Archive for Public Interest Law News Bulletin

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 31, 2014

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday everyone!  Can you believe it’s the end of January?  It’s spring public sector career fair time.  For a listing of ones in your area, check out PSJD.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • West Toronto Community Legal Services to remain open;
  • Justice Department Canada provides federal funding to assist women at risk of violence;
  • Summer Public Interest Job Search Series webinars now available online;
  • MA Governor Patrick proposes $1M more in legal aid funding;
  • New Immigration Justice Corps seeking first members;
  • PSJD launches a new Postgraduate Fellowships Application Deadline Calendar;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Modern day abolitionists;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 27, 2014 – “West Toronto Community Legal Services is off the chopping block after a year of working side-by-side with Legal Aid Ontario, who has reversed its 2012 decision to not fund the clinic.”  “I think it’s fantastic for the community,” said Elisabeth Bruckmann, acting executive director of the centre. “I think it means that the community will continue to have direct access to legal support, which is informed by an understanding of the pressures facing the community and provided by professionals who know the community and care about the challenges facing low-income people in the west-end.”  (

January 27, 2014 – “Minister of Justice Peter Mackay and Minister of Labour and Status of Women Dr. K. Kellie Leitch today announced the Government`s support for the Girls Action Foundation’s project Building Bridges for Female Youth: National partnership project to address intimate partner violence and increase access to justice among marginalized young women.  The project, funded under the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program, is a pan-Canadian initiative designed to improve access to justice for marginalized young women and girls who are victims of partner violence or at risk of becoming victims. The project will offer these women and girls educational workshops on the justice system and their legal rights, along with other tools to assist them when experiencing dating violence.”  (Digital Journal)

January 28, 2014 – Did you miss the free two-part webinar series, co-sponsored by NALP and Equal Justice Works, that provides both law students and CSO professionals with insight on the key elements of the summer public interest job application process?  Not to worry – you can view them now on the NALP website.

January 28, 2014 – “Lonnie Powers, executive director of Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, applauds Gov. Patrick’s proposal to increase legal aid funding by $1 million.  As part of his fiscal 2015 budget plan, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has recommended a $1 million increase for civil legal assistance, an increase that could potentially benefit the state’s low income residents who need legal representation.  The additional funding, part of Patrick’s proposed $36.37 billion spending plan for fiscal 2015, would bring the state’s allocation for civil legal aid to $14 million. The funding would go to the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corp., which makes grants to 16 civil legal aid programs statewide.”  (Cambridge Community Television)

January 28, 2014 – On Tuesday the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, a poverty-fighting philanthropy, approved more than $1.3 million in funding for the new Immigration Justice Corps.  “The group’s plan is to recruit 25 graduating law students or recent graduates, immerse them in immigration law and then farm them out to community-based organizations. The young lawyers would commit to at least two years of service and as many as three.”  “The corps intends to hire a cadre of 25 lawyers every year, each earning a salary of $47,000 plus benefits. They will be assisted by recent college graduates with multilingual skills who will handle less complex cases, such as naturalization applications. The team will be supervised by a group of staff lawyers and advised by veteran lawyers.”  The initiative will start in New York City before being expanded nationally.  The Corps is another initiative stemming from Judge Robert A. Katzmann, the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, who has tirelessly championed increased access to justice.  (The New York Times)

January 29, 2014 – PSJD launches an exciting new feature – the Postgraduate Fellowship Application Deadline Calendar.  Search for postgraduate fellowships by post date, deadline date, or fellowship type, and view them in a convenient calendar or grid.  Add a fellowship of interest to your favorites.  See the Blog post from earlier this week for How-To’s on using this new resource.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: On this day in 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The amendment read, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”  (  With that slavery was on it’s way out.  Except that it wasn’t.  “‘Are you Shandra? Yes, I am.’ With those few words, a young Indonesian with big dreams of a better life found herself catapulted into the murky underground world of sex slavery and violence.”  “After losing her job as a financial analyst in a bank in the chaos unleashed by Asia’s economic crisis, Shandra replied to a newspaper ad for temporary work in a hotel in Chicago.  In 2001, having passed a test, and armed with a visa from the US embassy, she left her young daughter, promising to return home soon.  But on her very first night on US soil, she was put to work in a New York brothel, before being passed from pimp to pimp — a Malaysian known as Johnnie Wong, a Taiwanese guy, a man who only spoke Cantonese, and even an American.”  This story is far from unique.  “The Alliance To End Slavery and Trafficking estimates about 14,000 to 17,000 men, women and children are smuggled illegally into the US every year to work in the sex trade or in factories, farms and bars as forced labour.”  Thousands more are young American runaways.  Thank you to those who work every day to save these men, women and children!  (Timeslive)  Here’s how you can help.  
Super Music Bonus!  As a parent, I am pleased (forced) to listen to a lot of kids songs.  Here’s a complilation that I could listen to repeatedly.


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 24, 2014

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday everyone!  We have had our first big winter snow storm this week, and I forgot how much fun snow sports can be.  I also forgot how much “fun” driving in DC in the snow can be.  If you’re experiencing cold temperatures, don’t forget about your neighbors, especially the elderly.  Check on them if possible.  Stay safe and vigilant out there everyone.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Batch of death penalty cases drains Wyoming Public Defender budget;
  • Annual diversity scholarship available for Ohio law students;
  • Goodwin Procter LLP announces its 2014 Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color;
  • ABA considers new law school accreditation standards, including pro bono requirements;
  • WV access to justice commission releases plan for future;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Pro Bono Partnership;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 16, 2014 – “A rash of actual and potential death penalty cases left the Wyoming Public Defender’s Office pinched for money last year, the agency’s director said Wednesday.  The office spent $665,000 on seven potential cases between July 1, 2012 and Oct. 31, 2013 compared to only one capital case in the past two budget cycles, Diane Lozano said during a budget hearing before the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee.”  “Lozano said she had to ask Gov. Matt Mead for authority to hire an additional attorney and may need to ask for a second.  She is asking the Legislature for an immediate appropriation of $370,000 to replace dollars borrowed from other agency accounts to pay costs of the capital cases.”  While at this point the office is able to handle these cases, the money needed for mitigation investigations has not been forthcoming.  Linda Burt, director of the Wyoming chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Wednesday said it’s important that defendants get the best representation they can.  The ACLU will be monitoring the situation as well in the coming year.  (Billings Gazette)

