Archive for August, 2013

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 30, 2013

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

Happy Friday!  So, most folks are back to school or about to be.  We here at PSJD have MANY resources to help you navigate public interest and the job search.  Check it out.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Attorney General Holder urges Congress to restore indigent defense funding;
  • Alabama changing fees for private attorneys for indigent defense;
  • NLRB consolidates in-house legal department in DC;
  • $9 million grant in CA for consumer outreach on ACA;
  • New center opening at the University of Denver;
  • New NC law allows students to hire attorneys for college disciplinary actions;
  • Hawaii news outlet creates public interest law clinic;
  • ABA announces 2013 Legal Rebels;
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness under fire;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Liz Rogers, federal public defender chief retires after 30 years;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 23, 2013- AG Holder went on record supporting the criminal justice system and asking Congress to restore federal funding for federal defenders.  He is backed by a large portion of the judiciary.  But, could more be done?  Here is a good summary of the issue and ways DOJ policy could affect the situation.  (The Atlantic)

August 25, 2013 – In 2011 the State Legislature set up an office of indigent defense under the Finance Department to monitor expenses.  The law also encourages, but does not mandate, that counties use a contract system for private attorneys providing indigent defense. The contract system commits attorneys to multiple cases for a set amount of money.  The system state-wide is having the desired effect – lowering costs to the state for indigent defense.  37 counties now use the contract system and several other counties have set up public defender offices staffed with county employees.  (The Times Daily)

August 26, 2013 – “The National Labor Relations Board has created a new Division of Legal Counsel at its Washington D.C. headquarters.  The board said Thursday the new division consists of three branches created by the consolidation of several of the headquarters’ offices.”  The three offices are The Ethics, Employment and Administrative Law Branch, the Contempt, Compliance and Special Litigation Branch, and the FOIA Branch.  “The new division is headed by Associate General Counsel Margery Lieber.”  (Legal Newsline)

August 26, 2013 – “The California Endowment last week awarded a $9.2 million, three-year grant to a group of legal aid organizations to help expand the effort to educate lower-income Californians about choices under the Affordable Care Act, including coverage in the state’s new health benefit exchange and the expanded version of Medi-Cal, both due to start in January.  Health Consumer Alliance will receive the grant announced Thursday. It’s a consortium of 11 legal aid organizations, including the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the Legal Aid Society of San Diego, Bay Area Legal Aid and the Fresno-based Central California Legal Services.  The $9.2 million grant follows an additional $3.4 million awarded to HCA by Covered California, the state’s new exchange, in June.”  (CaliforniaHealthline)

August 26, 2013 – Opening in early September at the University of Denver, the Center for Separating and Divorcing Families will offer a range of services to families at sliding-scale costs, including mediation, education, therapeutic services, legal drafting and assistance with financial planning.  “Families, who will be referred by the court system and community agencies, will receive advice from teams of students from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology, the Graduate School of Social Work, and the Sturm College of Law.”  (The Denver Post)

August 26, 2013 – “Public university students facing disciplinary charges may now hire an attorney to help them throughout the process, according to a new state law.”  “The new law would apply in student conduct matters but not in cases of academic misconduct. It would allow students to have an attorney at their own expense, or a non-attorney advocate, “fully participate” during any disciplinary procedure.  One exception would be in student honor courts that are strictly run by students, such as the honor system at UNC Chapel Hill. But it would apply in campus judicial hearings involving sexual assault, for example.”  However, the state is not required to provide counsel.  (Charlotte Observer)

August 26, 2013 – “Last week Civil Beat announced the founding of a nonprofit legal aid organization designed to provide assistance to groups and individuals who are seeking access to government information. The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest will be part law clinic and part advocate, helping both journalists and citizens untangle freedom of information laws and, when necessary, take legal action against government agencies. The center may be the first of its kind: a full-time legal aid project developed as an offshoot from an individual media company.”  (Nieman Journalism Lab)

August 28, 2013 – The ABA announces its 10 recipients of the Legal Rebel Award today.  Among the 10, 7 are involved in legal education.  Each year, the ABA honors change leaders in legal profession.  For a deeper look at our 2013 class of Legal Rebels, click here.  (ABA Journal)

