Archive for Public Interest Law News Bulletin

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 16, 2015

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

Happy Friday everyone!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • US federal government launches 2015 Workforce Recruitment Program for candidates with disabilities;
  • New endowment supports professional development and diversity efforts at University of Arkansas School of Law;
  • Prairie provinces contemplating overhaul of legal services delivery;
  • CA State Bar provides grant to start incubator;
  • Legal Aid of Marin launches lawyer referral service;
  • IU Maurer School of Law names first Director of IP Clinic;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

January 12, 2015 -The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) is a recruitment and referral program that connects employers nationwide with university students and recent graduates with disabilities to internships or permanent jobs.  Individuals must work with their schools, who register with the program.  For details on how the program works, see the WPR website.

January 12, 2015 – “University of Arkansas School of Law alumnus and Walmart executive Jeff Gearhart and his wife, Lisa Gearhart, have created an endowed fund to enhance academic and professional development opportunities that advance diversity in the legal profession. The Gearhart Family Endowed Diversity Support Initiative was established through a $200,000 gift from the couple.”  “The initiative will support programs such as internships, student travel to conferences and competitions, and expanded diversity education. It will complement existing diversity initiatives at the School of Law.”  (University of Arkansas Newswire)

January 12, 2015 – “Putting your affairs in order might one day be as simple as another stop at Costco or the Alberta Motor Association, the dean of the University of Alberta’s law school says.  With seismic shifts already shaking the American and Commonwealth legal profession, Alberta has joined the Canadian conversation about changes in technology and service delivery that could improve access to legal services, break the virtual monopoly held by lawyers and radically change how and where legal advice is given.”  “In September, the Law Society of Alberta began working with partner societies in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to contemplate an overhaul of the delivery of legal services on the Prairies. Potential changes include rules around ownership of firms and the enhanced use of technology and paralegals.”  Alternatives to the traditional legal office are being considered across Canada, and changes may occur as soon as 2016.  (Edmonton Journal)

January 12, 2015 – “The State Bar of California’s Commission on Access to Justice has awarded a grant to Southwestern Law School, UCLA School of Law and Pepperdine University School of Law to establish a modest means incubator, a pilot program to help new attorneys launch and develop viable law practices serving modest means clients.
The law schools have partnered with local legal aid organizations and the Los Angeles County Law Library to create the Los Angeles County Incubator Consortium, through which 12 to 15 recent graduates –  four or five from each law school – will receive training in establishing law practices that provide legal services to low and modest income populations.”  (Southwestern Law School News)

January 13, 2015 – I have been in numerous discussions recently regarding lawyer referral services.  Here is one example of how the program could work.  “Legal Aid of Marin, a nonprofit based in San Rafael [CA], has launched a referral service to match litigants to qualified lawyers in relevant fields.  Under the service, called the Marin Lawyer Referral Service, residents pay trained volunteers $50 for each referral, and the lawyer agrees to provide a free 30-minute consultation. The participating lawyers are selected from a panel screened for experience and clean state bar records.”  (Marin Independent Journal)

January 15, 2015 – “The IU Maurer School of Law will bring in Norman Hedges as a new clinical associate professor of law and its first full-time director of Maurer’s intellectual property law clinic.  The clinic opened its doors in January 2014 to provide pro bono patent, trademark and intellectual property law counseling, according to an IU press release.”  (Indiana Daily Student)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  A moment of silence for the Nigerian victims of Boka Haram and those at Charlie Hebdo in Paris.  All lives are important and should be mourned equally.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – January 9, 2015

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

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to 2015! Pro Bono hours are in, and I’m so pleased to see an increase in both hours and the number of individuals who have answered the call to service.  Keep up the great work!!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. receives 1.4 mil gift;
  • TX county tests indigent defense pilot project;
  • Crowd-funding a public interest career?;
  • CT boosts legal aid ranks with ‘LawyerCorps’;
  • DE launches Access to Justice Commission;
  • Washington State to license LLLTs;
  • New rules clarify NJ requirements for pro bono exemption;
  • Syracuse University College of Law opens veterans clinic;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants:  National Law Journal Pro Bono Hotlist – 10 firms making a real impact on their communities;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

December 22, 2014 – Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. covers 16 counties with “16 attorneys and seven paralegals trying to cover a geographic area where 200,000 people could be eligible for its services. 362 private attorneys also provide pro bono services, amounting to 5,600 hours of work.”  The agency “recently received a boost from someone it helped. William T. and Virginia N. Lyons never forgot the work that Legal Services provided for its clients and for the internship that [Executive Director Kris] Knab provided William Lyons over 30 years ago, when he took up law as a second career.  Legal Services this week announced receiving a gift of $1.4 million from the estate of the couple, now both deceased. To honor the agency’s single largest donation, Legal Services has renamed its Tallahassee office the William T. and Virginia N. Lyons Justice Center.”  The money comes at a critical time when all agencies are cutting staff and services in the face of budget cuts and funding shortfalls.  (Tallahassee Democrat)

