Archive for August, 2017

Job’o’th’Week (Fellowship Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Veteran Legal Corps Fellow

The Organization

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides free legal services to eligible clients in civil cases through five regional offices. Land of Lincoln is funded by numerous partners, including the Legal Services Corporation, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, CNCS AmeriCorps and Equal Justice Works, United Way, Area Agencies on Aging.

The Position

Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps have partnered together to provide the Veterans Legal Corps Fellowship opportunity to aid the legal needs of veterans and military families across the nation. The Veteran Legal Corps (VLC) Fellow will provide civil legal assistance to veterans and military families.

One Fellowship is available in the Eastern Regional office, in Champaign, Illinois. Based on Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps guidelines, the term of service will begin in September 2017 for one year (with a possible renewal contingent upon continued AmeriCorps funding). Position requires completion of NSOPR, state(s), and FBI Fingerprint criminal background checks and compliance with all CNCS Federal Regulations throughout the fellowship program.

Is this your dream opportunity?  See the full-post on PSJD.

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EXTENDED DEADLINE: Call for nominations for the 2017 Pro Bono Publico Award

2017 Pro Bono Publico Award Call for Nominations! 

It’s that time of year again. We are seeking nominations for the 2017 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award. Information is below. You can find additional information and the nomination form on PSJD. The deadline for nominations has been extended to Friday, September 8th by 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions, please email psjd@nalp.org.

Purpose

To recognize the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, the public interest community, and legal education by performing pro bono work.

Eligibility

The Pro Bono Publico Award is available to any second- or third-year law student at a PSJD U.S. or Canadian Subscriber School.  Each Subscriber School may submit up to 2 nominees.  The recipient will be announced during National Pro Bono Week – usually held in October – and honored during an Award Ceremony at the recipient’s school thereafter.  The award recipient will receive a commemorative plaque and a monetary award of $1,000.

Award Criteria

Selection is based on the extracurricular commitment the nominees have made to law-related public service projects or organizations; the quality of work they performed; and the impact of their work on the community, their fellow students, and the school.  Actual pro bono work will be the primary consideration.

Nomination Deadline & Packet Contents

Initial nominations must be received by Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 5pm Eastern Time, by fax, mail, or email (see contact information at bottom).  Along with the nomination form and a résumé, nomination packets should include a two-page statement detailing the work the nominee has done, the impact it has had on the nominee’s community, and why this nominee is deserving of the award.  Input or quotes from those involved in the work or from impacted community members may be included and are strongly encouraged. PLEASE SUBMIT ONE PDF CONTAINING ALL THE NOMINATION MATERIALS.

Need an idea for your nomination? Check out the 2016 Pro Bono Publico Award winner Gabrielle Lucero’s blog post at the link below.

Pro Bono Publico Award Winner Gabrielle “Gabs” Lucero

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 25, 2017

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

Happy Friday! Up and down news this week. Some programs are expanding while others are closing offices. With funding cuts and shrinking budgets, pro bono is more important than ever. Check out PSJD for pro bono opportunities in your area.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Aid Ontario defunds African Legal Clinic;
  • DNA, early champion of Indian rights, to shutter 3 legal offices;
  • New York expanding pro bono clemency program;
  • Ottawa’s first Indigenous peoples court announced;
  • Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic established at Vanderbilt Law School;
  • Michigan Legal Help creates toolkit for parents of students ‘facing discipline’;
  • Out & Equal Workplace Advocates announces recipients of inaugural Global Fellowship program;
  • Associates’ Committee expands legal aid fundraising efforts;
  • Bills filed to link more pro bono attorneys with Florida’s special needs kids;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 16, 2017 – The following is a statement from Legal Aid Ontario President and CEO David Field. “The Clinic Committee of Legal Aid Ontario’s Board of Directors has decided, under its dispute resolution process, to withdraw LAO’s [Legal Aid Ontario] funding of the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC) effective September 30, 2017. Every dollar of funding currently provided to ACLC will be redirected to a new organization to provide dedicated services to the Black community. LAO’s priority is addressing the legal needs of a very vulnerable segment of our population—members of Black communities who need our help. We have work to do to meet those needs. LAO is committed to doing that work through hearing directly from members of the Black community, working with an advisory committee comprised of community leaders and investing additional funding to improve access to justice for members of the Black community. The Clinic Committee of LAO’s Board of Directors has found that ACLC’s board and management have engaged in financial mismanagement and that there has been a lack of board oversight. Although LAO’s dispute resolution process is internal, it is clear to me that there is an overriding public interest in what has occurred. Therefore, in the interest of transparency, I have directed that the decisions of the clinic committee and supporting documents be posted on LAO’s website. LAO will ensure that there will be no interruption or delay to legal services to Black Ontarians. LAO will immediately begin working with members of the community to establish a new community-based organization to deliver legal aid services to Ontario’s Black community. In the meantime, LAO will provide legal services through the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, members of the private bar, and LAO’s Test Case Program.” (thestar.com)(Legal Aid Ontario)

