Archive for February, 2016

USAJobs Update

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released the first iteration of a rolling set of improvements to features to the job application components of the USAJOBS website. Check out their video explanation below:

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – February 26, 2016

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

Happy Friday and Happy Leap Year! What are you going to do with your extra day?

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Some money found for indigent defense in Louisiana;
  • eFile Texas enhancements to increase access to justice;
  • OPM unveils USAJobs overhaul;
  • More states take action to regulate student loan servicers;
  • Bill to provide Idaho state funds to public defenders moves forward;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

February 19, 2016 – “The Plaquemines Parish Public Defenders Office will get a $30,000 infusion from the state, enough to put the two attorneys furloughed earlier this week back to work through the end of March. Public Defender Matthew Robnett said he got word late Thursday that the Louisiana Public Defender Board managed to scrape together the money by canceling some contracts. But he said it’s only a stopgap measure — albeit a welcome one — amid a funding crisis affecting indigent defender offices across the state. ‘It’s a Band-Aid, at best, and a very short-term Band-Aid,’ Robnett said, two days after he and fellow attorney Clarke Beljean, the only lawyers in his office, were furloughed through June 30, the end of the fiscal year. ‘I think we’ll find ourselves in the same situation a month from now if we don’t find help from somewhere else,’ he said. Plaquemines is one of many public defender offices across the state hard hit by declining revenue, much of which comes from traffic tickets and court fees. With a decline in speeding and other tickets, many offices, including the one in New Orleans, have been forced to lay off or furlough lawyers or otherwise restrict services.” (The New Orleans Advocate)

February 23, 2016 – “Tyler Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: TYL) today announced that eFileTexas™ — Texas’ electronic court filing system, which went live in all 254 Texas counties more than nine months ahead of schedule — has been enhanced with a free tool that helps self-represented litigants more easily access and work within the justice system. eFileTexas, developed and managed by Tyler, is the largest mandatory electronic court filing system in the U.S. The new tool—called eFileTexas SelfHelp™ leverages the eFileTexas system and allows courts and legal aid organizations to develop Web-based interviews and provide relevant, informative content to help self-represented litigants with court filings. This results in a reduction of erroneous filings as well as staff time answering pro se questions.” (Business Wire)

February 24, 2016 –  “The website candidates use to apply for nearly every job in federal government is undergoing a major overhaul, with the Office of Personnel Management announcing on Wednesday a series of changes to make the much-maligned platform more accessible.” “The features — which include allowing applicants to track the progress of an application on the site and save progress on a pending application, among others — will be rolled out throughout the rest of the year, OPM acting Director Beth Cobert said. The first changes went live Feb. 20, helping job seekers complete the process by seamlessly transitioning them to the relevant agency’s website. ‘Throughout the rest of the year, new features will be added to increase the usability of the USAJOBS website by enhancing the job application process for those interested in careers in the federal government,’ Cobert said. ‘By streamlining the USAJOBS process, we will also improve our ability to attract the best and brightest to apply for jobs in the federal workforce.'” “The agency created an instructional video to help users understand the changes coming to the site.” (Government Executive)

February 24, 2016 – “There’s no national standard regulating the companies that borrowers encounter most frequently when paying off their student loans. So a growing number of states are taking matters into their own hands. A New Jersey bill requiring student loan servicers to have a license to operate in the state is one step closer to becoming law after making it out of committee earlier this week. The bill, introduced by New Jersey Democratic Assembly members Gary Schaer and Annette Quijano, bans servicers — the companies that manage the student loan repayment process for borrowers — from misleading borrowers, providing them with inaccurate information and recklessly applying loan payments, among other consumer protections. In addition, the bill creates a student loan ombudsman to field, track and hopefully resolve borrower complaints. Servicers are ‘currently unregulated in New Jersey and we feel there is a tremendous need for standardization,’ Schaer said.” (Market Watch)

February 25, 2016 – “A bill to provide some state funding to public defenders unanimously moved forward Thursday in a vote from the Idaho Legislature’s House Judiciary, Administration and Rules Committee. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Christy Perry, R-Nampa, was drafted through the state’s Public Defense Reform Interim Committee after several years of study regarding Idaho’s inadequate defense. If it passes, the bill would allow counties to apply for grants to assist in funding for the county’s public defenders. Currently, the state of Idaho provides no funding to public defenders, despite people having a constitutional right to an attorney no matter their ability to pay. As is, the cost of funding a public defender is left up to each individual county.” “The bill will move forward to the full House for debate.” (Idaho Press Tribune)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

