Archive for April, 2017

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – April 28, 2017

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

Happy Friday! What great week we had in San Francisco. As always, new ideas and energy flowed, and we were renewed. LSC this week announced the pilot states for their legal portal initiative, and we check in on a few access to justice projects.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Penn Law and Southern Poverty Law Center establish post-graduate fellowship;
  • Legal Services Corporation announces pilot states for access to justice portal project;
  • Indiana Legal Services celebrates 50 years of service;
  • First participants in Texas Bar legal incubator program help close the justice gap;
  • Update on the Alberta Limited Legal Services Project;
  • Free legal advice to survivors of sexual assault through Newfoundland and Labrador pilot program;
  • Bill regarding pro bono hours reporting passes California Senate Judiciary Committee;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

April 24, 2017 – “Penn Law and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have created a new, two-year, post-graduate fellowship for a new or recent graduate to work with the SPLC’s Special Litigation Practice Group. The Penn Law Civil Rights Fellow will serve as an integral member of the SPLC’s legal group, conducting legal research and analysis and developing theories to support new litigation projects and advocacy campaigns; drafting legal memoranda, pleadings, affidavits, motions, and briefs; interviewing witnesses and potential clients; participating in discovery and trial practice; and engaging in public speaking and attending meetings and conferences.” “‘Now, more than ever, we need public interest lawyers who are dedicated to representing those who face discrimination and injustice,’ said Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Associate Dean & Executive Director of the Toll Public Interest Center. ‘Through this partnership, a Penn Law graduate will serve on the front lines of the fight for civil rights. It is an extraordinary opportunity made possible by the generosity of our alumni, and we are truly grateful.’ The fellowship is being funded through the combined efforts of several Penn alumni. They include: Todd R. Snyder, L’88 and Phoebe Boyer; The Joseph H. Flom Foundation; Mr. David J. Loo, WG’87; and The Harry Shapiro Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, recommended by the Shapiro family.” (Penn Law News and Events)

April 24, 2017 – “The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), Microsoft Corporation, and Pro Bono Net have named Alaska and Hawaii as state partners in a pilot program to develop online, statewide legal portals to direct individuals with civil legal needs to the most appropriate forms of assistance. These portals will use cutting-edge, user-centered technology to help ensure that all people with civil legal needs can navigate their options and more easily access solutions and services available from legal aid, the courts, the private bar, and community partners.” “‘Many people find it difficult to access legal services,’ said LSC President James J. Sandman. ‘The goal of the portals is to simplify that process by providing a single, statewide point of access to effective help for people needing civil legal assistance. Each user will be guided to available resources based on the nature of the matter and the user’s personal circumstances.’ Alaska’s proposal was submitted by the Alaska Access to Justice Commission and Hawaii’s proposal was submitted by Legal Aid Society of Hawaii with support from the Hawaii state judiciary and other justice community partners. Alaska and Hawaii were selected because of their demonstrated track records in establishing new and collaborative resources for meeting civil legal needs; their embrace of technology’s potential to expand access to legal assistance; and their vision of partnering with allied non-legal networks such as social services, public libraries, and health care institutions to help people identify and resolve their legal issues and related social needs.” (Legal Services Corporation)

April 24, 2017 – “Saturday night’s gala marking the 50th anniversary of Indiana Legal Services had the feel of a family reunion. Former and current ILS attorneys, paralegals and staff along with lawyers who volunteer their services and friends of legal aid hugged, laughed and traded stories throughout the dinner held at the Indiana State Museum. Employees were recognized and standing ovations were given to former executive director Norman Metzger and longtime administrative assistance Ida Hayes.” “[Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David] praised ILS employees and alumni for having a commitment and work ethic that benefits not only the individual clients but improves the legal health of the entire state. ‘Everyone is better in Indiana because of Indiana Legal Services,’ David said.” (The Indiana Lawyer)

April 24, 2017 – “It’s the first day of the rest of the lives of 10 lucky lawyers who are the first group of participants in the State Bar of Texas’s new legal incubator. The participants in the Texas Opportunity and Justice Incubator, which opened this month, have emerged from an intense three-week boot camp that turbocharged the launches of their solo practices, which will at least in part serve poor and middle-income Texans. ‘They have an entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to build something for themselves while giving back to the community,’ TOJI Director Anne-Marie Rabago said. ‘A big piece of what these incubator programs work toward is making legal services available to those who don’t qualify for legal aid because of income or other reasons, yet can’t afford attorneys at market rates.’ In addition to helping to close the justice gap, TOJI, the main project of State Bar of Texas President Frank Stevenson, aims to help lawyers set up sustainable legal practices that serve modest-means clients.” (Legal Tech News)