December 28, 2014 – A central Texas county “will be the first in the country to give [indigent defendants] the ability to choose their own attorneys at the government’s expense.  It’s part of a pilot program in Comal County that could determine whether the idea could be adopted in other jurisdictions and provide a new wrinkle to how the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments are exercised.  Under the new system, a defendant who is declared indigent will be given a list of 30 to 50 attorneys who have been approved by the county. An individual will have a day to make a choice.  Legal experts have suggested that defendants will be more invested in their cases, and there will be more accountability for attorneys.”  The program is set to begin January 12.  (ABC News)

December 30, 2014 – Here is an interesting article from Above the Law about one student who is attempting to crowdfund her public interest law firm.  It is an intriguing idea, and, in her case, well thought out.  Give it a read.  (Above the Law)

December 30, 2014 – “Connecticut’s legal aid community breathed a collective sigh of relief when lawmakers in 2014 approved a plan to continue using increased court filing fees to fund their legal services programs for the poor.”  Each of the state’s three largest legal aid agencies—Connecticut Legal Services, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, and the New Haven Legal Assistance Association—is in the process of reviewing applications for the new [LawyerCorps Connecticut] fellowships. Hiring committees will interview applicants and choose fellows, who maybe either in law school or recently graduated. The new fellows will work to help those in need obtain protection from domestic violence. They will also help clients with legal issues related to housing, education and health care.”  Law students and admitted lawyers interested in applying for the LawyerCorps Connecticut program can visit lawyercorpsct.org/apply. Applications are due by Jan. 20.
(Connecticut Law Tribune)

December 31, 2014 – “Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr. earlier this month launched the Access to Justice Commission, a task force focused on helping low- to moderate-income individuals obtain legal services for criminal and civil cases.  The commission’s main efforts will be to ensure organizations providing indigent legal services make the most of limited resources, increase attorney pro bono offerings, and lessen the economic hardship on attorneys representing low-income clients.  ‘All of the commission’s mandates are equally important,’ Strine told Delaware Law Weekly. ‘We will take the time to look specifically at these issues and how to go about addressing them with the talent that is relevant to those issues. You will see distinguished in-house attorneys look at increasing pro bono work or financial experts look at increased funding.’”  (Delaware Law Weekly) (free subscription required)

January 1, 2015 -Washington’s (and the nation’s) first limited license legal technicians are preparing for practice. The inaugural class of 15 “have taken the required courses and will sit for a licensing examination in March. The state will begin licensing those who pass in the spring.  These nonlawyers will be licensed by the state to provide legal advice and assistance to clients in certain areas of law without the supervision of a lawyer.  The first practice area in which LLLTs will be licensed is domestic relations.”  “So far, Washington stands alone in formally licensing nonlawyers to provide legal services. But California is actively considering nonlawyer licensing, and several other states are beginning to explore it. New York has sidestepped licensing and is already allowing nonlawyers to provide legal assistance in limited circumstances while also looking to expand their use.  In its January 2014 final report, the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education called on states to license ‘persons other than holders of a JD to deliver limited legal services.’ Now this issue of allowing nonlawyers to provide legal services is among the topics being taken up by ABA President William C. Hubbard’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services.”  The Washington and New York programs are detailed in the article.  (ABA Journal)

January 5, 2015 – “Rule changes aimed at helping New Jersey lawyers fulfill their annual pro bono obligations kicked in at the start of the new year.  The changes were proposed in 2012 by the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Pro Bono Task Force and adopted by the state Supreme Court last July, but had a delayed effective date of Jan. 1.  New Jersey has a unique system of mandatory court-appointed pro bono service, but lawyers can claim an exemption from it by doing at least 25 hours of pro bono work for a qualifying organization in the preceding year. It is known as Exemption 88.”  “New Rule 1:21-12 for the first time sets forth the exemption in the form of a single rule, stating that lawyers who certify to 25 hours of voluntary qualifying pro bono service in the prior year are exempt from court-appointed service under Madden. The other new rule, Rule 1:21-11, defines what constitutes ‘qualifying pro bono service’ for purposes of satisfying the obligation and requires certification of the programs through which lawyers provide such service.”  More information can be found on the Court’s website.  (The New Jersey Law Journal) (free subscription required)

