Archive for October, 2015

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – October 30, 2015

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

Happy Halloween!  And Happy National Pro Bono Week.  We hope you’ve enjoyed your pro bono projects and will continue them long past this week.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Task force to review legal aid for Tennessee’s poor;
  • Workforce Recruitment Program marks 20th anniversary;
  • OPM pilots “resume mining” on USAJobs;
  • Indiana Supreme Court awards $450,000 in grants;
  • Minnesota law firm launches free online pro bono training;
  • Task force recommends state-wide oversight of Utah’s indigent defense system;
  • Iowa State Public Defender’s Office launches wrongful conviction unit;
  • App to aid migrant workers wins 3rd Hackcess to Justice hackathon;
  • Ball State University to open legal clinic;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

October 23, 2015 – “The state funding system that pays for attorneys for people who cannot afford them is the subject of a special task force review. The Tennessee Supreme Court announced this week it created the Indigent Representation Task Force. The members of the group are judges, attorneys and others who work in criminal justice. They are tasked with reviewing: how attorneys are compensated for their work with people who cannot afford to pay (those who are indigent), how people are determined to qualify for legal services, how services are delivered and how the program funding is handled. The goal is to make sure the program is addressing the needs of people in Tennessee.” (The Tennesseean)

October 23, 2015 – “This month, as the Workforce Recruitment Program marks its 20th year of hiring college students and recent graduates with disabilities into the federal workforce, it highlights the Defense Department’s achievement of a more diverse workforce, DoD officials said. DoD and the Labor Department formed the WRP through a presidential executive order to increase federal employment opportunities for those with disabilities, and in doing so, the agencies added a diversity of thought, ability, background, language, culture and skill, officials said. This year is also the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 25th anniversary. The WRP helps to break down stereotypes and barriers for disabled students, and their skill sets add to DoD’s military readiness mission, said Donald Minner, supervisor of a WRP intern at the Defense Threat Reduction Program. ‘WRP participants bring a freshness, excitement and enthusiasm,’ he said.”  (Department of Defense News)

October 23, 2015 – “The Office of Personnel Management is piloting changes to the USAJobs website that makes users’ resumes searchable by hiring managers. Called ‘resume mining,’ the tool allows hiring managers at agencies participating in the pilot to search for keywords in resumes users have agreed to make searchable. Managers can then reach out to federal job applicants and invite them to apply for certain positions. The new capability is being piloted ‘across several agencies,’ Kimberly Holden, OPM’s deputy director for recruitment and hiring, said last week in a Government Executive panel discussion. About 3 million resumes are searchable. The resume mining pilot is the latest in a series of iterative improvements to USAJobs launched by OPM’s Innovation Lab in an effort to make the site more user friendly and efficient.” (Nextgov)

October 26, 2015 – “The Indiana Supreme Court has awarded $450,000 in grants that will pay for court reforms such as helping people not fluent in English get legal aid. The funding that’s being directed to the 15 counties, five pro bono districts and one committee is intended for reforms in two primary categories. One effort will help courts in the chosen counties better manage the increasing caseload of people involved in lawsuits who don’t have legal representation. The grants’ other aim is to help people who don’t speak fluent English get legal aid. Since 2008, the state Supreme Court has awarded more than $2.4 million in grant funding to nearly 100 trial courts and judicial agencies for a wide variety of court-related improvements and reforms.”  (WLFI)

October 26, 2015 – “Lindquist & Vennum LLP has launched a free online training for effectively delivering pro bono legal services. The training features video from a discussion held at Target Corp. headquarters last year. The firm is partnering with the Volunteer Lawyers Network to offer the training online. ‘We were thrilled with the response to last year’s training – both in attendees and the quality of the discussion,’ said Cynthia Anderson, Lindquist & Vennum’s pro bono director. ‘That’s why Lindquist is so excited to partner with VLN to make the training available to a nationwide audience through this online course.’ The curriculum is available for free for any individual or organization that provides pro bono legal services to indigent clients and cannot afford to pay for the materials. Five individual modules are intended to guide the legal community toward stronger client relationships, improved communication, and better legal outcomes for people in need. ‘“Nationally, up to 20 percent of legal representation to those in poverty can fail because of unseen cultural differences between people raised in middle class and those raised in generational poverty,’ said Martha Delaney, deputy director for the Volunteer Lawyers Network. ‘Not only are the consequences for the clients devastating, but the misunderstanding of socio-economic barriers can result in volunteer attrition and reinforced negative stereotypes that perpetuate generational poverty.’ For more information visit the firm’s website.” (Sioux Falls Business Journal)