And Ontario province is now evaluating its contribution. “Now that Legal Aid Ontario has yanked its funding from the African Canadian Legal Clinic, the province is rethinking its own contribution. In a decision released last week, a committee of Legal Aid’s board of directors said the organization had failed to meet all eight conditions placed on it in 2014 to address concerns of financial mismanagement and poor governance. ‘Given the serious nature of its findings, the province is reviewing the decision and supporting documents produced by the sub-committee in order to assess the government’s funding relationship with the African Canadian Legal Clinic going forward,’ wrote Andrew Rudyk, press secretary for the office of Attorney General Yasir Naqvi. He did not offer a timeline for the review.” (Metro News)

August 18, 2017 – “For 50 years, DNA — or, in Navajo, Dinébe’iiná Náhiilna be Agha’diit’ahii — has provided free legal services to low-income people in three Southwestern states and won groundbreaking cases in Indian law on behalf of its clients. Now, facing years of financial shortfalls, it is planning to shutter three of its nine offices — in Crownpoint, Shiprock and Monument Valley, Utah. Some staff will move to remaining offices, and others will be laid off. DNA provides free legal services in areas such as consumer fraud, public benefits, wills and estates, taxes, housing evictions and domestic violence.” (Santa Fe New Mexican)

August 21, 2017 – “New York is partnering with several legal organizations to expand the state’s pro bono clemency program, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. The state will partner with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Families Against Mandatory Minimums and other organizations helping incarcerated individuals seeking clemency from the governor’s office to provide ‘high-quality clemency applications.’ ‘These nationally recognized organizations have already proven successful in helping incarcerated individuals get access to the resources they need to apply for clemency, make the case for their rehabilitation and have the opportunity to contribute to and re-enter society,’ Cuomo said in a statement.” (New York Law Journal)

August 22, 2017 – “The provincial government will announce the opening of Ottawa’s first court for Indigenous peoples this week, CBC News has confirmed.” “The opening of the specialized court is meant to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canada’s criminal justice system. Ottawa’s first Indigenous court, also known as a Gladue court, draws its name from a 1995 court case where a defendant successfully argued the court should consider the lived experience of an Indigenous offender, for example, the trauma associated with the residential schools system.” (CBC News)

August 22, 2017 – “A $2 million investment in Vanderbilt Law School by Cal Turner Jr., BA’62, will provide legal support to entrepreneurs on shoestring budgets to help them get up and running. The funding, which results from the growth of a previous endowed gift from Turner, names the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic at the law school. The clinic will offer students hands-on opportunities to assist individuals with legal matters, such as applying for tax-exempt status and drafting lease agreements, when they otherwise would not be able to afford representation. ‘The Turner clinic sits at the intersection of law and business, reinforcing Vanderbilt’s strengths in working across disciplines to achieve viable solutions,’ said Chris Guthrie, dean and John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law. ‘This funding allows us to better support our students and faculty who provide this important legal representation to lower-income clients. We’re deeply grateful for this new opportunity.'” “Under the guidance of faculty mentors, students in the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic will receive course credit as they hone legal skills in a range of transactional matters, including entity formation, governance, tax, contracts, employment, intellectual property and risk management. The clinic also will expose students to opportunities that arise in today’s rapidly evolving legal environment, which is explored in the school’s Program on Law and Innovation.” (Vanderbilt News)