August 28, 2013 – With the current student loan brouhaha, it was inevitable that pundits started criticizing Public Service Loan Forgiveness (some haven’t stopped).  This Forbes article takes a look at the program, and argues it’s a bad idea.  These issues and more will be discussed during the NALP webinar Join fellow NALP Members on Wednesday, September 11 at 1:00 ET for Student Debt News for Career Advisors, a webinar on the latest on the student debt crisis. This webinar is open to NALP members and is presented by NALP’s Educational Debt Consultant, Heather Jarvis.  (Forbes)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  “Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Rogers, the Alpine-based assistant federal public defender chief for the Western District of Texas, El Paso and Pecos divisions, retires today after 30 years of defense-attorney work for federal defendants in need of legal counsel.”  She took an early retirement buyout (due to sequestration) so that younger defenders could keep their jobs.  She has always wanted to work on the border, and spent most of her career defending the most vulnerable.  She was recognized in 2000 as an outstanding Federal Public Defender by the National Association of Public Defenders, and has served as director of the State Bar of Texas.  Learn more about Ms. Rogers and her planned trip around the world.  Congratulations and thank you.  (Big Bend Now)

Super Music Bonus! Lots of  news about new opportunities and new offices opening.  Here’s a track to celebrate the good news.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GwjfUFyY6M

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Four Days Left: Nominations Still Open for PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award!

Do you know a law student who’s a public interest/pro bono rock star?  NALP is still seeking nominations for the 2013 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award, and this week is your last chance to nominate someone!

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 subscriber school 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 this Friday, August 30, 2013. If you have any questions, contact Christina Jackson at cjackson@nalp.org.Click here to see a list of past winners!

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 23, 2013

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

Happy Friday!  Lots of news this week.  Enjoy.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Idaho lawmakers looking at systemic changes to indigent defense system;
  • WVU law students create business to resolve landlord-tenant issues;
  • Canadian Commissioners urge access to justice in both official languages;
  • IL Governor signs Access to Justice Act;
  • British Columbia Legal Services facing further cuts to service;
  • Access to justice abysmal in Canada new report says;
  • IL lawyers may “unbundle” services creating greater access to justice;
  • Federal courts will also slash private attorney salaries for indigent defense;
  • More news on student loans and bankruptcy discharge;
  • NY closing in on plan to allow in-house counsel to do pro bono;
  • VA certifies William & Mary clinic;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington;
  • Super Video Bonus!

The summaries:

August 16, 2013- “A committee of Idaho lawmakers has begun the complicated task of trying to bring the state’s public defense system in line with constitutional requirements.  Members of the Public Defense Interim Committee met in Boise on Thursday to hear from state and national experts who warned that Idaho’s system is so inadequate that it’s likely unconstitutional, and as a result, it’s only a matter of time until a lawsuit forces the state to make major changes.”  “The interim committee is expected to present its recommendations and any proposed bills to the full Legislature next year.”  (SFGate)

August 16, 2013- In a college town, there are bound to be countless landlord-tenant issues at the end of every lease year.  West Virginia law student Jordan Loomis learned about these issues the hard way.  After losing his security deposit for not documenting issues that were present when he moved in, he and another WVU law student decided to do something about it.  They created Morgantown Security Deposit to help others with similar problems.  In a partnership with student legal aid, they can also provide legal services should the need arise.  This is a great example of law students identifying a need and filling it.  (The Daily Athenaeum)

August 16, 2013- “The Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada and his counterparts from Ontario and New Brunswick are recommending that the federal Minister of Justice take 10 measures to ensure Canadians have access to justice in both official languages. These recommendations are the result of a joint study on the bilingual capacity of Canada’s superior courts, which was released today by the three commissioners.”  The Commissioners found the judicial appointment process provided an insufficient number of judges that could hear matters in the minority official language.  “The study recommends 10 concrete and pragmatic courses of action that will improve the bilingual capacity of the judiciary of superior courts. The commissioners are urging the federal Minister of Justice to ensure a quick and collaborative implementation of these recommendations.”  (Digital Journal)

August 16, 2013 – “Governor Quinn today signed the Access to Justice Act, a new law to support veterans and active duty servicemembers across Illinois. The new law is designed to provide meaningful access to legal information and representation to the military, veterans and the disadvantaged.”  “In addition to helping veterans receive access to legal representation, the law also creates a task force to review the fees on criminal defendants and civil litigants, making sure the court fees are both efficient and just. The task force will consist of 15 members and is required to submit a report with their findings to the General Assembly by June 1, 2014.”  (eNews Park Forest)