January 8, 2015 – “Military veterans in Central New York will have access to free legal help through a new, year-round legal clinic opening today at Syracuse University’s College of  Law.  The Veterans Legal Clinic opens today at SU’s Dineen Hall. It will specialize in work involving the Department of Veterans Affairs such as appeals of adverse VA decisions and attempted  upgrades of military discharges.  Tom Caruso and Josh Keefe, both of whom graduated from SU’s College of Law and SU’s Maxwell School this year, helped create the clinic.  Each is returning to active duty as a judge advocate  - Caruso for the U.S. Navy, Keefe for the Marine Corps.”  (The Post-Standard)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: As law firms continue to expand their services globally, so too have their pro bono programs, with lawyers volunteering in 2014 to help with immigration matters, natural disaster relief and human trafficking cases. Last year also brought plenty of pro bono opportunities stateside. Attorneys devoted their time to gun control cases, voter identification laws, free speech issues, abortion rights and same-sex marriage cases.  Here is the National Law Journal’s list of the top 10 firms that made exemplary contributions to access to justice.

  • Arnold & Porter
  • Chadborne & Parke
  • Crowell & Moring
  • Farella Braun + Martel
  • Jenner & Block
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Morrison & Foerster
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe
  • Reed Smith
  • Sidley Austin

Read about their great work.  (National Law Journal)

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – December 19, 2015

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

Happy Holidays everyone!  We finish up our series on job search strategies for the winter break on the PSJD Blog.  Check it out and share with your friends.  The Digest will be taking a hiatus for the holidays.  We will return in January with news to get your year started right.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • RI legal services non-profit to suspend services;
  • CT legal aid agency marks 50 years;
  • Marquette law clinic to offer free legal services to start-ups;
  • Vancouver nearly doubles indigent defense fund;
  • DC Bar Foundation awards $319,000 in loan repayment assistance;
  • Ontario appoints lead for new Aboriginal Justice Division;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants:  William P. Quigley;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

December 11, 2014 -”The Rhode Island Center for Law and Public Policy will suspend most of its operations on Dec. 23, its president and founder said in a statement Thursday.  The nonprofit, public-interest, civil-legal-services corporation, founded in 2008, will continue its Medical Legal Partnership Program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, founder and president Geoffrey A. Schoos said.  The center, which provides legal services for underserved, low-income residents, is seeking additional funding to reopen its programs.”(Providence Journal)

December 11, 2014 – It would be unheard of today, but 50 years ago when New Haven Legal Assistance Association was launched,  it was called a “socio-economic experiment,” and “the bar association felt that legal-aid lawyers were not worthy of being members.”  “A lot has changed since the early days of NHLAA. The so-called research project as it was once referred is now a staple in the legal community. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and former first lady and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton are among the noteworthy legal minds that got their start at NHLAA.”  Read more about their great work here.  Congratulations, and here’s to many more years of serving your community.
(Connecticut Law Tribune) (free registration required)

December 13, 2014 – “In a move that could bolster the region’s innovation efforts, Marquette University is launching a clinic that will provide free legal services to start-ups and entrepreneurs.  The first such clinic in the area, it will provide services to aspiring companies ranging from high-tech start-ups to mom-and-pop grocery stores, said Nathan Hammons, a full-time faculty member and the clinic’s director.  Marquette’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic supports the vision for entrepreneurship and innovation that Michael Lovell, the school’s recently installed president, has laid out for the campus community. But it also will fill a gap in the region’s emerging start-up scene, observers said.”  “The Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic will open in January in a limited capacity and be fully operational by fall 2015, Parlow said. The clinic is being funded by donations to the law school’s annual fund.”  (Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel)

December 15, 2014 – “The Vancouver City Council on Monday approved a new indigent defense contract for 2015 worth nearly $1.1 million, approximately twice what it spent this year.  The additional expense, which was included in the approved 2015-16 budget, enables the city to meet legal standards set by the Washington Supreme Court to help ensure that indigent defendants receive adequate representation.”  (The Columbian)

December 17, 2014 – “The DC Bar Foundation (DCBF) announced the recipients of its two loan repayment assistance programs (LRAP) for FY15. More than $319,000 was awarded to 69 civil legal services lawyers, who provide direct civil legal services to low-income, underserved DC residents. They will receive an interest-free loan from DCBF to help pay their monthly student loan payments from January to December 2015, at which time these interest-free loans will be forgiven.” (DC Bar Foundation)

December 17, 2014 – “Following an extensive recruitment campaign, Kimberly Murray has been selected to lead the newly created Aboriginal Justice Division at the Ministry of the Attorney General.  This new division was recommended by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci in his report, First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries.  Ms. Murray, who is a member of the Kanehsatake Mohawk Nation, was called to the Ontario Bar in 1995. Over the past 20 years, she has gained considerable experience in the field of Aboriginal law as a legal counsel, and as a leader who has the ability to build collaborative relationships and bring about transformational change.”  (Ontario Newsroom)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: William P. Quigley, a professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Father Robert Drinan Award. The annual award is presented to one law professor a year by the American Association of Law School’s section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities and recognizes educators working toward increasing access to justice.  Read more about this award and his great works here.  Congratulations!