October 26, 2015 – “For four years, a state task force has been delving into issues surrounding Utah’s indigent-defense system. As part of that, the task force hired the Sixth Amendment Center to review the way the accused are represented in Utah. The Sixth Amendment Center’s report was presented to Utah’s Judicial Council on Monday. The report highlighted flaws in the current system, which mostly centered around whether Utahns were given access to attorneys. The organization found that in Utah’s justice courts — where people often connect with the courts system for the first time — over half of defendants are never provided legal representation.” “In response to the Sixth Amendment Center report, the 31-member task force — comprised of judges, county attorneys, defense attorneys and others — made three recommendations to the judicial council Monday: that the Legislature create an Indigent Defense Commission; that local governments reform their indigent services contracts so that attorneys won’t face disincentives to doing effective work; and that the judicial branch ‘enhance the ability of judges to ensure compliance with right-to-counsel obligations.'” (The Salt Lake Tribune)

October 26, 2015 – “Governor Branstad has announced a new Wrongful Conviction Division in the Office of State Public Defender. Officials will conduct DNA analysis for many as 100 inmates who may have been convicted on what’s now called ‘junk science.’ The state will work with an organization known as the Innocence Project, which has helped exonerate inmates in more than 300 cases on the basis of DNA evidence. State officials will review Iowa cases in which hair analysis played a major role in convictions.” “The Iowa cases date back to the 1980’s and early 1990’s when hair analysis was common and before investigators used DNA evidence. State Public Defender Adam Gregg warns exonerations often take years to accomplish.   He says Iowa law allows for exonerations, but up to now there has been no systematic effort to uncover wrongful convictions.” (Iowa Public Radio)

October 27, 2015 – “After two days of brainstorming and collaboration in North Carolina’s capital city, lawyers, students and coders developed legal apps to aid farm workers, streamline legal aid cases and evaluate legal aid eligibility. Five teams competed at Hackcess to Justice NC, the ABA Journal’s hackathon series to find tech solutions to access-to-justice problems. The winning submission N.C. Farmworkers’ App was created by lawyer Caroline DiMaio and developer Edward Ingram. They took home the $1,500 top prize.” “DiMaio, the co-creator of the winning app, is a legal aid attorney in Raleigh who works primarily with migrant farm workers. She said the idea for her winning app grew out of that work. Many migrant farm workers would call for help or to report complaints, but could not tell her or her colleagues in what city or county—sometimes even what state—where they were working. She recalled driving around a North Carolina town with one client trying to spot a familiar landmark so she could file a complaint on his behalf with the appropriate authorities. With the N.C. Farmworkers’ App, migrant and seasonal farmworkers can find out what their legal rights are; collect evidence such as audio recordings or GPS coordinates of a field; and submit Occupational Safety and Health Administration complaints to the Legal Aid of N.C. with an email or voice mail. The app is available in English and in Spanish.” (ABA Journal)

October 27, 2015 – “Undergraduate students will have the opportunity to provide legal services to people in the county and throughout the state starting in 2017. The legal studies program received a $38,137 Academic Excellence Grant from President Paul W. Ferguson to fund the initiative. The Access to Justice (ATJ) Clinic will be fully running by Spring/Summer 2017. Students will be assigned legal cases to assist with and will stay with those cases until they are done, even if they continue after the students graduate. Students will have to apply to be part of the clinic.” “There will be a new course available for students who will work in the clinic, called Access to Justice in the Legal System. It will provide a reference point for students, showing the importance of legal system accessibility for the community. The clinic will also provide service learning assignments to legal studies students, which will be incorporated into their courses. ”  (The Ball State Daily)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  

YOU!  This has been an incredible week of giving!  There were so many stories, I couldn’t pick just one.  Thank you to all of you who gave of your time and expertise this week.  Let’s keep it going. And, for more inspiration, check out Pro Bono Net’s “Volunteer-A-Day” initiative, which showcases a new volunteer profile to our national community each day of Pro Bono Week.

Super Music Bonus!  Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Eulen Jang. A classic Halloween pick!!

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Job’o’th’week (Entry/Experienced Edition) – Youth Co-Op Legal Services

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

17 positions available! The Youth Co-Op Legal Services is seeking staff attorneys to provide legal services to unaccompanied children in South Florida. The Youth Co-Op Legal Services provides services under a sub-contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in cooperation with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI).