April 25, 2017 – “The Alberta Limited Legal Services Project, a research effort looking at the effects of unbundling on access to justice, was formally launched on 18 April 2017. The project offers Albertans a roster of lawyers prepared to provide work on a limited scope retainer and aims to gauge lawyers’ and clients’ satisfaction with limited scope work and ultimately determine whether some legal help is better than no legal help at all. At present, the project boasts a roster of 49 lawyers with offices throughout Alberta, from Peace River to Medicine Hat, practicing in almost every area of civil law, including 39 whose services include family law matters. The project’s website is intended to link potential clients with participating lawyers. It promotes participating lawyers and their firms, and lists their contact information, the areas of law in which they offer limited scope services and the locations of their practices. Roster lawyers are also being promoted through the National Self-Represented Litigants Project.” “The data-collection phase will end in September 2018, following which the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family will analyze the results of the client and lawyer surveys and produce a report evaluating the project and its implications for access to justice in Alberta.

Some interesting observations may already be made.

  • The concept of coaching as a legal service provided to litigants without counsel, which [the author] had thought was relatively new, is surprisingly popular among roster lawyers, 24 of whom will provide coaching for court appearances and other aspects of the ligation process, including disclosure and examinations for discovery.
  • More than a fifth of roster lawyers will provide their services by telephone or online, disposing of the need for a physical office.
  • Three-fifths of roster lawyers will provide help drafting pleadings and other court documents. Two-fifths will appear in court on behalf of a client, and half will provide advice on commencing or continuing court proceedings.

Lawyers may join, or leave, the project at any point during the data-collection phase of the project.” (Slaw)

April 25, 2017 – “Victims of sexual violence will soon be able to avail of free and independent legal advice in Newfoundland and Labrador following the announcement Tuesday in St. John’s of a sexual assault response pilot program. The federal government is funding the three-year program with an annual grant of $250,000. Details are still being finalized, but Justice and Public Safety Minister Andrew Parsons said he hopes the service will be available by the end of this year. ‘By offering free legal advice, the sexual assault response pilot program will help ensure survivors of sexual crime have access to justice,” Parsons said during a joint announcement alongside federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.'” (CBC News)

April 26, 2017 – “A bill by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to expand access to justice among indigent Californians by requiring attorneys to report to the State Bar the number of pro bono hours they have worked and the amount they have donated to legal aid organizations passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 316 is a mandatory reporting, voluntary disclosure bill that gives attorneys the option of disclosing the information publicly on their State Bar profile. The public would be able to see if an attorney failed to report at all or chose to keep the reporting private.” (Union City Patch)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issues a yearly list of law firms who meet its “40 at 50” goal — firms where at least 40 percent of attorneys dedicated 50 or more hours to pro bono work the prior year. Seven firms made the first list in 2004, and by 2015, that number jumped to 33. It remained at 33 for 2016. For 2016, 11 firms had at least half of all their lawyers meet the 50-hour mark, compared to 14 firms for 2015. Of those, three firms had 60 percent or more attorneys meet the 50-hour mark in 2016: Jenner & Block and Miller & Chevalier, where more than 65 percent met the mark, and Ropes & Gray, where 75 percent of attorneys met the goal. View the complete list here. Congratulations to the firms and lawyers making a difference in their communities. (National Law Journal)

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

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Job’o’th’Week (Entry-Level Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Student Debt Specialist

The Organization

The mission of Equal Justice Works is to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Equal Justice Works is a recognized leader in the public interest law movement. Please go to www.equaljusticeworks.org to learn more about Equal Justice Works.

The Position

The Student Debt Specialist is responsible for maintaining Equal Justice Works’ national leadership position on student debt issues in the legal community and providing law students, law schools, lawyers, and legal organizations with comprehensive information on overcoming student debt. The position works closely with the Student Engagement Program and is an integral part of the collaborative team working to fulfill the unit’s functions. The Specialist reports directly to the Director of the Law School Engagement & Advocacy unit.

Does this job seem special? Head over to PSJD to see the full-post!

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1Ls & 2Ls: Apply to Sit on the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee!

1Ls & 2Ls: Apply to sit on the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee!

