically prosecutes such proceedings, pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, before special masters (generally senior United States district court judges or magistrate judges) appointed by the courts of appeal. These matters entail the full gamut of federal litigation, including pretrial discovery and motions practice followed by a formal trial before and briefs to the special master. Absent settlement, the special master files a report and recommendation with the relevant court of appeals, and briefing and oral argument follow. In situations involving egregious or repeat violations, the CLCB may seek criminal sanctions, in which case the CLCB attorney assigned to the case is appointed as a Special Assistant United States Attorney to prosecute the criminal contempt action.

The Branch’s hiring decisions are based on the consideration of many factors, including interest and experience in labor relations, labor law and litigation practice, academic achievement, and law journal, judicial clerkship or other substantial writing experience.

For more information, view the full job listing on PSJD.org (log-in required).

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Job o’ the Day: Summer Associates with Loevy & Loevy Civil Rights Law Firm in Chicago!

Loevy & Loevy is a nationally recognized litigation boutique practicing in the public interest. The firm prides itself for employing leaders in civil rights cases, whistleblower and False Claims Act lawsuits, and—in connection with their Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago Law School—post-conviction criminal proceedings. They have won dozens of jury trials and secured more than $250 million in settlements and verdicts for their clients. Loevy & Loevy lawyers include some of the best trial lawyers in the nation, and they are passionate about obtaining justice.

Loevy & Loevy is currently accepting applications for paid summer associates. From the PSJD listing:

It is our pleasure to invite you to apply for a summer position at Loevy & Loevy, a nationally recognized civil rights litigation boutique practicing in the public interest. Our firm is committed to fighting for justice and redressing wrongs, particularly in the areas of police misconduct and police brutality, and we work tirelessly to vindicate the rights of individuals whose constitutional rights have been violated – in Chicago, and nationwide.

Our summer positions offer law students the opportunity to do substantive legal work, to observe court proceedings, and to work alongside a cadre of talented and experienced lawyers, all in a casual and fun environment.

If the prospect of working on federal civil rights litigation excites you, please visit our website at www.loevy.com to learn more about who we are and what we do.

Loevy & Loevy is accepting applications for Summer Associate positions from 2Ls and also from 3Ls who plan to begin clerkships following their graduation from law school. The ideal candidate is a person who is passionate, intelligent, and is committed to civil rights and achieving justice. Strong writing and research skills and an ability to work independently and efficiently are essential.

The firm is selecting 2 candidates, who will each be paid $5,000 for the summer. If you are a 1L, they are also hiring summer law interns – these positions, however, are unpaid. For more information, view the full job listing at PSJD.org (log-in required).

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Can’t wait to catch up on the latest public interest law news, career resources, events, and jobs? Have no worries – by entering your email address in the Subscriber section (top of the blog, right sidebar), all new posts will be sent directly to your email!

Also, don’t forget to check out PSJD’s Resource Center for more career-building tools and guides. Happy job hunting!

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Job o’ the Day: Staff Attorney with the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment in Delano, California!

The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment (CRPE)  is a California statewide organization dedicated to helping grassroots groups attack head-on the disproportionate burden of pollution and environmental health hazards borne by poor people and people of color. A project of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, CRPE was created in 1989 to fill the gap between campaigns for social change and environmental advocacy efforts. CRPE has a three prong mission in its environmental justice work. First, CRPE seeks to empower individual rural residents so that they leave a particular environmental fight with more skills than when they entered it. Second, CRPE ensures that the community involved is more united and has a greater voice in decisions that affect it than prior to the environmental struggle. Finally, CRPE works to address the environmental danger the community faces.

CRPE is currently seeking applicants for a full-time Staff Attorney position in its San Joaquin Valley office in Delano, California:

CRPE is a non-profit environmental justice organization with offices in San Francisco and Delano (Kern County, California). Our mission is to achieve environmental justice and healthy sustainable communities through collective action and the law. CRPE lawyers work closely with our Organizing Department to combine advocacy and organizing in our successful community-based approach. CRPE strongly believes in the maxims that communities should speak for themselves, and that advocates for environmental justice should be on tap, not on top. Our attorneys and organizers share a deep commitment to social and racial justice.

This is a rare opportunity to join the nation’s leading environmental justice legal team. The Delano staff attorney will work closely with Valley community groups to address the disparate impact of air pollution, water contamination, pesticides, waste facilities and poor land use planning on low income communities of color.

Visit our website at www.crpe-ej.org for background on our work.

For more information, view the full job listing at PSJD.org (log-in required)!

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Pro Bono as a Requirement for Bar Admission?

By: Steve Grumm

As has been well documented, New York State is rolling out a requirement that candidates for admission to the bar complete 50 hours of pro bono work.  (On a related note, supporters of increased law school pro bono tried, without success, to persuade the ABA to build a pro bono requirement into the law school accreditation standards.  Here’s some background on that effort, and here’s the coverage of the ABA’s reaction.)  Now, UC Irvine Law dean Erwin Chemerinsky is making the case for states to join New York in requiring pro bono for bar admission.  Chemerinsky writes in the National Law Journal:

New York’s new requirement for pro bono work as a condition for admission to the bar should be a model for other states to copy. Last May, Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of New York, announced this proposal. On September 12, the New York Court of Appeals adopted a requirement that, effective January 1, 2015, admission to the New York bar will require an applicant having completed 50 hours of pro bono service. This is to be applauded: Pro bono work helps to meet the enormous unmet demand for legal services, provides law students valuable legal training and hopefully instills a lifelong habit of public service.

At a recent meeting, an American Bar Association committee considering possible changes to accreditation standards seemed unreceptive to the idea of requiring all law schools to insist on 50 hours of pro bono work from their students. But that won’t matter if states follow New York’s lead and require pro bono work as a condition for admission to the bar.

Read the full piece for Dean Chemerinsky’s exploration of the pros and cons.  We’d love to hear what our readers, particularly law students, think about the ideas of building pro bono requirements into either, of both, law school curricula or bar admission standards.

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Job o’ the Day: Staff Attorney with Georgia Legal Services in Savannah

Georgia Legal Services Program is a statewide, primarily federally funded civil legal services organization with 11 regional offices around the state and a migrant project which handles migrant and seasonal farmworker cases for the state. Each office handles cases depending on the legal needs of the low-income people in the community it serves, and has a strong training program for attorneys and statewide task forces.

The Savannah regional office is currently accepting applications for a vacant staff attorney position:

The attorney will handle a varied caseload in state and federal court and in administrative forums. The attorney will circuit-ride to counties; engage in issues advocacy; conduct outreach activities; and work on various projects with other attorneys and advocates.

QUALIFICATIONS: Graduate of accredited law school, member of Georgia Bar or willing to take next exam; demonstrated interest or experience in working with low income persons. Fluency in Spanish is a grant requirement for this position.

The salary is $43,000.00 plus when licensed, depending upon experience and qualifications, with excellent fringe benefits. For more information, view the full job listing at PSJD.org (log-in required).

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