Archive for February, 2013

Job o’ the Day: Palestine Works’ International Summer Law Fellowships

Palestine Works is a new, US-based nonprofit that engages young professionals and facilitates their sustainable contributions to Palestinian communities. Their first project is the Palestine Works Law Fellowships, which connects law students to internships with human rights organizations and universities serving Palestinians in the Occupied Territory and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Examples of site locations are East Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and many more.

Here’s a little bit more information from the Palestine Works website:

We partner with law schools to recruit students interested in working with Palestinian communities, and to ensure the best qualified students are selected as Fellows. The law schools provide the primary funding through their public-interest grant programs. The organizations add whatever funding or in-kind contributions they can. We help Fellows get to their internships, get situated, and get to work. We also organize programs for Fellows during their internships to help them make the most of the experience.

Fellows are expected to continue their service after their internships through scholarship that builds on their summer work, by holding events on their campuses, and through other creative endeavors. We collaborate with Fellows on these legacy projects, connecting them with academics to guide their work, and helping them publish their work in law reviews, academic journals, and new media. Through their internships and legacy projects, Fellows return to their schools and move on to their careers as stakeholders in a better future for the Palestinian communities they serve.

The deadline is March 1, 2013, so don’t hesitate to apply! Log in to PSJD to check out all the positions available at different participating agencies on Palestine Works’ PSJD profile, and quickly send your cover letter, resume , 10-page-or-less writing sample, and law school transcript to apply@palestineworks.org.

If you’re discouraged by lack of funding, don’t be. Go through our Summer Funding lists and apply for one of the many available opportunities. Good luck!

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Duke Law School Launches D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy

Photo from law.duke.edu

If you’ll be in Washington, D.C. this summer and are interested in gaining a better understanding of U.S. and foreign policy, Duke Law School is currently accepting applications to participate in short courses at their new Summer Institute on Law & Policy. During the evening classes, Duke Law faculty will lead sessions on topics including Federal Policymaking, Health Care Law & Policy, National Security Law and Foreign Policymaking.

The program is open to students from other law schools, as well as upper-level college students, graduate and professional students, and professionals working in Washington D.C. Here’s some information from their website:

Duke Law’s new D.C. Summer Institute offers short courses taught by Duke Law faculty on topics of broad interest to college students and professionals working in D.C., such as constitutional and regulatory law, the legislative process, and the legal framework in which public policy is formulated and implemented. Evening courses offered during two, two-week sessions will focus on law and policy in specific areas such as national security, financial institutions, environmental law, and health care. The Institute is designed for those considering law school or careers in the public sector, professionals working in public policy, and others who are interested in how the law shapes policy and regulation in the United States.

The first session is from July 8 – July 18, 2013 and the second session is from July 22 – August 1, 2013.  Applications are available on the DC Summer Institute website, and should be sent in before April 15, 2013.

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Job o’ the Day: Civil/Criminal Clinical Instructor at the University of Wisconsin Law School

Are you a recent law graduate interested in breaking into legal academia? Here’s your chance! The University of Wisconsin Law School’s Frank J. Remington Center has three vacancies: two clinical instructor positions in the Legal Assistance to Institutionalized Persons Project (LAIP) and one clinical instructor vacancy in the Restorative Justice Project (RJP).

From the PSJD job posting:

In LAIP, law student interns interview inmates in correctional institutions throughout Wisconsin, analyze the inmates’ civil or criminal legal problems, and take steps to resolve these problems. The students enroll in LAIP as a full-time job in the summer (typically after the 1L year), and then continue in the Fall and Spring semesters for 3-4 credits each semester. Each clinical instructor in LAIP supervises 6-7 law students beginning in the summer, and then continues with those same students in the Fall and Spring.

In RJP, law student interns initiate and mediate victim-offender conferences between Wisconsin prison inmates and the victims of their crimes. This involves extensive background preparation with victims, offenders, and their families. The students enroll in RJP as a full-time job in the summer (typically after the 1L year), and then continue in the Fall and Spring semesters for 3-4 credits each semester. The RJP clinical instructor supervises 6-7 law students beginning in the summer, and then continues with those same students in the Fall and Spring.

The salary is $50,000 and is set to begin on May 1, 2013 and end on April 30, 2014 – although there is an option to renew for another year. Successful applicants will have admission to the Wisconsin bar, or be willing to sit for the bar by June 1, 2013, in addition to prior experience with criminal and civil legal concerns for incarcerated clients, post-conviction law and post-conviction procedure. The deadline to apply is March 8, 2013.