Arent Fox LLP announced the recipients of the firm’s Marc L. Fleischaker and Albert E. Arent Pro Bono Awards, presented annually to lawyers and staff who demonstrate outstanding contributions to public service. “Our commitment to public interest work and ensuring Arent Fox is a leader in the private bar’s mission to address unequal access to legal representation dates back to the firm’s founding,” said Chairman Mark M. Katz. “I would like to congratulate those who are being recognized for their efforts and all of the firm’s attorneys and staff who continue to make public service a core commitment at Arent Fox.” Partners Carolyn Austin, Carla J. Feldman, Thomas E. Jeffry Jr., Mark R. Phillips, and Ralph A. Taylor Jr., and counsel Susanna Hathaway Murphy received the Marc L. Fleischaker Award for notable work by partners and counsel. The Albert E. Arent Award for outstanding pro bono achievement by associates and staff went to associates Erin E. Atkins and Jade M. Kelly and paralegals Jimeelah Berryman, Jill Clough, Winifred Ng, and Judy Yolles. Congratulations! (Arent Fox Newsroom)

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

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Job’o’th’week (Entry Level Edition) – Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

Entry Level Attorney Position alert! The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) is seeking a Civil Litigation Attorney to join their Civil Legal Services Division (CLS). The CLS represents PDS clients in a wide range of civil matters that are collateral or ancillary to the clients’ criminal or delinquency representation (e.g. housing, special education and related school disciplinary matters, civil protection orders, contempt proceedings, child support, abuse and neglect proceedings, civil forfeiture matters, public benefits, and employment). These attorneys generally handle civil litigation in both judicial and administrative forums.

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

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – February 19, 2016

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands receives three new grants;
  • University of New Mexico School of Law receives $2.6 million in funding for fellowships and loan repayment assistance;
  • Legal Aid Services of Oregon and Miller Nash Graham & Dunn team up to provide pro bono assistance to rural Oregonians;
  • First global ranking on access to justice for children released;
  • Missouri public defenders see little relief in proposed budget;
  • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law announces new initiatives, including a summer funding guarantee for public interest students;
  • Proposed bill to raise court fees by $1 to provide additional funding to Nebraska legal aid;
  • Utah Senate committee advances bill to revamp indigent defense system;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

February 11, 2016 – “Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Tennessee’s largest non-profit law firm, has received three grant awards from area organizations committed to seeking justice for the underprivileged. The organization helps those throughout Middle Tennessee and in Rutherford County. The West End Home Foundation, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee and the Tennessee Bar Foundation’s Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts program made contributions that will enable Legal Aid Society to advance, defend and enforce the legal rights of vulnerable families who lack the basic necessities of life.” (WGNS News Radio)

February 12, 2016 – “Funding from grants often take a long time to land, and can have a big snowball effect. For example, a finalized $2.6 million W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant to the University of New Mexico School of Law should ultimately create a lot of jobs — including several fellowships and scholarships for extra-curricular job experience.” “More specifically, the funding will create an additional program at the law school for cohorts of six to eight law students to focus on social justice training. The last program will include $15,000 scholarships with an additional $5,000 for summer internship funding. Additionally, the funding will create two-year fellowships with local nonprofits and will allow for salary and loan repayment assistance to ‘remove financial barriers for our graduates and nonprofit host organizations.'” (Albuquerque Business First)

