Archive for April, 2014

Need to Fund Your Summer Public Interest Work? PSJD Can Help! (DEADLINE EXTENDED: 05/05/14)

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Calling all D.C. legal interns:

If you still need supplemental funding for your unpaid or low-paying summer public interest work, PSJD wants to work with you! We have a few spots left for part-time project assistants, who help us keep the website up and running over the summer. This gig is perfect for law students who can spend a few hours a week helping the global legal community access the latest nonprofit, government and public interest jobs and resources.

We pay up to $13/hour, and you’re free to set your own schedule (as long as it’s during normal business hours).

Still interested? Check out the full job description with application instructions here (log-in required). The deadline is 05/05/2014, so apply now!

Any questions? Email PSJD Fellow Ashley Matthews at amatthews@nalp.org. You can check out more summer funding opportunities in the Funding & Debt section of PSJD’s Resource Center!

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – April 25, 2014

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

Happy Friday!  As we start wrapping up another school year, have you done the things you need to do to be successful this summer?  PSJD has a number of resources to help.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • CT legislature considering bill that would increase legal aid funding;
  • John Marshall Law School (Chicago) adds 6 new clinics;
  • FL funding legal hotline to help juveniles;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: DC Bar Pro Bono Program;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

April 18, 2014 “The legislature is considering a bill introduced by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that would bolster legal aid for low-income residents.  Legal aid services face a $4.5 million reduction in state funding next fiscal year, because a series of fee increases approved in 2012 is set to expire.”    “Malloy’s bill would make the 2012 increases permanent. Civil lawsuits, for example, would continue to carry a $350 fee, instead of a $300 fee.
The bill would also increase the percentage of filing fees that go to legal aid.”  (Hartford Business Journal)

April 22, 2014 – The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has added six new legal clinics to its experiential learning offerings.  “John Marshall’s newest clinics focus on: Business Enterprise Law, Conflict Resolution, Domestic Violence, International Human Rights, Intellectual Property and Pro Bono. They join John Marshall’s 20-year-old Fair Housing Legal Clinic, Patent Clinic and nationally renowned Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic. Work through the Patent Clinic now will fall under the new Intellectual Property Clinic, which will also include a Trademark track.”  (PRWeb)

April 22, 2014 – “South Florida youth advocates are creating a hotline to give legal advice for juveniles in trouble with the law.  The Children’s Services Council of Broward County approved funding for LAW-line, a helpline for families in need of legal information including diversion opportunities, civil citation and expunction processes. LAW-line is slated to start in October.  The organization also awarded a grant to Legal Aid for services for youth involved in both the foster care and delinquency systems.  The organization says the services will prevent more children from entering the foster care and juvenile justice systems and will allow them to advocate for the least restrictive and most appropriate educational, medical and mental health services for the youth already there.”  (SFGate)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program is an independent, nonprofit organization supported entirely by voluntary contributions. The Pro Bono Program recruits, trains, and mobilizes volunteer attorneys to take pro bono cases serving individuals living in poverty who are at risk of losing their homes, their livelihoods, and their families. The program also helps small businesses and community-based nonprofits needing legal help. Last year, the Pro Bono Program touched the lives of 20,000 D.C. residents.  Learn more about this outstanding group.

Super Music Bonus! Missed Coachella this  year?  Here’s a little taste.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv7OyDyXcd8&list=PLFgquLnL59amLUrECpliv96Sc72SwI_6U

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Deadline Extended to 04/25: NALP/PSJD Summer 2014 Publications Coordinator in Washington, DC

If you are a law or graduate student with a background in journalism and/or publishing, this one’s for you!

We just extended the deadline for our Summer 2014 NALP/PSJD Summer Publications Coordinator position. We’re looking for an awesome intern who can work with us for 10 weeks to produce the 2014 Postgraduate Fellowship and Federal Legal Employment Opportunities guides.

The selected Publications Coordinator will be joining our Washington, DC office for the summer. The stipend is $675/week for a 40 hour work week.

Still interested? The new deadline is April 25, 2014. Click here for more information.

If you already know you’ll be in Washington, DC for the summer but still looking for funding, you still have time to apply for one of PSJD’s part-time Project Assistant positions!