January 17, 2014 – The Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys’ annual Law Student Diversity Scholarship program is open to incoming second- and third-year African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pan Asian and Native American students enrolled at Ohio law schools.  Incoming second- and third-year female law students enrolled at Ohio law schools also are eligible regardless of race or ethnicity.  Up to two scholarships worth $1,250 each will be awarded to successful applicants.  Applicants are required to submit a completed application, law school transcript and a cover letter addressing the following: academic, personal and professional accomplishments and why they should be selected as a recipient of the scholarship. Applicants can submit up to three letters of recommendation.  The completed application and all other requested material must be received by April 18. Winners will be announced in June.  The 2014 OACTA Law Student Diversity Scholarship Application can be found at  (The News-Messenger)

January 17, 2014 - Goodwin Procter LLP, a national AmLaw 50 firm, today announced its 2014 Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color program, which provides awards of $7,500 to law students of color who demonstrate outstanding academic performance, leadership skills and a commitment to community service. The fellowships are designed to help support students who plan to work in public interest law positions in the summer following their first year of law school. This year, four fellowships will be awarded. Application guidelines and forms are available online; the application deadline is March 14, 2014.  (Herald Online)

January 19, 2014 – “The ABA is weighing a comprehensive proposal to change the Accreditation Standards for American law schools. The proposal, developed during an administrative process conducted by the ABA over the past several years, touches on many important aspects of legal education and law school accreditation, including pro bono service, experiential learning credit requirements, and law professors’ tenure.”  With respect to pro bono, the current Standards require law schools to provide students with “substantial” opportunities to perform pro bono service, without defining the term “substantial.”  The National Center for Access to Justice and Equal Justice Works, in separate comments, have urged the ABA to modify the standards regarding law student pro bono service to specify the number of hours.  By memorandum issued September 6, 2014, the ABA has invited submission of Comments by January 31, 2014 in anticipation of a hearing that will be held at the ABA on February 5th and 6th, 2014.  Comments received by the ABA are posted on the ABA’s Notice & Comment web site.  Law students can weigh in on the issue by signing a petition initiated by EJW.  (NCAF Blog)

January 22, 2014 – “A commission meant to help residents gain better access to the state’s justice system released a three-year plan Wednesday that recommends creating forms in “plain language” and asks attorneys to do more charitable and free work.  In its strategic plan, the West Virginia Access to Justice Commission says it will continue to examine and identify barriers West Virginians face while utilizing the legal system.”  One recommendation is to develop a “self-help center” and an online assistance center.  The idea is to “provide assistance to those who may have been turned away from Legal Aid due to funding cuts or statutory restrictions and provides an opportunity for attorneys to engage in pro bono work, the report states.”  (The Charleston Gazette)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  “Since the Great Recession, it has been a challenging time for nonprofits. In addition to struggling with dwindling financial resources, they have had to comply with new federal and state regulations regarding transparency, accountability and governance. Some have sought strategic alliances or merged with others in order to survive.  Fortunately, many nonprofits in the greater New York metro region and beyond have been able to become more viable in fulfilling their missions, thanks to the services of a very unique resource. It is the Pro Bono Partnership, a dedicated staff of 18 professionals including nine lawyers who supervise hundreds of volunteer attorneys in providing pro bono services to qualified nonprofits that serve the disadvantaged or enhance the quality of life in neighborhoods. Among the legal issues addressed are corporate structure and governance, real estate, employment law, environmental law, compliance with state and federal regulations, fundraising, lobbying, intellectual property among others.”  What makes the Partnership unique is that they are the only organization in the country that is focused primarily with corporate in-house counsels and the only one that is doing so in several states.  In addition to serving the nonprofit communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the partnership recently started an affiliate in Atlanta and is in the process of establishing another in Cincinnati.  To read more about it’s founding and the amazing work they are doing, see the Westchester Business Journal.
Super Music Bonus!  A little cool jazz for a cool day.


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 17, 2014

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday everyone!  And welcome back to all the law students.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • TX counties receive overdue indigent defense grants;
  • Study examines connection between legal services and health for vets;
  • Latest budget bill would help legal service providers;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: US Olympic athletes;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 14, 2014 – “Gregg County commissioners learned the meaning of deferred payment Monday in accepting an $81,800 state grant for indigent defense that lawmakers withheld in 2011 to balance their budget.  Similar one-time payments are being sent to counties statewide, a letter from Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller said. (news-journal)

January 14, 2014 – “The connection between legal help and medical and quality of life outcomes for veterans has been observed anecdotally in recent years. Now, for the first time, a study will be undertaken to quantify those results with the hope of embedding more free legal services in veterans’ facilities across the country, and giving veterans with mental health and housing needs more opportunities to live productive lives.   The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, the first legal organization in the U.S. to set-up shop in a VA setting, and the New York Legal Assistance Group will embark on a two-year study financed by nearly $700,000 from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation. Partnering with VA researchers in West Haven, they will follow the legal experiences and outcomes of 400 veterans with mental health and/or housing problems who are being served in West Haven, Newington and two New York City sites.”  (The Register Citizen News)

January 15, 2014 – “The nation’s legal aid providers stand to get back funding this year under Congress’ latest budget plan.  A bipartisan appropriations bill moving through Congress this week would undo last year’s $25 million budget cuts to Legal Services Corp, a spokesman said today. Those cuts, which came as a part of sequestration, brought a 7 percent reduction in grants for the 134 legal aid agencies that rely on LSC funding. Lawmakers also included $2.5 million in the bill for LSC to start a new grant program—the Innovation Fund—to promote creativity in the expansion of legal assistance. The $2.5 million came at the request of the staff of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who heads the House appropriations subcommittee that controls LSC funding.  Overall, LSC would receive $365 million for the 2014 fiscal year under the new appropriations bill. That is the same level as the previous fiscal year, but without the budget cuts from sequestration in March.”  The bill should go before Congress soon.  (The Blog of LegalTimes)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  I love the Olympics.  I love sports and competitions in general, but the Olympics provide a sense of the country coming together that we rarely feel these days.  On January 25, 1924, the first Winter Olympics take off in style at Chamonix in the French Alps. Spectators were thrilled by the ski jump and bobsled as well as 12 other events involving a total of six sports. The “International Winter Sports Week,” as it was known, was a great success, and in 1928 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially designated the Winter Games, staged in St. Moritz, Switzerland, as the second Winter Olympics.  (  You can follow and support this year’s athletes in Sochi Russia starting on February 6th.  USA!!
Super Music Bonus!  A little homeage to the 90′s.