February 12, 2016 –  “With the price of an attorney easily costing $200 or more an hour, large numbers of Oregonians can’t afford to pay for the help they need to wade through the legal problems that are hindering their lives. And that means they often flounder through the legal system as they represent themselves. Add to that Oregon’s rural-urban divide — most lawyers willing to work pro bono are in Portland — and poor rural Oregonians are often left in the greatest need. One study found that about 65 percent of the state’s lawyers work in the greater Portland area, while just 21 percent of low-income Oregonians do, said Janice Morgan, the executive director of Legal Aid Services of Oregon. Morgan said that’s why she’s thrilled about a new venture this week: A group of attorneys from one of the state’s biggest law firms — Miller Nash Graham & Dunn — are teaming up with Legal Aid Services of Oregon to provide a series of hour-long consultations to low-income people living in the rural counties of Jefferson, Crook and Deschutes. Those who need a longer consultation will receive a referral for more help. The video-conference sessions are designed to offer guidance to people facing a list of commonplace but nonetheless life-altering problems: Help seeking or enforcing restraining orders; collecting child or spousal support; fighting foreclosures or housing discrimination and bad rental living conditions; disputing landlord’s decisions to keep security deposits; collecting unpaid wages; expunging old criminal convictions to make it easier to get a job; and working with debt collectors to pay down debt. The free legal help from Miller Nash is one of four clinics the firm is planning on doing each year. Morgan, the Legal Aid executive director, said her organization hopes to team up with other firms and lawyers in the Portland area and throughout the state to duplicate similar efforts.” (The Oregonian)

February 15, 2016 – “New research from Child Rights International Network (CRIN) has analysed and ranked how effectively children can use the law to challenge violations of their rights, in the first-ever global study on children’s access to justice.” “The research takes into account whether children can bring lawsuits when their rights are violated, the legal resources available to them, the practical considerations for taking legal action, and whether judges apply international law on children’s rights in their rulings. The report also offers a model of what access to justice should look like for children.” “CRIN wants this report to help provide new ideas and tools for those working to prevent violations of children’s rights and to demonstrate new avenues of legal redress.” (Child Rights International Network)

February 16, 2016 – “Statistics show Missouri’s public defenders are overworked and underpaid.” “The state system’s 376 public defenders handle about 100,000 cases per year. Based on a 2014 study, the system needs almost 270 additional attorneys to meet the current needs based on last budget year’s caseload data. To overcome the attorney shortfall, system officials requested a $23.1 million general revenue increase in the 2017 budget year that begins July 1 for caseload relief. Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, recommended a $1 million increase.” “Michael Barrett, system director, told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday the funding answer can lie somewhere in the middle. ‘I feel my obligation is to present what we need,’ Barrett said. But ‘we can see significant relief for a number that’s much smaller.’ The House General Administration Appropriations Committee on Monday approved the governor’s recommendation for the public defenders budget. It now moves to the full House Budget Committee for consideration, where it could change. Lawmakers have until May 6 to complete the budget.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

February 16, 2016 – “Northwestern Pritzker School of Law announced Tuesday nine initiatives intended to make law school more affordable and support alumni.” One of the most significant is the new “$8,000 Summer Public Interest Funding Guarantee. Effective immediately, the law school is committing to guarantee summer funding of at least $8,000 for students who complete at least 20 volunteer hours for the Student Funded Public Interest Fellowships (SFPIF) or another nonprofit organization and whose summer employment resides within a public interest or nonprofit organization and lasts at least 10 weeks. The law school also will provide a two-to-one match for every dollar in excess of $60,000 that SFPIF raises during the academic year. These additional funds will then be distributed equally among qualifying students who complete at least 10 hours of volunteer work for SFPIF up to a cap of $10,000 per student. ‘To our knowledge, we will now have the most generous summer public interest funding guarantee of any law school in the country,’ [Dean Daniel] Rodriguez said. ‘This augmentation reinforces our increased commitment to invigorate our law school’s public interest culture, both in terms of expanding our programmatic offerings, and in supporting students who wish to pursue careers in public service.'” (Northwestern University News)

February 17, 2016 – “A bill to raise state court fees by $1 would provide much-needed funding for Legal Aid of Nebraska, supporters said Wednesday. State Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, who sponsored the legislative measure (LB1098), says it would raise an extra $355,000 a year for the nonprofit law firm that provides free legal help to low-income people in non-criminal cases. Seven in 10 low-income Nebraskans deal with a significant legal issue each year, Morfeld said.” (Lincoln Journal Star)

February 18, 2016 – “A Senate committee unanimously advanced a bill on Thursday that would help address myriad problems with Utah’s public-defender system. SB155, sponsored by Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, would create a commission to oversee indigent-defense services statewide. The bill was made in response to criticism that Utah is not meeting its constitutional requirement to provide legal help to those who can’t afford it. Utah is one of two states in the nation that delegate that responsibility to individual counties, which have had no state oversight to guide their efforts in meeting the Sixth Amendment obligation. The proposed commission would be responsible for collecting data, reviewing public-defender contracts, creating caseload guidelines and doling out money from a trust fund to counties that need it to provide defense services.” The state is currently facing a suit filed by the ACLU regarding its indigent defense system. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

