Archive for Events and Announcements

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.


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:

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


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 Good luck!


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 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

Please register HERE.


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!


*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.”


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!


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.


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


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 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.


2016 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award Winner & Merit Distinction Recipients Announced!

We are very pleased to announce the 2016 Pro Bono Publico Award Winner: Gabrielle Lucero.  This year we selected 10 finalists and chose a winner from the largest pool of candidates we’ve had in recent memory.  We’ve also selected two Merit Distinction recipients.  All three will be guest bloggers for the PSJD Blog.

In addition, we will be presenting Gabrielle with her award (and her $1,000) at Duke University School of Law in Durham, NC.  I look forward to meeting her, her family, and all those who helped her advance the work of the Veteran’s Assistance Project and Coalition Against Gendered Violence.

Here is the full announcement, with all the great finalists.  We are so grateful to them for their incredible work!!!

22nd Annual PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award

This prestigious award honors one law student nationwide for their pro bono contributions to society, and recognizes the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, the public interest community, and legal education through public service work.


Gabrielle Lucero

Duke University School of Law


Gabrielle is dedicated to helping her community directly and by creating infrastructures that will continue to serve clients after she graduates. First, recognizing a need to assist veterans and changes Legal Aid was undergoing in its work with veterans, Gabrielle took up the leadership of the Veterans Assistance Project (VAP). Along with a Legal Aid attorney, she established a structure for students to more easily and regularly complete the needed work. She created documents to be used and replicated, quick references for students on each step of the process, and established connections with local practioners to ensure continuity of service. She identified Military Sexual Trauma (MST) cases as a particular need, and developed a network and training materials to handle these cases. Gabrielle did all this, while volunteering herself assisting clients.  Because of her good work, she was hand-picked to take on the first MST case. These cases can present some of the most difficult advocacy issues, both because this area is comparatively new and because of the sensitive subject matter.  Not only was Gabrielle successful on behalf of her client, but she produced research and connections with a physician that specializes in MST care that will enable many more successes. Thinking longer term, Gabrielle created connections with UNC School of Law and NC Central University School of Law to broaden the scope of the project’s impact.

Additionally, Gabrielle took over the recently inactive student group Coalition Against Gendered Violence (CAGV), and focused in on two major components. Gabrielle created a pro bono project with the NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault, volunteering to provide assistance to college campus victims of sexual assault during the university adjudication hearings. The second prong of the Coalition’s work is addressing the needs of victims and survivors who are part of the Duke Law community.  Gabrielle’s hard work and dedication were instrumental in creating pro bono opportunities and community assistance that will long outlast her time at the law school.  As her nominator stated, “[w]ithout her focused efforts to work with Legal Aid and redesign our VAP program or to redesign our CAGV, we would likely have lost both projects.”

Gabrielle summed up her dedication best. “When people ask me why I am so involved in the community and put so much of my time towards service, it is an easy answer: people. While I have a busy schedule of two graduate degrees, Army ROTC, and a number of school and community activities, it never feels overwhelming because of the people.”


Derek Mergele

Texas Tech University School of Law


Derek is committed to solving LGBT issues.  As a 2L, he became president of Lavender Law, and used this platform to create an environment where students, faculty, lecturers and the community come together to discuss and advance the LGBT community.  His most significant contribution began with listening to the needs of this population. Since March, Derek has been working to establish a Gender Marker and Name Change Clinic at the law school. During his 2L year, members of the University’s Gay Straight Alliance approached Derek regarding several transgender student who needed help changing their identification documents. Derek was moved to create a service for his community that would help transgender individuals change their identification documents to match their gender identities. The Gender Marker Clinic was born, and in May had its first successful gender marker change. Derek is not only part of this community, but he is part of creating positive change for those around him.

One of Derek’s recommenders aptly summed him up this way: “In addition to a passion for service, Derek has true courage. He continually speaks out for the voiceless and champions the rights of the vulnerable. He never compromises his principles, but works to ensure that all individuals involved in a situation are heard and respected.”