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 10, 2014

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy New Year!  Welcome back to the Digest.  How many of you made New Year’s Resolutions?  I hope they included giving back to your community.  This week we have a number of great stories to kick off the new year.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Grant helps legal aid reach more in East Tennessee;
  • Lawyers ask for millions after public defender suit victory;
  • Law school fellowship puts students to work;
  • Eligibility thresholds for free legal aid increase in Montreal;
  • Kansas courts look for ways to handle budget shortfall;
  • Chicago law schools join public defender project;
  • Charlottesville Legal Aid gets new leader;
  • Great annual pro bono project at UT Law;
  • Unprecedented barrister strike in UK over cut to legal aid;
  • Indigent defense vouchers in Texas;
  • Gulfcoast Legal employees vote to form union;
  • Iowa considers new rules for law students;
  • Harvard gets $10 million grant for public interest;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Duval County and 4th Judicial Circuit Judge Jean Johnson;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

December 21, 2013- “The Tennessee Bar Association has awarded a 2014 IOLTA Program Grant to the Legal Aid of East Tennessee, which they hope will aid in the help of low income people in need of legal assistance.  The award, totaling $95,699, will make available additional civil legal services for low-income families in the region.”  (

December 21, 2013 – “The attorneys who successfully challenged the constitutionality of the public-defender systems in Mount Vernon and Burlington are seeking more than $2.4 million in attorneys’ fees, expenses and costs over the 2011 lawsuit.  Earlier this month, after nearly two years of litigation and a lengthy trial, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik found that the two cities routinely violated the rights of poor defendants of misdemeanor crimes by failing to ensure they had adequate legal representation.”  (The Seattle Times)

December 25, 2013 – There is a unique fellowship program in San Francisco that’s putting attorneys-in-training to work for local governments and nonprofits.  The pilot class of fellows for Lawyers for America, which is a program conceived by Hastings professors to give law students hands-on training in the public sector, and give cash-strapped governments and nonprofits the opportunity to enhance their ranks is hard at work. “The Contra Costa District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices are the first to take advantage of the program, which commits the students to their ranks for two years — one year before and one year after graduation.”  New offices will be added to the program this year.  Brooklyn Law is also examining becoming part of or replicating the program.  (Contra Costa Times)

December 27, 2013 – The increase of 15.3% came into effect on January 1, 2014 and will bring the eligibility threshold for free legal aid to $16,306 and the maximum eligibility threshold for contributory legal aid to $26,309 for single individuals.   Single individuals represent 73% of the legal aid clientele in Quebec.  “As of June 1, 2015, eligibility thresholds will increase once again, with the minimum wage as a reference point. Thereafter, eligibility thresholds will be kept at this level through an indexation clause linking the thresholds to the minimum wage. Ultimately, the eligibility threshold increase for free legal aid will be 35.8%, which will facilitate access to justice for the portion of the population that works, but has limited income. The same is true for seniors living alone whose principal source of income is their Old Age Security benefits and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.”  (CNW newswire)

December 27, 2013 – “Kansas court employees could face 10 days of unpaid furlough in fiscal year 2015 as the state’s judicial branch tries to deal with an $8.25 million budget shortfall, a committee appointed to study the finances has concluded.  The furloughs would cut $2.5 million from the deficit, the committee said, while much of the rest would come from delayed judicial appointments, reduced training hours, the elimination of 19.5 court service officer positions and by leaving more than 100 court positions unfilled.”  “The committee also recommended reducing by $250,000 a grant to Kansas Legal Services. Employees of that agency, which provides legal help for people who can’t afford to hire lawyers, could be forced to take nine furlough days to make up for the lost funding.”   It is unknown if the Kansas Legislature will take action after seeing the report.  (The Wichita Eagle)

December 30, 2013 – “The University of Chicago Law School and Northwestern University School of Law are the fourth and fifth schools, respectively, to sign on to [Gideon's Promise's] Law School Partnership Project. The effort was announced in November with the American University Washington College of Law; University of California at Los Angeles School of Law; and New York University School of Law.  Each school has agreed to pay the salary of one or more new graduates in a southern public defender office, and that office in turn pledges to hire the graduate full-time within a year. The project is intended to make it easier for public defenders to hire new lawyers while creating a smoother path to those jobs for students.”  For more information, go to Gideon’s Promise Law School Partnership Project.  (National Law Journal)

January 1, 2014 – “Charlottesville’s Legal Aid Justice Center is getting new leadership at the top for the first time in 20 years as Executive Director Alex Gulotta leaves to take a post as head of the Oakland-based Bay Area Legal Aid. Stepping into his place is Mary Bauer, a longtime litigator known for her work on immigrants’ rights issues.”  We welcome Ms. Bauer back to the community.  (c-ville)

January 4, 2014 – The University of Texas Law Pro Bono Project is making it’s annual January trip to help those in need.  “36 law students, accompanied by alumni and law school professors, will travel to the Rio Grande Valley for the UT Law Pro Bono Program’s annual January trip to write wills, offer workshops for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and provide immigration assistance.”  The Project partners with the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid to provide Wills on Wheels services.  The DACA clinics will be organized by UT Law Pro Bono along with South Texas Civil Rights Project.  And or the immigration assistance services, UT Law Pro Bono will work with South Texas ProBar and South Texas Civil Rights Project.  (The Horn)

January 6, 2014 – Lawyers everywhere are standing up against cuts to legal aid.  “Thousands of barristers have chosen not to attend proceedings at courts in cities including London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Winchester, Bristol and Cardiff.  The nationwide protest is the first in the history of the criminal bar.  The Government plans to cut fees as part of a bid to slash £220 million from the legal aid budget by 2018/19 – reducing them by as much as 30% in the longest and most complex cases.”  “Agencies involved in the criminal justice system will take steps to minimize any upset court disruption could cause for victims and witnesses involved in trials.”(Belfast Telegraph) (BBC News)

January 6, 2014 – After the right to counsel in criminal cases was granted, most jurisdictions tended toward a public defender model for providing these attorneys.  A new program in Comal County, Texas could change the system.  “ In Comal County, policymakers are going to try using a system of vouchers. Like the school voucher concept, the idea is to put money directly into the hands of the customers, who will then decide which attorney they would like to retain.”  “The Texas Indigent Defense Commission became aware of the voucher proposal when the Cato Institute advanced the idea in a 2010 paper.”  (Cato Institute)

January 7, 2014 – Employees of Gulfcoast Legal Services have voted to unionize.  GLS serves low-income residents in the Greater Tampa Bay area.  “According to the NLRB, Gulfcoast’s new union was certified Monday and is ready to represent its members.”  Employees voted to form a union in part due to the actions taken by the Executive Director since she took the helm in December 2012.  (Herald-Tribune)