Image courtesy of Equal Justice Works

The Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee is comprised of public interest law students and professionals who provide guidance and advice to the organization and help us achieve our goal of expanding public interest opportunities for law students and lawyers. The annual summer kick-off includes an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. and the opportunity to meet face-to-face with national public interest law school leaders during our annual National Advisory Committee Retreat.

Equal Justice Works is now accepting applications for both law students and law school professionals to serve on the Committee for the 2017-2019 term. We are especially looking for applications from 1Ls and 2Ls! The *new* deadline to apply is Sunday, May 14th at 11:59 p.m. (EST).

LAW STUDENTS: Apply now

PROFESSIONALS: Apply now

 

Email us at students@equaljusticeworks.org with any questions!

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Job’o’th’Week (NALP Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

This week we have two jobs for Job’o’th’Week and they’re both at NALP!

Summer 2017 NALP/PSJD Publications Coordinator  (Full-time)

The Organization

NALP is an association of over 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond.

NALP believes in fairness, facts and the power of a diverse community. We work every day to be the best career services, recruitment, and professional development organization in the world because we want the lawyers and law students we serve to have an ethical recruiting system, employment data they can trust, and expert advisers to guide and support them in every stage of their careers.

The Position

NALP seeks a law or graduate student to work full-time as its PSJD Summer Publications Coordinator, editing and producing NALP’s PSJD Comprehensive Fellowship Guide during the summer of 2017.  The term of the employment period is approximately 10 weeks.  The position is ideal for a law or graduate student who has editing experience and is interested in public interest law and/or nonprofit administration.  The Publications Coordinator serves as an integral part of the PSJD team.

Come work at NALP! See the full-post on PSJD.

Summer 2017 NALP PSJD Project Assistants (Part-time)

The Organization

NALP is an association of over 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond.

NALP believes in fairness, facts and the power of a diverse community. We work every day to be the best career services, recruitment, and professional development organization in the world because we want the lawyers and law students we serve to have an ethical recruiting system, employment data they can trust, and expert advisers to guide and support them in every stage of their careers.

The Position

NALP seeks three to four summer project assistants to help update and maintain database content on its PSJD website. This is an ideal opportunity for law or graduate students who desire to supplement their income while interning or clerking in Washington, DC in the summer of 2017.

Come work for NALP! See the full-post on PSJD.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – April 14, 2017

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

Happy Friday! The big news – the federal hiring freeze has been lifted. See the coverage below and join the continuing conversation on NALPconnect.

And we are looking forward to seeing our members at the NALP Annual Education Conference next week.  Because we will be sharing our news in person, the Digest will not be published on April 21. We will return on April 28 with all the news and exciting updates from our programming and events.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • New York state budget contains some indigent defense funding for counties;
  • Tennessee Indigent Representation Task Force presents report and recommendations;
  • Federal hiring freeze lifted;
  • Law Society of British Columbia issues report: A Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid in British Columbia;
  • Canadian Forum on Civil Justice issues Justice Development Goals Status Report;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

April 10, 2017 – “The state will provide New York City and counties outside the city a measure of the relief they have been seeking for decades to pay for constitutionally mandated representation for New York’s indigent criminal defendants. While falling well short of a state takeover of the approximate $450 million annual cost of providing counsel as the Supreme Court mandated in Gideon v. Wainwright, the 2017-18 budget sets the stage for state assumption of a larger portion of localities’ indigent defense funding. The budget, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday, obligates the state to reimburse counties for the improvements in indigent defense coverage promised to five counties through its 2014 settlement in Hurrell-Harring v. State of New York. Those improvements include having counsel at each defendant’s initial appearance in court, reducing caseloads for legal aid lawyers and improving the resources available to lawyers representing indigents. William Leahy, head of the state Office of Indigent Legal Services, said Monday the Cuomo administration estimates that extending Hurrell-Harring will cost about $250 million when fully implemented in 2023. In the budget, the state pledged to reimburse the counties and the city for those costs going forward. ‘This is less than whole, but it is what I have been saying since the day after the Hurrell-Harring settlement was signed, that the state has to make sure that all counties are in compliance with the constitution,’ Leahy said. When Cuomo vetoed a bill on New Year’s Eve that would have provided for a seven-year assumption of all local government costs to provide Gideon-mandated representation, he pledged to offer a more limited plan. The budget does not relieve the city and counties of the roughly $450 million spent each year to provide counsel to indigent defendants. Jonathan Gradess, executive director of the New York State Defenders Association, one of the legal services groups that have long advocated for Gideon improvements, said the indigent defense piece of the budget is ‘terrific’ and moves the state closer to assuming its rightful role as the sole funder of indigent legal services.” (New York Law Journal)