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD. (Application Deadline: Rolling)

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Celebrate Pro Bono Week! (Oct. 25-31)

Pro Bono Logo
It’s Pro Bono Week, and here at PSJD, we would like to highlight some regional Pro Bono opportunities and resources! Click below to learn more about each of the opportunities!

Northeast:
Volunteer Assistant Attorney General – Statewide (Multiple locations in New York);
Fall 2015 Volunteer Attorney (New York, New York and International)
State Legal Director (Remote)

Mid-Atlantic:
Volunteer Opportunity, Judicial Selection Project (Washington, DC)
Pro Bono Attorney for Sex Trafficking Survivors (Virginia)

Midwest:
Volunteer Attorney – Capital Habeas Unit (Columbus, OH)
Volunteer Attorney – Hotline (Chicago, IL)

West/Pacific Mountain:
Volunteer Legal Advocate – Asylum Access Ecuador (Multiple locations)

For more information on how to get involved with Student or Attorney Pro Bono work, visit the PSJD Resource Center on Pro Bono.

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Job’o’th’week (Entry/Experienced Edition) – National Juvenile Defender Center

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

Attention: Multiple OpportunitiesThe National Juvenile Defender Center is looking for 2 Project Attorneys to work in a partnership with the Civil Legal Service Initiative Coordinator, to engage in a blend of practice and policy initiatives designed to provide the field with critical support to ensure the development of cooperative juvenile defense and civil legal services at the local and national level. The Project Attorneys will be engaged in cutting-edge, multi-faceted work, providing research, legal advocacy, policy development, and direct services.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD. (Application Deadline: November 1, 2015)

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2015 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award Winner announced!

We are very pleased to announce the 2015 Pro Bono Publico Award Winner: Lark Mulligan.  This year we selected 7 finalists and then chose a winner from a VERY competitive pool.  We’ve also selected two Merit Distinction recipients.  All three will be guest bloggers for the PSJD Blog.

In addition, we will be presenting Lark with her award (and her $1,000) at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.  I look forward to meeting her, her family, and all those who helped her advance the work of the Transgender Justice Law Project of Illinois and especially the Name Change Mobilization project.

Here is the full announcement, with all the great finalists.  We are so grateful to them for their incredible work!!!

21st Annual PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award

This prestigious award honors one law student nationwide for their pro bono contributions to society, and recognizes the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, the public interest community, and legal education through public service work.

WINNER

Lark Mulligan

DePaul University College of Law

For the past five years, Lark Mulligan has been a leading volunteer with the Transformative Justice Law project of Illinois, a volunteer-run organization that provides free, zealous, holisitc, and gender-affirming legal services to impoverished and low-income transgender people who are criminalized.  In addition to the work she does in overseeing the maintenance and growth of the organization as a Collective Member, she is a leader in the Name Change Mobilization project and the ‘zine publication Hidden Expressions.  Through the Name Change Mobilization, trained volunteers assist transgender and gender non-conforming people file petitions to change their names legally.  One example of her dedication to this population arose when, as part of the name change process, she became aware that some judges were regularly asking inappropriate questions and denying meritorious petitions because they believed transgender petitioners did not have valid reasons for changing their legal names.  In response, Lark drafted a “Transgender 101 for Judges in the Civil Division” document in order to educate judges about the importance of having identity documents that reflect a transgender person’s true self.  The effort has been a success and those judges have stopped creating roadblocks for transgender name change petitioners.  This is just one example of Lark’s tireless commitment to the transgender community and the many hours she has spent helping vulnerable clients navigate a difficult and onerous process.

In her letter of recommendation, Avi Rudnick, Name Change Mobilization Coordinator, described Lark’s contributions this way, “Ms. Mulligan has demonstrated outstanding skills as an advocate while supporting individuals through a significant life changing moment. . . She uses humor and her trans identity to truly connect with our clients, and based on the glowing feedback we have received, I am confident that she has left a lasting impression on each one.” 

MERIT DISTINCTION

Courtney Brown

Golden Gate University School of Law

Courtney Brown volunteers every day at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, where she helps San Francisco’s most vulnerable tenants navigate the confusing and stressful eviction process.  She had dedicated over 2,000 hours to helping tenants while maintaining a high academic standard and being a leader in her law school public interest community.  Courtney is also a visionary, who identified a gap in service to her clients in the area of 3-day eviction notices.  She realized real estate speculators and developers were using this mechanism to skirt existing landlord/tenant law and displacing elderly, disabled and vulnerable clients.  She has developed a project to combat this issue, and is currently seeking funding to continue this work beyond graduation.