January 8, 2014 – “The Iowa Supreme Court is considering whether to give law students and recent graduates more authority to provide legal services.  Several rules changes are being sought by Iowa Legal Aid and the Office of Professional Regulation as a way to serve more low-income clients.  They would expand circumstances under which students and graduates who are waiting to take the bar exam or receive results could engage in limited legal practice.  One change would allow graduates to temporarily practice on behalf of certain organizations and government agencies under supervision.  Another would make clear that students who’ve completed three semesters or more can represent clients in an administrative contested case proceeding without a supervising attorney present.  The court says it will gather input through March 10 before taking any action on them.  (WOWT)
January 9, 2014 – “Harvard Law School has received a $10 million donation from media magnate and alumnus Sumner Redstone.  The money will bolster the Sumner M. Redstone Fellowships for Public Service – a program created in 2010 with a $1 million gift from Redstone to support graduates who pursue public-interest law careers.  The inaugural 10 fellows worked in areas ranging from criminal defense and civil rights to family law and nongovernmental organizations.”  “The money comes from the Sumner M. Redstone Charitable Foundation and is the single largest donation the law school has received specifically to support public service.”  (National Law Journal)
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  “Circuit Judge Jean Johnson, whose love for practicing from the bench and hobbies such as reading murder mysteries was trumped only by her devotion to her family, died last week after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 66.”  She became the first woman elected as a Circuit Court judge in Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuit — Clay, Duval and Nassau counties.  In reading about Judge Johnson’s life and practice, I was reminded what one person can accomplish when they seek to affect change.  “Her passions for the law included promoting the importance of pro-bono work being done among the circuit’s top law firms. Among her many hats was serving as the chairwoman for the 4th Judicial Circuit’s Pro Bono Committee, which encouraged lawyers to volunteer their time to give legal advice to people in need of such help.”  Many people have Judge Johnson to thank for giving them access to justice.  Thank you for your service.  (Florida Times Union) (Jacksonville Daily Record)

Super Music Bonus!  A little Bing Crosby crooning about a cold winter.


Class of 2013 Skadden Fellows again a mixed group

The Skadden Foundation has listed its Class-of-2013 fellows.  Twenty-nine fellows, hailing from 16 law schools, will begin their projects next year.  Six schools had multiple fellowship awardees: Columbia (2); Harvard (6); NYU (4); Stanford (2); Georgetown (2) and Yale (3).  Other schools from which fellows come include Penn, Michigan State, University of Washington, Boston College, UCLA, UC Irvine, Washington & Lee, Vanderbilt, University of Chicago, and University of Illinois.  The 2013 Class includes four additional fellowships funded in memory of Joe Flom and Peter Mullen.  The Fellows will work in 10 states and the District of Columbia, focusing on issues ranging from the harassment of LGBT students in rural, impoverished regions of New York State to the foreclosure of homes of working poor Los Angeles families.

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

  • 2012:  28 fellows from 16 law schools;
  • 2011:  29 fellows from 21 law schools;
  • 2010: 27 fellows from 20 law schools;
  • 2009: 28 fellows from 14 law schools;
  • 2008: 36 fellows from 16 law schools.

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!  The Fellowship is such a extraordinary honor, and we look forward to seeing the great things you will accomplish.


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – December 20, 2013

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday and Happy Holidays! The News Digest will take a break until after the new year.  I appreciate all of you reading the digest and contributing such amazing content.  I love getting the heads up about great work going on out there.  Keep it coming!

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Ontario lawyers call for reforms of legal aid;
  • 2014 White House Fellows program accepting applications;
  • MA Bar forms task force to review prosecutor/defender salaries;
  • Canadian Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters releases final report;
  • Donation saves Pro Bono Students Canada;
  • NY judge sets trial on legal aid for poor;
  • Northwestern Law receives large donation for LRAP;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Tom Buckel, Kevin Harrigan, Sherry Kline, Raymond Presley;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

December 11, 2013- “Two groups of Ontario lawyers are calling for changes to the legal aid system that they say would make it easier for low-income Ontarians to hire counsel.  The Criminal Law Association and Ontario Legal Aid laywers offered a united front Wednesday as they put forward the Criminal Justice Protocol Agreement — their collective bid to bring the premier, the ministry of the attorney general, Legal Aid Ontario and the Department of Justice to the table to address what the attorneys say are serious problems with legal aid.  The lawyers want to see greater eligibility for legal aid, increased funding for programs, and reforms to the way Legal Aid Ontario delivers basic legal information.”  (Ottawa Citizen)

December 11, 2013 – “Applications are invited for the White House Fellowship Program, a one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. Fellows typically spend a year as full-time, paid assistants to senior White House Staff, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials. Fellows receive a salary and benefits from the agency for which they work. Fellowships are awarded on a strict non-partisan basis and encourage balance and diversity in all aspects of the program. Application deadline is January 15, 2014.”  (Scholarship Positions)

December 12, 2013 – “The Massachusetts Bar Association has formed a task force to report on salary levels for state prosecutors and public defenders and the potential effects those pay scales have on the criminal justice system.  The salaries in Massachusetts are lower than in some other New England states, according to research undertaken by the Committee for Public Counsel Services. However, the jury is still out on how Massachusetts compares nationally or whether it in fact offers above- or below-average starting salaries compared to most other states.”  “A big concern among bar members is whether Massachusetts salaries discourage many talented lawyers from seeking working in the public sector and force existing public defenders to wonder “how they’re going to pay their rent this week,” said Douglas Sheff, president of the Massachusetts Bar Association.”  (Boston Business Journal)

December 13, 2013 – “Canada has a system of civil courts that would be the envy of many countries. We have a large, well- trained and dedicated legal profession. The legal aid system in Canada provides more service in civil matters than is available in many places throughout the world. Yet, with all this and all that it costs, we are not meeting the legal needs of the Canadian public. The final report of the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, A Roadmap for Change, tackles the difficult problem of why this is the case and lays out recommendations for what can be done to bring full access to justice to Canadians. The final report and four subcommittee reports on early stage resolution of civil justice problems, legal services, court simplification and family law are available on the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice website.”  (Slaw)