Super Music Bonus! Happy Holidays!

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – December 12, 2014

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

Happy Friday!  We continue our series on job search strategies for the winter break on the PSJD Blog.  Check it out and share with your friends.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • LGBT law clinic Legal G launches in FL;
  • Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians donates funds to help homeless;
  • Iowa Legal Aid champions attorney fee for the poor;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Ellen Greenlee;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

December 6, 2014 -Tavernier lawyers Bernadette Restivo, Elena Vigil-Farinas and Jessica Reilly have launched Legal G-Aid, a nonprofit aimed at helping low-income people with LGBT-related legal issues. “It registered with the state Nov. 4 — Election Day — and officially launched at a kickoff event Friday in Key West.” “The basis for the nonprofit, according to Restivo, is the costs associated with LGBT-related legal issues.”  “Restivo is seeking the help of others to serve on Legal G-Aid’s board and attorneys who are willing to work pro bono or at a “greatly reduced” hourly rate to help with LGBT legal issues. She said she has interest from people in other counties in starting their own Legal G-Aid chapters.”(KeysInfoNet)

December 8, 2014 – “To bolster the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County’s efforts to reduce homelessness through its effective programs, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians donated $10,000 on Monday to the organization’s fundraising campaign.  The Legal Aid Foundation’s vision is to provide equal access to justice for all; removing victims of domestic violence permanently from harm’s way, preventing homelessness, helping seniors live with dignity and independence, and providing a legal safety net for low-income residents of Santa Barbara County.”  (NoozHawk)

December 10, 2014 – Iowa Legal Aid has championed a proposal to require most Iowa attorneys to pay a yearly $100 fee to support its budget.  “The proposal has divided Iowa lawyers and has brought in more than 130 pages worth of public comments to the state Supreme Court. Lines are drawn between attorneys who believe they have a special duty to help the poor get access to courtrooms and those who argue a mandatory fee is essentially forced charity or an unfair tax on lawyers.”  “A $100 mandatory fee could potentially raise $903,400 of an estimated $1.8 million needed to boost the number of staff attorneys, according to the report from Supreme Court staff. Currently, eight other states require attorneys to pay similar fees, including Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. The Iowa high court is also considering whether the fee could be paid on a voluntary basis.”  Comments will be accepted until January 5, 2015.  (The Des Moines Register)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: “Ellen Greenlee, who has been the chief defender at the Defender Association of Philadelphia for the past 25 years, has announced she will be stepping down this spring.  According to a statement from the association’s board of directors emailed Tuesday, Greenlee will be retiring as the chief public defender March 1, 2015. Greenlee has worked at the association for 40 years, and spent 25 as chief defender, the statement said.”  “Her exemplary career has truly been a light in all-too-often dark corners of the criminal justice system and we join in celebrating her accomplishments and well-earned retirement,” said David Rudovsky, president of the association’s board of directors, in the statement. “On behalf of the board, and we know we speak for many in the Philadelphia criminal justice community, we express our deepest thanks to Ellen for her extraordinary leadership and service of the Defender Association.”  We congratulate Ms. Greenlee on an outstanding career, and thank you for your service.  (The Legal Intelligencer)

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – December 5, 2014

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

Happy Friday and welcome to December!  Check out the PSJD blog, where we’re featuring tips for your job search during winter break.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Leading Law Students Program seats Penn State Law students on boards of nonprofits;
  • Push for legal aid for civil cases finds advocates;
  • UO Law becomes newest Gideon’s Promise law school partner;
  • ID legislative committee rejects public defender resolution;
  • The Law Commission of Ontario releases final report in its Capacity and Legal Representation for the Federal RDSP project;
  • Chief Justice leads commission to solve FL’s legal aid woes;
  • Legal Aid Ontario funds 3 Gladue workers in northern Ontario;
  • FL bill would give prosecutors/defenders student loan assistance;
  • Atkinson Foundation honors pro bono legal program at children’s hospital;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Nobel Peace Prize winners;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

November 19, 2014 -”An innovative program now in its second year at Penn State Law provides students with a unique avenue for developing their leadership skills while they serve in their local community. Leading Law Students, which started last year at the suggestion of a current Penn State Dickinson School of Law student, places select law students on the boards of directors of local nonprofit organizations.”  “‘The program was envisioned as a way to encourage our students to begin thinking about how, as future attorneys, they can give back to their communities and start interacting with community members who could be their future clients,’ says Neil Sirota, assistant dean of Career Services at Penn State Law. ‘The reaction from our students and the local community has been tremendously positive. Our students are honing their leadership skills, expanding their professional networks, and helping to create new connections between the law school and the local community.’” (Penn State Law)