Courtney best expressed the source of her own inspiration: “I grew up in a small rural Wisconsin town, and as a child I experienced economic and housing instability.  I know what it is like to grow up watching the stress of economic and housing instability drive my family to desperation and illness.  I know what it is like to fight, and I use that same resolve to empower vulnerable people defending their homes and communities.”

Emily Bock

Temple University Beasley School of Law

 

Emily Bock demonstrated a commitment to serving low-income people in need of legal services before she even started as a law student. During law school, her most notable pro bono achievement has been the launch of the Expungement Project, a new student pro bono group with Temple’s National Lawyer’s Guild chapter.  Emily recruited 43 students in its inaugural year, and together with attorneys from Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, organized trainings, multiple clinics per semester, and petition “drafting days” in different locations around Philadelphia.  And she is working with law school professionals to ensure the project outlives her time at Temple.  As one example, she successfully lobbied the law school administration to allow 1Ls to sign up for pro bono projects on a limited basis in their first semester, with the idea that this would help in recruiting long-term, committed student volunteers to her project.

One of the volunteers she recruited said it best: “Providing expungements has been very meaningful.  There are very few legal processes that can so quickly change the circumstances for a person. … Emily is the perfect leader for the expungement project.  She is incredibly knowledgable, very caring, and extremely motivating.  Everyone who has gotten involved with the project has been exceptionally trained and is well informed about the overarching issues complicating the lives of our clients.”

OTHER FINALISTS

Michael Paspon, Touro Law Center

Helped launch the Breaking Barriers Pro Bono Assistance Project, which provides holistic re-entry services to post-incarcerated individuals.

Dana Mangiacapra, Touro Law Center

Helped launch the Breaking Barriers Pro Bono Assistance Project, which provides holistic re-entry services to post-incarcerated individuals.

Tiffany WoelfelUniversity of Wisconsin Law School 

Dedicates many pro bono hours to the Legal Assistance for Institutionalized Persons Project and the Veteran’s Law and Legal Intervention for Nonviolence Clinics as well as Wills for Heroes.  Additionally,  Tiffany organized multiple pro bono service trips, which provided over 840 hours of service to the destination communities.

Rasha Abu-Zeyadeh, Texas Tech University School of Law

Started the Texas Tech Law Criminal Law Association and dedicated more than 160 pro bono hours to the Innocence Project of Texas and the Dallas County Public Defender’s Office.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – October 16, 2015

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

Happy Friday!  We’re looking forward to the 2015 NALP/PSJD Public Service Mini-Conference next week.  There is still time to register. Since we’ll be sharing the news in person, the Digest will take a break next week and return on October 30.  And don’t forget National Pro Bono week is October 25-31, 2015.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Alameda County (California) wins grant to staff PDs at arraignments;
  • Santa Clara University School of Law’s Northern California Innocence Project wins exoneration of client;
  • Grant funds new legal aid help at Massachusetts hospital;
  • New Welcome House in Vancouver to provide comprehensive services to immigrants;
  • Greenberg Traurig, LLP names Caroline J. Heller as head of firmwide Pro Bono Program;
  • Grant will bring more legal aid to northeastern New York;
  • New York firms contribute nearly $2 million to new low bono effort;
  • Montana’s Access to Justice Commission seeks feedback in a series of forums;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

October 8, 2015 – “The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office has won a $400,000 competitive grant that it says will allow it to staff defense attorneys in arraignment courtrooms and thereby better serve its clients. ‘I think it’s critically important to have an attorney at someone’s first court appearance, but we’ve never had the funding,’ Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods said. ‘The arraignment is the first point of contact with the court, when bail is set, and sometimes the client spends a day in custody for no reason.’ The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office has 103 staff attorneys serving approximately 27,000 clients a year. The National Legal Aid & Defender Association announced last week that Alameda County was one of five entities in the country that it was awarding grants under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Smart Defense Initiative.” (San Jose Mercury News)

