Archive for Faculty/Staff Pro Bono

“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?


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.



Volunteer Opportunity!

Seeking Volunteer Attorney/Law Student for Fridays

National Veterans Legal Services Program

Lawyers Serving Warriors® Pro Bono Program


The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) has worked since 1980 to ensure that our nation’s 25 million veterans and active duty personnel receive the government benefits to which they are entitled. NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® (LSW) Pro Bono Program assists veterans with disability claims including challenges to VA denials of service-connection for PTSD due to military sexual trauma, applications for combat related special compensation, requests for medical retirement, discharge upgrades, and claims before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.


NVLSP seeks an attorney or law student volunteer to assist the LSW program in our DC office on Fridays. The volunteer will work closely with LSW attorneys to monitor case developments and ensure client readiness for representation. The position will involve extensive contact with Veteran clients and pro bono lawyers and will provide an introduction to the fundamentals of military disability law.  The position is available immediately and can continue into the fall.


To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and 2 references to Rochelle Bobroff, Director of Pro Bono Program at NVLSP,


Faculty/Staff Pro Bono Spotlight – June 28, 2016

Volunteer LogoEvery week, we honor an exceptional faculty/staff member who is making significant contributions to under-served populations, the public interest community, and/or legal education.

Today, we’re featuring an outstanding faculty member from the Gonzaga University School of Law, dedicated to providing pro bono mediation services.


Megan Ballard

Who: Megan J. Ballard, Professor of Law at Gonzaga University School of Law

Where: Gonzaga University School of Law partnered with Refugee Connections Spokane and the Community Colleges of Spokane to host a workshop, ‘American Law & Justice for Refugees and Immigrants’ on March 9, 2016 at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington.

What:  Professor Ballard took the lead in coordinating a half-day workshop on American Law and Justice for Refugees and Immigrants, held March 9, 2016.  This collaborative workshop helped refugees and immigrants overcome barriers to justice by providing participants information about their legal rights and responsibilities, and offering a positive view of legal actors, in 11 languages other than English.

The workshop served approximately 160 refugees and immigrants, representing more than 15 different languages.  Community Colleges of Spokane provided interpreters for the largest 11 language groups.  Most of the substantive instruction (including the criminal justice system, domestic violence, discrimination, police stops, and children) was carried out in small, language-based groups facilitated by 26 volunteers comprised of lawyers, judges, law professors, and law students and staffed by interpreters.  In addition, Washington State Supreme Court Justice Mary Yu addressed the entire group, explaining constitutional rights and the rule of law, and providing each participant with a pocket-sized U.S. Constitution.  Spokane Police Sergeant Dan Waters visited each of the small groups and gave everyone an emergency language card to facilitate communication between police and English language learners.  From Gonzaga Law School, 7 students helped facilitate the small groups, plus 6 additional students volunteered during the workshop and with earlier preparation; 7 faculty and JD staff also helped to facilitate small-group instruction and assisted with preparation and execution of the event; and at least 14 staff lent assistance before, during and after the workshop.  Collaborating organizations – Community Colleges of Spokane and Refugee Connections Spokane – also provided volunteers.

During a half-hour refreshment break, eight service providers and others staffed tables to provide information to participants.  Each organization provided various printed resources at their table, some of which were translated into different languages.  The organizations providing information, in addition to Refugee Connections Spokane were: Spokane County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Program, Catholic Charities, Northwest Justice Project, TeamChild, Northwest Fair Housing, Washington State Minority and Justice Commission, Washington State Interpreter Commission, Spokane Police Department, and the Washington Defenders Association.

On her work: Professor Ballard underscored the importance of this event: “Not only does this workshop help to welcome refugees and immigrants, but it introduces the broader Spokane legal community to a population and their legal needs that is otherwise somewhat hidden.


Faculty/Staff Pro Bono Spotlight – June 21, 2016

Volunteer Logo

Every week, we honor an exceptional faculty/staff member who is making significant contributions to under-served populations, the public interest community, and/or legal education.

Today, we’re featuring an outstanding faculty member from the Texas Tech University School of Law, dedicated to providing pro bono mediation services.

Blankley - Professor

Who: Professor Gerry W. Beyer (Governor Preston E. Smith Regents Professor of Law)

Where: Partnership with Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas in Lubbock, Texas

What: Pro Bono Wills Clinic. Since the incorporation of a formal pro bono program at Texas Tech School of Law in 2014, Professor Beyer has been an integral part of the Pro Bono Wills Clinic.  Over the past two years, approximately 70 law student volunteers have helped draft wills and assist with the execution of advanced directives and powers of attorney for low-income Lubbock-area clients under the supervision of licensed volunteer attorneys.  As part of the program, Professor Beyer has shared his nationally recognized wealth of expertise in estate planning in a condensed one hour “Nuts & Bolts” training for both students and licensed attorneys.  Licensed attorneys are able to earn CLE credit for attending the presentation.  In addition to teaching the crash course, Professor Beyer attends the two-part clinic, providing overall assistance and mentoring to students and practitioners.  He is always standing by to accept a more complex case himself, assisting a needy client and providing valuable mentorship to an eager student.

On his work: “Providing estate planning services to economically-challenged individuals is of vital importance, perhaps even more so than for those in better financial situations.  Participating students gain a genuine appreciation of how an estate plan can reduce and even prevent family squabbles about property distribution and who will serve as guardians for the client’s minor children. The students also learn how other documents clarify who can manage the client’s property and make health care decisions when the client is unable to do so.”

“The volunteer students and their supervising attorneys did a stellar job in drafting and supervising the execution of the clients’ estate planning documents.  In addition, other students partnered with me to handle cases for several legal aid clients who needed probate services. I was extremely impressed with the skill and professionalism of these students sometimes making me wonder whether they were already licensed!”


Introducing New Blog Series: Faculty/Staff Pro Bono Spotlight

Volunteer Logo

We are excited to introduce a new blog series: Faculty/Staff Pro Bono Spotlight! Every week, we will be honoring an exceptional faculty/staff member who is making significant contributions to under-served populations, the public interest community, and/or legal education.

Today, we’re featuring an outstanding faculty member from the University of Nebraska, College of Law, dedicated to providing pro bono mediation services.

Blankley - Professor

Who: Professor Kristen Blankley, University of Nebraska College of Law

Where: The Meditation Center – Lincoln, NE

What: Professor Blankley has an extensive relationship with The Mediation Center, a non-profit mediation service provider in Lincoln, NE. She sits on the Board of Directors, works as a pro bono mediator, and helps the Center with their educational opportunities for mediators. Professor Blankley serves as a mediator in family, small claims, and other community cases. She has also donated time as a facilitator working with large groups, including the Nebraska Legislature and public sector workplaces.

On her work: “I love working with The Mediation Center. I am able to practice what I teach as well as influence policy and best practices.