November 21, 2014 – “Free legal assistance in noncriminal cases is rare and growing rarer. A recent study in Massachusetts found that two-thirds of low-income residents who seek legal help are turned away. Nationally, important civil legal needs are met only about 20 percent of the time for low-income Americans, according to James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation, a federal agency that finances legal aid groups.”  The Eviction Assistance Center, a legal aid office in the same building as the housing court works to provide legal aid.  “Established in 2011, the center is part of an experiment by the California courts on the benefits of providing more lawyers and legal advice to low-income people in civil cases such as child custody, protective orders against abusers, guardianship and, most commonly, evictions.”  “The California initiative and similar projects in New York, Massachusetts and elsewhere aim not only to help more needy clients but also to improve guidelines for the unavoidable and often painful legal triage: In a sea of unmet needs, who most needs a lawyer, who can do with some ‘self-help’ direction? What happens to those who must be turned away?”  Read on to find out more.  (NY Times)

November 24, 2014 – “The University of Oregon School of Law has joined the ranks of law schools at the University of Chicago, the University of California at Los Angeles and others by becoming a Gideon’s Promise law school partner.”  “Oregon Law graduates who participate in the program will receive a post-graduate fellowship from the law school and the promise of a job within one year of graduation at the public defender offices where they are placed. Graduates in the program will also receive three years of training and education from Gideon’s Promise.”   (University of Oregon)

November 24, 2014 – “Lawmakers on a committee charged with improving Idaho’s broken public defense system have killed a resolution that would have given the state full responsibly for assigning attorneys to indigent defenders.  Earlier this year, representatives from the state’s 44 counties voted that Idaho should manage the public defense system. However, members of the Legislature’s Public Defense Reform Interim Committee at a meeting Monday agreed that counties should remain in control.”  “The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and other legal experts have warned lawmakers since 2010 that Idaho’s public defense system is a potential target for lawsuits. The Idaho Association of Counties says the resolution won’t be presented again.  (KTVB.com)

November 27, 2014 – “The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) today releases its final report in its Capacity and Legal Representation for the Federal RDSP project.  The Government of Ontario requested that the LCO undertake a review of how adults with disability might be better enabled to participate in the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP). The RDSP is a savings vehicle created by the federal government to assist persons with disability with long-term financial security. The LCO’s final report presents recommendations respecting the creation of a streamlined process to appoint an ‘RDSP legal representative’ for adults seeking access to the RDSP who do not have legal capacity to establish a plan themselves.”  “The final report was the result of extensive research and consultations, and benefited from work being carried out in the LCO’s larger, ongoing Legal Capacity, Decision-Making and Guardianship project.”  (CNW)

November 27, 2014 – “Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga doesn’t have solutions yet, but he announced this week a commission filled with lawyers, politicians and business leaders who he thinks can figure out a way for people to have more access to civil justice. In 2008, the Florida Bar Foundation gave $29 million to legal aid, nonprofit law firms that help the poor. This year, legal aid gets just $12 million. That means fewer attorneys can help fewer poor people navigate the civil courts.”  “Largely, [Labarga] said, the commission will study how other states provide access to civil attorneys.”  (The Florida Times-Union)

November 28, 2014 – “The director of Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services says it has hired three Gladue workers in northern Ontario.  The specially-trained workers will prepare pre-sentence reports on the unique life experiences of aboriginal people who face charges.  Celina Reitberger said the workers will be based in Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay and Timmins.”  (CBC News)

November 28, 2014 – State Senator Jeremy Ring filed a bill  which would offer thousands of dollars a year to help prosecutors and public defenders pay off student loans.  Ring’s bill would help assistant state attorneys, assistant public defenders, assistant attorneys general and assistant statewide prosecutors make their loan payments. Prosecutors or public defenders who have had their jobs three to six years would get $3,000-a-year. The amount climbs to $5,000 for attorneys who have served six to 12 years.”  (Broward Beat.com)

December 3, 2014 – “Parents of seriously ill children often have to make a difficult choice between being present for their child during hospital visits and keeping their jobs. Hannah Lee is trying to change that. Lee is the ‘triage lawyer’ at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.”  “Lee is part of a Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO) partnership with the hospital that provides legal assistance in such situations to low-income families who don’t quite qualify for publicly funded counsel — a program that just got a $50,000 funding boost from the Atkinson Foundation and the Hindmarsh family. PBLO’s Medical-Legal Partnerships for Children is the recipient of the 2014 Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award, named for the former foundation president and daughter of longtime Star publisher Joseph E. Atkinson. The annual award, presented Thursday, was established in 1998 to support the efforts of organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children.”  “The award funds will help the PBLO expand to a fifth location, McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton.”  (thestar.com)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: On December 10, 1901, the first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.  Perhaps the most recognized are the winners of the Nobel Prize for Peace.  Notable winners have included Marie Curie, Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Nelson Mandela.  To read more, go to History.com.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – November 21, 2014