Irell & Manella LLP, along with the Western Center on Law and Poverty and Jennison & Dodds LLP, won a dramatic overhaul of Kern County’s general assistance program on behalf of homeless and disabled residents unlawfully denied public assistance, named plaintiffs Hans Mills and Danny Bowen, and the California Partnership, a non-profit dedicated to serving low-income communities.  Read more about their great work here (Irell in the News).

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

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Job’o’th’week (Internship Edition) – Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP)

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

Attention Students! The Center for Children’s Law and Policy is seeking first and second year law student applicants for its 2016 summer internship program. CCLP is a public interest law and policy organization focused on reform of juvenile justice and other systems that affect troubled and at-risk children, and protection of the rights of children in those systems. Based in Washington, DC, the Center’s staff work with federal, state, and local officials throughout the country on a range of issues that include reducing the unnecessary incarceration of youth, promoting racial and ethnic justice, and eliminating dangerous and inhumane conditions in facilities that house children.

If this sounds like you, check out the full post on PSJD (Application Deadline: March 15, 2016).

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – February 12, 2016

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

Happy Friday! How can you demonstrate your love for the law?  Perhaps a pro bono clinic or a helpline?  Show your community some love this weekend by volunteering.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • New York Legal Assistance Group announces reorganization;
  • Mid-Shore Pro Bono (Maryland) accepting out-of-state attorneys;
  • Record number of veterans receive assistance during Syracuse’s Valor Day;
  • Wisconsin State Supreme Court seeks legislative study on access to legal services;
  • Ontario seeking feedback on proposal to make family law services more accessible;
  • PA Patent launched to provide pro bono assistance to inventors and startups;
  • Maryland 2014 Pro Bono Status Report released;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

February 5, 2016 – “The New York Legal Assistance Group, a growing nonprofit that provides legal services to low-income New Yorkers, has created two new executive positions and reorganized its general legal services unit. Randal Jeffrey, who headed the general legal services unit, has been appointed general counsel, according to a news release. The other new position, chief operating officer, was filled effective Monday by Sara Meyers, who most recently was an assistant vice president at Hunter College. NYLAG’s general legal services unit, the organization’s largest division, was split into three distinct groups that will focus on the unit’s major practice areas: housing, consumer protection and public benefits.” (New York Law Journal)(subscription required)

February 5, 2016 – “Attorneys licensed to practice in other states may now volunteer with Mid-Shore Pro Bono, thanks to a rule change by the Bar of Maryland. As of Jan. 1, attorneys licensed in good standing in another state are allowed to take on pro bono work in Maryland.” “Out-of-state attorneys must complete a certification process, after which they will be permitted to represent clients through Maryland legal services organizations as long as they receive no payment. They will not have to pay dues to the state’s Client Protection Fund.” (MyEasternShoreMD)

February 6, 2016 –  “North Dakota will soon have more staff fighting human trafficking and victims will have better access to emergency housing, legal help and other services using new state grants. The state recently awarded about $1.15 million in human trafficking grants that were set aside during last year’s legislative session. Those dollars, along with federal funding recently awarded, will address needs not previously met for victims of human trafficking in North Dakota. ‘Our philosophy when we gave the grants out was to make sure we had a comprehensive continuum of services,’ said Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. ‘That starts with training for law enforcement, with emergency housing and then assistance for things individual victims might need like critical education, addiction treatment, mental health services and legal services.'” “Nearly $106,000 was awarded  to Legal Services of North Dakota to dedicate staff to assist human trafficking victims statewide. The legal help could include immigration assistance, helping a victim get a criminal record expunged or pursuing civil action against traffickers.” (Grand Forks Herald)

