When New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced the mandatory pro bono requirements for the state’s bar applicants, the legal community reacted with almost equal parts criticism and approval. What many viewed as an innovative way to help close the justice gap, others viewed as just another way to get free labor out of a class of recent graduates already struggling to look for work.
“…more than half the 750 pre-law students surveyed in June by Kaplan Test Prep—68 percent to be exact—said they support a rule requiring law students to complete a certain amount of pro bono work before being admitted to the bar.
New York is the only state with such a requirement; starting in 2015, applicants to the bar there must have competed 50 hours of eligible pro bono work. Meanwhile, officials with the State Bar of California are preparing to impose a 50-hour pro bono requirement and a New Jersey Supreme Court panel has recommended a similar rule.”
All of us here at PSJD are happy pre-law students are catching the pro bono bug! Every year we celebrate law students with a deep commitment to pro bono with our Pro Bono Publico Award, which gives $1,000 to a deserving law student who is known throughout their community for their public service.
If you know a second- or third-year law student from a PSJD subscriberschool who would be perfect for this award, go ahead and nominate them! Just click on the forms below, print them and fill them out by August 30, 2013. If you have any questions, contact Christina Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for equal rights, seeks a highly experienced attorney with non-profit experience, member of the Maryland/DC Bar Association. Work experience in public interest law firm, civil rights association, legislative committee or the government preferred.
The Assistant General Counsel’s office maintains basic corporate documents and provides staff service to the Board of Directors and Committees.
Created by executive order in 2010, the Pathways program creates a clear path to federal internships and entry-level careers. With a focus on improving the federal government’s recruiting efforts, Pathways offers a unique opportunity for students and recent law graduates to gain access to fulfilling government careers.
If you want more information on the Pathways program, PSJD has got you covered! We just created a new page in our Resource Center devoted specifically to helping you navigate the program, with links to even more helpful resources.
by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.
Here are the week’s headlines:
British Columbia legal aid lawyers halt funding protest to show good will to new justice minister;
Senate Appropriations Committee Allocates $430 Million for LSC;
New GC for New York Lawyers for the Public Interest;
Grants give Legal Services of Northern California shot in the arm;
Crowdfunding comes to legal services;
Spotlight on Public Service Servants: the US Postal Service, founded on this day in 1775;
Super Music Bonus featuring Kristian Smith, PSJD Publications Coordinator!
July 19, 2013– “Lawyers who handle legal aid cases in British Columbia have put their protest on hold in an effort to get talks started with the new provincial justice minister after an 18-month deadlock.” BC trial attorneys began a job action is January 2012, refusing to serve as duty council to those who are appearing for the first time or don’t have a lawyer. The lawyers are no longer withdrawing their services.Justice Minister Suzanne Anton issued a statement Friday saying she’s looking forward to meeting with legal aid lawyers. (The Vancouver Sun)
July 19, 2013 – The Senate Appropriations Committee just approved $430 million for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in FY 2014. This is a $90 million increase over LSC’s current funding level. Great news if it clears Congress, so keep your fingers crossed. (Legal Services Corporation)
July 23, 2013– “The nonprofit community law organization New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) has chosen Miranda Massie as their new general counsel. Massie is serving as GC while continuing in her role as the organization’s legal director.” “In a statement from NYLPI announcing her new position, McGregor Smyth, executive director of the organization, praised Massie’s qualifications.” “Massie, who started as an environmental justice staff attorney at NYLPI five years ago, told CorpCounsel.com that she is quite pleased by the prospect of helping the organization move forward during a time of growth.” (Corporate Counsel)
July 23, 2013 – A pair of grants will temporarily give Legal Services of Northern California the ability to double their efforts to assist low-income residents on the North Coast. “One grant funded, largely by the National Mortgage Settlement Funds, will add approximately six full-time attorneys to LSNC, which serves low-income residents in 23 Northern California counties. The other, funded primarily by the Department of Managed Health Care, could add as many as 12 full-time attorneys.” The term of the grants is 18 months. (Times-Standard)
July 24, 2013 – JustAccess is a new crowdfunding resource aimed at increasing access to justice. Sam Saad, a founder partner and managing director of JustAccess says the goal is to raise $10,000 to support three cases in November. He is currently in the process of vetting cases, and then the crowd will decide which to support. The platform is designed to “be an open platform that will not decide on any type of law, or any ideology, or any values, but rather just act as a platform where folks can share their stories and find like-minded individuals,” says Saad. Once the funds are raised, the litigants will choose their own counsel. (Canadian Lawyer Magazine)
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: On this date in 1775, the US Postal System was established with Benjamin Frankin as the first postmaster general. He would create structures for delivering the mail we still use today. Now, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with over 700,000 career workers, who handle more than 44 percent of the world’s cards and letters.Although the use of the postal system has greatly decreased since the advent of email, who doesn’t still eagerly await their birthday or holiday cards? Let’s give a big thanks to the many, many hardworking individuals who make those wonderful moments possible.