October 8, 2015 – “The Tehama County Superior Court in northern California has overturned the wrongful conviction of Larry Pohlschneider, a client of Santa Clara University School of Law’s Northern California Innocence Project, after nearly 15 years of wrongful imprisonment for child molestation charges based on flawed medical evidence. The Oct. 7 decision marks the 18th victory for the NCIP since its inception in 2001. Attorneys for Pohlschneider, 46, and the Tehama County District Attorney agreed that his 2000 conviction should be vacated and the charges dismissed due to the ineffective assistance of Pohlschneider’s trial counsel. The true perpetrator has pleaded guilty and been imprisoned. NCIP Assistant Legal Director Maitreya Badami, Pohlschneider’s lead attorney, commended the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office for its willingness to look at this case with fresh eyes when presented with evidence from NCIP’s investigation.” (Santa Clara University Press)

October 11, 2015 – “The Legal Services Corporation has awarded a grant valued at more than $200,000 to Community Legal Aid so that it can partner with UMass Memorial Health Care and develop a clinic-based program to provide legal services for low-income and minority communities. The partnership is based on a new primary care model at three UMass Memorial Medical Center clinics that serve a high number of Medicaid patients. The goal is better health outcomes. The framework integrates medical care and behavioral health and adds legal services providers, including volunteer (pro bono) private attorneys. They will help address legal barriers to good health such as substandard housing and access to benefits.”  (Telegram.com)

October 12, 2015 – “When the $24.5-million Welcome House in Vancouver is completed in March 2016, it will form a new housing concept in providing shelter and support systems, including legal advice, for refugees and immigrants. ‘This is the first building of its kind in the world,’ says director of settlement service Chris Friesen for the Immigration Services Society of British Columbia. There is a similar facility in Lisbon, Portugal, but it does not provide short- and long-term housing for refugees. The Vancouver ISS facility has 16 housing units which can accommodate up to 138 beds. The 58,000-square-foot Welcome House, designed by Vancouver’s Henrique Partners Architects, is being billed as a one-stop shop for all refugee and immigrant needs. It consists of six floors with the first two providing services such as a pro bono legal clinic, Van City banking services, primary medical care, multilingual trauma support and treatment, multilingual settlement support staff for finding permanent accommodation, employment services, and volunteer services in the community, food bank and second-hand clothing outlets. The building will also house educational services with seven classrooms for ESL, a computer lab plus child-care facilities. It will also have meeting rooms for seminars. Friesen says it will provide office space that pro bono lawyers can use to work with new immigrants and refugees.” (Canadian Lawyer Magazine)

October 13, 2015 – “Caroline J. Heller, Litigation Practice shareholder in the New York office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, has been named head of the Pro Bono Program. Heller has been doing pro bono at Greenberg Traurig since 2004, when she joined the firm as an associate. She has dedicated over 3,000 hours to the pro bono representation of, among others, parents of children with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, and unaccompanied children in immigration proceedings, as well as supervising the firm’s associates on their pro bono cases.” (Benzinga)

October 14, 2015 – “Low-income people in Columbia and Greene counties will have more access to legal aid, thanks to a recent grant to the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASNNY). The grant will allow the society to ‘build a technological bridge between urban pro bono volunteers and clients in Columbia and Greene counties and other counties,’ said society Executive Director Lillian Moy. The society received a $362,559 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant from the Legal Services Corp., a non-profit that describes itself as ‘the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation.’ The grant ‘will allow lawyers to conduct online interviews and share documents so they can help review and prepare pleadings for self-represented litigants in housing and consumer law matters,’ according to a press release from the society. ‘People will be able to do it from their computers at work or home,’ Moy said. ‘The client would be interviewed by a pro bono volunteer in Albany.’ Also included in the grant are Legal Assistance of Western New York and the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County.” (The Daily Mail)

October 14, 2015 – “Nineteen major law firms have pledged $1.9 million to help provide affordable legal services to people in the New York City area with modest incomes who make too much to qualify for free legal aid. The effort, dubbed the Court Square Law Project, marks the second ‘low bono’ project announced this year by firms attempting to address the pressing need for legal services for limited-income clients. Davis Polk & Wardwell partner Carey Dunne, who sits on Court Square’s executive committee, said the project aims to address a fundamental paradox in the legal profession. ‘In some years 50 percent or more of law school graduates are not getting legal jobs. Some are working as baristas,’ he said. ‘At the same time, there’s a huge unmet need for legal services for people of moderate means.’ Each firm is contributing $100,000 to the project, to be located at the City University of New York School of Law in Long Island City. A partnership between the the New York City Bar Association, CUNY and the firms, Court Square plans to accept clients next year. It will be staffed by 10 recent law school graduates, who will be enrolled in a special CUNY graduate law program and receive a $44,000 annual stipend. The project is not limited to hiring CUNY alumni. Most, but not all, of these 19 contributing firms are based in New York, while the rest have major Manhattan offices.” (American Lawyer)(subscription required)