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

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  The Digest will take a holiday next week to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family.  We will return in December with news to prepare you for the winter break.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • New certificate program at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law prepares students to work in the public interest;
  • Former MS Volunteer Lawyers official pleads guilty to stealing federal funds;
  • National Center for Access to Justice revises Justice Index;
  • ABA launches site to aid unaccompanied minors;
  • USAJobs is getting another makeover;
  • Kings County (WA) Council delays PD layoffs;
  • TN CLE Commission supports access to justice;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Maureen Alger;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

November 12, 2014 -”The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law now offers a new Social Justice Certificate Program, which assists students who want to effectively advocate for the poor and the marginalized.  Through hands-on experience and focused academic study in this certificate program, students will not only be able to advance public interest causes for the needy and disadvantaged, but also provide a strong signal of their commitment to social justice to fellowship programs and future employers.  Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the certificate courses and an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher to receive the certificate, while completing four to eight hours of doctrinal coursework, seven to 10 hours of experiential hours, as well as 50 hours of public service work.  (Loyola University New Orleans)

November 13, 2014 – “The former executive director of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for stealing less than $1,000 in federal Legal Services funds. Shirley Mae Williams, 47, of Jackson pleaded guilty Wednesday to theft of less than $1,000 in federal funds, which is misdemeanor. Federal prosecutors say from January 2009 through December 2012, Williams, while employed as MVLP executive director, converted the federal funds to pay for a portion of her family’s cellular phone expenses and health club membership. MVLP received Legal Services Corp. grant funds as a sub-grantee of both North Mississippi Rural Legal Services and Mississippi Center for Legal Services.”  (The Clarion-Ledger)

November 13, 2014 – “The National Center for Access to Justice revised The Justice Index on November 13, 2014 to reflect comments and corrections received from 21 states following publication of The Justice Index on February 25, 2014.”  A notice will be published on the Index when the updates are finalized.  (National Center for Access to Justice)

November 14, 2014 – “Child advocates have for months voiced concerns about unaccompanied minors not having an attorney by their side in immigration court, and now the American Bar Association is stepping in to help. The group launched a website this week as a resource for attorneys who want to volunteer their time to help unaccompanied minors navigate through the immigration system. The goal is to get more attorneys to provided unaccompanied minors with legal representation on a pro bono basis. The website is dubbed the Immigrant Child Advocacy Network. It was put together by the American Bar Association’s working group on unaccompanied minors in collaboration with partner organizations, like Kids in Need of Defense and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.” (VOXXI)

November 17, 2014 – “The Office of Personnel Management once again is revamping USAJobs, the website most people use to apply for jobs in the federal government. The agency wants to streamline and clarify its job descriptions and make sure job postings don’t ask applicants redundant questions, said OPM Director Katherine Archuleta on Friday during a virtual town hall where she took questions on topics including recruitment, diversity and the role of veterans’ preference in the hiring process. She did not say when a new site might debut.”  (Government Executive)

November 17, 2014 – “The King County department that helps defendants who can’t afford an attorney will lose 40 employees, including about 20 attorneys, under the two-year county budget adopted Monday by the Metropolitan King County Council. But the controversial staff reduction won’t happen immediately and could potentially be reversed next spring, because of a last-minute amendment by the council. County Executive Dow Constantine had proposed the reduction, saying the Department of Public Defense, at nearly 400 employees, had more staff than required. But the council tweaked the proposal after hearing one attorney after another testify Monday that the reduction would harm poor people and fail to save money.”  “Lisa Daugaard, deputy director of the Department of Public Defense, said the council’s amendment was in line with the board’s recommendations. ‘This is an important and welcome shift,’ said Daugaard. ‘It gives everyone involved a chance to get on the same page about what the real staffing requirements of the department are and then to make budget decisions in light of that information.’”  (Seattle Times)

November 19, 2014 – “The Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to support Access to Justice initiatives in the state. The grants will extend by one year each the pro bono coordinator position and the aLEGALz project. ‘Encouraging lawyers to give back to their communities is a priority for the Court,’ said Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon Lee. ‘These programs play a significant role in identifying opportunities and aligning the appropriate resources and we are grateful that the funding to continue them was possible.’”  (The Chattanoogan.com)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: On November 14, 2014, at its annual conference of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), Cooley pro bono partner, Maureen Alger, was awarded the 2014 Arthur von Briesen Award for her work on behalf of equal justice. The von Briesen Award honors outstanding service in advancing the cause of equal access to justice, and recognizes the contributions of individuals and programs from a cross-section of the legal aid, public defense, and corporate law communities.  Congratulations!  (Market Wired)

Super Music Bonus!  Happy Thanksgiving!