February 7, 2016 – Here is an example of the power of law students.  “A record number of military veterans from the Syracuse community received free legal services Saturday at Dineen Hall. Syracuse University’s sixth Valor Day event provided veterans and their families access to organizations and legal advisement close to home and free of charge. Valor Day is a shortening for Veterans’ Advocacy, Law and Outreach Day. The event was created in 2012 by College of Law student organization VISION, or Veterans Issues, Support, Initiative and Outreach Network. Valor Day services were provided by a culmination of student volunteers from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and the College of Law and professional representatives for career, legal, financial, personal and family advisement, said VISION President Matt Crouch.”(The Daily Orange)

February 8, 2016 – “The Wisconsin Supreme Court has asked the co-chairs of the Wisconsin Joint Legislative Council to study how to improve access to civil legal services for people who cannot afford a lawyer, the court noted in a press release last week. The Wisconsin Joint Legislative Council, co-chaired by Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) and Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), establishes committees to study major issues and to recommend legislation for introduction every two years. In a letter to the co-chairs, the justices unanimously requested that the Joint Legislative Council establish a study committee on improving access to civil legal services.” (State Bar of Wisconsin)

February 9, 2016 – “Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada are seeking public feedback on a proposal to help families access qualified family legal service providers. Family law includes divorce and separation, child custody and access, and child support. Currently, only lawyers are permitted to provide legal services in family law cases and this can lead to litigants choosing to represent themselves. In 2014-15, over 57 per cent of Ontarians did not have legal representation in family court. As part of Ontario’s work to improve access to justice for families, the Honourable Justice Annemarie E. Bonkalo will lead a review to consider whether a broader range of legal services providers, such as paralegals, law clerks and students, should be allowed to handle certain family law matters. Justice Bonkalo will also ask for input on what types of legal services, if handled by a broader range of legal service providers, could improve the family law system and how alternative service providers could be held accountable. The public is invited to provide comments on the consultation document by April 30, 2016.” (News Ontario)

February 10, 2016 – “Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, a program of the the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, is formally launching PA Patent, a statewide effort to provide under-resourced inventors, startups and tax-exempt organizations the assistance of pro bono patent attorneys.” “During a pilot of PA Patent started a year ago, 43 patent attorneys volunteered to represent ‘members of the creative economy,’ the organization said. During the last 12 months, 14 cases made it through a screening process, and an additional 11 cases are in the pipeline. PA Patent is part of a national effort under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act to establish pro bono patent services in every state.” (Philly.com)

February 10, 2016 – “Of Maryland’s 38,863 licensed attorneys, 42.4 percent reported some measure of pro bono activity, logging a total of 1,144,952 hours of pro bono services, according to the Current Status of Pro Bono Service Among Maryland Lawyers, Year 2014, recently published by the Maryland Judiciary. These findings reflect those pro bono reports filed by the February 15, 2015, deadline.” “Financial contributions to legal services providers and organizations that work to improve the legal system from 6,852 attorneys totaled $4,275,222.” (Maryland State Bar Bulletin)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

The District of Columbia Bar Foundation (DCBF) has selected Jennifer L. Berger, Esquire, as the recipient of the 2016 Jerrold Scoutt Prize. Ms. Berger is a Supervisory Attorney at Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE).

The prize is awarded annually to an attorney who has worked for a significant portion of his or her career at a nonprofit organization providing direct hands-on legal services to the needy in the District of Columbia, has demonstrated compassionate concern for his or her clients, and has exhibited a high degree of skill on their behalf.

In her ten years as Supervising Attorney at LCE, Ms. Berger has worked to advocate for elderly citizens experiencing difficulty in the housing area. In her nomination, Jan May, Executive Director of Legal Counsel for the Elderly, said of Jennifer: “She shows a dogged commitment to enhance the quality of life for low-income D.C. seniors through legal advocacy, social service, and public outreach.” Mr. May also praised Ms. Berger for her passion and determination to provide her clients with the best representation. Congratulations! (DC Bar Foundation)

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

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2 Upcoming EJW Webinars – 2/16

Equal Justice Works has two great programs for law students serving at organizations throughout the country for the summer. Learn more about these programs during our free webinar!

Applications are also still open for our Public Interest Awards, and we will also be hosting a student debt relief webinar next week. Details below.

SUMMER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES WITH EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS
Tuesday, February 16 at 2 p.m. ET

This webinar will introduce participants to AmeriCorps JD and the new Rural Summer Legal Corps program for law students with Equal Justice Works. Learn about the opportunity to earn up to $4,000 this summer working with legal aid organizations nationwide in underserved and rural communities. Topics discussed will include eligibility, program requirements, application process and timeline directly from Equal Justice Works staff.