August 22, 2017 – “A website that provides free legal assistance for simple civil matters now offers a toolkit for parents of children who are in trouble at school. The toolkit is a landing page on the Michigan Legal Help website’s education section called, ‘My Child is Facing Punishment or Expulsion from School.’ It consists of articles, answers to common questions, and local referrals for issues relating to special education accommodations, discipline and student rights. It also includes a do-it-yourself letter for students receiving special education services who are being suspended or expelled. The toolkit has a drop-down menu that allows users to filter results by Michigan county. Resources and referrals vary based on the user’s location.” (grbj.com)

August 22, 2017 – “After a competitive application process featuring applicants from more than 20 countries on five continents, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates has announced its inaugural cohort of Global Fellows: Levis Nderitu, Sullivan Reed Society, Kenya; Suresh Ramdas, HP Inc., India; and Kaspars Zalitis, Association Open Centre, Latvia. ‘Each and every one of our Global Fellows is a true inspiration,’ said Selisse Berry, Founder and CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. ‘Levis, Suresh, and Kaspars have demonstrated incredible commitment to advancing LGBT rights and workplace equality, even in the most challenging of environments. Though the movement for LGBT equality has made significant progress in recent years, it’s critical to remember that in 76 countries we can still be arrested, imprisoned or even killed because of who we are and who we love. Our Global Fellows make me confident that the future of LGBT workplace equality is bright. I look forward to offering each one of them this learning opportunity, and to learning from them as well.’ The fellows will travel to the United States to participate in an intensive five-week Out & Equal leadership development program for emerging global advocates in LGBT workplace equality.” (LGBT Weekly)

August 23, 2017 – “A grassroots effort to empower law firm associates to be more charitable has gained some momentum, and some help. Last year, Corey Laplante, then an associate at Skadden Arps, launched The Associates’ Committee, a group that raised more than $200,000 from Big Law associates for legal aid groups and litigation non-profits for the homeless, veterans, survivors of domestic violence and others. As the group enters its second year, Laplante — now an associate in Los Angeles at the litigation boutique Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz — says the Committee is generating interest from big law firms and partners, not just from associates. Laplante said he hopes to ‘increase the impact’ of the group through firm support and that member-associates have taken up the cause with a letter writing campaign to their firms. ‘They’re saying they’re members and are passionate about their cause and would like the firm to match their contribution,’ he explained. Among the partners supporting the group is Jeff Simes, chair of the litigation department at Goodwin Procter, where partners have pledged a total of $6,000 to the group. ‘It’s a great thing when associates pull together and are excited about something. It’s infectious,’ he said. Along with Goodwin, Laplante’s former firm Skadden has pledged $10,000 to the organization.” (Bloomberg Law)

August 24, 2017 – “Two Florida lawmakers are hoping to get more pro-bono attorneys to help kids with special needs for the 2018 legislative session. Rep. Frank White (R-Pensacola) and Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) filed the ‘Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018.’ The goal is to encourage more attorneys to take pro-bono cases involving special needs children who have been abused, abandoned and neglected. Florida Guardian ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz says it builds on a 2014 law.” (WGCU)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

The Waco-McLennan County Young Lawyers Association was presented with the Texas Young Lawyers Association Award of Achievement for Service to the Public. The group was honored for its Pro Bono Challenge, a partnership with Baylor Law School that has connected many lawyers in McLennan County to low-income veterans and others in need of pro bono legal services. The program was developed by MCYLA President-elect Stephen Rispoli, who serves as the assistant dean of pro bono programs at Baylor Law School, C. Scott Omo of Pakis, Giotes, Page & Burleson PC, and Josh Borderud, director of the Baylor Law Veterans Clinic. (Waco Tribune-Herald)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett.

 

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Job’o’th’Week (Internship Edition): U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Legal Intern

The Organization

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for adjudicating applications for immigration benefits in the United States.The Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) provides in-house legal guidance and counsel to USCIS offices throughout the United States. Interns from local law schools are tasked to assist OCC Associate Counsel in their duties and responsibilities.