October 15, 2015 – “The Montana Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission is looking for help assessing what is and isn’t working as the state’s judicial caseload continues to grow at a fast clip. Supreme Court Justice Beth Baker says there’s been a big increase in people coming to Montana’s courts without a lawyer. ‘What we’ve learned from our judges and court staff is that when people do need a lawyer’s help, many of them aren’t able to get it and don’t really even know where to go.’ The commission is asking people and organizations with a stake in Montana’s courts to come to their public forums to talk about solutions.” (Montana Public Radio)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  

Golden Gate University School of Law (GGU Law) Associate Dean Cynthia Chandler was selected by California Women Lawyers to receive the prestigious Fay Stender Award for her advocacy for the rights of women in prison. “The annual award is given to a feminist attorney who, like Fay Stender, is committed to the representation of women, disadvantaged groups and unpopular causes, and whose courage, zest for life and demonstrated ability to effect change as a single individual make her a role model for women attorneys.”

Chandler, an adjunct professor and interim Associate Dean of Law Career Development at GGU Law, is a champion of public interest law in the Bay Area. Her work includes founding and co-founding several women’s legal rights organizations, including the Women’s Positive Legal Action Network and Justice Now, which advocate for the rights of imprisoned women. Chandler’s advocacy has been transformative, shaping numerous prison reform bills that ended California’s coercive sterilization of women in prison, as well as the establishment of the nation’s first compassionate release programs for terminally ill inmates.  Congratulations to Dean Chandler! (Market Wired)

Super Music Bonus!  Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Eulen Jang.

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Job(s)’o’th’week (Internship Edition): SEC Summer 2016 Honors Program

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

Attention – Multiple Locations! The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking bright, innovative, results-oriented individuals for their 2016 Summer Honors internship program in their Washington D.C. home office and their regional offices. The SEC’s mission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. Interns will have a chance to gain insightful experience into the regulation of security markets and how they must comply with securities laws.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD. (Application Deadline: October 26, 2015)

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Upcoming Equal Justice Works Free Student Debt Webinar

Equal Justice Works is hosting another Free Student Debt Webinar! Check out their message below: 

Halloween is almost here! If you’re a law student or graduate, the scariest thing on your mind right now is probably your student loans. 

Not to fear – Equal Justice Works is here to help. We will be hosting our free webinar, “JDs in Debt: What Law Students &Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” on Thursday, October 27, 2015 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT. Whether you’re currently a law student or have already graduated, this webinar will provide you with the in-depth information you need to know about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, and more. Learn to manage your student debt, and take control of your career and financial future. 

Click here to register now! 

We’ll be updating our student debt e-book, Take Control of Your Future, to keep all law students and graduates up to date on any legislative and regulatory changes that occur. If you download it now, we’ll notify you when we’ve updated it with the new information. 

Student Loan Debt Hits 1.2 Trillion, Impacts Multiple Generations of Families 

Recently, the New York Federal Reserve released data showing that student loans for Americans over 40 years old now account for more than 35 percent of educational debt – a 10 percent increase from 2004. Generation X adults between the ages of 35 and 50 years old owe about as much as recent college graduates, with an average of $20,000. 

This data also showed that more parents are struggling to help their children pay for higher education while continuing to pay off their own student loans, and the whopping $1.2 trillion in student loan debt increasingly spans multiple generations within families. Now that the student debt crisis is officially multigenerational, studies show that some families are delaying marriage and foregoing home ownership until their loans become less of a burden. 

Law graduates are no strangers to the collateral consequences of heavy student debt, but thankfully there are still federal debt relief programs around to help. In a recent Huffington Post blog article, “9 Facts About How to Manage Your Student Debt,” we give you a quick rundown of things you need to know about borrowing and repaying student loans that will help alleviate the effects of crippling student debt. 

Help Protect Public Service Loan Forgiveness 

As always, we urge you to take action to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness before Congress moves forward with capping or eliminating this vital program for public service workers. Start today by filling out our survey and joining the ABA’s Save #Loan4Giveness campaign! 

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Our webinars are tailored to law students and lawyers, but the information is applicable to anyone who needs help managing the burden of student loan debt. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook!