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

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This Week in Supreme Court Headlines: Voting Rights, Criminal Procedure, and More

by Ashley Matthews
West view of  the Supreme Court Building

Today marks the last day of the Supreme Court’s February sitting. With a docket dominated by civil rights issues, many are stating that this term could be even more significant than its predecessor. Here’s a rundown on a few cases affecting those in the public interest legal community:

Voting Rights

Earlier today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the Voting Rights Act – in particular, the preservation of Section 5, requiring all or part of 16 states to receive permission from the Department of Justice or a court before changing voting requirements or redrawing districts. Politico reported that while liberal justices argued “vigorously” in favor of  of preservation, conservative justices were “highly skeptical” and “sometimes downright hostile” to this notion. They also reported that Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy and Alito seemed likely to strike down the disputed Section 5. The Los Angeles Times noted that Justice Breyer “called racial discrimination in voting ‘an old disease’ that is still not fully cured,” while Justice Alito “called the law ‘a perpetuation of a racial entitlement'” and “not the kind of question you can leave to Congress.”

Consumer Protection and Corporate Immunity

The Supreme Court also heard arguments today concerning whether the Federal Arbitration Act allows courts to invalidate arbitration agreements on the grounds that the federal substantive law of arbitrability doesn’t permit class arbitration of a federal claim. A Mother Jones article argues that this case could potentially give big corporations “free reign to write contracts that prevent consumers from ever holding them accountable for fraud, antitrust violations, or any other abuses of consumer and worker protection laws now on the books.” Read more about this stance here. You can also check out yesterday’s argument preview on the SCOTUSblog.

Constitutionality of Government Eavesdropping

Yesterday, the Supreme Court turned back a challenge brought by a group of human rights organizations and journalists against a 2008 federal law that broadened the government’s power to eavesdrop on international phone calls and emails. The New York Times reported that the decision was made by a 5-to-4 vote divided along ideological lines, and noted that the Supreme Court may never rule on the law’s constitutionality. The ACLU isn’t too happy about this – click the link to read Democracy Now’s transcript from an interview with the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer, who argued the case before the Supreme Court.

Warrantless DNA Collection

On Tuesday, the Court heard arguments from a Maryland case debating whether the 4th Amendment allows the state to collect DNA samples from people who have been arrested but not convicted of a crime. ABC News reports that the Court seems divided on the issue. The case stems from the 2009 arrest of Alonzo King on assault charges. After swabbing his cheek for DNA, the federal database came back with a hit on a 2003 rape of a 53-year-old woman. King was convicted and sentenced to life, but the case was overturned on the grounds that the DNA collection violated his 4th Amendment rights. The Washington Examiner reports that Justice Alito called the case “the most important criminal procedure case that we’ve heard in decades,” and noted that justices on both ends of the ideological spectrum had difficulty understanding how a DNA swab was any different from rummaging through someone’s house without a warrant. A ruling is expected before the summer recess.

For more continuing coverage on the Supreme Court, visit the SCOTUSblog.

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Job o’ the Day: Litigation Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council in Chicago

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a nonprofit environmental organization that uses science and the law to protect the environment and public health. Since 1970, NRDC has engaged in litigation, lobbying, scientific research and public education on air, water, public health, climate change, energy, public lands, wildlife protection, smart growth, international, urban, environmental justice, and nuclear issues. NRDC also employs more than 430 lawyers, scientists, economists, policy and communication experts in their offices in New York; Washington, DC; Chicago; San Francisco; Santa Monica, Calif.; Livingston, Montana;  and Beijing, China.

The Chicago office is currently looking for a Litigation Attorney:

We seek an Attorney to investigate and litigate complex, innovative cases to protect public health and the environment, on behalf of and in collaboration with both NRDC and outside clients. The Attorney will be a member of the new Chicago branch of NRDC’s Litigation Team; the Team consists of approximately a dozen full-time litigators and four legal assistants who work out of NRDC’s New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, and Chicago offices. The position is for a two-year commitment with an opportunity for permanent employment. The position will be open in early May, but the exact start date is negotiable.

The Attorney will litigate civil cases in collaboration with other NRDC Litigation Team lawyers and client representatives. Over time, the Attorney’s docket will likely include work in federal and state courts; it may also include work before state or federal administrative tribunals that handle evidentiary proceedings. The Attorney will be expected to serve as lead counsel for administrative record-review cases, under the supervision of a more senior Team attorney. The Attorney will also (depending on experience level and Team needs) either lead or support litigation of evidentiary cases that involve discovery, work with scientific experts, and trial preparation. In addition to supporting active cases, the Attorney will work with NRDC policy specialists and outside clients to develop new cases to help protect public health and the environment.

Although the Attorney will focus their time on developing and litigating cases, s/he will also be expected to assume some institutional responsibilities. Over time, these may include planning and leading in-house legal trainings; counseling NRDC staff on legal issues; hiring, supervising, and mentoring legal interns and fellows; serving on institutional committees; and representing NRDC at local fundraising, legal academic, and bar events.