December 16, 2013 – “A $150,000 donation is bringing Pro Bono Students Canada one step closer to a fundraising goal that will allow the organization to preserve — and eventually expand — its Family Law Project.  The Family Law Project gives law students the opportunity to support low-to-middle income earners who do not qualify for legal aid. The students assist clients with court forms and help navigate the court system.  The donation is a combined gift from Toronto-based family law firm Epstein Cole LLP and its founder Philip Epstein to PBSC’s Campaign for Family Justice, which has now raised $320,000 of its $400,000 shortfall.”  PBSC is looking to expand the Family Law Project to law schools that don’t currently have the program, as well as courts that do not have student placements.  Family law is an area of greatest need, and these students are often the only help available.  The students fill the gaps and the experience gives them the opportunity to gain real experience.  (4Students)

December 17, 2013 – “A trial is needed to determine whether the state systemically provides inadequate staff and money for the constitutionally required defense of poor people charged with crimes, a state Supreme Court judge said.”  “The lawsuit was filed in 2007 on behalf of 20 defendants in Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington counties.  The judge said the testimony from attorneys serving in the defendant counties shows indigent criminal defendants consistently are arraigned without being afforded their right to counsel.”  (The Wall Street Journal)

December 18, 2013 – “The law school announced that it has received a $15 million gift from one of its wealthiest alumni, real estate and casino magnate Neil G. Bluhm.”  Part of the grant is unrestricted, but “Mr. Bluhm instructed that another $5 million be earmarked for the law school’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program, which helps recent graduates who take lower-paying government and non-profit jobs reduce their monthly payments on federal student loans for up to 10 years.” (Wall Street Journal Blog)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  A Christmas miracle.  That’s what I thought when Sam (Kasmarek at Syracuse Law) sent this to me.  People in the right place at the right time.  But, it’s the spirit of serving that makes this story so wonderful.  Several individuals, on their way to other business, didn’t think twice about stopping.  They just knew they had to help.  At 8:20 am on Monday, a pick up truck veered off the NY Thruway into a bridge at full speed, trapping its driver, Capt. Timothy Neild.  Tom Buckel, managing attorney for Legal Services of Central New York, saw it happen.  He parked on the median and raced to get the driver out.  Others followed, including Kevin Harrigan, a Syracuse adoption lawyer and his legal assistant, Sherry Kline.  They were on their way to an adoption. Raymond Presley, a truck driver and a sergeant first-class in the National Guard, who had served with Neild, would soon join them.  Flames were now shooting up from the dashboard, and all rescuers were in danger, but no one thought to leave the scene or cease pulling on the crushed door.  All anyone could think about was saving this unknown person.  What comes next is the miracle part – the door gives about 30 seconds before the first explosion;  Capt. Neild is saved; no one else is hurt.  That instinct – to help regardless of personal peril is inherent in all those who are public servants.  This holiday season and every day, let us give thanks and celebrate those who go the extra mile for someone.  And Merry Christmas to the Captain and his family (young daughter and expecting wife) who will be able to celebrate instead of mourn because there are good people in this world.  (The Post-Standard initial article) (The Post-Standard follow up article)  

Super Music Bonus!  Happy Holidays!


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – December 6, 2013

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday and welcome to December!  Happy St. Nicholas Day!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Hanukkah filled with light, food and family.  Also a big hello to all our Canadian members at their Winter Meeting.  And finally, tomorrow is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  Remember a vet and say thanks.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • UNLV Law School clinic reports on alleged detainee abuses;
  • Echoing Green Fellowship applications opens December 3;
  • National Association of Attorneys General expands their Bridge to Practice program opportunities;
  • Governor Cuomo announces $1 million for legal aid for Sandy victims;
  • Elon opens its fourth clinic;
  • Proposed FL bill would provide loan relief for young prosecutors and defenders;
  • New organization in Hattiesburg, MS to offer free legal services;
  • Legal Aid Ontario accepting applications for funding;
  • BC Law School launches new experiential learning center;
  • Pitt Law clinic celebrates 25 years;
  • NY – rule change allows in-house attorneys to do pro bono work;
  • CFPB will supervise large student loan servicers;
  • Legal Aid Ontario signs historic GTA Clinics’ Transformation Project Framework Agreement;
  • Washington judge finds defender programs deficient;
  • Southeastern Ohio Legal Services to close 3 offices;
  • ASU plans to open largest non-profit law firm in nation;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Chief Justice of Ontario, Warren Winkler;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

November 21, 2013- “People held at the Henderson Detention Center as immigration detainees have been subjected to mistreatment, according to a UNLV Boyd School of Law Immigration Clinic report released on Nov. 19.”  So far ICE and the Detention Center have not discussed the report.  “Fatima Marouf, co-director of the Immigration Clinic at the UNLV Boyd School of Law, addressed Henderson City Council.”  For the article, Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul said, “We’re reviewing the report and are speaking with ICE about it.” He noted that the center has remedied problems revealed by past inspections regarding immigration detainees.  (The Henderson Press)

November 21, 2013 – Echoing Green is one of the many “non-legal” fellowships that greatly appeal to law students.  “The 2014 Echoing Green Fellowship application will be open from December 3, 2013 to January 6, 2014.  Echoing Green’s Fellowship Programs will offer more than $3.8 million in seed-stage funding and support this year to emerging leaders working to bring about positive social change. From thousands of applicants, only about 1 percent are ultimately awarded a Fellowship. During their first two years, Fellows receive up to $90,000, participate in leadership development gatherings, and have access to the powerful network of Echoing Green Fellows, partners, and friends. We continue to support our Fellow community long after their initial funding period with ongoing programs and opportunities at critical inflection points in their organizations or careers.”  Echoing Green manages three fellowship programs including the new climate fellowship for 2013.  (Echoing Green)

November 25, 2013 – The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is pleased to host bridge-to-practice fellows from the Class of 2014.  NAAG is the professional organization for the Attorneys General Offices of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five territories.  Through its training and research arm, the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute, it conducts training in both professional skills and substantive issues for the Attorneys General and provides research assistance.
Our law school graduate fellows whom we have been privileged to host have been invaluable members of our staff and have experienced a wide variety of activities.  They have conducted research and authored manuals for the Attorneys General offices; attended meetings with White House, congressional, and international organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Association of Prosecutors; assisted with the editing of Supreme Court amicus briefs; conducted research and assisted in the writing of briefs for NAAG’s Tobacco project; helped provide legal research for our substantive trainings, such as intellectual property theft and human trafficking; developed articles for the NAAGazette; assisted with our International Fellows program; and attended NAAG professional trainings and meetings.  Several have gone on to full-time jobs with Attorneys General offices; all have subsequently found full-time jobs in their areas of interest in the law.