August 17, 2013 – “B.C.’s Legal Services Society is facing a dramatic budget shortfall, and its already-threadbare services face further threat unless the provincial government antes up more cash.”  Options are limited if more funding is not allocated.  The Legal Services Society will either have to cut services by either reducing the amount of fees it pays lawyers or further tighten eligibility requirements.  So far, the Justice Minister has said she’s happy to discuss the situation, but that the province has been more than generous.  (The Vancouver Sun)

August 18, 2013- “Access to justice in Canada is being described as ‘abysmal’ in a new report from the Canadian Bar Association, which also calls for much more than ‘quick fix’ solutions.  The summary report, released Sunday at the association’s conference in Saskatoon, says there is profoundly unequal access to justice in Canada.”  “Inaccessible justice costs us all, but visits its harshest consequences on the poorest people in our communities,” the report says.   “Among other things, the report calls for more federal funding for civil legal aid.  Another goal is to have all law schools in Canada have student legal clinics to help low-income people by 2020. All 31 targets in the report are expected to be completed by 2030.”  (CTV News) (CBC News)

August 19, 2013 – The Illinois Supreme Court, in June 2013, amended its rules so that attorneys could provide limited scope representation.  This allows lawyers to provide services to the segment of the population that makes too much for legal aid but not enough to afford an attorney at traditional market rates.  Unbundled services allow clients to receive legal services on only a portion of a their matter thereby making the legal fees more affordable.  (The National Law Review)

August 19, 2013 – “The federal courts say that private lawyers paid to act as federal public defenders will have their salaries slashed as part of an attempt to survive government cost-cutting measures.  The Judicial Conference of the United States announced Monday that it would reduce by $15 an hour the pay of “panel attorneys.” The year-long cuts start in September.”  The conference decided not to cut staffing, but had to make cuts somewhere.  Federal defenders and panel attorneys represent the vast majority of defendants in federal courts.  (Washington Post)

August 20, 2013- A new report from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C., released on Tuesday urges Congress to take another look at whether some student loans should be dischargeable in bankruptcy.  The report proposes a classification of “‘Qualified Student Loans,’ essentially loans that would remain protected from bankruptcy but would offer reasonable repayment terms for students in college programs with positive employment outcomes.”  “Non-qualified student loans in CAP’s model — like those with unaffordable repayment plans for students who enroll in ineligible education programs — could be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a specified waiting period.”  (The Huffington Post)

  • August 20, 2013 – Another student loan discharged in bankruptcy.  “The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri entered an Order on May 29, 2013 approving a settlement for a Missouri woman owing more than $400,000.00 in student loans. Per the settlement the woman, Maria Seedorff, is entitled to receive a bankruptcy discharge of up to $325,000.00 of student loans.”  (The Wall Street Journal Market Watch)

August 20, 2013 – (subscription or free trial required)  “New York is closing in on a plan to allow nonadmitted, in-house counsel to do pro bono work, Court of Appeals Judge Victoria Graffeo said Tuesday, but she also issued a plea for lawyers who fall into that category to fill out the papers required to make them eligible to help close the ‘justice gap.’”  (Law 360)

August 21, 2013-  Senator Mark Warner, speaking at the College of William & Mary Law, announced that “the Department of Veterans Affairs has certified W&M’s Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic as a national ‘best practices’ program for expedited submission of disability claims.”  “It will be only the third certified program,” Warner said. “The American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans are the only other two.”  Through the clinic’s work, the VA can process fully developed claims, cutting down on processing time.  And there are as many as fifteen other law schools that plan to open similar clinics.  (The Virginia Gazette)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  On August 28, 1963, some 250,000 marched on Washington, DC for jobs and freedom.  Not knowing what to expect and fearing more of the violence they had been experiencing for years, thousands traveled from all over the country to be part of one of the greatest events in US history.  On August 28, more than 2,000 buses, 21 chartered trains, 10 chartered airliners, and uncounted cars converged on Washington.  All regularly scheduled modes of transportation to DC were filled to capacity.  For many, this would be the first time they interacted with members of another race in a peaceful and respectful way.  For the movement, the March is credited with propelling the U.S. government into action on civil rights, creating political momentum for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Unfortunately, many of the March’s goals regarding economic equity have not been realized, and there is much more work to be done.

