PSJD Public Interest News Digest – July 25, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope everyone is staying cool out there.  We have some good news in the public sector this week.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • William & Mary names new clinic director;
  • Goodwin Proctor announces 2014 Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color;
  • DC expands pro bono practice rule to in-house lawyers;
  • ABA launches new program to help vets with disability claims;
  • $1.1 mil gift to University of South Carolina’s School of Law will support public interest students;
  • $2.5 mil more going to PA poor;
  • Mississauga legal clinic fights for fair share of funding;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Veterans Village of San Diego;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 17, 2014 – “William & Mary Law School yesterday announced the appointment of Roy A. Hoagland as a visiting professor of practice and director of the Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic.  Hoagland is the former vice president of environmental protection and restoration for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He previously served as both the deputy director and the executive director for the Virginia office of the foundation. He is currently a principal in HOPE Impacts, LLC, an environmental consulting firm working exclusively with nonprofits and government agencies.”  (William & Mary News)

July 17, 2014 – “Goodwin Procter, a national Am Law 50 firm, today announced the recipients of its 2014 Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color. The fellowships support first-year students from law schools across the country who spend the summer working in community service legal positions. This year’s fellows are: Della Fok, Harvard Law School; Brian Jones, Cornell Law School; Nikki Leon, Stanford Law School; and Marsha Louis, Vanderbilt University Law School.”  (Digital Journal)

July 17, 2014 – “Legal services lawyers in the District of Columbia are hoping a recent change in the local practice rules will bump up pro bono involvement by corporate in-house lawyers.  On Wednesday, the D.C. Court of Appeals adopted a rule allowing in-house lawyers in Washington who aren’t members of the D.C. Bar to perform pro bono work. Those in-house lawyers must be a member in ‘good standing’ with the highest court of another state or territory; have no history of suspension or being disbarred; work under the supervision of an active D.C. Bar member; and be assigned or referred by a local legal-services group.”  (LegalTimes)

June 17, 2014 – “The American Bar Association is launching a pro bono initiative aimed at helping veterans with disability claims caught up in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ backlog.  The ABA’s new Veteran’s Claims Assistance Program represents a partnership with the V.A., but will require volunteer help from hundreds of lawyers.”  “The pilot program will start this summer by helping veterans with backlogged claims in the V.A.’s Chicago and St. Petersburg, Fla., offices. Eligible veterans—those without legal representation—will be identified by the V.A. and given the opportunity to seek help though the ABA program.  Pro bono lawyers will review claims for missing information or a lack of supporting documents. Then the V.A. will expedite its review of the claims, providing quicker access to disability benefits.  Administrators estimate that 3,500 veterans are eligible for the program.” (National Law Journal)

July 21, 2014 – Jim Konduros, a 1954 law alumnus, “has made a $1.1 million gift to the University of South Carolina’s School of Law to provide students with scholarships, fellowships and leadership development.”  “[T]the School of Law scholarships will provide financial support to incoming law students who have worked as a government employee or served in the U.S. armed services. Similarly, the summer fellowships will provide support to students working in public service through governmental or non-profit agencies.”  “In addition to the scholarships and fellowships, law students will benefit from a leadership development program. Students will learn and read about effective management and governance, engage in discussion with respected leaders and complete a project that demonstrates the leadership principles they learn.”(

July 21, 2014 – “Legal aid for Pennsylvania’s poor and disadvantaged will get more funding under a measure recently signed by Gov. Tom Corbett.  Court fees are slated to increase in order to set aside more money to help eligible low-income Pennsylvanians pay their legal bills.”  “This year, an expert panel recommended the legislature boost civil legal services funding by $50 million.  The latest move to increase court filing fees is expected to yield just under $2.5 million more for legal aid.”  (newsworks)

July 23, 2014 – “Desperate to get its fair-share of provincial funding in order to help vulnerable residents, Mississauga’s legal aid clinic has taken a petition to Queen’s Park.  ‘This government was elected on a platform of being progressive, inclusive and fair,’ said Douglas Kwan, after dropping off a petition with more than 600 signatures.”  “According to data he provided, Mississauga, with a population that’s tripled in 40-years, gets about half the per-capita legal aid funding that Toronto receives. In a city of 750,000, Canada’s sixth largest, the clinic operates with 10 staff. Toronto, which is just under four-times the size, has more than 10-times the number of legal aid staff, 109 across the city.  The result is a staggering case load, and too often vulnerable Mississauga residents just can’t get assistance when it’s needed, Kwan says.”  (The Star)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:    On Friday Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) held its 27th Annual National Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event. Volunteers gathered at San Diego High School to provide services to hundreds of former military service members who live on the streets.  The outreach event began with breakfast and coffee. With more than 100 agencies present and providing help, vets were then offered showers, barbers, medical care, dental care and clothing. Other services included picture IDs for those who needed them, counseling services, chaplain services, shelter information and access to 12-step meetings.”  Stand Down events take place across the country, and are just one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to provide services to homeless Veterans.  To learn more, go to the VA’s Events for Homeless Veterans page. (NBC San Diego)

Super Music Bonus! Here’s to all you public service heroes out there. 


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