PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 15, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law receives gift for clinical endowed chair;
  • Winning apps at Hackcess to Justice help in variety of ways;
  • Iowa Legal Aid receives grant;
  • Groups concerned about Toronto mega-clinics;
  • ABA House of Delegates urges law schools to establish veterans clinics;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Professional Development staff at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and the University of Miami School of Law;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 8, 2014 – “The Indiana University Maurer School of Law has received $3.25 million to establish an endowed clinical professorship and provide scholarship funds for Indiana high school graduates attending the law school.  Glenn Scolnik, JD’78, and his wife, Donna, have made a $2 million gift to establish the Glenn and Donna Scolnik Clinical Chair, to be held by the director of the Conservation Law Center. The Scolnik Chair is the first endowed chair for a clinical law professor in the history of Indiana University. Led by professor W. William Weeks, JD’79, the Conservation Law Center provides legal counsel without charge to conservation organizations, works to improve conservation law and policy, and offers law students clinical experience in the practice of conservation law.”  (IU Bloomington Newsroom)

August 8, 2014 – “A disaster-relief mobile app that provides individuals with legal information, resources, and forms for assistance. An interactive tool that calculates whether a user is eligible for indigent legal services, as well as how much prison time criminal defendants face. A game that determines whether a user is in need of legal representation. A website that guides Massachusetts residents through the state’s divorce process. An iOS app that creates legally binding health care proxies and non-binding living wills.  All these tools were created on Thursday and Friday by lawyers and developers participating in the inaugural “Hackcess to Justice” legal hackathon. Held at Suffolk University School of Law in Boston in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting, the hackathon’s main purpose was to use technology to create tools that would expand access to justice for individuals who might not otherwise know whether they needed help and how they could obtain legal representation.”  (ABA Journal)

August 11, 2014 – “A $15,000 grant from the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation will help Iowa Legal Aid assist low-income people in Greater Des Moines by providing free civil legal assistance to low-income people facing health problems. People struggling with health problems and financially often need legal help to deal with issues such as substandard housing, domestic violence, lack of utility service or inappropriately denied public benefits. Iowa Legal Aid is a statewide, not-for-profit organization that has been serving the legal needs of low-income Iowans for more than 37 years. The program’s Health and Law Project has been in operation in Greater Des Moines since 2006.”  (Business Record)

August 11, 2014 – “As Toronto’s legal clinics prepare to consider a merger, some groups are raising concerns about the pending proposal to have only three mega clinics in the city.  ‘In particular, we are concerned that this amalgamation does not reflect a model of community lawyering that responds to the needs of low-income people,’ said the Law Union of Ontario in a recent letter to Legal Aid Ontario chief executive officer Bob Ward and the Ministry of the Attorney General.”  “In response to the criticism, LAO noted it’s the Toronto-area clinics themselves that are leading what it calls the transformation project.”  “The merger proposal follows several years of discussions about changing the way legal clinics work. The efforts culminated with a 2013 report by six east Toronto clinics aimed at finding more efficient ways to deliver services.” (Canadian Lawyer Magazine)

August 11, 2014 – “The ABA House of Delegates has adopted a policy urging all law schools to create veterans law clinics to ensure veterans’ legal needs are met. Resolution 104A (PDF) further states that ‘where a particular law school lacks the necessary resources to create a stand-alone veterans law clinic, the school is urged to meet those legal needs of qualifying veterans through an existing legal clinic.’  The proposal was sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division.”  (ABA Journal)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: 

Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Orientation Community Service Day!  Each year, Louisville’s law school community plans and participates in a day of collective public service. The initiative, which was launched on April 5, 2008, arose from the student body’s input into the university’s strategic planning process. The purpose of this event is to highlight the law school’s commitment to community service, provide significant services, have fun, and make new acquaintances.

The annual HOPE Day of Service is  University of Miami School of Law’s commitment to starting off each year in the community, marking the school’s pro bono ethic and emphasis on service.  Before students even enter the classroom, Miami Law’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center will send hundreds of law students to sites across Miami-Dade County through the Annual HOPE Day of Service on Thursday, August 14th. HOPE will kick-off the day on the Bricks at the law school (1311 Miller Drive) at 8 a.m. New and returning law students will travel to over a dozen sites across Miami-Dade County. Students will engage in a day of service, repairs, clean-ups and renovations and coordinate activities with children, elderly, and homeless families.

Super Music Bonus! 

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