April 10, 2017 – “Almost a year-and-a-half after the Tennessee Supreme Court created it to review how Tennessee provides legal representation for poor criminal defendants, the Indigent Representation Task Force is presenting a set of recommendations Monday. Chief among them: Give District Public Defenders enough money to do their jobs and create another task force, one that would consider whether to create “an independent central commission to oversee” public defense in Tennessee. Although it avoids crisis language, the report makes it clear that the state’s criminal justice system, including the part of it designed to uphold the right to an attorney, is overloaded. ‘The information gathered by the Task Force established that there has been a dramatic increase in the ratio of cases to the justice system’s capacity during the past 20 years,’ the report says in an executive summary. ‘While the system has used its best efforts to manage the increasing caseload, its ability to continue doing so is not sustainable without additional resources.’ The task force’s report is extensive, at more than 200 pages, detailing the history of public defense in Tennessee, the system’s current architecture and the challenges it faces.” (Nashville Scene)

April 11, 2017 – “The White House will lift President Trump’s federal hiring freeze on Wednesday, following fire from critics who said it hampered the government from carrying out core functions. The end of the freeze is part of guidance ordering federal departments and agencies to submit restructuring plans to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by the fall. ‘It does not mean the agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly,’ OMB Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Tuesday. ‘What we’re doing tomorrow is replacing the across-the-board hiring freeze that was put in place on day one and replacing it with a smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan.'” “The memorandum requires all agencies to ‘begin taking immediate actions’ to reduce the size of their workforces over the long term and achieve the savings called for in Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget. Agency heads must develop a plan to ‘maximize employee performance’ by June 30 and submit a final version of that plan to the White House budget office by September.” (The Hill)

“Mulvaney says under the new guidance, some agencies will wind up hiring more people, while others will end up ‘paring’ the number of employees ‘even greater than they would have during the hiring freeze.'” “Still, the impact of this latest move is likely to be limited too. It will be up to Congress to set actual spending levels for federal agencies, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were highly critical of Trump’s spending plan.” “Mulvaney also said the administration is asking agencies, along with members of the public, to submit suggestions for how to rebuild the executive branch ‘from scratch.'” “However, nearly every recent administration has taken on the same rebuilding task, whether calling it ‘reinventing government’ as the Clinton administration did, or appointing a blue-ribbon commission as Reagan did, or instituting the Government Reform for Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative, as Obama did.”(NPR)

BUT the State Department will maintain the hiring freeze for an undetermined time. “The State Department will maintain a hiring freeze even as other federal agencies lift their freeze. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly told his agency’s employees in a Wednesday memo that State will keep its freeze in effect. ‘Although the Office of Management and Budget lifted the federal hiring freeze effective April 12, 2017, the Department will maintain its hiring freeze in effect for the present time. Any change to this policy will be notified promptly,’ the memo said.” (The Hill)

April 11, 2017 – “Legal aid should be publicly funded and available to all members of a democratic society, particularly those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged, says a new report from The Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC). ‘All people, regardless of their means and without discrimination, should have access to legal information and publicly-funded professional legal advice to assist them in understanding whether a situation attracts rights and remedies or subjects them to obligations or responsibilities,” says the report entitled: ‘A Vision for Publicly Funded Legal Aid in British Columbia,‘ issued by the LSBC Legal Aid Task Force. Nancy Merrill, who chaired the nine-member task force, said: ‘Everyone should have universal access in terms of a diagnostic service and be able to find what legal services are available.’ While the vision was designed to be inclusive rather than excluding sectors of society, Merrill said the task force did not ‘drill down’ to examine who should provide this advice. The advice would also consider the individual’s ability to access the free market for legal services. The task force, struck in Sept. 2015, was charged with developing a vision of legal aid for the LSBC that was in line with s.3 of the Legal Profession Act. For the past 15 years, the LSBC has been silent on the issue. The report, though, stops short of advocating for universal legal aid. Merrill said that the full range of fully funded legal services (advice through to court appearances) would go to a society’s more marginalized or at-risk individuals. The LSBC vision sets these out as legal issues involving the state where liberty or security of the individual is at risk; children whose security is at risk; people with mental or intellectual disabilities that impair their ability to access government or community services; family law where the physical, economic, or emotional security of a family is at risk; persons disadvantaged because of poverty, and immigrants and refugees. Merrill acknowledges these categories are similar to those that the Legal Services Society lists as eligible for legal aid. The difference, she said, in the range of problems that should be considered. The LSBC vision is broader.” (Canadian Lawyer Legal Feeds)