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – November 14, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Georgia State Law School opening clinic to help vets;
  • Lewis & Clark Law School shuts down pro bono legal clinic;
  • SUNY Buffalo Law School launches new veterans clinic;
  • Brooklyn charity fund seeks to help people too poor to afford bail;
  • William & Mary Law receives DOJ grant to expand domestic violence clinic;
  • Immigrant aid expands to western NY;
  • Columbia Law’s Human Rights Clinic launches mentor program;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: The Public Interest Law Society, the Black Law Students Association and the Latin American Law Students Association of Widener Law;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

November 7, 2014 – “Georgia State University officials say the school is opening a law clinic to serve roughly 800 veterans who are enrolled as students. GSU officials say the Law Volunteer Clinic for Veterans will open with a ribbon cutting ceremony Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. GSU dean and law professor Steven Kaminshine said in a statement that the clinic will demonstrate how a law school can provide a valuable community service. Kaminshine says the clinic will allow students to work with experienced volunteer lawyers and receive pro bono credit.”  (The Florida Times-Union)

November 7, 2014 – “The downtown Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic, a source of pro bono legal services for low-income Portlanders since 1971, will close on Jan. 1, 2015.  The Clinic was run by legal clinicians and law students enrolled in externships through the law school. It created a mutually beneficial relationship between LC and the community: students received practical law experience; low-income Portlanders received help with legal issues including child support modifications, domestic violence cases and tax controversies.  The closure will force people to find pro bono services elsewhere.”  “Despite the loss to the local community, the downtown legal clinic is not the only public interest clinic run by the law school. There are six others currently in operation. In addition to services provided through the clinics, externships and internships, [Dean Jennifer] Johnson stated that students provided more than 15,000 hours of pro bono community service last year.” (The PIOLOG)

November 7, 2014 – Beginning in January, 2015, the SUNY Buffalo Law School clinical program will launch a new Veterans’ Economic Security Clinic to help veterans.  “The clinic will provide free civil legal services to western New York veterans facing eviction and consumer debt issues. Law faculty and students will work to prevent veterans’ homelessness and increase their financial security by helping them navigate the legal system, and crafting comprehensive suggestions for needed law reform. The clinic will strive to ensure equity in securing basic necessities required to thrive in civilian life.”  (University at Buffalo)

November 8, 2014 – You can plead guilty and get out of jail right now or fight your case, and stay in jail.  This situation is faced by many of the Brooklyn Defender’s clients who are pleading guilty to charges because they can’t afford to miss work or their family will be turned out of a shelter because they won’t be back for the night.  “To help these indigent defendants fight their cases out of jail and without the pressure to plead guilty, [Josh] Saunders and a fellow public defender, Scott Hechinger, are creating a charity fund, which would be sponsored by their employer, the Brooklyn Defenders Services.”  “The charity, called the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, is made possible by a 2012 law that allows nonprofit organizations to post bail for defendants with misdemeanor charges, who are facing bail of $2,000 or less.”  This fund will follow the example of the first nonprofit bail fund in the state, the Bronx Freedom Fund works with clients from The Bronx Defenders.  So far, that Fund has “served 149 clients so far, with roughly $100,000 in the fund.”  (The Epoch Times)

November 11, 2014 – “William & Mary Law School has announced that its Domestic Violence Clinic is the recipient of a grant from the Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women (DOJ OVW). The grant will provide more than $250,000 over two years to expand the services of the existing clinic.”  “The W&M Domestic Violence Clinic provides domestic violence legal education and protective order advocacy. The grant funding will be used to expand the clinic’s services to provide a more holistic approach to assisting clients and enable the clinic to represent more clients.”  (William & Mary Law School)

November 12, 2014 – “The New York Immigrant Family Unity Project, a joint venture between the Vera Institute of Justice and other groups, expanded to the Buffalo area on Monday, with the Erie County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project providing free legal services to 55 immigrants facing deportation.”  (New York Law Journal) (free subscription required)