We would encourage you and your graduates to consider NAAG as a host for your bridge-to-practice fellowship program.  If you have any questions, please contact Chris Toth, Executive Director, National Association of Attorneys General at 202-326-6021 or

November 22, 2013 – “Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $1 million award to the Disaster Recovery Clinic at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University to help families and small businesses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties affected by Superstorm Sandy. The award will expand the pro bono counseling services at the clinic to an additional 250 homeowners and businesses.”  “The funds were made available through the State’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. The award to Hofstra Law’s Disaster Recovery Clinic will allow for continuing services until at least May 2015.”  (

November 25, 2013 – “The Elon University School of Law said last week it will open a Small Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic in January at the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship. It will be the Greensboro law school’s fourth public clinic and its first aimed at business.  This small-business center will operate like Elon’s other clinics: It will be staffed by law students — and it’s free. John Flynn, a Greensboro attorney and a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Elon law school, will oversee the clinic.”  (News & Record)

November 25, 2013 – “A bill pending in the Florida House and Senate could provide some relief for young attorneys who want a career as a state prosecutor or public defender. Under it, the state would pay up to $44,000 toward the law-school debt of any attorney who works in those public-sector jobs for a set number of years. It has the support of the Florida Bar , Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Florida Public Defender Association . And last year, the Florida Innocence Commission included it in a list of recommendations on how to strengthen the criminal-justice system and help prevent innocent people from being sent to prison for crimes they did not commit.”  (Hispanic Business)

November 28, 2013 – “Pine Belt attorneys will soon have the opportunity to help low-income community members turn their lives around.  Beginning in January, local law experts willing to donate their time and expertise for a good cause will be participating in Mission360, an offshoot program of PineBelt360 that will help provide people with the legal services they need for free.  With services being cut back for people who fall within the socioeconomic area of not being rich or poor enough to seek out legal counseling, Chancery Court Judge Deborah Gambrell said Mission360 members hope to be able to provide legal services to those who fall within the gap.”  (hattiesburgamerican)

November 29, 2013 – ” Legal aid clinics and community partners can now apply to Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO’s) $2 million Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Community and Legal Clinics, which supports innovative and enhanced services that increase the number of clients served in a cost-effective manner.  nterested organizations can apply for this fund by completing the fund application form that can be found on LAO’s website:  The deadline for submitting an application is January 15, 2014.”  (Digital Journal)

December 2, 2013 – “In an effort to get law students ‘lawyering’ before they graduate, the Law School will combine its clinical and experiential programs into a new unit that will serve as a ‘law firm within a law school.’ The new Center for Experiential Learning will serve clients seeking legal aid for cases ranging from civil litigation to wrongful criminal convictions.”  “The center will fold current offerings such as in-house clinics, internships, semester-in-practice and short-term externship programs into a clearinghouse designed to give students real-world experiences required by the profession.”  (The Boston College Chronicle)

December 2, 2013 – For 25 years the students of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid Services had provided low-income clients valuable family law services.  Washington County Judge Gary Gilman “noted that the family law cases are especially important and sometimes more difficult than trial or civil cases because they are “very personal and sensitive.” He pointed to child custody cases that can have long-term consequences for families.”  The clinic has served some 13,000 clients.  Congratulations!  (Observer-Reporter)

December 2, 2013 – “New York state Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced a rule change that will allow attorneys who work in corporate law departments here, but who are not admitted to practice law in the state, to do pro bono work (so long as they are admitted to practice elsewhere, and are in good standing).  Previously, only lawyers who were admitted to the New York state bar were permitted to volunteer their services to work on behalf of poor or underserved clients. Those admitted elsewhere had to work under the supervision of a locally-licensed attorney or approved organization. The new rules are set to take effect on Wednesday, Dec. 4.”  (WSJ LawBlog)

December 2, 2013 – “Companies operating outside of the banking system that process student loan payments will be subject to federal examinations for the first time, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Monday.  Starting March 1, the government watchdog will regulate the seven largest student-loan servicers that process payments for more that 49 million borrower accounts — representing a majority of the market. Sallie Mae, Nelnet, Great Lakes and Ed Financial are some of the firms that will come under the new supervision rule.”  (Washington Post)

December 4, 2013 – “Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has signed a framework agreement with the GTA Legal Clinics’ Transformation Project Working Group that allows clinics to make important progress in how they deliver poverty law services. The agreement includes provisions for predictable clinic funding from LAO over the next two years.  With this agreement in place, GTA clinics will be able to reduce administrative costs and reinvest the resultant savings into enhanced client services.”   This is a win-win for clinics and clients.  (Digital Journal)

December 5, 2013 – In a case closely monitored by public defenders and the Justice Department, “U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik agreed with the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union that Burlington and Mount Vernon had not provided adequate representation to indigent defendants.”  So, the question now is whether the Judge will order federal oversight.  “If Lasnik appoints a federal monitor, this could give the DOJ leverage to pressure jurisdictions throughout the country to improve substandard public defender systems elsewhere, Jessica Eaglin of the Brennan Center for Justice told the newspaper. She serves as counsel for justice programs at the nonpartisan policy institute, which is part of New York University School of Law.”  (ABA Journal)

December 5, 2013 – Southeastern Ohio Legal Services is set to close the offices in Zanesville, Lancaster and Marietta on Jan. 31, said Tom Weeks, executive director of the Ohio State Legal Services Association. “The association is in charge of nine field offices providing representation to low-income Ohioans in 30 Ohio counties.”  Clients will be helped remotely by other offices, but the details haven’t been finalized. (Zanesville Times Recorder)

December 5, 2013 – “Arizona State University plans to open the nation’s largest non-profit law firm within its new downtown Phoenix law complex.  University officials on Wednesday unveiled the plans for the nearly $130 million Arizona Center for Law and Society. ASU hopes to break ground on the project in summer 2014.  The complex will house the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, which is now on the university’s Tempe campus, along with a non-profit law firm called the ASU Alumni Law Group.  The privately financed firm will hire recent law graduates to represent lower-income Arizonans.  The Arizona Board of Regents must still give final approval to the project, but officials hope to open the school and the law firm in 2016. The regents are expected to approve the plan.”  (

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  Chief Justice of Ontario, Warren Winkler retires next Tuesday after a long and distinguished career of serving the public and making sure the system serves the people.  “Power imbalances are a theme in Winkler’s approach to access to justice — one of the key issues he sought to improve during his six-year tenure at the helm of Ontario’s Appeal Court.”  Read about how he has consistently worked to balance the system.  Congratulations Justice Winkler!