April 13, 2017 – “The Action Committee’s “Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report” has been published and is available in both English and French. This Report uses the nine Justice Development Goals set out in the Action Committee’s ‘A Roadmap for Change’ report as a framework to explore current initiatives and to identify areas for future work in access to justice in Canada. The Justice Development Goals Status Report was produced by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice. In addition, the Forum has also published the ‘Status Report: Working Data Document’, which includes data from the ‘Canadian Access to Justice Initiatives: Justice Development Goals Status Report’, as well as raw data from the recent Justice Development Goals Survey that is not discussed in the Report.” The full reports are available at the link. (Canadian Forum on Civil Justice Action Committee)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

For you baseball fans in honor of opening day. On this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African-American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years. Exactly 50 years later, on April 15, 1997, Robinson’s groundbreaking career was honored and his uniform number, 42, was retired from Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig in a ceremony attended by over 50,000 fans at New York City’s Shea Stadium. Robinson’s was the first-ever number retired by all teams in the league. (History.com)

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

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Job’o’th’Week (Entry-Level Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Civil Rights Compliance Officer

The Organization

The mission of the Civil Rights Division is to enforce civil rights laws, increase public awareness of civil rights and provide dispute resolution services. The Division’s major duty is to enforce state and federal statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment, voting, public accommodations, disability and housing by investigating and litigating civil rights complaints. In addition, the Division provides conflict resolution services and mediation programs statewide, including many court and agency programs. The Division not only is responsive to complaints it receives, but actively addresses discriminatory activity by providing education awareness. It also conducts surveys and inquiries in efforts to eliminate discrimination and publishes reports to highlight civil rights issues in the State. The Division has both administrative and enforcement functions. Its staff is comprised of lawyers, compliance officers, program coordinators, support personnel, volunteer mediators and interns.

The Position

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office Civil Litigation Division, Division of Civil Rights Section is seeking a Civil Rights Compliance Officer I to review and analyze claims of discrimination from the public, to determine if discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, voting or disability may have occurred, in violation of the Arizona Civil Rights Act, Arizona Fair Housing Act or Arizonans with Disabilities Act (the “Acts”), and determine jurisdictional matters pertaining to the alleged violations. The position will draft administrative complaints and perform thorough investigations of the allegations stated in the complaints; maintain all investigative files assigned, including review, analysis, sorting and filing of evidence received from parties, attorneys, governmental agencies and other sources; draft administrative discovery, including interrogatories and subpoenas for documents and testimony.

Does this job have every you’re looking for from A to Z? Check out the full-post on PSJD.

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Resource Round-Up: PSJD Fellowship Deadlines Calendar

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

The PSJD Resource Center has valuable information for law students, career counselors and lawyers about public service law jobs.

The PSJD Fellowship Deadline Calendar includes all Fellowships that have been posted on PSJD, organized by deadline.  Fellowships on the PSJD database do not expire and prior fellowships are included for historical and educational purposes.  2Ls or rising 3Ls can use the deadline calendar to perform research on existing fellowships and get a head start on creating a fellowship proposal.

The calendar is searchable by date range, fellowship type, deadline type and key word.  Users can also change the way they view the calendar, the default view is by grid, but you can also view it in the traditional calendar view.


*Career Counselor’s Corner*

Samantha Zappia Kasmarek, Esq., Associate Director of Career Services at Syracuse University College of Law says “We all know that the lack of a uniform hiring timeline for public interest jobs is frustrating. But, for students seeking post-graduate opportunities, the fellowship calendar on PSJD can make things so much easier. From keeping track of deadlines to visually seeing the number of opportunities that are out there – it helps both counselors and students stay on top of available positions. It’s also a resource students should know about early on to help them develop a career strategy. They can get a sense of the knowledge and experience that they should obtain during law school in order to be competitive for a fellowship position.” Do you know of fellowship opportunities not listed on the calendar? Send them to us in an email and we’ll get them in the database, and on the calendar.