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – October 9, 2015

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

Happy Friday!  We’re just two weeks away from the NALP/PSJD Public Service Mini-Conference.  There is still time to register. I look forward to seeing my law school and employer colleagues soon.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal aid grant will fund fair housing enforcement in Minnesota;
  • Alberta lawyers putting pressure on government to adequately fund legal aid;
  • New funding for foreclosure work in New York;
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law and USPTO collaborate on pro bono program;
  • Public defender’s office may lose some independence in new North Carolina budget;
  • Kentucky’s public defender program receives DOJ grant;
  • Lewis & Clark Law School launches new clinic;
  • New pro bono legal option opens in south Florida;
  • Proskauer Rose LLP welcomes first full-time pro bono partner;
  • Florida Justice Access Commission offers first recommendations;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

October 1, 2015 – “Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance has been awarded $325,000 to fight housing discrimination. The funds were awarded today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under its Fair Housing Initiatives Program. The grant will fund an effort by Mid-Minnesota and Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services to improve fair housing enforcement in southern and central Minnesota.” (Minnesota Lawyer)(subscription required)

October 2, 2015 – “Alberta lawyers say they’ll stop providing free services for the poor seeking court orders for legal aid in hopes it’ll force the province to properly fund the system. It would remove their pro bono services directing court orders to access legal aid for those whose incomes aren’t quite low enough to qualify for it. The lawyers say they’ll cease that free work Nov. 1 in a system now in crisis and plagued with a growing backlog due to insufficient funds. Those free legal services have been supplied for the past year while $5.5 million in emergency funding provided by the former PC government has long expired, say the lawyers.”  (Calgary Sun)

October 2, 2015 – “[New York] Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Thursday announced $11.5 million in new funding for more than two dozen legal services organizations statewide to help prevent foreclosures, keep families in their homes, and rebuild communities hit hardest by the housing crash. Awards will be given to 28 legal services providers with proven track records of providing services to at-risk homeowners. The new round of funding will support the Homeowner Protection Program, a network of nearly 90 housing counseling and legal services agencies that provide free, high-quality assistance to at-risk families across New York to help them avoid foreclosure.” “The grants, which are now before the New York State Comptroller for review and final approval, are for one year with a possibility of a one-year renewal. The new round of funding brings the total foreclosure prevention investment by the Office of the Attorney General to more than $70 million.” (The Journal News)

October 2, 2015 – “Chicago-Kent College of Law and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have collaborated to establish the Chicago-Kent Patent Hub, a pro bono program that will help qualified, low-income inventors and small businesses in Illinois obtain volunteer legal assistance from local patent agents or attorneys licensed to practice before the USPTO.” “The Chicago-Kent Patent Hub was created as part of a USPTO pro bono initiative to provide assistance with the patent application and prosecution process for inventors in all 50 states. The Chicago-Kent Patent Hub will coordinate services to inventors in Illinois, who are requesting assistance and who meet eligibility requirements to participate in the program. The Chicago-Kent Patent Hub will not provide legal advice. Its services are limited to screening applicants for eligibility and referring those applicants to volunteer attorneys for evaluation and possible representation.” (IIT Today)

October 5, 2015 – “The agency that oversees public defenders across North Carolina would lose independence under a change made in the state budget, Forsyth County Public Defender Paul James said last week. The change is twofold. The first change is transferring the N.C. Office of Indigent Defense Services to the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. The second change, which is more troubling to James, would authorize the director of the state Administrative Office of the Courts to modify the budget of Indigent Defense Services without the approval of its board.” “‘This greatly reduces the independence of the IDS, which is supposed to be independent under all the best models for indigent defense in order to adequately protect the rights of those indigent clients we serve,’ James said in an email last week. James said the original proposed budget had put Indigent Defense Services under the Administrative Office of the Courts but still maintained IDS’s ability to make decisions about its own budget. The change giving authority to AOC’s director to modify the agency’s budget was placed into the final state budget.” “Thomas Maher, IDS’s executive director, said the last-minute change came as a surprise. ‘This is a significant change in granting some power to the director of the Administrative Office of the Courts,’ Maher said.” “Maher said he doesn’t expect the AOC director to interfere that much with his office, but the fact that he can, under the new budget, is concerning.” (Winston-Salem Journal)

October 5, 2015 – “The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance announced that the Department of Public Advocacy (DPA), Kentucky’s statewide public defender program, was awarded $374,859 under the DOJ Smart Defense Initiative program to address longstanding problems with its conflict representation system. The awarded funds will be used to implement sustainable changes to DPA’s methods of contracting conflict work including modification of DPA conflict contracts, DPA policies on conflict cases, conduct of conflict case and file review standards including documenting work done in conflict cases, time spent on cases, and client contact. DPA recruitment standards will be developed, including minimum training and experience qualifications and ongoing education requirements.” (Northern Kentucky Tribune)

