Archive for July, 2013

PSJD Project Assassin Series: On DOMA, Prop 8 and Public Interest Law

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. First up: David Munoz, a rising 2L at American University Washington College of Law! Read on to see what he has to say about the Supreme Court’s recent decisions on gay marriage.

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Job o’ the Day: Postgraduate Fellowship with Farmworker Justice in Washington, DC

Farmworker Justice, a nonprofit serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers across the country, is looking for a Fellow to support their work on health, labor rights and immigration policy. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree can apply, but Farmworker Justice also handles litigation. This would make a great part-time job for any interested law graduate waiting for bar results! From the PSJD job posting:

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PSJD Public Service News Digest – July 19, 2013

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

Happy Friday!  Looking for something to do this weekend?  Check out our Having Fun on the Cheap series on PSJD for great options in a number of cities.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • The Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada supports training to help meet legal needs of clients with mental health issues;
  • Connecticut Bar Association Young Lawyers Division raises $2.1 million in pro bono service;
  • Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid celebrates 100 years of advocacy!;
  • Harvard’s Legal Aid Bureau also celebrating 100 years of service;
  • Legal aid in Ontario seeing unexpected cuts;
  • Good example of creating community partnerships – VA awards $1.4 million to Goodwill;
  • Dramatic changes to legal service delivery being discussed in Nova Scotia;
  • NY panel to look at ways in-house can provide pro bono and increase access to justice;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Legal Aid of Nebraska is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year;
  • Super Music Bonus featuring Kristian Smith, PSJD’s Summer Public Interest Projects & Publications Fellow! Read the rest of this entry »

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Job o’ the Day: U.S. Dept. of Transportation Honors Attorney Program

 

From the PSJD job posting:

The Department’s Honors Attorney Program offers new law graduates (and recent law graduates completing judicial clerkships or fellowships) a unique opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of the Department’s diverse law practice.

During the two-year program, honors attorneys rotate once in the Department’s Office of the General Counsel and in up to five Chief Counsels’ Offices of the Department’s operating administrations.

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Alternative Public Interest Work Part 2: Private Public Interest Firms

by Kristian Smith, PSJD Summer Projects and Publications Coordinator

This is the second part of a two-part series on Alternative Public Interest Work. Check out “Part One: Can I Do Public Interest Work at a Law Firm?” here!

As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, law firms and public interest work don’t always go hand-in-hand, but there are many ways for law students and lawyers to combine a law-firm setting with public interest work. Though typically smaller than a traditional law firm,  private public interest firms provide a setting similar to that of other law firms while focusing their practice primarily on public interest work.

First things first: What is a private public interest firm?

According to a paper written by Scott L. Cummings of UCLA School of Law and Ann Southworth of University of California, Irvine School of Law, the term private public interest law firm refers to a range of “hybrid” entities that fuse private and public goals. The paper defines private public interest firms as “for-profit legal practices structured around service to some vision of the public interest. They are organized as for-profit entities, but advancing the public interest is one of their primary purposes—a core mission rather than a secondary concern.” Harvard Law School, which produces a Private Public Interest Law Firms guide in coordination with Columbia School of Law, similarly defines private public interest firms in the guide as “private, for-profit firms that dedicate at least a significant portion of their caseload to matters that have some broad social, political, or economic impact.”

Private public interest firms can be the perfect blend of the public interest work of non-profits and the resources of large law firms because, according to Cummings and Southworth’s paper, private public interest firms can take on large-scale social change litigation that non-profits can’t pursue because of resource limits and big-firm pro bono programs won’t take on because of business conflicts.

But not every private public interest firm is the same. Some firms focus solely on public interest issues and take on only no-fee or reduced-fee clients while others also take on plaintiff’s torts cases for funding. While civil rights and employment law are the most popular practice areas for private public interest firms, some firms specialize in other areas, such as environmental law. Most of these firms take on a large range of cases – from discrimination, housing and voting rights, to consumer protection, human rights, and plaintiff class action suits. These firms may also represent a wide range of clients, including individuals, nonprofits and community groups. Some examples of these firms include Traber & Voorhees, Chatten-Brown & Carstens, and Miner, Barnhill & Galland (where President Obama practiced!).

How to Get Hired

It may be more difficult to find jobs at these types of firms than at traditional firms due to their smaller size, but many of these firms still hire summer associates and entry-level attorneys. Some firms, such as Bernabei & Wachtel, also offer fellowships as a way to hire new attorneys. For a comprehensive list of public interest firms and their hiring practices, check out Harvard and Columbia’s private public interest firms guide.

 

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Job o’ the Day: Supervising Attorney for Hogar Immigrant Services – Catholic Charities in Arlington, VA

From the PSJD job posting:

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington seeks a full-time attorney for its Hogar Immigrant Services program. Hogar Immigrant Services offers a wide range of services at little or no cost to a vulnerable immigrant population, without regard to religious or ethnic identity. Our goal is for immigrants to achieve self-sufficiency and participate fully as productive members of American society.

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Job o’ the Day: The Bristow Fellowship with the U.S. Deparment of Justice’s Office of the Solicitor General in Washington, DC

From the PSJD job posting:

Every year, the Office of the Solicitor General accepts applications for one-year Bristow fellowships.  Bristow Fellows assist OSG attorneys in drafting briefs in opposition to certiorari filed against the government in the Supreme Court of the United States, preparing petitions for certiorari and briefs on the merits in Supreme Court cases, preparing recommendations to the Solicitor General regarding authorization of government appeals in the lower courts, and assisting in the preparation of oral arguments in the Supreme Court.  OSG usually selects four Bristow fellows each year.

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10 Tips for Landing J.D. Jobs – from the National Law Journal

by Ashley Matthews, PSJD Fellow

It’s no secret that looking for legal employment in today’s market is tough.

In fact, job-hunting is like a full-time job in itself. If you’re serious about landing a legal job, you are more than likely searching sites like PSJD and Idealist every day (maybe multiple times a day). You’re probably networking like crazy. If you’re still in law school, you may even be stalking your career services office and Symplicity’s job bank.

There are thousands of other law students and lawyers doing that exact same thing, but there are other ways to help yourself land the legal job of your dreams. American University Washington College of Law’s Walter A. Effross wrote a great National Law Journal article, “10 Tips for Landing J.D. Jobs for Law Students and Graduates,” focused on providing specific practices for maximizing your credentials, networks and career opportunities. Here are a few tips from the article that may be of particular relevance to public interest law students and lawyers:

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New Student Pro Bono Resources Added to PSJD.org!

by Ashley Matthews, PSJD Fellow

New York recently became the first state to mandate pro bono hours for all new lawyers applying for admission to the state bar. The requirement, announced by New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, is a part of an initiative to help close the justice gap for the growing number of low-income people who are unable to afford legal services.

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PSJD Public Service News Digest – July 12, 2013

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

Happy Friday!  Any big summer plans out there?  Are you refreshing and recharging?  I hope so.  If you’re a NALP member, one thing that could help is to join the Public Service Section (if you haven’t already) and consider serving on a work group.  It is a great way to both learn and contribute, and we have a lot of fun on the calls with our colleagues.  To see the Section and work groups, check out NALPconnect.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Utah State Bar provides modest means lawyer referral;
  • Rankings bombshell – ABA will stop collecting expenditure data;
  • McGeorge law school to cut incoming class and staff;
  • Federal defenders outlook bleak;
  • Wayne State University Law School and ACLU Michigan open a civil rights clinic;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Lonnie Lutz, Coles County (IL) Chief Public Defender, retires after 33 years!;
  • Super Music Bonus featuring Ashley Matthews, PSJD Fellow!

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