Super Music Bonus! Kristian Smith, PSJD Publications Coordinator has taken over the reigns for a while. Today, we salute the many postal workers who bring us important letters and packages. Thank you!! – Please, Mr. Postman:
EDITOR’S NOTE: Every summer, PSJD hires current law and pre-law students as Project Assistants. They help us manage our website, social media marketing, and more. These students come from different schools all over the country, but they are all united in their commitment to pro bono and public interest law. They do such an amazing job at helping us out that we’ve dubbed them our “Project Assassins”! Every day this week, a different Project Assassin will be contributing to the blog, discussing their particular legal interests. In this edition, Charis Redmond, a senior pre-law student at George Washington University, discusses her journey through the law school application process and her dedication to youth and education.
The ACLU of Washington is a non-profit public interest organization devoted to protecting civil rights and civil liberties. Its staff of thirty employees and numerous volunteers work in a fast-paced, friendly and professional office.
The Project: The ACLU of Washington is working to advance a comprehensive, strategic and effective education and advocacy campaign to safeguard access to medical care free from restrictions based on others’ religious doctrine. Increasingly, secular hospitals are merging with religiously affiliated ones and coming under their religious restrictions to care. The ACLU of Washington believes that no patient should be refused access to lawful health care because of the religious doctrines of the institutions running hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities. Health care facilities open to the general public should not refuse to provide reproductive health care and end-of-life care services; nor should they discriminate against LGBT patients and families. Religious ideology should not dictate which health care services a patient may choose.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Every summer, PSJD hires current law students as Project Assistants. They help us manage our website, social media marketing, and more. These students come from different law schools all over the country, but they are all united in their commitment to pro bono and public interest law. They do such an amazing job at helping us out that we’ve dubbed them our “Project Assassins”! Every day this week, a different Project Assassin will be contributing to the blog, discussing their particular legal interests. In this edition, Denai Neilander, a rising 2L at University of San Francisco College of Law, discusses why she believes politics and public policy should be at the heart of public interest work.
If you’re on the job hunt, you’ve probably heard about Idealist.org. It’s a great jobs site that focuses solely on nonprofit and social impact work, and includes everything from development gigs to international human rights fellowships. Last week, Idealist contributing writer Katie Mang wrote a great blog post on starting and implementing a pro bono project. The article is written in general terms to apply to any career field, but she’s got lots of great tips for us law students and lawyers as well. Here’s a few tips that especially apply to law student and attorneys providing pro bono service:
EDITOR’S NOTE: Every summer, PSJD hires current law students as Project Assistants. They help us manage our website, social media marketing, and more. These students come from different law schools all over the country, but they are all united in their commitment to pro bono and public interest law. They do such an amazing job at helping us out that we’ve dubbed them our “Project Assassins”! Every day this week, a different Project Assassin will be contributing to the blog, discussing their particular legal interests. In this edition, Blerta Mileti, a rising 2L at University of Iowa College of Law, discusses the right to counsel for immigrant detainees.
Consumer Watchdog, a nationally recognized, California-based citizen advocacy group, deploys an in-house team of public interest attorneys, policy experts, and grassroots activists to advance and protect the interests of consumers and taxpayers. Our work, which is spotlighted daily in the national and local media, includes advocating before the courts, regulatory agencies, and the Legislature in the areas of corporate accountability, health care reform, insurance reform, consumer privacy, legal system reform, and other state and federal matters.