October 5, 2015 – “Lewis & Clark Law School is now offering its students an innovative way to gain hands-on experience with criminal law. A new clinic called the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic is a collaboration between the law school and the Oregon Justice Resource Center and will benefit both law school students, and members of the community in need of legal resources. Students who are involved in the clinical program will have the option of being involved in three different projects, providing different ways to engage in the criminal justice system.” (Law|Street)

October 6, 2015 – “Cenacle Legal Services, a new pro bono legal option for the working poor, opened its doors Monday, following a blessing from its landlord — the Diocese of Venice — and an open house. The nonprofit will rely on pro bono work from area attorneys of all faiths and is meant to augment services offered by area organizations such as Gulf Coast Legal Services and Legal Aid of Manasota, to residents in the Englewood, North Port and Venice areas and will extend service to low-income people who make too much money to qualify for traditional legal aid.” “Attorneys affiliated with Cenacle Legal Services will take on cases in the areas of housing, elderly affairs, juvenile matters, veterans in need of public benefits and consumer rights.” (Herald-Tribune)

October 7, 2015 -“International law firm Proskauer [Rose LLP] is pleased to announce the arrival of William C. Silverman as a partner who will spearhead the firm’s global pro bono efforts. Mr. Silverman is the firm’s first partner-level lawyer who will lead the pro bono practice on a full-time basis. In his new position, Mr. Silverman, who has significant pro bono as well as extensive private and public sector experience in both the criminal and civil areas, will be responsible for identifying and securing pro bono opportunities and partnerships for Proskauer lawyers, ensuring widespread participation in these projects and ensuring that the pro bono work is performed at the highest level” (Business Wire)

October 7, 2015 – “The Florida Supreme Court should approve rule changes and technological development that would improve legal aid using limited resources, the state Commission on Access to Civil Justice recommended Wednesday. The commission issued its first interim report after nearly a year of work by its members, including lawyers, judges, prominent business leaders and educators. The 27-member group is looking for ways to help low- to moderate-income Floridians who can’t afford a lawyer and can’t miss work to deal with common legal issues such as divorces, custody battles, wills and landlord-tenant disputes, former Florida Bar President Greg Coleman said.” “The commission recommended at that meeting that the high court approve the continued development of a technology system that would walk Floridians through the first stages of relatively simple legal processes such as filing for divorce. The commission also asked the court to authorize the creation of a Florida Civil Legal Resources Access Site, a one-stop ‘knowledge base’ of all the resources available to Floridians involved in litigation, even if they don’t qualify for legal aid.” (Daily Business Review)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  

Fresno civil rights lawyer Chris Schneider is the executive director of Central California Legal Services (CCLS) and the most recent recipient of one of the highest honors given by the California State Bar: the Loren Miller Legal Services Award. Finding a passion for civil rights activism as a teenager, Chris has spent more than two decades working in civil legal aid.  Chris joined CCLS in 1993, and since then has grown the organization to house a staff of 50 who provide free legal services to immigrants and the poor throughout the central San Joaquin Valley. Under Chris’s leadership, CCLS was instrumental in getting a shopping center built in long-neglected southwest Fresno, helping the homeless in their legal fight with Fresno City Hall, and making sure poor rural residents didn’t get gouged in their utility bills. “Our mission is to advance justice and empower people,” said Chris, who will be given the award at the Bar’s annual meeting in Anaheim. Congratulations! (Legal Aid Association of California)

Super Music Bonus!  Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Eulen Jang.

And a bonus music pick since Eulen’s previous football pick garnered some responses.  All in good fun!!

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Job’o’th’week (Post-Grad/Independently Funded Edition) – HIV Law Fellow

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

The Los Angeles HIV Law & Policy Project (LA HLPP) is looking to sponsor law students, judicial clerks, or recent law school graduates for their HIV Law Fellowship, an externally funded public interest fellowship starting September 2016. LA HLPP is a collaborative project between three core partners:  the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Inner City Law Center, and UCLA School of Law. The project provides access to legal services and policy research support to and for the more than 60,000 people living with HIV/AIDS (“PLWHA”) in Los Angeles County.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD. (Application Deadline: Rolling)

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