The Position

The USCIS Denver Field Office, located in Centennial, Colorado, will host 1 law student intern for the spring 2018 academic semester. Through a combination of assigned projects, readings, writing activities and meetings, the law students will be provided with the following opportunities: to learn substantive immigration law, to improve research and writing skills, in the context of immigration law, to learn about the roles and jobs of USCIS attorneys, to learn about the roles and jobs of USCIS Field Office Operations personnel (such as adjudications officers and supervisors), and about the roles and jobs of various USCIS positions at offices other than USCIS Field Offices, to make contacts within the USCIS agency nationwide, and to learn about the roles and jobs of non-USCIS government attorneys in the field of immigration law, such as immigration judges in the Executive Office for Immigration Review (DOJ-EOIR), and immigration court trial attorneys in the United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE)

Know that you would be a great fit?  Check out the full-post on PSJD.

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“Civil Rights in the 21st Century”: University of California’s Upcoming Public Service Conference

The Place: On September 23rd and 24th, University of California will again host its inaugural Public Service Law Conference at UCLA’s Luskin Center.

The Event: “In partnership with the UC Office of the President, Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), Berkeley School of Law, UCLA School of Law, UC Davis School of Law, and UC Irvine School of Law, the conference will bring together more than 500 law students, faculty members, lawyers, and nonprofit professionals committed to advancing civil rights and the public good. Panels and speeches will focus on the people, organizations, and systems working on the legal aspects of vital issues like immigration, homelessness, police accountability, water rights, and veterans’ issues during a day-and-a-half long conference.

Keynote Speakers and Panelists Include: Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California; Peter Neufeld, Co-Founder of the Innocence Project; Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director at the National Immigration Law Center; Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean at UC Berkeley School of Law; Jennifer Mnookin, Dean at UCLA School of Law; Kevin Johnson, Dean at UC Davis School of Law; L. Song Richardson, Interim Dean at UC Irvine School of Law; and more.

Registering: Individuals interested in attending the conference may register here. Registration is $150 and includes a lunch and evening reception on the first day with speakers and sponsors, breakfast on the second day, and all CLE costs (if applicable).”

Why We At PSJD Would Go: Due to University of California’s large network of schools and outreach within the state, the speakers at this event are among the best attorneys in the Public Sector and in their respective fields. Each is an expert on the topic they will be lecturing on and could potentially offer a plethora of insights into their specialties. In addition, the conference has particular workshops focused on furthering your own career in public service, including a panel entitled “How to Get a Job: Panel of Experts.” Plus, who doesn’t want a good excuse to soak up some Southern California sunshine?

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Call for nominations for 2017 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award

PSJD is now accepting applications from law school nominators for the 2017 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award. The Pro Bono Publico Award recognizes the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, the public interest community, and legal education by performing pro bono work.

Eligibility

The Pro Bono Publico Award is available to any second- or third-year law student at a PSJD U.S. or Canadian Subscriber School. Each Subscriber School may submit up to 2 nominees. The recipient will be announced during National Pro Bono Week – usually held in October – and honored during an Award Ceremony at the recipient’s school thereafter. The award recipient will receive a commemorative plaque and a monetary award of $1,000.

Award Criteria

Selection is based on the extracurricular commitment the nominees have made to law-related public service projects or organizations; the quality of work they performed; and the impact of their work on the community, their fellow students, and the school. Actual pro bono work will be the primary consideration.

Nomination Deadline & Packet Contents

Initial nominations must be received by Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 5pm Eastern Time, by fax, mail, or email (to cjackson@nalp.org). Along with the nomination form and a résumé, nomination packets should include a two-page statement detailing the work the nominee has done, the impact it has had on the nominee’s community, and why this nominee is deserving of the award. Input or quotes from those involved in the work or from impacted community members may be included and are strongly encouraged. PLEASE SUBMIT ONE PDF CONTAINING ALL THE NOMINATION MATERIALS.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 18, 2017