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – April 18, 2014

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

Happy Friday!  We are back!  I hope you learned as much as we did at the Conference.  Now it’s time to put that knowledge and energy to good use.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  •  Idaho’s new Public Defense Act not going to fix the problems?;
  • Endowment funds Touro law students working with veterans;
  • Greenberg Traurig launches nationwide pro bono effort with KIND;
  • GA Government signs Executive Order to establish conflict defender;
  • Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid receives grant funds to assist seniors;
  • CT examines way to provide low-cost legal aid;
  • Legal Aid Society of Louisville gets grant to help clients in IRS disputes;
  • Legal Aid Alberta faces funding crunch;
  • Group wants TX High Court to review court fee rules for the poor;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Emily Ward;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

April 5, 2014 “Idaho’s public defender system has been called a deficient, unconstitutional patchwork and a magnet for lawsuits, and a new law addressing the problems won’t accomplish much, critics say.”  “The Public Defense Act, signed into law last week by Gov. C.L. ‘Butch’ Otter, is intended to to solve some of these problems. But critics say the law will burden counties with higher costs and doesn’t go far enough to fix the flawed system.  The law bans fixed-fee contracts that pay attorneys a lump sum to tackle all of a county’s cases. That could increase costs in counties that will need to hire more lawyers.”  “The new law will replace the Public Defense Subcommittee with a state Public Defense Commission consisting of one member each from the state House and Senate; four gubernatorial appointments from the Idaho Association of Counties, state Appellate Public Defenders Office, the Idaho Juvenile Justice Commission and an experienced defense attorney; as well as a representative appointed by the Idaho Supreme Court chief justice.  That Public Defense Act sets aside $300,000 to establish the commission, pay members’ travel and provide training for public defenders statewide.”  This is not enough say critics, and many groups are watching closely to see if the Act provides any reforms to the system.  (MagicValley.com)

April 6, 2014 – A $200,000 endowment will fund students at Long Island’s Touro Law Center who are studying legal challenges facing veterans.  The program is sponsored by the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.  The endowment, announced last week, includes $90,000 for an annual scholarship awarded to a Touro student focusing on veterans’ mental health, disabilities and other issues. A separate $90,000 fund will sponsor an annual summer fellowship. And $20,000 will pay for a conference on veterans’ mental health as related to their legal problems.  That includes keeping veterans who commit nonviolent crimes from ending up behind bars, instead providing them with behavioral evaluations and treatment.” (Daily Journal)

April 7, 2014 – “International law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP has announced a new pro bono initiative involving 150 of its attorneys in seven offices as well as the creation of a full-time fellowship position. Greenberg Traurig is partnering with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), an organization founded by the Microsoft Corporation and Angelina Jolie, to provide pro bono legal services to unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings.”  “In addition to devoting significant pro bono work to this project, Greenberg Traurig is funding a full-time fellowship position at KIND through Equal Justice Works, a non-profit organization that facilitates two-year fellowships for recent law school graduates pursuing careers in public service. This position is part of a broader fellowship program.”  (Digital Journal)

April 8, 2014 –  “Georgia’s governor signed an executive order Tuesday to provide $4 million to cover costs associated with providing lawyers without conflicting interests for poor defendants.  The order signed by Gov. Nathan Deal moves money from the Governor’s Emergency Fund to the Georgia Public Defenders Standards Council.  The allocation comes after the state Supreme Court ruled last year that lawyers in the same public defender’s office cannot represent co-defendants in a criminal case if doing so would create a conflict of interest. The ruling effectively meant that many cases must be referred to outside lawyers.”  (Enquirer-Herald)

April 10, 2014 – “The St. Cloud office of Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid has received a grant of Older Americans Act funds from the Central Minnesota Council on Aging to provide legal services for seniors residing in Cass County.  The funds will be used to provide legal advice, counseling and representation in court and administrative hearings. There is no cost for these services.”  (Pilot-Independent)

April 10, 2014 –  “A Judicial Branch work group is looking into how the state might provide low-cost legal representation for people who lack the resources to pay standard legal fees but who have too many assets to qualify for legal aid.  The Workgroup on Modest/Moderate Means was created in January at the recommendation of the Judicial Branch’s Access to Justice Program. According to Chief Justice Chase Rogers, the group’s goal is to assess ‘the feasibility of establishing a voluntary statewide modest means program’ with the support of state bar associations and the 26,000 licensed lawyers in the state.”  The group held it’s first meeting in March, and expect to submit a plan for creating a statewide program to the chief justice by this fall.  (Connecticut Law Tribune)

