PSJD Public Service News Digest – July 26, 2013

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday!

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!

The summaries:

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:

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