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

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After 7 years, court overturns Chicago mom’s wrongful conviction and orders her release

In May 2005, Nicole Harris’ life changed forever. The 23-year-old recent college graduate had just moved back to Chicago when she was convicted in the asphyxiation death of her 4-year-old son Jaquari Dancy. After a 27-hour interrogation, Harris gave a false confession. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Harris always maintained that her son’s death was an accident, but her 5-year-old son Diante was barred from testifying that his little brother wrapped the cord around his neck while pretending to be Spider-Man. Now, 7 years later, appellate judges have ordered her release from prison after overturning her conviction based on “undisputably false” details in her confessions and the erroneous decision to block her youngest son’s testimony.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“This really is extraordinary, and it bespeaks (the justices’) continued concern with the injustice here,” said Alison Flaum, an attorney with Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, which along with the law firm Jenner & Block, represents Harris. “They clearly felt that Nicole has suffered enough.”

Prosecutors have argued in part that Diante gave conflicting statements to authorities, including that he was asleep when Jaquari died. The Illinois attorney general’s office has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, a spokeswoman said.

The federal appeals court also issued the state an extension to decide whether to retry Harris, a decision that will be made by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

“We are still in the process of thoroughly reviewing the case,” a spokeswoman for the state’s attorney said Thursday.

The order releasing Harris from prison lists a number of conditions, including that she must report to a probation officer. There are no restrictions placed on contact with her surviving son, who wrote a letter to the court on her behalf.

Click here for more information on wrongful convictions from the Innocence Project, complete with information on false confessions and admissions.

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Job o’ the Day: Immigrants’ Rights Detention Fellowship with the ACLU’s Immigrants Rights Project

With offices in New York and San Francisco, the Immigrants Rights Project (IRP) of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation uses targeted impact litigation, advocacy and public outreach to protect the rights and liberties of immigrants. The Project litigates in federal district and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, to challenge laws that deny immigrants access to the judicial system, impose indefinite and mandatory detention, and constitute discrimination on the basis of “alienage” by governmental and private entities.

The IRP is currently hiring a Detention Fellow to start immediately. From the PSJD job posting:

The IRP Detention Fellow will participate in litigation and advocacy to challenge the expansion of unconstitutional detention practices, and to help establish a right to appointed counsel for immigration detainees. The Fellow will work with IRP attorneys on existing complex litigation challenges to detention and counsel practices and participate in the development and filing of new litigation. In addition, the Fellow will be instrumental in monitoring other cases being litigated in the federal courts. The Fellow will also participate in our administrative advocacy for systemic nationwide reforms to the immigration detention system.

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

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Get a Head Start on Postgraduate Fellowship Applications with our Deadline Calendar

It’s almost time for every recent law grad’s favorite time of year: postgraduate fellowship application season!

Okay, we’ll admit – like most other PSJD content, this maybe only applies to public interest law students interested in working with non-profit or legal aid organizations. These fellowships allow recent law graduates to secure entry-level jobs with organizations that serve marginalized or vulnerable client populations, while gaining a entire network of like-minded colleagues in the public interest legal community.

With that being said, it’s time to gear up and get ready to apply! Our Postgraduate Public Interest Fellowships Application Deadline Calendar offers a running list of deadlines to help you keep track, along with links to the organization’s profile and job description.

The list is always being updated, so check back on a consistent basis for approaching dates. Since the summer/fall is prime-time to apply, be sure to check last year’s deadlines to get a feel for how you might manage your applications.

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Job o’ the Day: Paid Internship with the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau in DC

The Enforcement Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the primary unit responsible for enforcement of provisions of the Communications Act, the FCC’s rules and orders, and terms and conditions of station authorizations. Major areas of enforcement are consumer protection, local competition and public safety/homeland security enforcement.

The FCC Bureau is currently seeking applicants for its prestigious paid summer internship program. Duties, as listed on the PSJD job posting, are:

Conducting legal research and compiling background information for use by the Office of the Bureau Chief, Enforcement Bureau on a variety of communications and technology issues including but not limited to:

  • television, radio, and cable;
  • wireline communications regulation;
  • wireless and satellite regulation;
  • broadband;
  • international;
  • spectrum, and
  • public safety and homeland security.

Duties may involve interacting with industry counsel, consumer groups, and agency personnel on a variety of issues.

The salary is $20.22 to $24.74 per hour. Deadline to apply is February 28, 2013 – next week! For more information, view the full job listing at PSJD.org (log-in required).

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PSJD’S Career Center: Tailored to Help You Find (and Land) a Public Interest Job

PSJD‘s Career Center has links to everything from Georgetown Law’s take on cover letters, to a Harvard Law guide on careers in conservative public interest law, with a lot in between. If you’re looking for nuts-and-bolts advice on becoming a successful job or internship applicant for a public interest law job, be sure to stop by!

Here are a few quick links to helpful content, complete with dramatic metaphors.

Good luck, job-seekers!

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