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

Happy Friday! With all that has happened this week, you may be looking for ways to combat the hate. PSJD has many resources to help you find and connect with pro bono opportunities in your area.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Duke Law School emphasizes public interest with new certificate program;
  • DC lawyers support record-breaking legal aid fundraising campaign;
  • Pennsylvania county launches domestic violence court;
  • Broadway performers vocalize support for Legal Service Corporation at ABA rally;
  • ABA launches second site to assist veterans;
  • SOAR for Justice announces inaugural scholarship;
  • ABA Center for Innovation announces eight inagural fellows;
  • Akin Gump announces new pro bono counsel;
  • Stanford Law School clinic announces website for nonprofit pro bono support;
  • Missouri sued over lack of attorneys for parole violators;
  • New York University School of Law launches new center to support state attorneys general in environmental litigation;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 11, 2017 – “Duke Law School recently announced its first certificate for Juris Doctor students. The new program—the Public Interest and Public Service Law Certificate—is specifically designed for students who have an interest in public service. Stella Boswell, assistant dean of public interest and career development, said public service jobs have become more competitive in recent years.  As a result, law students have to clearly demonstrate a strong interest in public work—something they can accomplish with the new certificate.” “Students in the program must perform at least 75 hours of community service and work full-time in the public sector during a summer while pursuing their degree. ” (The Chronicle)

August 11, 2017 – “The Generous Associates Campaign is a fundraising drive run by associates at Washington, D.C. law firms each summer. This year’s campaign kicked off on June 1. Although contributors to the campaign include associates, partners, non-lawyers, and the firms themselves, it is a campaign that allows the true generosity of the associates in our legal community to come through in spectacular fashion.” This year, the campaign raised $1.79 million, beating the goal by almost $300,000. (Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia)

August 11, 2017 – “Lancaster County [Pennsylvania] launched a Domestic Violence court Thursday with the goal of providing a safe avenue for victims and immediate treatment for offenders, while more efficiently handling domestic violence cases. A group of specialized prosecutors familiar with the intricacies of domestic-violence cases will handle the court’s caseload. Attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office will be on hand for defendants without private counsel. Twelve defendants appeared before the court during its first session. The court will be held every other Thursday at the Lancaster County Courthouse.” (Penn Live)

August 11, 2017 – “Broadway performers from War PaintHello Dolly and other productions voiced their support for the Legal Services Corp. on Friday by performing at a rally at the ABA Annual Meeting in New York City. The event, titled ‘It’s Only Fair! An ABA Concert and Rally for the Legal Services Corp.,’ was staged in an uncertain budget year for the LSC. President Donald Trump has proposed eliminating all funding for the agency, while House and Senate committees have recommended budget amounts below the LSC’s $527.8 million funding request for fiscal 2018. The LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid programs in the United States. ‘This is no time to eliminate or even cut funding to the Legal Services Corp.,’ ABA President Linda A. Klein said between the performers’ songs and speeches by LSC supporters.” “An ABA grassroots campaign has garnered more than 20,000 supporters whose message has been delivered to Congress, Klein said. It’s not too late for others to send their message through www.DefendLegalAid.org. The ABA was there for the birth of the LSC, and it was there in the 1980s and 1990s when policymakers threatened to eliminate funding. The ABA is making the case once again, Klein said, and this time it is armed with better information. Talking points for those who are sending a message to their representatives include the following: Every year, the LSC provides legal aid for 1.9 million individuals and their families. Funding for LSC only accounts for 0.0001 percent of the total federal budget.” (ABA Journal)

August 14, 2017 – “At its annual meeting in New York Saturday, the American Bar Association announced the launch of VetLex.org, a website, developed in partnership with the law firm Jones Day, that matches veterans in need of pro bono legal services with attorneys willing to provide such services. For now, the new site is only accepting registrations from attorneys, law firms and legal organizations interesting in providing services. By Veterans Day, the site will open on a pilot basis in a limited number of cities and states to accept veterans’ cases. The site will become fully operational nationally in 2018, the ABA’s announcement said. Once the site opens to veterans, it will provide an online tool for them to obtain pro bono counsel for their specific legal needs, including civil, criminal or administrative matters. It will also provide educational information on basic legal concepts, and serve as a repository for paperwork, such as DD 214s, that is required by various service providers. The ABA expects that the site will also be used by organizations that serve veterans in helping them find lawyers to assist their clients.” (Law Sites)

August 14, 2017 – “In furtherance of the goal of supporting survivors of abuse with the costs of obtaining a legal education and increasing the number of future lawyers committed to careers in domestic violence advocacy and law reform, the inaugural SOAR for Justice Scholarship awards $500 – $1000 to qualified California law students with proven track records in social justice. Individuals of all races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, ages, sexes, sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as differently abled persons, survivors of domestic violence, candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities and historically oppressed groups, bilingual and bicultural candidates, and those who are the first in their family to complete college or graduate school, are encouraged to apply.” “The deadline to apply is September 29, 2017 and awards will be announced during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2017.” (SOAR for Justice)