RURAL SUMMER LEGAL CORPS

Rural Summer Legal Corps connects public interest law students with LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities. Participants earn a $4,000 stipend for their summer service. Applications must be submitted by February 29 for the 31 positions open nationwide.

More information can be found at www.rurallegalcorps.org and questions can be directed to ruralcorps@equaljusticeworks.org.

AMERICORPS JD

AmeriCorps JD provides a $1,212 education award to law students who deliver critically needed legal assistance in underserved communities across the country. Our spring application deadline is April 15.

Learn more about the program and application by reviewing our website and guide. Questions can be directed to americorpsjd@equaljusticeworks.org.

GETTING THE MOST OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES

Option Stipend Education Award Outside Funding
Rural Summer Legal Corps (standalone) $4,000 $0 More than $1,212
Rural Summer Legal Corps + AmeriCorps JD $4,000 $1,212 $300 or less

2016 EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS PUBLIC INTEREST AWARDS

This year, Equal Justice Works’ National Advisory Committee is presenting awards to law students at Equal Justice Works member schools in eight regions who have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and pro bono work.

The Equal Justice Works Public Interest Awards seek to identify and honor law students who have provided extraordinary service through law school clinics, volunteer work, internships, and/or extracurricular projects. Recipients will be honored during an Award Ceremony with a commemorative plaque and $250.

Applications are currently open through March 1, 2016. Please find the application here as well as a list of our member schools divided into eight regions. If you have any questions, please email us at students@equaljusticeworks.org.
ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES CAPPING PSLF – AGAIN!

For the third year in a row, the Obama Administration’s budget proposed capping Public Service Loan Forgiveness at the undergraduate loan limit (currently $57,500). We’ll discuss the implications of this and other legislative proposals on student debt in this month’s free webinar, JDs in Debt: What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know About Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

As it does every month, the webinar will also provide the in-depth information about programs like income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness law students and lawyers need to manage their student debt. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 16 at 3 p.m. ET. Click here to register.

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Job’o’th’week (Internship Edition) – Law Students for Reproductive Justice

Help Wanted Photo: Brenda Gottsabend – CC License

Attention Students! The Law Students for Reproductive Justice’s (LSRJ) National Office in Oakland, CA is seeking interns for a 10 week paid summer program running from mid-June to mid-August. LSRJ is a national nonprofit network of law students and lawyers. Their organization educates, organizes, and supports law students to ensure that a new generation of advocates will be prepared to protect and expand reproductive rights as basic civil and human rights.

If this sounds like something for you, check out the full post on PSJD. (Application Deadline: March 1, 2016).

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Regional Summer Funding Opportunity: Virginia State Bar (VSB) Local Government Fellowship

Money Bag

Attention students! The Virginia State Bar (VSB) Local Government Fellowship seeks to attract promising future attorneys to the practice of local government law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To this end, the Board of Governors of the VSB Local Government Section will award a $4,000 fellowship to an outstanding first or second-year law student who has committed to working full-time for a minimum of 10 weeks at a Virginia local government attorney’s office during the summer of 2016, or divide the fellowship between two students working full-time for a minimum of 5 weeks each. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to submit an article on a local government topic or an interview for potential publication in the VSB’s quarterly Journal of Local Government Law.

Sound like you? Then check out their website for more information.

For additional funding opportunities, head on over the PSJD for national and regional funding opportunities.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – February 4, 2016

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • UCLA to provide major new services to veterans;
  • DLA Piper adds pro bono counsel in D.C.;
  • Maryland relaunches Access to Justice Commission;
  • Texas Appleseed celebrates 20 years of service;
  • Ohio legal aid adds service for veterans;
  • Social Justice Hackathon winners present ideas;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 28, 2016 – “UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald today announced a stronger academic affiliation to benefit our nation’s veterans as UCLA committed to providing $1.15 million annually in support of new programs and services, approximately $200,000 of in-kind contributions and $300,000 a year in fair-market rent for the continued use of Jackie Robinson Stadium. New and expanded services will include mental health, family support, legal advocacy and recreation services.” The new initiative includes “$400,000 annually to expand and relocate the UCLA Veterans Legal Clinic to provide enhanced legal services to veterans on the West Los Angeles VA campus, emphasizing the benefits of advocacy and the legal needs of homeless veterans.” (UCLA Newsroom)