Lilah Thompson

Temple University Beasley School of Law


The highlight of Lilah’s career at Temple Law was her creation, single-handedly, of a participatory workshop that simulates life as a refugee.  This community education event, called Between Borders: A Refugee Simulation, was held in March. Lilah, who recruited twenty-four volunteers to run the project under her direction, sought to change the narrative about how we view “the other.” Between Borders depicted five stages of the refugee experience: persecution, fleeing to and living in a refugee camp, the resettlement process, life in the Unites States, and becoming a U.S. citizen. Nearly sixty participants placed themselves in “the shoes of a refugee” in order to gain understanding of the refugee experience.  In the discussions afterward, many people were already beginning to talk about creative solutions to the problem of stigmatization, and explore other ways they could provide help to their refugee community.

One of Lilah’s collaborators explained the impact this way: “This exceptionally comprehensive, thorough, and impactful program was a feat of organization. Given the state of public discourse around refugees, it was also a crucial intervention both for participants and for other Philadelphia residents who learned about the simulation from news coverage. Lilah worked tirelessly to ensure that every detail of the simulation was as compelling and accurate as possible, and succeeded at creating a model workshop.”


Sahar MoazamiFordham University School of Law

In just two years devoted more than 1,000 hours to volunteering and creating pro bono opportunities for others.

Nadia Anguiano-Wehde, University of Minnesota Law School

Developed an alternate spring break trip to Texas to the Dilley family detention center.

Sean Brucker, Maurice A. Dean School of Law at Hofstra University 

Served the Korean American community through grassroots organizing, education and advocacy that addresses immigration policies.

John BruningUniversity of Minnesota Law School

Created an alternate spring break trip to the Dilley family detention center and launched the Law School’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Tristen Edwards, New York University School of Law

Worked tirelessly to combat systems of excessive punishments and to seek alternatives.

Michael Ludvik, Texas Tech University School of Law

Worked with veterans, children, and the homeless, and creating and implementing Paul’s Project.

Monica Valencia, University of San Francisco School of Law

Assisted the immigrant community, especially through her volunteer project with Justice Now.


October Pro Bono Events! *Updated 10/25*

Hi everyone, this post will be continuously updated as I receive more information about how law schools are celebrating and highlighting pro bono work throughout the month of October.


Image courtesy of Pace Law School flickr

Pace Law School

  • PILC Bagel Breakfast Table – Monday, October 24th from 10:30 – 11:30 AM Outside the Caf.

“Stop by to get a bagel and pick up some information on year-round Pro Bono training and opportunities, and the NYS 50-Hour Rule. We’ll be on-hand to answer your 50-hour rule questions!”




Image Courtesy of University at Buffalo School of Law Facebook

Image Courtesy of University at Buffalo School of Law Facebook

University at Buffalo School of Law

  • Pro Bono Table Days – Tuesday, October 25th and Wednesday, October 26th; 11 AM – 3 PM O’Brian Lobby

“Need a summer job?

Thinking about an externship next semester?

Graduating and need pro bono hours?

In recognition of the National Celebration of Pro Bono, come meet employers from public interest organizations from around the WNY region. Most of these volunteer opportunities qualify for externships (for credit) during the academic year or for BPILP’s funding during the summer; and fulfill the 50-hour pro bono requirement for admission to the bar in NYS.”

photo courtesy of Capital University Law School Facebook

Image courtesy of Capital University Law School Facebook

Capital University Law School

  • Food Drive to Benefit M.A.S.H. Pantry – All week, October 23rd – 29th

“The Military and Service Heroes Pantry is a Non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable food pantry serving Veterans, Armed Forces, their families and survivors of the Columbus Metropolitan area. Place your donations in the blue bins located in the Commons and in the back lobby.”

  • Giving Back in the Real World – Fulfilling Your Ethical Obligation of Pro Bono Service – Wednesday, October 26th, 12 – 1 PM, Room A121

“Pack your lunch and join us for an informative an important panel discussion made up of Capital law Alumni.”