August 14, 2017 – “One will work with the Legal Services Corporation to develop web portals to help low-income Americans find appropriate legal aid resources. Another will help innocence projects develop a tool to better communicate with each other. These will be two of the eight first-time Fellows announced Monday who will work under the umbrella of the American Bar Association Center for Innovation. The Center was established in September 2016 at the recommendation of the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services to encourage and accelerate innovations that improve the accessibility, affordability and effectiveness of legal services and to transform how the public accesses the law and legal information. The Fellows, who were selected by the ABA Center for Innovation Fellows Committee, will begin work later this summer. Each will spend between three months and one year at the Center, and the group includes five NextGen Fellows, who will spend a year on projects, and three Innovation Fellows, whose fellowships run up to four months. ‘We’re thrilled to welcome these Fellows to the Center for Innovation,’ ABA President Linda A. Klein said. ‘They’re not only helping lawyers and their clients in creative new ways, they’re also giving us a glimpse into what legal services could look like in the decades to come.'” See the list of fellows and their projects at the link. (ABA Center for Innovation) (Legal News)

August 15, 2017 – “Akin Gump has found its new pro bono counsel, announcing recently that an associate at the firm with a history of work with nonprofits and programs aimed at providing service to immigrants fleeing violent situations would be taking over the position. Lauren Connell, previously an associate in the firm’s corporate practice, will succeed Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s first pro bono counsel Fiona Brett and step into a role that will have her assisting in the management of the firmwide pro bono practice, both maintaining relationships with the organizations Akin Gump has previously partnered with, and looking in a variety of fields for new pro bono opportunities for the firm’s attorneys.” (Law 360)(subscription required)

August 15, 2017 – “Stanford Law’s Organizations and Transactions Clinic announced today the launch of a website offering free access to hundreds of sample legal documents for attorneys who represent nonprofit organizations. As described on the website, model legal documents for nonprofits are often hard to find. Several organizations make available corporate governance models, though it’s difficult to find examples of other documents, especially materials relating to charitable programs and other activities specific to nonprofits. ‘We wanted to make a contribution toward addressing that gap in the resource base,’ said Jay A. Mitchell, Professor of Law and director of the clinic. The site’s roughly 200 form and precedent legal documents relate to a wide range of matters, including corporate governance, programmatic and earned income activities, and fiscal sponsorship, resource sharing, affiliation, and other relationships unique to nonprofits. The website also contains brief discussions of the clinic’s approach to the design of legal documents and client communications, which centers on accessibility and practical use by clients. ‘We think it’s instructive to try to learn from the design community in how we approach legal documents. We thought the site was a way to share that point of view in a concrete way,’ continued Mitchell, who has published about the intersections of design and legal documents. Mitchell and Michelle Sonu, Lecturer in Law and Clinical Supervising Attorney, led the project with support from the Robert Crown Law Library and Stanford Law’s communication and information technology departments.” (Stanford Law School Press)

August 15, 2017 – “While many states try to reverse incarceration rates, Missouri is held back by thousands of offenders returning to prison each year for not honoring the terms of their early release. The revolving door from parole violations isn’t unique to the Show-Me state. But a new class-action lawsuit filed Monday alleges that the parole revocation process is a ‘sham’ and ‘byzantine’ because hearings are often never held and Missouri Department of Corrections officials don’t provide attorneys. ‘Plaintiffs are constantly rotated in and out of the prison system — often at the result of non-criminal technical parole violations, and often based upon unsubstantiated accusations that the parolee committed a new criminal offense,’ according to a copy of the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. ‘The vast majority of parolees in the State of Missouri need and are entitled to appointed counsel to help them navigate these arcane proceedings. Yet, as a matter of practice, procedure, and custom, the Defendants systematically deny indigent parolees their right to counsel.’ Instead, the lawsuit claims, parolees often don’t speak on their own behalf, nor present evidence or cross-examine witnesses during parole revocation proceedings ‘to which they are also constitutionally entitled.'” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