April 12, 2014 –  “The Legal Aid Society of Louisville has received a $50,000 grant from the Internal Revenue Service to expand the free legal services society lawyers provide to low-income taxpayers involved in disputes with the IRS.  The society’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic provides legal help for income-eligible taxpayers with disputes with the IRS that involve such issues as: unpaid tax debt, non-filings, lack of a Social Security number, incorrect claiming of dependents, help in obtaining the Earned Income Tax Credit, and debt relief for some spouses in specific circumstances.”  (The Courier-Journal)

April 12, 2014 – “Groups representing Alberta’s defence lawyers lost a bid this week to restructure Legal Aid Alberta, but the head of the program says it can’t avoid drastic changes if someone doesn’t step in with more money.  ‘There’s no question we’ll have to consider what changes we’ll have to make — and very shortly — to our programming, given the static funding situation,’ said Suzanne Polkosnik, president and CEO of the publicly funded agency, which provides lawyers for low-income Albertans and other legal services.”  “While funding has remained the same, demand for legal aid has gone up: the group provided service 227,600 times last year, a jump of 33,000 cases since 2010.”(Calgary Herald)

April 14, 2014 – “Advocates for the poor are asking the Texas Supreme Court to revise a rule regarding indigency court affidavits following concerns about inconsistencies in how it is being enforced throughout the state.  The Texas Access to Justice Commission issued a report in May calling for an overhaul of what is known as Rule 145 when questions were raised about how court officials were collecting fees from the poor even after their cases had been resolved.”  Access to Justice hopes that modifying the rule it would clarify procedures for court officials while allowing those who are indigent to access the courts.  (Star-Telegram)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  Emily Ward, a 3L at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, dreams of a career in the public interest.  She’s started early by advancing a pro bono program to help the homeless.  “Building on research and draft materials done by former students Heather Hoechst, 2012 graduate, and Maren Miller Bam, 2013 graduate, Ward brought the concept to fruition by completing the volunteer manual, recruiting volunteers, and conducting student training sessions. The 33-page manual includes interviewing techniques, forms and resources available to qualifying mission guests.”  Read more about here amazing work here.  Congratulations!

Super Music Bonus! Is it Spring yet?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tkqdOB5bEw

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LGBT Bar Association of DC Offers New Summer 2014 Equality Fellowships

Working in DC this summer on LGBT-related legal issues? The LGBT Bar Association of the District of Columbia wants to help fund your work!

This summer, they’ll be offering the 2014 Equality Fellowships, which will help support law students working at DC-area LGBT legal non-profit organizations. The Fellowship hopes to encourage law students taking their first steps toward careers in LGBT advocacy.

Selected Fellows will receive a $1000 stipend for at least 10 weeks of work. The deadline is May 15, 2014. Click here for more info.

Interested in other summer funding opportunities? Check PSJD’s Summer Funding Guides for upcoming opportunities in specific locations or anywhere around the world.

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International Bridges to Justice Launches the 2014 JusticeMakers Competition

International Bridges to Justice, an international nonprofit dedicated to protecting the basic legal rights of ordinary citizens in developing countries, recently launched the 2014 JusticeMakers Competition.

Members of the legal community are invited to submit their innovative ideas for projects directed towards ending torture as an investigative tool. Winners will receive seed grants of $5000.

The application deadline is June 26, 2014 (which is also International Day in Support of Victims of Torture). Click here for more information.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – April 4, 2014

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

Happy Friday!  We are off to the NALP Annual Education Conference in Seattle.  The Digest will take a break for this week and return on April 18.  We hope to see many of you at the conference!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  •  ABA Job Corps targets access to justice paradox;
  • New rules allow retired Iowa attorneys and law students to help legal aid;
  • New job site launches in Canada;
  • PA considers bill to establish training center for public defenders;
  • Students form Law Students Society of Ontario;
  • The Washington University School of Law establishes Prosecution Law Clinic;
  • New scholarship from Davis Levin Livingston promotes public interest lawyers;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Phil Morgan;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

March 27, 2014 “The American Bar Association will pay between $5,000 and $15,000 to organizations that come up with good ways to match unemployed law school graduates to unmet legal needs for the poor.  The organization this month urged law schools, bar associations, courts and other organizations to submit requests for proposals and will reward the best ideas with financial support, ABA President James Silkenat said, under a new program dubbed the Legal Access Job Corps.”  “To qualify for grants, projects must provide both legal services to the poor or people with moderate incomes, and employment for recent law graduates. Existing projects are not eligible.”  Ideas are due by May 15.
(National Law Journal)

