PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 26, 2016

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Illinois governor signs bill expanding legal aid for juveniles in murder or sex offense investigations;
  • Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2020;
  • Bloomberg Law contributor’s perspective on ABA’s “Future” Report;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 22, 2016 – “Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that requires an attorney to be present when police question juveniles younger than 15 in murder or sex offense investigations. Illinois already mandates legal representation for children younger than 13 in those cases, even if they’re not the targets of the criminal probe. But lawmakers who sponsored the legislation argued 14- and 15-year-olds should receive legal protection, too. Rauner signed the bill Monday. Lawmakers say the new law is meant to eliminate false confessions.” (SFGate)

August 24, 2016 – While not public interest news per se, I always read this list each year before the 1Ls join us on campus. It’s a good reminder that not everyone has had the same experiences, and it’s a fun list to read.  Enjoy! Beloit College Mindset List

August 25, 2016 – Bloomberg Law contributor Stephen Poor, Chair Emeritus, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, writes a response to the ABA’s Report on the Future of Legal Services in the United States. He notes “the Report does not simply focus on access-to-justice issues. Rather, it addresses many of the range of issues facing the entire legal profession, including Big Law — from diversity, to business model innovation, to challenges with the criminal justice system, to the lack of funding for legal services. While the problems it identifies are hardly new, the Report’s power lies in the aggregation of facts and the overall perspective.” He then identifies with the camp that feels the Report is “insufficiently bold.” After a critique of the report, he posits an idea regarding big law support of the development of legal technology to assist in the delivery of legal services.  The article is an interesting read. (Bloomberg Law)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

When Steve Brust and a team from Smith, Gambrell & Russell decided to ramp up their pro bono involvement, it was clear they were ‘all in.’ ‘We’ve long supported Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and the delivery of legal services for the disadvantaged, but we know we can do more,’ Brust said. ‘We want to do the right thing for our community and we also want to do the right thing by training our new associates. Maybe with additional pro bono involvement we can do both.’ A conversation about these goals evolved into a new pro bono initiative: The Landlord/Tenant Pro Bono Project. It will provide legal assistance to low-income clients in housing disputes while giving new associates experience in client representation and court proceedings. Once a month at JALA, attorneys from the firm help interview clients during landlord-tenant intake and then accept pro bono cases. In turn, JALA provides training and expert resource guidance, such as recognizing and defining legal issues in landlord-tenant intake and common causes of action. (Jacksonville Daily Record)

Music Bonus!  Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris.

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