Super Music Bonus!


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – November 22, 2013

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday!  And Happy Thanksgiving!  The news digest will take the week off next week in order to celebrate Turkey Day.  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and get to enjoy some much deserved down time.  Thank you all for reading and supporting the Digest.  We will return in December.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • USPTO applauds pro bono programs;
  • Sometimes it’s downright dangerous to be a prosecutor;
  • An interesting twist on the traditional career fair – host a picnic;
  • NYC Bar exploring ways to help new lawyers and meet unmet legal needs;
  • Great idea for addressing legal needs in rural areas;
  • Chicago follows suit with an incubator program of their own;
  • Human trafficking clinic at U of Michigan Law gets $500,00 federal grant;
  • Georgia State’s new bankruptcy clinic holding free community education classes;
  • Nova Scotia Legal Aid services to expand;
  • Texas Corporate Counsel raises funds for legal aid;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

November 13, 2013- “The US Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced in a press release a new charter agreement placing the continued success of regional pro bono programs in the hands of a newly-formed advisory council. More than 30 representatives from regional inventor assistance programs, major intellectual property (IP) law associations and IP law school programs participated in a ceremonial signing with Chief Judge Randall Rader at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on October 25, 2013.

Under Section 32 of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA), the USPTO is required to “work with and support intellectual property law associations across the country in the establishment of pro bono programs designed to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses.” Following the June 2011 launch of the first program in Minnesota, the USPTO has been interacting with IP law associations to assist in the establishment of additional programs across the country. Currently there are seven regional programs covering more than 20 states offering pro bono assistance to inventors and small businesses. The USPTO hopes to see regional pro bono programs covering all 50 states by early 2015.”  (AG-IP News)

November 13, 2013 – Some days are harder than others, but my prosecutor friends say it’s worth it every day.  And then something like this happens.  “An explosive device that police say was designed to destroy an Oregon county prosecutors’ office instead blew out windows in a pre-dawn blast Wednesday that did little other damage.
The FBI said it was too early to say whether the blast was terror-related, but Medford Police Chief Tim George said he considered the explosion a domestic terror attack aimed at law enforcement.  No one was hurt when the device fashioned in part from a 5-gallon propane tank blew. Police say it failed to fully detonate.”  (

November 14, 2013 – In Florida, they take their diversity networking outside to a more relaxed venue.  An estimated 3,000 black and Latino law school students, top attorneys and judges participate in a minority mentoring picnic for South Florida’s aspiring lawyers.  “The free picnic, now in its 10th year, provided a festive and relaxed atmosphere, with law firms and legal organizations providing literature and information under white tents. Other booths provided prizes and foods from barbecued ribs to Chinese rice. There was also wine tasting, along with music and carnival rides for kids.”  “The picnic also included law school deans, professors and community leaders who offered alternative employment other than law firms for students. Agencies such as the Legal Services of Greater Miami provided information on jobs helping the poor.”  (South Florida Times)

November 14, 2013 – “Following more than a year of analysis, the New York City Bar Association’s Task Force on New Lawyers in a Changing Profession released a report recommending fundamental changes in education and career focus for new lawyers.”  One of the many recommendations is establishing a new law firm for people of modest means.   There needs to be more discussion and action around training new lawyers to meet the needs to low-income and modest income individuals.  (TaxProf Blog)

November 14, 2013 – “Starting next summer, a new pilot program at the UND [University of North Dakota] School of Law will have some students exploring more rural parts of the North Dakota.”  “The program would offer three internships for law students to go to smaller communities in the state that have less than 15,000 people. The interns would work closely with a judge throughout the summer and into the school year.”  “The internships have been established by a collaboration between the UND School of Law, the State Bar Association of North Dakota and the state courts to help remedy the lack of attorneys especially in the western portion of the state.” (Dakota Student)

November 15, 2013 – “A privately supported legal-industry incubator designed to link underemployed young lawyers with ‘modest means’ clients who don’t qualify for free legal services was unveiled today in the West Loop.  The Chicago Bar Foundation’s attempt to address the industry’s supply-and-demand imbalance echoes a New York City Bar Association project announced a day earlier. That program involves placing new attorneys in big-employer apprenticeships or in a startup law firm.”  “Participating lawyers in the Justice Entrepreneurs Project, whose numbers will grow to 30 next spring, spend the first six months of an 18-month program working through local legal aid organizations to provide free services while developing their own paying clientele. They’re getting stipends of about $1,000 a month from local law schools and, after six months, will pay nominal rent for incubator space.”  (Chicago Business)

November 19, 20013 – “The Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School has been awarded a $500,000 grant to fund a partnership between the clinic and domestic violence and sexual assault victims’ services.  The three-year grant announced Tuesday by the Ann Arbor school is from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Legal Assistance for Victims Grant Program.  The money will fund a partnership with the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and the school’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. Both efforts are designed to improve services to victims of human trafficking in Michigan.  (The Republic)

November 20, 2013 – “Georgia State University College of Law’s new Bankruptcy Assistance and Practice Program is holding a free community education class for those facing bankruptcy.”  Representatives from the Atlanta Legal Aid Society will also participate.  “Georgia State Law professor Jessica Gabel started the bankruptcy assistance program this year to help people who cannot afford a lawyer navigate a bankruptcy filing. For the 16 third-year law students participating, the program is an opportunity to gain experience working with actual clients.”  (EastAtlantaPatch)

November 20, 2013 – “The Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission is expanding its services to include landlord and tenant, Canada Pension Plan, income assistance and employment insurance issues.  The expansion of services falls under the commission’s social justice initiative.”  (The Chronicle Herald)

November 20, 2013 – “The Texas Access to Justice Commission, in conjunction with the Texas General Counsel Forum, raised $48,583 for civil legal services during the 2nd annual Charity Golf Classic held Nov. 14 in San Antonio.  This year’s event almost doubled the amount raised during last year’s inaugural tournament.  The proceeds will be donated to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.”  (The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  On Wednesday, President Obama honored 16 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  “President Barack Obama opened a day of tributes to former President John F. Kennedy on Wednesday by bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom on prominent Americans, 50 years after Kennedy was assassinated weeks short of the medal’s first award ceremony.”  Recipients include Ernie Banks, Ben Bradlee, Bill Clinton, Daniel Inouye, Daniel Kahneman, Richard Lugar, Loretta Lynn, Mario Molina, Sally Ride, Bayard Rustin, Arturo Sandoval, Dean Smith, Gloria Steinem, Cordy Tindell “C.T.” Vivian, Patricia Wald, Oprah Winfrey.  Read more about their contributions.