January 28, 2016 – “One of the rarest areas for lateral hires has a new face: Suzanna Brickman joined DLA Piper as full-time pro bono counsel. Brickman becomes one of the global firm’s seven pro bono lawyers, some of whom work on cases the attorneys handle and some of whom work with the nonprofit the firm owns, New Perimeter. Brickman said she’ll split her time between New Perimeter and projects in the U.S., which focus on veterans, criminal justice, domestic violence, education, fighting hunger and access-to-justice legal work.” (National Law Journal)(subscription required)

February 1, 2016 –  “The University of Victoria Faculty of Law has established the Access to Justice Centre for Excellence with plans for five research projects to help determine need in the province. Kathryn E. Thomson, who helped develop the centre, says the centre is preparing for the two-part research colloquium to take place in May and September of this year, ‘just to talk about the research needs in British Columbia and the role ACE plays in helping to support and facilitate or partner in those research needs.’ There are also five projects on the go for the justice centre at the moment, the Data Map Project, Justice Integration Project, the Justice Metrics Conversation, the Access to Justice Education Project, and the Access and Information Technology Project.” (Canadian Lawyer)

February 1, 2016 – “Rep. Elijah Cummings and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh will launch the newly re-formed Maryland Access to Justice Commission on February 2, 2016. The renewed commission is an independent entity devoted to driving systemic change in Maryland’s justice system. Among the commission’s foremost goals are improving Marylanders’ awareness of their legal rights and providing all residents equal access to justice.” “[T]he Access to Justice Commission plans to back legislation in the General Assembly to provide lawyers in custody and domestic violence protective-order cases to those who can’t afford them. They also aim to collect data to better understand how poor people fare in the civil courts. The commission existed previously as a project of the state judiciary but had become defunct.”(Maryland Access to Justice Commission)(The Baltimore Sun)

February 1, 2016 – “A legal organization that has spurred big changes in Texas through lobbying and litigation is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Founded in 1996, Texas Appleseed works to find justice and solutions to social and economic problems for underrepresented Texans, such as children, disabled people and low-income families. By galvanizing pro bono efforts of major Texas law firms, the nonprofit works toward change by lobbying the state, city and counties for new laws, and by using targeted litigation to force change.” Congratulations! (Texas Lawyer)

February 2, 2016 – “Legal Aid of the Bluegrass recently advanced its goal of increasing legal services to veterans of the U.S. military. The veteran population is underserved in the communities of Legal Aid’s geographic area, according to information reported to the legal service agency. Potential clients now have a dedicated intake hotline available for advice and answers to their legal questions about civil matters. The veterans hotline is 866-516-3054. Legal Aid has an attorney designated for veterans services. That attorney is available for general advice and is accredited for appeals of Veterans Administration disability determinations.” (Cincinnati.com)

February 3, 2016 – “Miguel Willis, a second-year law student at Seattle University, wants to do something about [the proper access to legal aid] problem. And that’s why he was inspired to create the Social Justice Hackathon, a two-day coding event sponsored by Seattle University which brought together 70 technology innovators and law professionals to address specific issues related to legal aid.” “The hackathon took place last November, and three teams moved on to develop fully functioning apps and web pages addressing a selection of obstacles in legal aid access. Those three winning teams will present their ideas to legal aid organizations and the public Wednesday night at the Social Justice Hackathon Demo Day.” “‘The core purpose of the hackathon is to solve real problems,’ Willis said. ‘These are all problems that legal aid organizations have faced, and these are solutions that legal aid organizations can use.'” (GeekWire)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

 Virginia Business Magazine, in cooperation with the Virginia Bar Association, has recently recognized attorney Tameeka Montgomery Williams of the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia as a member of Virginia’s Legal Elite in the category of Legal Services/Pro Bono. Williams has been with the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia – an organization that provides high-quality civil legal services to low-income and disadvantaged people in 15 cities and counties, including James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg – since 2005. She currently serves as the director of pro bono & private attorney involvement. (Williamsburg Yorktown Daily)

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

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