At the commemoration next week, President Obama is expected to confer a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom on Bayard Rustin (one of the organizers of the march) and 15 others.  To read stories from those who were there and see what events are planned, see the 50th Anniversary March on Washington.


Super Video Bonus! From the mind of Christina – Always inspiring and a good reminder that we aren’t yet done making strides for equality- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs.

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Job o’ the Day: Judicial Clerkship with the Texas Court of Appeals – 14th Supreme Judicial District in Houston

From the PSJD job posting:

The position of briefing attorney is a one-year clerkship involving extensive legal research and writing.  Duties include preparation of draft opinions, legal memoranda, oral presentations to the court, and research on special projects, so English majors are a plus.

The salary is $50,000, and successful applicants will have graduated this past May. For more information, view the full job listing at PSJD.org (log-in required).

 

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Job o’ the Day: Housing Law Staff Attorney with Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Legal Services Corporation

From the PSJD job posting:

Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Legal Services seeks a Staff Attorney to work in the Housing Law Unit. The Housing Law Unit’s goal is the preservation of affordable housing for Brooklyn’s low-income communities through representation of low-income tenants in Housing Court eviction proceedings, collaboration with community based organizations and affirmative litigation in State and Federal courts. Housing Unit attorneys use creative strategies and collaborations with community organizations and tenant groups to fight the negative effects of gentrification and to pursue justice for Brooklyn tenants and communities.

Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Legal Services, part of Legal Services NYC’s Brooklyn Programs, has provided high-quality, innovative representation to address the pressing legal needs of Brooklyn’s diverse low-income population. BSCLS focuses on the problems that have the greatest impact on our clients—preserving affordable and decent housing, maintaining income support, redressing abusive lending and consumer practices, promoting family stability and mitigating the effects of domestic violence, and advocating for the disabled.

The Staff Attorney will represent tenants and groups in Housing Court eviction proceedings, administrative proceedings, Supreme Court actions against administrative agencies, impact litigation in Federal and other courts, and other litigation. Other duties include intake, community education, and community outreach.

Successful applicants will be admitted to the New York State Bar and have a demonstrated passion for social justice and working with low-income communities of color. For more information, view the full job listing at PSJD.org (log-in required).

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 16, 2013

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

Happy Friday!  For us, the summer is over.  Boo!  The interns finish up this week, and are looking to the start of a new school year.  Thank you so much to our summer interns who contributed in so many ways to the continuing success of PSJD.  Good luck to Blerta, David, Denai, and Charis!!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • 25 NY counties to share $12 million grant for indigent defense;
  • ABA, VA & LSC launch new pro bono initiative to help vets;
  • Student Hurricane Network revitalized as Student Disaster Network;
  • Free foreclosure services to continue for 2 more years in Gainesville area;
  • Beaufort, SC area legal aid and law education groups receive aid for projects;
  • New DE state court rule regarding attorneys for post-conviction appeals could cost millions;
  • ABA president vows to work on access to justice;
  • CA school law giving transgender students access rights gets mixed response;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Those who break down barriers;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 10, 2013 – In response to the increased push for counsel at arraignment, the State of New York created a grant to help counties fulfill their constitutional duty to provide lawyers for indigent criminal defendants.  “25 counties in the state [will] share a grant of $12 million to help provide indigent defendants with legal representation the first time they make a court appearance.”  “The state is also reviewing what it must do in light of a recent Court of Appeals decision in Hurrell-Harring vs. New York, which recognizes that having counsel is critical at arraignment as a key part of criminal proceedings.”  (Watertown Daily Times)

August 10, 2013- “A new initiative to provide pro bono legal assistance to military veterans was announced Saturday by the ABA, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Legal Services Corp.  The initiative, which will launch as a pilot program in Chicago and St. Petersburg, Fla., will recruit lawyers to help veterans prepare their claims with the VA for disability pay. Currently, many veterans go unrepresented while trying to prepare their claims. Under the program, veterans with claims pending may choose whether to accept pro bono assistance from a lawyer.”  (ABA Journal)

