Archive for Events and Announcements

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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ATJ Tech Fellows Launch Event

by Delisa Morris

“Tell me if what you see is justice”, exclaimed James Sandman, President of the Legal Services Corporation, and keynote at the ATJ Tech Fellows Launch, referring to self-represented tenants at landlord/tenant court in D.C.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the ATJ (Access to Justice) Tech Fellows launch reception.  It was great to learn about the new program, out of Seattle University College of Law, from its Program Director Miguel Willis (who’s a 3L at the institution).  The event held at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center (Microsoft is an ATJ Tech Fellows sponsor), was the official launch of the program.  The first fellows are set to embark on their roles this summer across the country.

From the website:

“The Access to Justice Technology Fellowship Program (ATJ Tech Fellows) is an exciting new fellowship program that provides law students a unique opportunity to participate in a 10-week summer experience, working with legal services organizations to assist in developing new models of user-friendly, accessible, and engaging legal services through the use of technology. These fellowship placements educate students about the changing landscape in service delivery and empower future lawyers with the skills and technological competencies to address the complex issues that plague our justice system.

Through our summer fellowship program, we will provide diverse, stimulating experiential and educational opportunities for law students throughout the nation. Our goal is to increase law students’ understanding of the current problems that prevent individuals from receiving legal services and cultivate in law students the skills and technological competencies to one day change our current model and make justice accessible for all.

We believe the legal profession and the clients they serve will benefit as a whole if law students are utilized in a meaningful way through exposure to 21st century skills and practical experience by working with technology tools that are expanding legal access and improving the delivery of legal services.”

The first cohort of eight fellows come from law schools across the country.  They will work with legal services organizations in many different states.  We’re excited here at PSJD for the success of this great fellowship program.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the details of the fellowship, you can on PSJD. (Fellowships never expire on PSJD.org.)

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Newer Professionals’ Forum Debrief

 

The NALP Newer Professionals’ Forum (NPF), is a two and a half-day conference focused on the development of newer legal recruitment and career services professionals.  It is a mega networking and education event.  I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 NPF in Houston, TX.  I had a wonderful time, learned a lot, and had the opportunity to meet new colleagues and fill my networking spreadsheet.  By the way, if you aren’t using the Networking Contacts Spreadsheet available on PSJD, you’re really missing out.

NPF took place March 2-5 in Houston.

The first night attendees got a brief introduction to NALP and a conference overview.  The plenary was followed by a networking reception, where I had the opportunity to speak with members from across the country, who were both legal recruiting professionals and law school career advisers.  Somehow, I managed to run into almost all of the attending mid-westerners during the networking event.  Since I am a Chicago native, we had a lot to chat about.  After networking, we split up and went to dinner in separate locations where I had the opportunity to connect with several recruiting professionals from law firms with offices in the Washington, D.C. area.

The second day was all about learning.  For breakfast there were faculty leaders at separate tables facilitating open discussions around various legal topics.  Afterward, I attended sessions around management foundations, how career counselors can build relationships with employers and finally a plenary session on recruiting ethics.  By the end of the day Saturday, I only had three of my business cards left.  I’m an introvert, so I was very impressed with myself.

On Sunday, there was a session on the recruiting numbers, which was extremely eye opening.  There have been several calls and initiatives to improve diversity in the legal profession, but the numbers do not show many changes, especially at the partnership and senior associate level.  Even looking around the room at the NPF attendees, they were overwhelmingly women.  Work-life balance was one of the top advantages cited in the Emerging Legal Careers session for why people pursue JD advantage positions.

Attending NPF was a great experience, and I strongly recommend it for all career counselors, law firm recruiters, and subsequent PSJD Fellows.

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Pro Bono Publico Award Ceremony Photos

Last Thursday, February 24th, Director of Public Service Initiatives and Fellowships, Christina Jackson, visited Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina to award Gabrielle “Gabs” Lucero the 2016-17 Pro Bono Publico Award.  You can see a few pictures from the event below. Don’t forget to check out the Pro Bono Publico award winner and merit distinction recipients blog posts each Friday on PSJD for the next three weeks.

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The First Annual Low Bono Law Conference

Below is an invitation from our friends at the Washington State Bar Association’s Low Bono Section. Together with Seattle University School of Law (and its Low Bono Incubator Program), the Low Bono Section is hosting their first annual full-day conference for low bono practitioners in Seattle, at which they will be exploring practical issues faced everyday in low bono practice. This is a great opportunity for law students and newly minted lawyers to learn about low bono.  A live webcast feed will be available if you are not in the Seattle area.  What an amazing program at a very opportune time.

 

Presented by WSBA Low Bono Section and Seattle University School of Law CLE

The Money Barrier: 1st Annual Low Bono Law Conference
Seattle University School of Law, Friday, February 24, 2017

Many people are “priced out” of the justice system, with incomes too high to qualify for legal aid, but too low to afford an attorney. Can the legal profession do anything about this justice gap? Absolutely! We can, we are, and you can do it, too.