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Intensive Litigation Skills Training

If you’re looking to improve your courtroom skills, this program is for you. Hosted by the Washington Council of Lawyers, this two-day intensive litigation skills training will have you on your feet and practicing. Whether you want to stand up in court as often as possible or are nervous about your first trial, this program has something for everyone. Litigation Skills Series: Intensive Litigation Skills Training takes place on Thursday, May 4 and Friday, May 5. Each day’s training will run from 9 am to 5 pm at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC). RSVP by clicking here.

In addition to loads of trial training, there will also be talks from Christine Clapp (Spoken With Authority), who will share useful tips for oral presentations of all kinds, and Judge Christopher Cooper (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia), who will talk about using trial skills in pro bono and public-interest cases. Scholarships are also available due to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation; email for information on how to apply.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – April 7, 2017

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

Happy Friday! It’s a little over a week to the NALP Annual Education Conference.  We are excited to have our members join us in San Francisco for great programming and networking. And we are thrilled to host Julia Wilson, CEO of One Justice, as our Public Interest Luncheon Speaker.  You can read more about this amazing advocate below.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Iowa State Public Defender announces mandatory furlough days;
  • New Mexico public defenders take funding battle to  Supreme Court;
  • New York University School of Law expands pro bono opportunities for students;
  • How to make in-house pro bono work;
  • Lawsuit settlement to boost indigent defense in Suffolk (New York);
  • ACLU sues over public defenders for children in Washington State;
  • NYCLU asks legislators to spin “Wheel of Justice” to garner support for public defense funding;
  • Montana Supreme Court Justices call for funding for civil legal services;
  • New York State Bar devises new portal to find legal help for immigrants;
  • National Law Journal Pro Bono Hot List 2017 announced;
  • Report says legal aid put $10.5 mil in Maine economy;
  • New York to set aside $10M of state budget for immigration legal services;
  • Alberta access to justice study launched by Law Foundation of Ontario;
  • Stanford Law School receives $7.4 million gift for public interest and public service work;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

March 30, 2017 – “In addressing a state budget shortfall, 223 Iowa State Public Defender employees have been informed they must take five unpaid furlough days before the end of June. State Public Defender Adam Gregg sent a letter to employees Thursday explaining the furlough days are mandatory due to the $457,481 reduction announced as part of a de-appropriation bill signed by Gov. Terry Branstad in February that cut $117.8 million from the state’s 2017 budget. Gregg said Thursday in a phone interview the decision was made late Wednesday about how the cut to his office would be handled. He said furlough days are to make up for the budget shortfall and that all employees, including himself, must participate in order to achieve the savings. ‘We ran a lean operation and we were under budget this year but when you have to make up for nearly a half million dollars in three months, it was best to do this,’ Gregg said. ‘A shared sacrifice is a better alternative than a permanent closure of one or more of the offices.'” (The Gazette)

March 30, 2017 – “The state Law Offices of the Public Defender, which for years has complained that it doesn’t have enough money to adequately represent New Mexico’s poorest defendants, is asking the state Supreme Court to step in and address the problem. The agency filed a petition Tuesday proposing that the Supreme Court order private attorneys to represent indigent defendants for free or order court clerks to stop accepting new cases alleging minor, nonviolent crimes after a certain number of cases has been reached. ‘Some of these are extreme solutions,’ Chief Defender Bennett Baur said Thursday. ‘None of them are perfect. But they are solutions to the problem.’ Baur also suggests in the court filing that the Supreme Court appoint a special master to find long-term solutions for the ongoing problem in New Mexico of too many accused criminals and too little money and lawyers to represent them.” (Santa Fe New Mexican)

March 30, 2017 – “NYU Law is partnering with Paladin — a tech start-up that connects lawyers with pro bono cases aligned with their interests. Current NYU Law students and alumni are able to utilize the service at no charge by signing up online. Paladin is the latest addition in the law school’s efforts to pair students with pro bono opportunities. According to Associate Director of the Public Interest Law center Miriam Eckenfels-Garcia, NYU Law already holds partnerships with several organizations such as New York State Courts, Asian American Bar Association, Legal Services NYC, Greenpeace and Sidley Austin LLP. This additional opportunity to connect NYU Law students with these cases is particularly important as the New York State Bar requires 50 hours of pro bono work for admission. According to NYU Law guidelines, this requirement can be satisfied both in the United States or overseas, as long as it is law-related, unpaid and supervised by an attorney or law school instructor.” (Washington Square News)