PSJD Public Interest News Digest – November 15, 2013

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday!  This week I had the honor of presenting the 2013 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award to J. Martin Bunt at Emory.  Check out his great work and find out how you can be nominated at PSJD.

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice and Disability Rights New Jersey and the Education Law Center seek pro bono volunteers;
  • Committee formed in Cleveland, OH to boost awareness of need for pro bono legal services for low-income people;
  • Canadian law students fill legal needs gap;
  • Gulfcoast Legal Services receives grant from Manatee County;
  • NYC unveils pilot program to give legal defense to detained immigrants facing deportation;
  • Lawyers to pay new fee in Missouri that will help fund legal aid for the poor;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Dorothy Bernholz,  Founder and Director of Carolina Student Legal Services;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

November 5, 2013- “The Education Law Center is seeking lawyers from the private sector to volunteer to represent children with disabilities whose parents or guardians cannot afford to hire an attorney.  Along with with Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice and Disability Rights New Jersey, the ELC will hold a day-long seminar Nov. 19 in Newark to train lawyers”  Perhaps you can help.  (

November 5, 2013 – “The Access to Justice Committee will meet during the rest of this year to establish goals and begin implementing programs in 2014, said Lake County Bar Association President Lora Lynne Krider.  Former Congressman Dennis Eckart and Willoughby attorney Ann Bergen will serve as co-chairs of the committee.
Access to Justice was announced during National Celebrate Pro Bono week, Oct. 20-26.  ‘It is essential that the entire legal community engage in conversation and action that results in equal access to justice for all,’ Krider said in a news release.”  (The News-Herald)

November 5, 2013 – “For the last 13 years Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) — University of Saskatchewan chapter has been providing free legal services to the community. The 80 students volunteer three to five hours per week working on projects for various organizations in Saskatoon.”  “PBSC has chapters in all 21 law schools in Canada and is the only national pro bono service in the world. The U of S chapter is the only one that is funded by the law school itself. Last year, they partnered with 23 organizations and provided nearly 7,000 hours of volunteer service.” (The StarPhoenix)

November 6, 2013 – “Gulfcoast Legal Services Inc. will receive $10,531 from the county this year to help finance legal aid for the poor, the Manatee County Commission decided Tuesday.  Gulfcoast will work with an agency with a similar mission, Legal Aid of Manasota, which received $56,667 from the county, officials said.”  (Bradenton Herald)

November 7, 2013 – “On Wednesday, a coalition of seven public defender, legal advocacy and community activist groups unveiled the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project (NYIFUP), the first program in the nation to win public funding for legal defense of detained immigrants who cannot afford to hire lawyers. In June, the New York City Council appropriated $500,000 for the pilot, which organizers say will be enough to meet about 20 percent of each year’s need. Under the program, detainees whose income falls at no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty line can receive pro bono legal counsel from New York Immigrant Defenders, which consists of public defender offices in the Bronx Defenders and Brooklyn Defense Services.”  “Organizers of the project trace its descent to the efforts of Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Katzmann, who in 2010 commissioned two separate studies of detained immigrant representation in the city. “  (Latin Times)

November 9, 2013 – “The state Supreme Court said yesterday it will impose a new fee on thousands of attorneys who work in Missouri to help fund legal aid for low-income residents in civil court cases.  The $30 annual fee is to be paid by all licensed attorneys starting in 2014 and is expected to generate at least $750,000.  The money will go toward Missouri’s legal services fund, which helps pay for attorneys to aid people in civil cases such as custody disputes, protective orders, home foreclosures and bankruptcy cases.”  (Columbia Daily Tribune)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  After more than 30 years serving UNC’s students, the director of Carolina Student Legal Services is preparing to hand over the program she fought to create.  Dorothy Bernholz, who has served as CSLS’s director and staff attorney, said she will retire June 30.  See how she started this first-of-its-kind program over some major opposition and created a model for others to follow.  Congratulations on an outstanding career!  (The Daily Tarheel)

Super Music Bonus! Here is a lovely little blast from the past.  Enjoy!


PSJD Public Interest News Digest – November 8, 2013

by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships

Happy Friday everyone!  Hello from the NLADA Conference in sunny Los Angeles.   As such, we have a bit of a shortened digest this week.  And Happy Veteran’s Day.  Please join me in honoring those who serve!

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: If you know someone we should honor, drop me a line.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Tulane student-run pro bono clinic heads to Panama;
  • Gulfcoast Legal gets grant to help sex trafficking victims;
  • Boston Community Capital launches $100K public interest fellowship;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Veterans;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

November 2, 2013- “Tulane law students are working to bring free legal advice to residents of rural communities in lesser developed nations.  Tulane Law School’s International Law Society, this holiday season, will be running a pro bono legal clinic in the Darien Province of Panama through a student-run non-profit called Global Brigades.  Twenty students will volunteer their legal skills and time to help communities overcome obstacles to justice, working under the advice of local counsel to address severe civil issues through community-wide legal workshops and individualized counseling.”  (

November 2, 2013 – “Victims of human trafficking in Southwest Florida will soon have more help as they face a justice system that, by design, is better at punishing them than helping them. Gulfcoast Legal Services expects to double its efforts to represent domestic and foreign-born victims of labor or sex trafficking, thanks to a federal grant.  The $321,000 grant, awarded by a branch of the Department of Justice, will enable Gulfcoast, which provides free legal aid to poor residents, to hire another staff attorney and help twice as many victims, says Gulfcoast’s executive director, Kathleen Mullin.”  (Herald-Tribune)

November 4, 2013 – “Boston Community Capital has launched a $100,000 one-year fellowship for a recent law school graduate to work for the nonprofit organization doing public interest law work.” “I want someone to understand that they can engage in public interest work and do a fellowship that doesn’t commit them to an extended period of time but gives them experience. And leaves open the possibility of a longer term relationship,” said Elyse Cherry, chief executive officer of Boston Community Capital.  The fellowship will continue after it’s inaugural year, but Ms. Cherry is unsure if it will be awarded annually.  (Boston Business Journal)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.  Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans–living or dead–but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.  If you have an opportunity, please thank someone for their service.  And don’t forget the families who sacrifice just as much as the service member.  THANK YOU!!!  (

Super Music Bonus! Thank you to all veterans for standing up and taking the oath; for serving with integrity and honor; for running toward the fight while others run away.  This is for all warriors.