by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships
Happy Friday everyone! I’m writing to you this week from Happy Valley. So excited to see a game at my alma mater. I know the semester is starting (starting?) to get hectic, but remember to take a minute or two to touch base with what recharges you. You can’t help others if you’ve got nothing in the tank.
And thank you all for sending in your 1L Orientation Service Projects. There are some great ideas out there to replicate at your school, and a wonderful pick me up when you see all the hard work being done!
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.
Here are the week’s headlines:
- Widener Law Veterans Law Clinic honored;
- Nova Scotia Legal Aid expands services for Halifax-area youths;
- Public Council expands litigation and lobbying efforts;
- TX veterans to receive funds for legal services;
- New program helps NM vets with legal assistance;
- Legal Aid of Western Missouri marks 50 years;
- Boston VLP receives grant for bankruptcy help;
- San Francisco Supervisors ok $2.1 mil in legal services funding for immigrant children;
- NYC agencies to provide legal services to migrant children;
- 3 lawyers win MacArthur Genius Award;
- 2014 recipients of Skirnick, Kaufman and One Day’s Work Fellowships for public service announced;
- Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Professional Development and Pro Bono staff of Georgetown University Law Center, Columbia University School of Law, and Rutgers Law School;
- Super Music Bonus!
September 10, 2014 – “The Widener University School of Law and its Veterans Law Clinic are being honored with a 2014 Delaware Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for community service” “The Veterans Law Clinic, based at Widener Law Delaware, provides free legal aid to disabled veterans and their dependents with claims pending before the Department of Veterans Affairs.” Congratulations!!! (delawareonline)
September 10, 2014 – “Young people who are not even in trouble with the law will soon be able to get help with issues involving school, housing and income assistance, police complaints, licence suspensions and Protection of Property Act matters through the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission in Halifax. ‘We know that when people turn to us for criminal or family law assistance there are often many other stressors contributing to those issues, which are sometimes just symptoms rather than problems that exist in a vacuum,’ Megan Longley, managing lawyer of Nova Scotia Legal Aid’s youth justice office, said in an email.” “No new money is going into the expanded services. The commission’s staff lawyers, who have already been informally providing these services to existing clients, will handle these cases on top of their regular workloads.” (Herald News)
September 10, 2014 – “The former legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California will lead an expansion of Public Counsel’s litigation and lobbying efforts across the country. Mark Rosenbaum, most recently chief counsel of the ACLU of Southern California, is now director of Public Counsel Opportunity Under Law, a new initiative at Los Angeles-based Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono organization.” “Hernán Vera, president and chief executive officer of Public Counsel, said the initiative expands on a program launched in 2009 to broaden the nonprofit’s reach.” (National Law Journal)(subscription required)
September 12, 2014 – “Legal aid services for indigent defendants in Texas are receiving a boost from the Texas Access to Justice Foundation. The nonprofit has announced grants of $426,000 to 11 organizations, including one in San Antonio, to help fund services specifically for Texas veterans.” Organizations receiving funds are Baylor University School of Law, Waco; Cathedral Justice Project, Houston; Community Justice Program, San Antonio; Fort Bend Lawyers Care, Richmond; Houston Bar Foundation, Houston and surrounding area; Jefferson County Bar Foundation, Beaumont; Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Fort Worth (also includes Dallas, North Texas, Panhandle, and West Texas); Lone Star Legal Aid, Houston (includes Gulf Coast and East Texas); Oficina Legal del Pueblo Unido, Inc. (Texas Civil Rights Project), statewide; Tarrant County Bar Foundation, Fort Worth; Texas Legal Services Center, Austin (statewide). (San Antonio Business Journal)
September 14, 2014 – “Nonprofit legal services organization New Mexico Legal Aid recently partnered with the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, the New Mexico Veterans Integration Center and the State Bar Young Lawyers Division to create the Veterans Justice Project. This program provides free legal assistance to low-income veterans and helps them navigate the application process to receive benefits.” “With funding from the [Legal Services Corporation] and other sources, New Mexico Legal Aid is able to provide assistance and create programs that address pressing needs. Programs like the Veterans Justice Project get other leaders in the community to take notice.” (Albuquerque Journal)