August 17, 2017 – “NYU School of Law announced today the creation of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center (State Impact Center) dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory roll-backs and other actions that undermine key clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. The non-partisan State Impact Center will support state attorneys general on clean energy, climate, and environmental initiatives of regional or national importance in a number of ways, including providing legal, analytic, and communications support, as well as facilitating coordination across multiple offices of state attorneys general.” “A primary goal of the State Impact Center is to enable interested state attorneys general to expand their capacity to take on important clean energy, climate, and environmental matters by recruiting and hiring NYU fellows to serve as special assistant attorneys general.” (NYU News)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

ABA Medal winner John Feerick called on lawyers to help close the justice gap by volunteering to help those in need and by supporting the Legal Services Corp. “Why not find a place to serve or create a program that can make a difference?” he asked. Feerick, the former dean at Fordham University School of Law, spoke Saturday in New York City at the ABA Annual Meeting’s General Assembly where he received the ABA Medal, the association’s highest honor. (ABA Journal)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett.

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Job’o’th’Week (Experienced Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Assistant/Associate Professor of Law

The Organization

The University of Oregon is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), and is a major research university committed to combining high level research with strong undergraduate and graduate teaching. Founded in 1876, UO enrolls almost 24,000 students from all 50 states and more than 95 countries; and offers over 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. There are also 30 research centers, institutes, and core research facilities. Since July 2014, the University has been governed by an independent Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon. One of two AAU institutions in the Pacific Northwest, the University is widely known for a mix of highly ranked departments and innovative interdisciplinary programs; a strong commitment to research and education; and a collaborative, non-hierarchical institutional culture.

The Position

Seeking an individual who has demonstrated academic excellence, demonstrated success or the potential for success in scholarship and teaching, and a JD from an accredited law school or its equivalent. Successful candidates must have strong interpersonal skills sufficient to inspire and work effectively with diverse groups of faculty, students, staff, alumni, and members of the bar. Preference will be given to applicants with scholarship, teaching, or practice expertise in criminal law and related fields.

Is this the position for you? See the full-post on PSJD.

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What Exactly Is a Split Summer?

By: Brittany Swett, J.D.

A new trend known as the “split summer” is gaining popularity among large law firms across the country. Despite the growing popularity of the split summer, a lot of law students and legal professionals have never heard of it. Today at PSJD, we are taking a quick look at what a split summer is and what some of the benefits and drawbacks are.

What a Split Summer Is:

Split summers come in a variety of forms. Most commonly, a split summer allows a law student who has secured a summer associate position for their 2L summer to spend the first half of the summer working at a law firm and the second half of the summer working for a nonprofit organization. Under this basic model, the law firm will then continue to pay the salary of the summer associate during the second half of the summer while they are at a non-profit. Some firms have taken this basic idea and added their own twist. Firms may require that the summer associate remain at the law firm for more than half of the summer and spend less time at the non-profit. Others have specific requirements about the non-profit chosen by the summer associate, while still others will only pay the summer associate for the time spent working at the firm. Each program is unique, but overall there are benefits and drawbacks to consider regarding a summer split.

Benefits to Splitting Your Summer:

Splitting a summer allows for a law student who is torn between the private sector and non-profit world to explore careers in both. The law student still gets to complete a summer associateship and enjoy all the benefits that come along with doing so, such as writing experience, the salary, professional contacts, and a potential offer at the end of the summer. In addition, the student gets to explore the non-profit sector, potentially working more closely with the public and for a cause they feel passionately about. In addition, if the student is someone who likes new experiences, two jobs in a short time span will keep them on their toes. Split summers also allow for a student to make a larger number of professional contacts in both fields. In addition, some split summer programs allow for their summer associates to work in two different cities over the course of the summer.

Drawbacks to Splitting Your Summer:

While eight or ten weeks can sound like a long time, it will fly by. One potential drawback of a split summer could be that the student is spreading themselves too thin. It may be more difficult to gain all the benefits of the experience at a law firm or at a non-profit organization if the student only spends a short time at each. In addition, forming meaningful professional connections with employees at each place may be more difficult due to the shortened length of time. Additionally, some law firms will give summer associates the time off to work at a non-profit, but will not compensate the summer associate for this time. Finally, the non-profit law world is also becoming more competitive in terms of job placement after graduation. If a law student knows that this is the field that they ultimately want to go into, spending a full summer at an organization ultimately may be more beneficial.

