Archive for News and Developments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – December 8, 2017

Sam Halpert, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives

Hello there, interested public! I’m writing to you live from this year’s annual NLADA Conference; expect to hear more about that in next week’s digest. This week, most stories sound in student loans, with news concerning virtually every aspect of the educational finance system. Also, be sure to read all the way to the end for big news out of Canada concerning civil access to justice.

Until next week,

Student Loans

Disaster Legal Aid

Access to Justice – Criminal

Access to Justice – Civil

Music Bonus!

Something cinematic, I think:<//a>


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – December 1, 2017

Sam Halpert, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives

Hello there, interested public! Hope you all enjoyed Thanksgiving. Recent news concerning our community involves a few themes, including strategic disputes when considering court reforms (cash bail and right to council in eviction cases, in California), concerns about the Sixth Amendment (in South Carolina and California, again), and the role of technology in access to justice (in Ontario and among law schools).

Welcome to December,

Student Loans


Access to Justice – Criminal

Access to Justice – Civil


Music Bonus!

All that, and a trombone:


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – September 29, 2017

Sam Halpert, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives

Editor’s Pick: “As Dust Settles, Law School Rises
(UVA Law Responds to Charlottesville)

Okay folks. If you only read one article in the digest this week, make it this one. It’s packed with both personal and professional perspectives from those students, faculty, and administrators most publicly and painfully tested by the civic challenges confronting our campuses.

In other protest-related news:


Student Loans & Consumer Law

Civil Access to Justice

First, the news from Canada:

And now, the United States:

Criminal Justice

Music Bonus!

If you’re still searching for your groove this year, you might try this one:


PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award Finalists Announced!


This past week the PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award Committee made some tough decisions regarding which of the many exemplary nominees would advance as finalists. These choices were difficult to say the least, as the pool of applicants was particularly talented this year. The committee is proud to announce that the following finalists:

Congratulations to every law student who was nominated by their school. The applicant pool was full of talented nominees doing meaningful public interest work within their communities. The committee greatly enjoys being tasked with the opportunity to learn about the exciting Pro Bono work these exceptional students are doing all across North America. We look forward to announcing the Pro Bono Publico Award winner and the merit distinctions at the 2017 NALP PSJD Public Service Mini-Conference.


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.


“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.



A message from NLADA regarding LSC funding.

As many of you know, the Trump administration’s proposed budget called for completely eliminating funding for LSC. Congress has the final say on appropriations, and it appears that at least some in Congress are in favor of a reduction in LSC funding. Below is a message from the National Legal Aid & Defender Association regarding Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funding for FY’18, and how you can act to tell Congress any reduction in LSC funding is a mistake.

From the National Legal Aid & Defender Association:

As you may know, the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies last week approved a spending package that would cut funding for Legal Services Corporation (LSC) grantees by 24 percent. This would impose unacceptable budget cuts that would force grantees to severely curtail services and potentially even close offices. At the same time, the White House and some in Congress appear to remain committed to eliminating LSC.

That is why I wanted to let you know about, which provides information, fact sheets, and talking points about LSC and civil legal aid, which you may find useful for your own advocacy. The key purpose of the site however, is to give individuals a quick and simple way to contact their own elected officials to advocate for LSC.

With so many competing spending priorities facing Congress, it is vital that we demonstrate the depth of support for LSC that exists within members’ own constituencies. I would like to ask that you help achieve this by using the site and sharing it broadly throughout your networks. This effort will be most effective if it includes a cross section of stakeholder groups, particularly: (1) clients and former clients, (2) public interest advocates who work with populations that routinely experience civil legal needs, (3) private and corporate lawyers, particularly those that have experience working with legal services programs pro bono, and (4) law students and law school faculty.

Please note: if you receive LSC funds, you are prohibited from using this site for grassroots lobbying. However, the site does include other resources and updates you might find useful.

The national response to the White House recommendation to eliminate LSC has been deeply impactful, and with appropriations bills currently being drafted and considered in Congress, now is the time to elevate the voice of communities and constituents in a more coordinated way. Where permitted, please link to the site in your upcoming communications, and start a conversation using #ActOnJustice on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for helping to make sure that LSC continues to be protected, and that the clients of its grantees continue to receive access to justice.


DAVID MILLERManager, Policy Initiatives  |  |  (202) 452-0620 ext: 244

1901 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Suite 500, Washington DC 20006




A word of caution from our friends at Ayuda regarding ICE impersonators.

The notice below applies to the DC metro area, but please be aware, it could be happening in your areas as well.  Please be cautious and know your rights.  If you have a concern, there are pro bono attorneys available to assist you. You can find them through your state bar volunteer lawyers program, local legal aid, OneJustice’s Immigration Pro Bono Response Network,, and others.

Message from Ayuda:

Good afternoon,

We’re very concerned about a potential uptick in ICE impersonators in the DC metro area.

Advocates have reported several fake search/arrest warrants distributed to at least three DC residences. The victims were not extorted, and we’re unclear of the motives behind these fake warrants. You can refer any additional victims of ICE impostors to Maya Del Pilar Zegarra and me at Ayuda at 202-552-3604 or to We are in touch with local law enforcement in DC to encourage them to investigate this matter.

In addition, as you may have seen, a Maryland resident was arrested in February for posing as an ICE officer. Law enforcement reportedly seized ten weapons, a police badge, body armor, etc. from his Gaithersburg home and allege that he impersonated ICE while “patrolling” Falls Church, VA.

We encourage you to spread these warnings to your clients and community.
1. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will never ask for payment over the phone nor in person as a bribe, or to expedite your application, or to extract special favors from the government.
2. ICE agents are prohibited from entering a home without a warrant signed by a judge. If they have an order, you can ask them to pass it under the door.


Anne Schaufele
Ayuda Project END Coordinator & Immigration Staff Attorney
202.552.3604 office |


Students Taking Action: UCLA Law

 University of California Los Angeles students have launched a group “UCLA Law Students Against Deportation” to help detained foreign nationals at Los Angeles International Airport.  With over 175 law students, the group has translated documents about refugee and detainee rights into Arabic or Farsi, gathered food and water for onsite attorneys, and compiled a list of potential translators.
Students are also working closely with the ACLU and students from other Southern California law schools.  The students have prepared flyers and supported the work of attorneys from the ACLU and Public Counsel.  Some UCLA Law students, with knowledge of immigration law, have been working full-time at the ACLU in Los Angeles.
Read the full-story about these great students here on the University of California website.