Register by emailing

  • Low Income Wills Clinic for Veterans – Wednesday, October 26th, 4 – 5 PM Mandatory Training Room A122; 5:30 – 7:30 PM Wills Clinic Huntington Commons

“Join us for a Low Income Wills Clinic for Veterans. There will be limited spots available, so please sign up soon. You will be matched with an attorney to help veterans complete essential estate planning documents. NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NECESSARY- 1Ls MAY PARTICIPATE!

NOTE: If you are unable to make the clinic but still want to get involved in helping our veterans, we will be having an Advance Directives Workshop on Monday October 26th from 6:00 PM- 7:00 PM in Room A122.  You will learn how to complete Living Wills and Healthcare Power of Attorneys by Marcia Palof of Legal Aid, and you will actually get to prepare the documents afterwards in advance of the clinic on Wednesday night! This is a great opportunity for experiential learning at its finest.”

Register by emailing and indicate if you’re registering for the workshop OR the clinic.

  • Representing Servicemembers: Understanding Their Service is Essential to Understanding Their Case – Friday, October 28th, 12 – 1 PM Room A121/122, Lunch will be provided.

“Join us for a Military Focused CLE!” Speaker: Michael D. McCarthy Executive Director, Operation Legal Help Ohio

Register by emailing

Boston College Law School


Image courtesy of Boston College Law Instagram

  • Public Interest Designation & Pro Bono Nuts and Bolts – Thursday, October 13th, 12 – 1 PM

“Join us to learn about the Public Interest Designation Program and Pro Bono Program at BC Law. What are these programs? How do you participate in them? What requirements must you complete before graduation? 1Ls, 2Ls and 3Ls, all your questions will be answered at this program!”

  • Pro Bono Fair – Thursday, October 13th, 3 – 5 PM

“Come meet local pro bono organizations, learn about upcoming opportunities, sign the BC Law pro bono pledge and learn how to log your pro bono hours!”


Elon University School of Law

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

  • Ask-a-Lawyer – Saturday, October 22nd, 10 AM – 1 PM

“The Elon Law Pro Bono Board and the Alamance County Bar Association are co-sponsoring an Ask-a-Lawyer Day event at the Ebenezer Center, 734 Apple Street, in Burlington. Members of the community will be able to walk in and receive free legal advice from a volunteer attorney about any legal issue except immigration matters. Volunteer attorneys will be assisted by law students during the event.”

  • Immigration Law Panel: “The Need for Pro Bono Asylum Assistance in North Carolina” – Monday, October 24th,

“Professor Heather Scavone, Director of Elon Law’s Humanitarian & Immigration Law Clinic, will moderate a panel with Elizabeth Collins of United Guaranty and Jessica Yanez, an Elon Law alum with Yanez Immigration Law here in Greensboro. The discussion will focus on how pro bono assistance could increase the number of asylum cases that can be handled by NC attorneys, and how law students might be able to participate, especially through research in support of country conditions reports.”

  • Law Panel: “From Pro Bono to Public Interest” – Tuesday, October 25,

“[C]omprised of public interest attorneys (one from legal Aid’s Greensboro office, one from the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and one from the Guilford County Public Defender’s office) who will discuss their decisions to work in public interest and the need for pro bono support from students and other lawyers.

  • Food Truck Fundraiser – TBD

More information to follow.



*Guest Post* Equal Justice Works Student Rep. Program

Below is a message from previous PSJD Fellow Ashley Matthews:

Image courtesy of Equal Justice Works

Image courtesy of Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to mobilizing the next generation of public interest lawyers, just launched the 2016-17 Student Representative program!

Open to second-semester 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls at Equal Justice Works member law schools, the Student Representative Program will help law students gain public interest law leadership experience while spreading the word about public interest law and Equal Justice Works on their campus.

Equal Justice Works Student Representatives are future public interest attorneys who want to support public interest law initiatives on their campus. They are the leadership division of Equal Justice Works’ JDs for Justice Network, and get the chance to connect directly with Equal Justice Works and our Fellows while assisting like-minded law school colleagues in having their voices heard.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, please tell them to apply ASAP! Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but preferred applicants will be selected by October 14th. For more info, please email us at or visit our Student Justice Center.