March 30, 2017 – Law360 has an interesting article on how companies see pro bono work, and how they make it a part of their legal department culture. (Law360)

April 2, 2017 – “Legal defense for poor criminal defendants in Suffolk County is getting a significant boost, thanks to settlement of a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union. The settlement sent $5.4 million to Suffolk, which will allow the Legal Aid Society of Suffolk County and other assigned public defenders to have caseloads and resources more in line with what prosecutors and private attorneys have had. ‘It’s going to make a very big difference,’ said Laurette Mulry, Legal Aid’s attorney in charge. For the agency, it will mean reducing caseloads by hiring 23 lawyers to add to its staff of 100. All of those lawyers will work in Legal Aid’s District Court bureau, where some lawyers now handle up to 500 cases a year. The suit said the low quality of defense violated defendants’ constitutional right to adequate counsel. Another 42 new hires — investigators, interpreters, social workers and support staff — will boost the quality of the work Legal Aid does, Mulry said. The state made the money available to Suffolk as part of a settlement with the NYCLU, which sued the state over what it called inadequate legal defense for poor people in Suffolk and four upstate counties. In these counties, defense attorneys for the indigent often didn’t meet their clients before their first court appearances, had enormous caseloads and had little access to investigators and others who could help develop defenses in a case.” (Newsday)

April 3, 2017 – “The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is suing the state’s Office of Public Defense in an effort to get the state to do more to make sure children charged with crimes have good legal help. The lawsuit, filed Monday in Thurston County Superior Court, specifically challenges what the ACLU describes as the agency’s failure to protect juvenile defendants in Grays Harbor County on the Pacific coast, but the issues aren’t limited to Grays Harbor County, said Emily Chiang, the organization’s legal director. While the ACLU has previously sued several jurisdictions to improve representation for defendants who can’t afford lawyers — including a landmark 2013 federal court decision against the cities of Burlington and Mount Vernon — this case is about getting the state to enforce public defense standards on its own, she said. ‘There’s a very competent and well-run state agency here. It should be their job,’ she said. ‘I don’t think the ACLU should be in the business of managing public defense resources.’ The lawsuit seeks to have the court declare that Grays Harbor County is violating the constitutional rights of children charged with crimes and that the Office of Public Defense has the authority to require remedial measures.” (The Columbian)

April 3, 2017 – “The NYCLU broke out its ‘Wheel of Justice’ and asked legislators to give it a spin and test their fate in New York’s ‘broken criminal justice system,’ as a way to raise awareness and promote support for the Justice Equality Act. The bill, (A.1903) which would provide full state funding for public defenders, is sponsored by Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, D-Albany, and passed both the Assembly and Senate last session, but was vetoed by the governor in December. It has not yet been reintroduced in the Senate by last year’s sponsor, Senator John DeFrancisco, R- Syracuse.” “The Wheel of Justice was placed at the entrance of The Legislative Office Building during a recent busy day at the state Capitol to help raise awareness of the bill. Legislators and other passersby spun the wheel, which landed on various legal outcomes including ‘death,’ ‘ruined,’ ‘kids taken,’ ‘racism,’ ‘silenced,’ ‘eviction,’ ‘go to jail,’ ‘homeless,’ ‘beaten up,’ and ‘take the blame.’ Originally built to make their case in the case of Hurrell-Harring v. State of New York, which found that the state was negligent in funding public defense, the ‘Wheel of Justice’ features true stories of New Yorkers and their experience with the criminal justice system. The wheel made a comeback as a way to ‘educate legislators and the public,’ according to NYCLU’s Legislative Director Robert Perry.” (The Legislative Gazette)

April 3, 2017 – “All seven current justices of the Montana Supreme Court, along with eight retired members, are calling on Congress to continue funding two groups that help provide legal aid for people who can’t afford it. The justices sent a letter this week to U.S. Sens. Steve Daines and Jon Tester, asking them to support maintaining current funding levels for the Legal Services Corporation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. President Trump’s budget proposal, released last month, eliminates federal money for both agencies.” (KTVH)