Join us for this full-day conference on how to run a flourishing law practice that includes an intentional commitment to serving clients with limited financial resources. We’ll discuss what low bono is (spoiler alert: it’s more than just cutting operating costs and discounting your rates or fees) and hear specifically how some lawyers are incorporating low bono principles into their work. We’ll address real-life challenges that arise when clients face financial barriers to full participation in the justice system and share some specific solutions to addressing those challenges.

Lunch is included during our Beyond Networking lunchtime breakout session. The opportunities to build meaningful professional relationships will continue at our Post-CLE Social (appetizers sponsored by the Seattle University School of Law Center for Professional Development).

Register or learn more about this full-day CLE here: http://law.seattleu.edu/continuing-legal-education/upcoming-programs/1st-annual-low-bono-conference

Lawyers from all practice areas and all firm sizes are welcome. Limited license legal technicians, law students, and non-lawyers are encouraged to join us as well.

A Live Webcast option is now available!

Contact Low Bono Section Education Committee Chair, Veronica Smith-Casem, with questions: 425-243-9341 or veronica@smithcasemlaw.com

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Guest Blog Post – Equal Justice Works Public Interest Law Awards!

The Equal Justice Works Public Interest Law Awards are now open!

These awards are presented annually to eight law students at Equal Justice Works member schools who have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and pro bono work. The Awards seek to identify and honor law students who have provided extraordinary service through clinics, volunteer work, internships, extracurricular projects, and more.

 

The deadline to apply for an Equal Justice Works Public Interest Law Award is March 10, 2017Click here to apply now!

 

Please forward all questions to Equal Justice Works at students@equaljusticeworks.org. Good luck!

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Activism Networking and Organizing Event at UDC

 Activism for All Ages

A Networking and Organizing Event

On January 14, beginning at 10:30 am, in cooperation with local activist attorney Judy Kosovich and Jim Turner, UDC-DCSL will host a networking and, we hope, an organizing extravaganza.  What happens will be the result of the choices of those who attend!  We will hold similar events from time to time to expand the program and to learn from its successes and failures but no training or administrative functions are planned other than what is described below.

If you plan to attend, please register HERE.

The event will have 2 keynote speakers. Jim Turner will give a talk on insights he has gleaned from his years as an activist attorney.  Professor Edgar Cahn, co-founder of the Antioch School of Law (now UDC-DCSL!) and www.TimeBanks.org will also speak about bringing ideas to fuition. Their talks will be about 15 minutes each.

Then we may split into subgroups, depending on the number of participants, and those who have expressed an interest in speaking so will do so for several minutes each for a total of an hour.  We will then have an hour to exchange contact information.  If it is not possible to meet everyone you would like to meet, but we will facilitate additional networking.  People will have an opportunity to summarize their interests and needs and this will be made available.

To speak at this event, please provide a summary of what you would like to say (which will be used in the networking lists we will prepare), as well as contact information and anything relevant to your desires.  Please send this information to Judy Kosovich at judy.kosovich@gmail.com.

Please register HERE.

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Skadden Fellowship: Class of 2017 announced.

The Skadden Foundation has announced its Class of 2017 Fellows. This year there are 30 Fellows, the largest class since 2008. This year’s class hail from 15 law schools and will begin their projects next year. Seven schools had multiple fellowship awardees; Yale (6); Harvard (5); UCLA (3); NYU (2); Stanford (2); CUNY (2); and U Penn (2). Fellows come from the other following schools: University of Michigan, Michigan State, UC Berkeley, Northwestern, Georgetown, George Washington, Duke and Seattle University. For the first time, a Skadden Fellowship has been awarded to a Seattle University School of Law student, who will work on behalf of former justice-involved individuals and is herself formerly incarcerated. The Fellows will work in 11 states, focusing on issues ranging from equitable public education for immigrant youth and their parents in California to direct representation for youth in the delinquency system in Massachusetts.

For comparison’s sake, here’s how previous Skadden Fellowship classes have looked:

2016: 28 Fellows from 15 law schools;
2015: 28 Fellows from 16 law schools;
2014: 28 Fellows from 16 law schools;
2013: 28 Fellows from 16 law schools;
2012: 28 Fellows from 16 law schools;
2011: 29 Fellows from 21 law schools;
2010: 27 Fellows from 20 law schools.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017! We are very excited to welcome you to the ranks of public interest lawyers!

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*Guest Blog* Liz Schultz Debriefs on the EJW Conference & Career Fair

Liz Schultz

Liz Schultz

Last Friday, I attended the Equal Justice Works (EJW) Conference & Career Fair for the first time. To be honest, I primarily went to hear Justice Kagan speak. As Co-Chairs of the EJW National Advisory Committee, Jojo Choi and I also helped out with some behind-the-scenes work. However, I was so blown away by all the amazing experiences I had while I was there, I will definitely return next year! 