August 12, 2013 – All summer long the newly revitalized Student Disaster Network (originally conceived as the Student Hurricane Network, implemented to help Hurricane Katrina victims) has been working to continue to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Last week, six students from Baton Rouge, LA (some effected by Hurricane Katrina) volunteered along with several law students from New York law schools in the Touro Law Center’s Disaster Assistance Clinic.  Of course, the legal issues are ongoing, and if you’d like to help, you contact the Clinic through its Director, Professor Benjamin Rajotte. (New York Law Journal) (WNBC 4)

August 12, 2013 – New state court rule in Delaware could cost millions and gridlock the state’s criminal justice system.  “[The] state’s courts adopted a new rule in May, following the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Martinez v. Ryan, requiring that nearly all indigent inmates in Delaware get a taxpayer-funded attorney for at least one round of post-conviction appeals to argue their trial attorney was ineffective, if they ask.”  So far, the rule has meant requests for attorneys are running at least three times higher than what officials estimated.  And, as of now, state legislators have refused to appropriate any funds to support the increased workload.  (delawareonline)

August 13, 2013 – Under a settlement agreement with the country’s largest mortgage companies, Three River Legal Services will continue to provide free foreclosure assistance to its 17-county service area.  Three Rivers has already assisted 300 homeowners since the program began in March.  The program was set to expire on July 31.  (The Gainesville Sun)

August 13, 2013- “Four Lowcountry legal aid and law education groups received almost $300,000 this month combined from the South Carolina Bar Foundation to support their projects.”  “The grants were part of $1.88 million given to groups statewide that provide services to help low-income people that need representation or educate them on specific legal issues like domestic violence.”  (Beaufort Gazette)

August 14, 2013- Newly installed ABA president James Silkenat said “he plans to help develop a Legal Access Job Corps, which will seek to address the country’s growing unmet legal needs and the underemployment of recent law graduates.  ‘Instead of looking at the dearth of jobs and the large number of unmet legal needs as two separate silos, we will find ways to match young lawyers who need practical job experience with disadvantaged clients who need legal assistance,’ the new president said.”  This is good news for both those who need and those who can provide legal services.  We’ll keep you posted as plans develop.  (Legal Newsline)

August 15, 2013 – “California’s law to give transgender K-12 students rights such as access to the restrooms and locker rooms that they choose has received mixed response from school officials.”  The first of its kind in the nation, it’s drawing both praise and criticism.  “Opponents, who have promised to sue, said the bill infringes on the privacy of public school students.”  “But proponents hailed the law as advancing long-sought rights of transgender students.”  This will certainly be a growing area of litigation in the very near future.  (Contra Costa Times)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  Fifty-two years ago this week, Berliners awoke to find a wall dividing their city.  For the next 28 years many would defect from East to West and many, many individuals would work to bring down the wall.  This is a concrete example, but just one of many in which individuals can make a difference to so many be breaking down barriers.  (BBC)  On the legal front, many pioneers have broken barriers so that others may follow.  “Arabella Mansfield (May 23, 1846 – August 1, 1911), became the first female lawyer in the United States when she was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1869.”  (Wikipedia)  “Macon Bolling Allen (August 4, 1816 – June 11, 1894) was the first African American licensed to practice law in the United States, (Maine, 1844), and is believed to be the first African American to hold a judicial position, (Massachusetts, 1848).”  (Wikipedia)   And as we here in DC are getting ready to remember the 1961 March on Washington, let’s remember all those who have broken down barriers large and small.  Thank you!!

Super Music Bonus! From the mind of Christina – For all those going back to school:

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Job o’ the Day: 2014 Attorney Honors Program, Federal Communications Commission in Washington, DC

From the PSJD job posting:

The Office anticipates hiring 3Ls, LLMs, or JLCs for its paid ($62,467-$74,872 with adjustment in unusual circumstances) 2-year Attorney Honors Program, with employment to begin in Fall 2014.  The program consistently receives between 750 and 1000 applications.  Placements are based on interest and agency need; participants may rotate to a new assignment after the 1st year.  Conversion to continued employment is dependant on performance, availability of funds, and agency need.  Attorneys will be exposed to a variety of activities which may include drafting decisions in adjudicatory and rulemaking matters; resolving complex policy issues; participating in international negotiations; representing the Commission in dealings with government agencies, Congress, private sector, and federal court; and formulating decisions authorizing new technologies and services.  They will also participate in professional and educational activities designed specifically for the Honors Program.