September 14, 2014 – “Working for Kansas City’s eighth-largest law firm is kind of a low-glamour affair. Its downtown offices are respectable, but not like the palatial digs that some others sport. And most of the firm’s 56 lawyers spend their time doing legal work that seldom comes in the door at the pricier addresses. Such as helping poor people get health care when they are denied coverage. Keeping indigent clients in their homes while a landlord-tenant dispute plays out. Standing up for a domestic abuse victim as she fights for custody or child support. That is what Legal Aid of Western Missouri has done for a half-century now: Provide legal services at no cost to the region’s neediest residents.” Congratulations and here’s to 50 more! (The Kansas City Star)
September 14, 2014 – “The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association has received a $158,000 grant to develop new legal aid clinics and technology to help low-income clients with bankruptcy. The project will test ‘pop-up’ bankruptcy clinics, a customized virtual law firm platform and videoconferencing to train pro bono attorneys in parts of the state where no volunteer bankruptcy attorneys are available. The project is one of 11 inaugural recipients of Legal Services Corp.’s $2.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund, a competitive grant that invests in projects to identify and promote innovations in pro bono for low-income legal aid clients.” (News Observer)
September 17, 2014 – “San Francisco [California] approved $2.1 million in spending Tuesday on legal services for immigrant youths who fled Central America and face deportation after crossing the border illegally to seek refuge in the United States. The funding comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection is apprehending a larger number of undocumented youths entering the country and a so-called rocket docket is in effect fast-tracking these cases through the courts in response to a directive from the Obama administration.” (The Examiner)
September 17, 2014 – “Child migrants who have recently arrived in New York City and are going through deportation hearings will now have access to services from multiple agencies, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal said Tuesday. According to the mayor’s office, some 1,350 unaccompanied children have been placed with their families or sponsors in the city between January and July of this year. The services, which will be provided at New York City Immigration Court, will help the children enroll in school, state-funded health insurance through Child Health Plus and medical and mental health treatment. Legal services will be made available as well, and this is the first time direct services have been made available at the court, according to the mayor’s office.” (Metro)
September 17, 2014 – In the Class of 2014 MacArthur Fellows, there are three wonderful advocates for change. Mary L. Bonauto, Director of the Civil Rights Project for the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; Sarah Deer,Professor of Law at the William Mitchell College of Law; and Jonathan Rapping,President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise. Read more about their wonderful work, and perhaps you too will be inspired along these lines. (MacArthur Foundation)
September 18, 2014 – “Twenty-three public service visionaries and social entrepreneurs from Harvard Law School have been selected as recipients of grants from the Public Service Venture Fund, a unique program that awards up to $1 million each year to help graduating Harvard Law students and recent graduates obtain their ideal jobs in public service.” Check these outstanding recipients and their amazing work. (Harvard Law Today)
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:
One of the highlights of Georgetown University Law Center’s Orientation Week is the opportunity for students to spend a morning or afternoon giving back to the DC community by participating in a 1L Orientation Service Project. For many 1Ls, this event also serves as a way to meet classmates, staff and faculty, explore Washington DC, and learn about the wealth of service and pro bono opportunities available at Georgetown Law. This year approximately 300 students went to 7 volunteer sites over two days. The projects took place the first two days of orientation, and current students as well as staff and faculty members serve as “project leads” to help oversee the projects and welcome the students. Projects vary from year to year, but usually include work at food banks, soup kitchens, shelters, national parks, and other social service organizations.
Columbia University School of Law holds a Community Service Day immediately prior to the formal orientation. A large portion of the entering class participates, and this year hosted ten projects, including volunteering at a clothing pantry for battered women and their families, work at a large food bank, gardening, cleaning and painting at various local parks, projects with the elderly, a project for veterans, cooking in a soup kitchen and stocking a food pantry, and various projects at local public schools. Each group is led by a staff member or upper year student and we invite faculty to participate as well.
Rutgers Law School incoming students volunteer to paint, clean, organize or do whatever else the local libraries in Camden need on the Saturday before classes start. Likewise, incoming students at Rutgers-Newark have served a variety of sites in the city over the years.
Super Music Bonus! This week we celebrate Chris Brown’s alma mater.