PSJD Public Interest News Digest – July 29, 2016

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Massachusetts Governor signs bill to pay indigent defense lawyers for FY16 bills;
  • Free expungement clinic part of Delaware’s efforts to reform juvenile justice system;
  • Shake legal app goes nationwide;
  • US firms lead in UK pro bono;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 22, 2016 – “Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday signed a supplemental budget with money for private attorneys who represent indigent clients in criminal and some civil litigation, including guardianships, classifications by the Sex Offender Registry, and children in need of services in juvenile courts. The attorneys have gone without pay for several weeks while a supplemental budget for Committee for Public Counsel Services to cover expenses from the last fiscal year made its way through Beacon Hill lawmakers and onto Baker’s desk, attorneys said. The CPCS is the state public defender agency and has a cluster of full-time staff attorneys sprinkled across the state, but it relies more heavily on some 3,000 private lawyers who agree to be paid fees that are generally less than what they would charge for private clients.” (Boston Globe)

July 22, 2016 – “Lawyers were at Delaware Law School Friday offering pro bono legal aid to minors – and those who have records from when they were a minor – seeking expungements.” “The clinic was made possible through a $150,000 planning grant awarded from the federal government. Delaware was one of four states selected for the grant. The Delaware Center for Justice also partnered with the Office of Defense Services to provide additional funding for the expungement fees. The state’s Criminal Justice Council applied for the grant, and Lisa Minutola, Chief of Legal Services at the Office of Defense Services, is helping chair the grant committee. The committee is looking into other reforms for the juveniles involved in the criminal justice system. ‘Everything from making sure juveniles have attorneys, to making sure those attorneys are qualified, to looking at ways to keep juveniles out of the system, and if they’re in the system looking at ways to make sure their experience is as successful as possible,’ Minutola said.” (Delaware Public Media)

July 26, 2016 – “Starting this month, millions of Americans will now have the ability to create, sign and send more than 300 free legal documents by completing a few questions on their phone through the new Shake by LegalShield app. Shake is the only mobile app of its kind available in the marketplace today. Shake—an award-winning startup that changed the landscape of the legal field by providing easy to understand, free legal forms to everyday Americans—significantly expanded their initial offerings after joining LegalShield, one of the leading providers of pre-paid legal services. Shake offers instant access to a wide variety of free legal forms used in day-to-day activities, without the burdensome cost of legal fees. The documents include loan agreements, advanced care directives, non-disclosure agreements, name change documents, power of attorney forms, roommate agreements, lease agreements, skilled labor contracts, contract work agreements and much more. Shake also provides new state-specific versions of many forms—such as leases and bills of sale—that can vary distinctly from state-to-state, doing the legwork for users so they don’t have to worry about tailoring a form on their own.” (PRNewswire)

July 27, 2016 – “Lawyers at US firm Seyfarth Shaw averaged the highest number of pro bono hours in the UK last year, a new survey has revealed. According to the Trustlaw Index of Pro Bono fee-earners at the firm, which has 11 lawyers in London, chalked up more than 61 hours each on average, with 40 per cent of them doing at least 10 hours. The firm that occupied top spot in the 2015 Index, Arnold & Porter, performed strongly again, with every single one of its London fee-earners contributing at least ten hours of pro bono last year. Overall, participation in the survey among law firms with offices in England & Wales increased, from 26 to 37. However, once again the vast majority of those were US-founded. American firms made up the top six spots on the list. The best-performing British-founded firm that made its details public was Linklaters, whose lawyers averaged 46 hours of pro bono last year.”   (Lawyer 2B)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

The National Association of Women Lawyers (“NAWL”) is pleased to announce the 2016 award recipients. These awardees are leaders of their industry who have dedicated themselves to strengthening the legal profession by working toward parity for women and minority lawyers.

The 2016 awards to be presented are:

Vanita Gupta.jpg Arabella Babb Mansfield Award in recognition of professional achievement, positive influence, and valuable contribution to women in the law and in society. – to Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Facebook.png President’s Award for the advancement and retention of women attorneys by an organization – to Facebook, Inc., for the company’s implementation of creative, impactful ways to support and advance diversity, including the comprehensive Managing Unconscious Bias training, annual salary reviews to ensure fair salaries, and the diverse slate approach to encourage recruiters to look longer, harder, and smarter for more diversity in the talent pool.

Bryan.jpg Lead by Example Award for a leading male attorney in a law firm, company, government unit or public interest entity who supports the advancement of women within his organization – to Alan Bryan, Senior Associate General Counsel, Legal Operations & Outside Counsel Management, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Johnson.jpg M. Ashley Dickerson Diversity Award in recognition of lawyers who promote diversity – to Sheri Lynn Johnson, Associate Dean for Public Engagement and the James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law, Cornell Law School.

Virginia S. Mueller Outstanding Member Award recognizing leading NAWL members for their exemplary work and contributions to NAWL – to

Baier.jpg

Beth K. Baier
Principal Counsel, Media Distribution
The Walt Disney Company

CardMina.jpg

LTC Mary E. Card-Mina
Staff Judge Advocate
U.S. Army 

Carlson.jpg

Lindsay G. Carlson
Partner
Alston & Bird LLP

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

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