Applicants must graduate by Summer 2014, be a graduate law student completing study by Summer 2014, or law graduate serving as a judicial law clerk in the 2013-14 term.  Selection is highly competitive, and candidates will be considered based on academic achievement, writing skills, law review and/or moot court experience, and clinic and extracurricular activities, as well as demonstrated interest in government service or the communications industry.

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

 

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Job o’ the Day: Trial Attorney with the Jefferson County Public Defender’s Office (Birmingham, Alabama)

From the PSJD job posting:

The Jefferson County Public Defender’s Community Law Office (CLO) seeks zealous and dedicated litigators to serve as felony and misdemeanor trial attorneys in the Birmingham Division. All CLO attorneys will provide high quality representation to indigent defendants. Ideal Trial Attorneys combine demonstrated interest in the representation of indigent clients with superior litigation skills. Trial Attorneys work independently and in teams to provide zealous representation to each client. Trial Attorneys should expect to spend significant amounts of time in criminal court and with clients.

Successful applicants will have a a demonstrated commitment and passionate desire to represent indigent clients and at least two years of full-time legal practice in a litigation environment. The application deadline is 08/18/2013.

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

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Job o’ the Day: Alan Morrison Supreme Court Assistance Project Fellowship with the Public Citizen Litigation Group in DC

From the job posting:

To augment its Supreme Court litigation, the Litigation Group operates the Alan Morrison Supreme Court Assistance Project, named after the Group’s founder. The Project focuses on helping small-firm practitioners, lawyers for non-profit organizations, and other lawyers with little or no experience in Supreme Court litigation. The Project provides direct assistance to lawyers before review is granted, either by helping with a petition for certiorari or a brief in opposition, and provides assistance in cases in which review is granted, working with the lawyers to prepare briefs and oral argument. In some cases, a Litigation Group attorney will become the lead lawyer on the case.

The Litigation Group is looking for a bright, energetic lawyer to coordinate the Project and work on Supreme Court cases for one year. Most, but not all, of the cases on which we work are civil rather than criminal. Most of our work at the petition stage involves assisting the party who won below in preparing an opposition to the petition for certiorari, to keep the case out of the Court and thereby preserve a victory. The fellow will review all paid cert. petitions. Working under the direct supervision of the Litigation Group director, the fellow makes an initial judgment about whether the case is of interest to the Project and prepares a memo and recommendation about whether to offer assistance. Considerable legal research and analysis are often required to determine whether assertions in the petition, such as a conflict among the courts of appeals, are supportable. The fellow then makes an initial contact with the attorney to whom help is being offered to explain the Project and the assistance that we can provide. In addition, all cases accepted by the Court for full review are considered for possible assistance by the Project. When an offer of help is accepted, a Litigation Group attorney assumes principal responsibility for the case within the office. For a list of the Project’s current cases, see http://www.citizen.org/ litigation/forms/scap_index.cfm.

The application deadline is12/09/2013. Ideal applicants will have had some practical litigation experience while in school or elsewhere and a solid academic background, in addition to a demonstrated commitment to public interest work.

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

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Job o’ the Day: Impact Litigation & Social Justice Fellowship with the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office in San Jose, CA

From the PSJD job posting:

The Impact Litigation and Social Justice Section of the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office is currently accepting applications for a two-year fellowship position beginning in September 2014.

The Impact Litigation and Social Justice Section conducts affirmative litigation on behalf of the County, drafts local ordinances, and develops novel policies and programs to advance the County’s goal of securing social and economic justice for all its residents.  Our current cases include an action to hold lead paint manufacturers liable for the public nuisance they created by marketing lead paint as a safe product, two actions against pharmaceutical companies that marketed dangerous products to public hospitals and the public, and a lawsuit against the State for its failure to reimburse counties for mandated medical services for the indigent.  In the last few years, we have also filed amicus curiae briefs in lawsuits challenging California’s Proposition 8 and Arizona’s immigration law, drafted local ordinances addressing predatory lending and many public health issues, and worked with County departments to develop policies that protect and advance the rights of immigrants.  We also have a number of active investigations that we expect will result in litigation.  In all our work, we strive to advance local, state, and national public policy reform through progressive local government action.

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