As a 2L, hearing Justice Kagan speak was truly moving. I teared up hearing her talk about Justice Thurgood Marshall. She recounted that being Solicitor General was his favorite job because he loved to say “I’m Thurgood Marshall and I represent the United States of America.” (I even teared up typing that—law school has fanned an unexpected patriotic wildfire in me!) She kept the whole room laughing for the entire hour. After explaining that one of her duties as the junior justice is to serve on the cafeteria committee, she admitted that her successful advocacy for the clerks’ desired dessert earned her the nickname “the frozen yogurt Justice.”

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I also had the opportunity to see Ralph Nader speak about access to justice. Afterward, he stayed for over an hour to sign books and meet people. As he wrapped up I got to chat with him for 10 minutes or so along with a few other nearby law students. (Just a typical Friday, right? I wish!) I told him about the “unreasonably nerdy law student field trip” my fellow interns and I undertook this summer from Philadelphia to multiple sites of famous cases we studied during 1L, which culminated in a trip to Mr. Nader’s American Museum of Tort Law. I also found out he not only knows of the small plaintiff firm I will work for this upcoming summer but thinks one of them is “a legend.” He even asked for my business card!

liz-and-nader

I got to hang with some other amazing folks as well, who are not quite as far along in their careers. I met Zaire Selden, a 1L evening student in DC. We bonded over our shared passions for racial justice, got lunch, and then ran into Mr. Nader for that 10-minute chat (after which he gave Zaire a signed copy of his book). At the Student Networking Reception I met Shana Emile, a 3L in LA. We bonded over our shared passion about the School-to-Prison Pipeline. I also had the chance to hear about her summer internship with the Southern Poverty Law Center and tell her about my work advocating for Philadelphia children in school disciplinary hearings with our law student volunteer group, School Discipline Advocacy Service.

 

It was so restorative to connect with Zaire, Shana, and other law students who are trying to forge new public interest opportunities at their law schools. I encouraged them to apply to be EJW law student reps, and maybe even to be on the National Advisory Committee. (Okay you caught me in a shameless plug…but seriously, these are two great opportunities for law students that also help connect people to EJW resources and supports, so, why not!) I got to chat with law school professionals too, like Ray English from Arizona State University Law and Norma D’Apolito from Yale. I met a Temple Law alum, Qudsiya Naqui, and we got to gush about shared professors and all things Temple. And I met Christina Jackson and Delisa Morris, who encouraged me to write this blog post! Networking with other social justice minded law students and professionals was truly empowering and encouraging. I even have a phone call scheduled for next week with another law student to discuss how to create new public interest opportunities at her law school across the country.

 

I was also able to lay more concrete groundwork for job opportunities at table talks. Though I did not have any prescheduled interviews, I got to sit down with attorneys from the DOJ, Defender Association, and Capital Habeas Unit. I also scoped out the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Brennan Center. There truly are opportunities for everyone with any inclination toward social justice; I left with many business cards and new contacts.

interview-room

There were great panels about social entrepreneurship, incubators, immigration, racial justice, debt, and more. We got to hear from successful attorneys like Lam Nguyen Ho about how they crafted opportunities to do their work. Listening to their stories enabled me to envision myself in their shoes one day soon.

 

My experience at the Equal Justice Works Career & Conference Fair is best summed up in this email I sent to someone the following day:

“Seriously, that was amazing. I’m in awe of how many awesome people I got to speak with doing such incredible work, and I am proud to just share the same space (or as Jojo said about Justice Kagan, breathe the same air!) as them.”

 

Justice Kagan said she is “a huge believer in serendipity…especially in legal careers.” Trust me when I say there are plenty of serendipitous moments at the CCF. With over 1000 students and 160 employers, how can there not be?

 

I hope to see you there next year!

 

Liz Schultz is a 2L at Temple Law. She can be reached at elizabeth.schultz@temple.edu

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Community Activism-Law Alliance (CALA) Celebrates Two Years of Community Impact in Chicago

Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA) – Uniting Lawyers and Community Activists to Bring Free Legal Services Back to Underserved Populations…

cala-pic

CALA recently celebrated its two-year anniversary with the “Two Years of Community Impact” event. The organization, located in Chicago, has collaborated with individuals to help their families stay together, fight violence, reunite across borders, and be empowered to help others. Within two-years CALA has impacted over 3500 people directly, and thousands more due to its support of community activism.

The organization’s staff of 10 has worked to unite lawyers and activists in the pursuit for justice. CALA leverages legal services to benefit marginalized individuals and communities. CALA takes a unique approach to legal services by operating within its target communities with partner organizations at free existing neighborhood spaces. CALA attorneys consistently balance individual cases and projects supporting CALA’s partners’ activism work .

Congratulations CALA on an excellent two years and many more to come.

Find out more about CALA’s work.

Check out CALA’s two-year anniversary E-Book.

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