PSJD Public Interest News Digest – March 14, 2014

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

Happy Friday!  And Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone.  We’re now in spring break season, and if you’re looking for a service project to undertake, we’ve got you covered.  If you’re in the US, check out  In Canada?  Go to Pro Bono Students Canada.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Growing number of TX lawyers are “Banking on Justice”;
  • Federal defenders could fill jobs lost under sequestration;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Today in History – the FBI debuts the 10 Most Wanted List;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

March 10, 2014 Lawyers and bankers in Texas are teaming up to increase funding for legal aid.  “The Prime Partner program, which provides funds for vulnerable Texans seeking justice, is gaining momentum. Prime Partner banks agree to pay higher interest on lawyers’ trust accounts to support legal-aid assistance for the poor, explained Betty Balli Torres, executive director, Texas Access to Justice Foundation. Prime Partner banks agree to pay 1 percent on IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts) accounts so they can increase funding for civil legal aid in this state. The ‘I Bank on Justice’ component is really lawyers and law firms that move their accounts into Prime Partner banks in order to support legal aid,” Torres explained.”  (Public News Service)

March 11, 2014 –  “Federal defender offices, which lost approximately 400 employees because of last year’s mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration, have enough money in this year’s budget to begin backfilling most of those positions, court officials said Tuesday.  Following the biannual meeting of the Judicial Conference of the United States, Chief Judge William Traxler Jr., chairman of the judicial conference’s executive committee, said Congress’ fiscal year 2014 appropriation to the judiciary would allow officials to backfill about 350 jobs in federal defender offices.”  (Legal Times)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: On this day in 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation institutes the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives. The creation of the program arose out of a wire service news story in 1949 about the “toughest guys” the FBI wanted to capture. The story drew so much public attention that the “Ten Most Wanted” list was given the okay by J. Edgar Hoover the following year. As of 2011, 465 of the criminals included on the list have been apprehended or located, 153 as a result of tips from the public.  (  The List recently made the news when number 10 was captured.  Only 8 women have appeared on the List.  The current List is all male with the least recent addition on the List since 1987.

Super Music Bonus!  Some Celtic music.  Enjoy!

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