PSJD Public Interest News Digest – May 2, 2014

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

Happy Friday!  Welcome to May!  We’re going to spend the month talking about service projects.  Did you participate in an alternate spring break program this year?  We’d love to hear about it!  This week, we have an entry from Memphis.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Wills now available at Walmart in Canada;
  • Appleseed Legal Justice Center joins SC attorneys and VA to provide legal assistance for vets;
  • Nova Scotians who don’t qualify for legal aid have another option;
  • Memphis Law School marks fourth year of ASB program;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Public Service Recognition Week is May 4-10;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

April 24, 2014 –  One of the many complaints by those seeking legal assistance is that it’s difficult to access.  Here’s an interesting idea – legal services in your local Walmart.  “Near the entrance of a new Walmart in Markham is an innovation in discount retailing: Axess Law. Founded by Toronto lawyers Lena Koke and Mark Morris, Axess Law provides fast and affordable legal services to time-pressed shoppers. Simple wills are $99. Notarized documents are $25, plus $19 for each additional document.”  Two locations are currently open with a third set to open this month. The locations are open until 8 pm each evening and weekends.  The firm currently does real estate law and wills.  Uncontested divorces will be added to the menu in the fall.  The idea is to provide legal services in a non-intimidating way.  (The Toronto Star)

April 24, 2014 – “Dorn VA Medical Center spokesman Kevin McIver announced Thursday that the Appleseed Legal Justice Center is working with Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough Law Firm on the pro-bono legal clinic for low-income veterans called Lawyers 4 Vets.  The clinic starts May 15 at the VA Medical Center in Columbia. Veterans may make appointments on the third Thursday of every month from 9 a.m. to noon.  Attorneys will assist veterans with obtaining identification papers, child support and visitation issues, obtaining pardons or clearing legal records, simple wills and powers of attorney, among other matters.”  (The Republic)

April 25, 2014 – “Nova Scotians who make too much to qualify for legal aid but not enough to hire a lawyer will soon have more access to free legal advice.  The Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia says it will launch a free summary advice clinic on May 2.  Society executive director Heather de Berdt Romilly says the free clinic has been quietly open for a few months and has been well-received by the public and volunteer lawyers.  She says the society plans to expand the program across the province over the next year.”  (News 95.7)

April 29, 2014 – “Seventy-three students from fourteen different law schools chose to spend their spring break in Memphis providing legal aid to those in need.  Student volunteers had the opportunity to sign up for one of seven different legal tracks offered as part of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law’s Alternative Spring Break Program (ASB).  The ASB program was planned and executed by the Public Action Law Society (PALS), a student organization at the law school whose mission is to facilitate student involvement in pro bono and public interest activities.  This year marks the fourth year that the law school has hosted the ASB program.”  (University of Memphis, Cecil C Humphreys School of Law)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: Celebrated the first week of May since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) is time set aside to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees and ensure that our government is the best in the world.

The theme for PSRW 2014 is Proud to Serve.  PSRW is organized annually by the Public Employees Roundtable (PER) and its member organizations. PER will kick off PSRW 2014 with its second annual Public Service 5K run/walk in Washington, D.C. Other feature events in Washington include a public town hall meeting with Cabinet secretaries, a Washington Nationals baseball game and a congressional breakfast to announce the finalists of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals.

Public servants deserve our thanks throughout the year and we invite you to continue honoring them for the work they do each and every day. Suggestions can be found in the How to Celebrate PSRW Guide.

Super Music Bonus! Thank you to all those out there working for us!

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