March 30, 2014 –  “The Iowa Supreme Court ruled this month to allow retired Iowa attorneys and attorneys licensed in other states to provide pro bono services to legal aid organizations. The state’s legal aid offices turns thousands of low income people away every year because of the high caseload and lack of attorneys. The rule allows retired attorneys to apply for an emeritus license and volunteer their time for a legal aid office.”  “The court also amended the student practice rule this month which will provide more assistance to the offices by allowing law school students in the state to handle cases under supervision.”  “Guy Cook, attorney and Iowa State Bar Association president, said the rule change also allows law school graduates to provide legal services to clients while they are waiting to pass the bar exam on behalf of the offices of the public defender, attorney general, county attorney or legal aid organizations.”  (The Gazette)

March 31, 2014 – What started last year as a Facebook page for  University of Ottawa civil law graduate, Nikolitsa Katsoulias has just turned into a full-blown job site and blog.  The Law Job Exchange, launched just three weeks ago, promises to ‘link you up with opportunities that you may have otherwise missed.”  “The web site is all about sharing opportunities and I don’t think that’s something law students are necessarily used to with the competitiveness of the profession,” says web site founder Katsoulias. “But [students] seem to be embracing it, so I encourage them to log on and share an opportunity if they find one.” “The main feature of the web site is its job postings, which visitors can only view if they are members.  Members can also opt to have job alerts e-mailed to them.  Jobs are primarily Canadian-based, but international opportunities have been available.” (Canadian Lawyer)

April 1, 2014 – “Advocates Tuesday urged state Senate lawmakers to support better training for lawyers tasked with defending adult criminal defendants and juvenile delinquents who can’t afford to hire a lawyer.  A measure before state lawmakers would create such a program with $1 million in the next fiscal year.  Access to such free counsel is required under the U.S. Constitution and federal case law, but Pennsylvania is the only state that doesn’t help fund county offices providing indigent defense.”  (witf.org)

April 1, 2014 – All of the student societies at Ontario’s seven law schools have agreed to participate in a newly formed Law Students Society of Ontario.  “The goal of the Law Students’ Society of Ontario (LSSO) is to advance student concerns to governmental, regulatory, and educational stakeholders on issues such as access to legal education, professional accreditation requirements, and other matters affecting law students across the province.”  “Membership in the LSSO has been ratified by student groups at all seven Ontario law schools (the University of Windsor, Western University, the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School (York University), Queen’s University, the University of Ottawa, and Lakehead University).” (LSSO website)

April 2, 2014 –  “The Washington University School of Law will establish a Prosecution Law Clinic in partnership with the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. The new clinic joins 17 other clinical opportunities within the law school’s long-standing Clinical Education Program.  The clinic will be funded by a generous gift from former prosecutor and Washington University School of Law alumna Alicia McDonnell (JD ’95), who hopes to strengthen the ranks of criminal prosecutors by creating opportunities for talented law students to gain hands-on experience essential to a career in criminal justice.”  (Washington University of St. Louis)

April 2, 2014 – “With a new scholarship, the Honolulu-based law firm of Davis Levin Livingston intends to support law students intending to pursue public interest law and add to the ranks of motivated young attorneys willing to consider a career as a public interest lawyer.”  “The $3000 scholarship will be awarded to a student entering law school this fall. A letter of acceptance is required, and candidates are asked to write a short essay demonstrating their intention to pursue a career as a public interest lawyer.  The scholarship will be payable by The Davis Levin Livingston Charitable Foundation to the law school of attendance by the awardee to assist with tuition or other expenses.”  (Digital Journal)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: Legal aid attorney Phillip Morgan, who likely has represented more public housing tenants in San Francisco than anyone, is retiring. As an attorney for Bay Area Legal Aid, Morgan fought for housing rights with countless clients over the course of his long career. He had an institutional knowledge of the SF Housing Authority that will surely be missed.  Read more about his amazing work.  Thank you for your service!

Super Music Bonus! A glimpse of Seattle.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcN1j11sfJA

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New Public Interest Law Scholarship!

Davis Levin Livingston, a Honolulu-based law firm, is offering a $3000 scholarship to support law students interested in public service.

The award requires candidates to write a short essay demonstrating their intention to pursue a career as a public interest lawyer. Interested students must also provide a letter of acceptance from their law school.

“Advocate is a synonym for lawyer,” said partner Mark Davis in the firm’s press release. “And there is no role more admirable in the practice of law than that of a champion for those abused by the system or circumstance. This scholarship is our way of encouraging the next generation of enthusiastic advocates to join the battle.”

The deadline to apply is July 1, with an award announcement expected in August. For more application info, see the Davis Levin website.

 

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