April 3, 2017 – “A new online portal matching New York attorneys willing to provide pro bono legal services with immigrants who need them because of shifting federal immigration policies was announced Monday by the New York State Bar Association and its affiliated foundation. The state bar and its New York Bar Foundation are contributing $40,000 each toward creating the portal and hiring a pro bono fellow to help administer it. Once it goes live later this spring, the portal will put immigrant advocacy groups and the pro bono lawyers together, state bar president Claire Gutekunst said in a statement Monday. She noted that the success rates of immigrants seeking to establish or maintain residency in the United States are up to 14 times more successful when they have legal representation in residency proceedings.” (New York Law Journal)

April 3, 2017 – “In the past year, lawyers fought for the disabled, voting rights and women’s health. They volunteered their services for those who bravely serve our country — helping some secure citizenship and others maintain their right to religious freedom. They helped connect the community and law enforcement in Chicago and San Francisco, advocated for Texas foster children and worked to improve health care in South Dakota.” See the full National Law Journal 2017 Pro Bono Hot List at the link.  Congratulations to the firms and attorneys making such a difference in their communities. (National Law Journal)

April 4, 2017 – “Civil legal aid meant more than $105M in positive economic impact in Maine in 2015. That’s according to a report by Maine’s Justice Action Group, which says $13M in federal benefits reached people in need. Nearly $7M was awarded in child and spousal support to Maine families. More than $6M in earnings was realized by helping immigrant workers get the legal right to work. The report says $2.5M was saved by communities through helping folks avoid evictions, thus cutting spending on homeless shelters. ‘Anyone who commits time or money to an effort wants to know what’s happening in return. What’s the benefit? Is there a benefit to me? Is there a benefit to society in general? I think this study, to a large degree, answers that question. This is part of the benefit that you — meaning whoever has contributed to legal services — this is what the return is,’ said Andrew Mead, Maine Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice. The study found that providing free legal services brings cost savings to the state and puts money back into the local economy.” (WABI)

April 5, 2017 – “Looking to fight back against President Trump’s immigration policies, the state is set to dedicate $10 million in its emerging new budget for immigrant legal services, the Daily News has learned. The commitment, to be announced by Gov. Cuomo and the eight-member Senate Independent Democratic Conference, is said to be the largest of its kind in state history.” “The funding is designed to build on the Liberty Defense Project, a public/private partnership Cuomo recently announced that will offer pro-bono legal services and other resources to immigrants regardless of their status.” (Daily News)

April 5, 2017 – “A group of lawyers has launched the Alberta Limited Legal Services Project, an initiative to provide a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to access to justice — empirical research to test whether self-represented litigants actually benefit from unbundled services. The idea that limited scope work could improve access to legal help has been cited by many reports on access to justice, but no one has ever conducted any empirical research to test the idea, says John-Paul Boyd, executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family in Calgary. ‘This project will test the hypothesis that providing litigants with some legal information is better than none and test clients’ and lawyers’ satisfaction,’ says Boyd. ‘It’s the first empirical study in Canada — if not elsewhere — to look at satisfaction.'” (Canadian Lawyer Legal Feeds)

April 6, 2017 – “Stanford Law School recently received an estate gift of $7.4 million that will be used to expand the support it offers to public interest and public service students, alumni, and the broader community. The gift, from an anonymous donor, will significantly expand the permanent endowment for the school’s public interest work and is among the largest gifts in the law school’s history earmarked for programs for students and alumni, not capital improvements. ‘The generosity of this gift is noteworthy,’ said Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean M. Elizabeth Magill. ‘But just as important is that this new endowment funding will allow us to expand our already strong support for students and graduates who wish to pursue careers in the public interest.'” (Stanford Law School News)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

We are so excited to have Julia Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of One Justice, as our keynote speaker for the Public Interest Luncheon during our Annual Education Conference.  As one of her colleagues said recently, “She is one of the hardest working women in public interest.” That is the truth! Read more about Julia here and here.  We are very excited to hear her thoughts and have her share the incredible work she is doing.

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

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Job’o’th’Week (Internship Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Summer 2017 NALP PSJD Project Assistants

The Organization

NALP is an association of over 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond.

NALP believes in fairness, facts and the power of a diverse community. We work every day to be the best career services, recruitment, and professional development organization in the world because we want the lawyers and law students we serve to have an ethical recruiting system, employment data they can trust, and expert advisers to guide and support them in every stage of their careers.

The Position

NALP seeks three to four summer project assistants to help update and maintain database content on its PSJD website. This is an ideal opportunity for law or graduate students who desire to supplement their income while interning or clerking in Washington, DC in the summer of 2017.

Come work for NALP! See the full-post on PSJD.

 

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