The split summer is an interesting new trend definitely worth exploring. To further research specific split summer programs, visit PSJD’s resource guide.

Sources:

https://law.yale.edu/student-life/career-development/students/career-guides-advice/what-are-firm-sponsored-split-public-interest-summers

http://hls.harvard.edu/content/uploads/2008/06/pi-summers.pdf

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Fellow Field Trip! – USPTO

By: Delisa Morris, Esq., M.S.

Last week I, Delisa Morris, former PSJD Fellow, had the opportunity to visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for educational programming about the office, and its internship and job opportunities. The audience got to hear from six offices inside the USPTO: Office of the Chief Communications Officer (OCCO), Office of Equal Employment and Opportunity and Diversity (OEEOD), Trademarks, Office of Human Resources (HR), Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) / Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) and Patents. Each office representative shared a little about what she does day-to-day, the initiatives the office is pursuing, the type of jobs the office has and what hiring managers in each office look for in applicants.

The USPTO was listed as the Best Place to Work in Government in December 2013.  The agency is self-supported, which allows it to be insulated from government shutdowns.  Additionally, the USPTO allows for alternate work schedules and full-time work from home capabilities. Sounds like a great agency to start a career right?  It’s also a great place to work for the long haul!  Many of the presenters commented that they had been with the agency for decades.  They contribute their longevity with the USPTO on their ability to do ‘Details’ (a stint with another office or agency entirely for a period of time).  Some Details have lasted for years.

Below, I’ve pulled out a few key facts from what I learned about the USPTO.

Patents

  • There are 9,000 patent examiners (electrical, mechanical and physics)
  • 35 to 40% of the people who apply to become patent examiners receive full-time offers and 50% of those are JD holders
  • Fall externships are open now
  • There are opportunities to shadow employees on a case by case basis

OCCO

  • Always searching for strong writers
  • Accepting interns, but no full-time opportunities upcoming
  • Interns get ‘a run at the salad bar’
  • Hiring officials look favorably at applicants who were previously interns

OEEOD

  • Helps make USPTO diverse
  • 18 staff members (Directors are attorneys)
  • The formal team has three attorneys
  • The hiring manager is looking for:
    • Passion for EEO & Diversity and Inclusion
    • Prior education/internships in the area
    • work with affinity groups (i.e. NAACP)
    • solid writing skills
    • proven use of alternative dispute resolution skills
  • No internship program currently

Trademarks

  • Attorneys are the bulk of the workforce. 860 employees, 555 attorneys
  • 1,000 applicants per 50 jobs
  • The hiring manager is looking for:
    • Detail oriented and decisive
    • Works well independently, most of the time it will be just you and your computer
    • Soft skills: staying abreast of pop culture/current news, well rounded knowledge from art to sports to history
  • 80 attorneys telework across the USA and Puerto Rico
  • Legal internships (paid and unpaid) are available, and they are very competitive

HR

  • Wants the USPTO to be considered the Google of Government
  • Using storytelling to reach applicants starting with a new campaign #ChooseGov
  • 19% of recent grads are looking for government jobs, 74% of those seeking a government job are looking for work with the federal government
  • They understand the USAJobs is a tough system to work with, but working at the USPTO is wonderful and worth the application process
  • Veteran Hiring Program
    • Visit veteran recruitment fairs
    • Disabled veterans >30% are referred up to GS-15
    • Veterans with campaign medals are referred up to GS-11
    • Use the ‘Hire Vets’ mailbox to be matched before a position is broadcast to the public
      • Send an email to the veteran hiring coordinator and ask what’s available and if you qualify
      • Go through Recruit Military or Hiring Out Heroes

OCE/OPIA

  • A 2010 startup
  • Works on European trademarks, economic & legal literature updates
  • Trademark registration is a leading indicator of economic ups and downs (The base of IP is econ)
  • Hiring manager is looking for:
    • PhD’s
    • Open to different communication styles
    • Team oriented
  • Office has unpaid externs that work on specific programming projects

Bonus: The cafeteria at the USPTO is amazing! I had a delicious made-to-order salad from the manifold of food stations including a pop-up BBQ.

Thank you Tanaga Boozer for giving us an inside look at your great agency!

 

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