by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships
Happy Friday! We are getting ready for the NALP Annual Conference, and there are some great public interest programs. New this year – the Social Justice Walking Tour. We’re really looking forward to celebrating public service in Seattle.
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.
Here are the week’s headlines:
- Google Public Policy (summer) Fellowship application now available;
- Rutgers-Newark law school starts unique fellowship offering low cost legal help;
- Goodwin Procter receives ABA’s 2014 National Public Service Award;
- NY State officials taking indigent defense funds for other purposes;
- Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Maria Keller;
- Super Music Bonus!
March 23, 2014 – The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests. Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and creativity, consumer privacy, open government, government surveillance, data security, data innovation, free expression and more. More information about the program is outlined here. The deadline for applications is April 14, 2014.
March 23, 2014 – “Rutgers School of Law-Newark has launched a program to ease graduates into the legal profession. The program, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, is paying new law school graduates $30,000 to spend a year working in an on-campus law firm serving low- and moderate-income New Jerseyans. Under [Associate Dean Andy] Rothman’s guidance, the newly minted lawyers take on criminal, divorce, custody, special education, estate, landlord-tenant and other cases for clients who make too much money to qualify for free legal help. The Rutgers Law Associates Fellowship Program charges clients $50 an hour, a fraction of the $250 to $300 hourly rate many private attorneys charge.” The program began with six fellows. “The fellows agree to stay for a year, with the option of remaining with the firm for a second year with a $40,000 salary.” (nj.com)
March 24, 2014 – “Goodwin Procter, a national Am Law 50 firm, has been selected by the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association as the law firm recipient of its 2014 National Public Service Award. Initiated in 1994, the annual honor recognizes delivery of significant pro bono legal services that demonstrate a commitment to providing assistance to the poor in a business context.” “In selecting Goodwin Procter, ABA Business Law Section’s Pro Bono Committee Chair William Woodward said the Section ‘carefully considered the firm’s dedication to the development and delivery of innovative pro bono services that have provided legal counsel to nonprofit organizations and microbusinesses in aid of community development on an ongoing basis.'” (Business Wire)
March 25, 2014 – “Over the past six years, the [New York State’s] elected officials have yanked close to $50 million from a fund designated for indigent legal services. While the ‘sweeps,’ as they are called, have not had immediate impact on a fund designated for indigent defense, those lost millions may be needed in future years as counties across New York try to provide constitutionally sound legal services for the poor. And the practice speaks to a larger issue, advocates for indigent defense services say: A continued unwillingness by state officials to confront a patchwork system of indigent legal aid.” The state’s Indigent Legal Services Fund pays for the Office of Indigent Legal Services and provides grants across the state to counties to improve public defense services. (Democrat and Chronicle)
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: No matter your age, you can make a difference. Just ask 13-year old Maria Keller. She was one of recipients of this year’s Jefferson Awards for Public Service. Founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard, the Jefferson Awards is America’s highest honor for public service. Ms. Keller won her award for her nonprofit Read Indeed. Ms. Keller has always loved reading and at age 8 was shocked to find out some kids don’t have access to books. So, she started by organizing a book drive and made a donation of a thousand books to a children’s shelter. “From there she told her parents she wanted to collect and donate a million books to kids in need by the time she was 18. This past fall the Orono Middle School student reached her goal, five years early.” Her “new goal is to distribute books in every state in the country and in every country in the world. For more information on her organization or how to donate books go to Read Indeed online or check out their Facebook page.” Congratulations Maria!! (CBS Minnesota)
Super Music Bonus! How could you not love a song called “Happy?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMmbEF017Zc