November 12, 2014 – “Students working in Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic have been paired with experienced advocates from leading human rights organizations as part of an exciting new mentoring initiative.  ‘The Mentorship Program is designed to develop a new generation of human rights advocates while increasing practitioner links to new allies and fostering a supportive environment for human rights work,’ said Sarah Knuckey, the Lieff Cabraser Clinical Associate Professor of Human Rights, faculty co-director of the Human Rights Institute, and director of the Human Rights Clinic.  The just-launched Human Rights Clinic Mentorship Program connects students with mentors drawn from the global community of human rights practitioners. Selected to ensure diversity of experiences, the mentors work as advocates at organizations defending everything from the environment to freedom of expression, and from the rights of civilians in armed conflict to indigenous communities harmed by extractives projects. Students have been paired with mentors based on their interests and career goals, and the mentorship will promote the students’ development as strategic, principled, and reflective advocates for social justice.”  (Columbia Law School)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: Law students from the Harrisburg campus will be embarking on a new service project this holiday season that provides a meaningful opportunity to give back to the community.  Signups are now underway for students who will participate in a Thanksgiving Day of service at the Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg. The effort is a joint public service project of the Public Interest Law Society, the Black Law Students Association and the Latin American Law Students Association.  ‘This experience – the interpersonal skills and giving back – that’s what we are founded on,’ said Bri Gaumer, president of the Public Interest Law Society, which formed just last year.  The organizations will volunteer at the mission from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving afternoon. Gaumer said they will be serving plates of food but also able to sit with residents and engage and connect with them. The students will also set up a table with access-to-justice information and resources for low-cost community legal services.”  Read more about this outstanding new project here.

Super Music Bonus!  A dance tune that’s been running through my head lately.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – November 7, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!  Welcome to November.  Can you believe the holidays are almost upon us?  Now that we’re in the full swing of 1L counseling, any new initiatives out there we should know about?

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Alberta increases legal aid funding/raises eligibility threshold;
  • Vermont Legal Aid receives HUD grant;
  • FL Supreme Court to decide bar dues increase fight;
  • New York Law School starts public interest center and new externship program;
  • NY State Bar seeks broader definition of pro bono;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Jeannette Rankin;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

October 30, 2014 – “The provincial government on Thursday announced increased Legal Aid funding which will allow lower income Albertans, such as those on AISH, access to justice.  An additional $5.5 million was pledged to the $47.9 million already committed for this fiscal year, meaning the maximum annual eligible income will be increased from $16,176 to $19,056.  The additional funds were ‘necessary to increase the eligibility requirement above AISH levels,’ Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said of those on Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped.”  (Calgary Sun)

October 30, 2014 – “Vermont Legal Aid has received a three-year Fair Housing Initiatives Program Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue the Housing Discrimination Law Project’s work to ensure Vermonters’ access to housing and to challenge both individual and systemic discriminatory practices. The $975,000 grant will be disbursed over three years to fund Vermont Legal Aid’s statewide systemic and complaint-based testing project, fair housing counseling, representation in enforcement actions, education, and land use planning and policy advocacy with state and local officials.”  (vermontbiz)

November 4, 2014 – Legal aid providers in Florida are at the crisis stage.  “A combination of [Governor Rick] Scott’s budget vetoes and the [Florida State] bar’s refusal to add a new $100 fee to its membership dues mean that Florida’s legal-aid budget is about to take a 40 percent whack. Pending a last-minute emergency rescue by the Florida Supreme Court next month, hundreds of attorneys who help the poor will be out of a job.”   A group led by Kent Spuhler, executive director of Florida Legal Services Inc., has challenged the State Bar’s decision.  Oral arguments will be heard by the Florida Supreme Court on December 2.  (Miami New Times Blog)

November 4, 2014 – “New York Law School has launched the Impact Center for Public Interest Law, which will act as an umbrella for seven new and five existing initiatives seeking to advance social justice.  The Unshared Bounty Project, the Health Law and Patient Safety Initiative, the Voting Rights and Civic Participation Project, the Detention and the Struggle Against Terrorism, and the Safe Passage Project will be housed at the Center.”  “Separately, the school has started an externship program that places four fellows within eight business improvement districts (BID) in the city. The three students and one recent graduate in the Neighborhood Legal Fellows Program this fall are researching BID legal issues, such as city administrative law compliance, under the supervision of the city’s Small Business Services legal team. The graduate fellow will receive $3,000 while the students receive course credit.”  (New York Law Journal) (free subscription required)

November 4, 2014 – “The Unified Court System will work with the New York State Bar Association to develop a more expansive definition of pro bono to guide attorneys when they disclose pro bono hours and monetary contributions.  State Bar President Glenn Lau-Kee said drafts of more liberal definitions of pro bono were being exchanged between his group and the court system. On Saturday, the state bar’s House of Delegates adopted his resolution calling on the court to amend §118.1 of the Rules of the Chief Administrative Judge to identify additional activities as ‘reportable hours and financial contributions given by attorneys’ toward pro bono (NYLJ, Nov. 3).  “Lau-Kee said adding new categories of service to §118 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator will effectively formalize new and expanded definitions of pro bono.”  (New York Law Journal) (free subscription required)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: On this day in 1916, Montana suffragist Jeannette Rankin is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the first woman in the history of the nation to win a seat in the federal Congress.  Today, in the 113th Congress, there are 99 women (20 in the Senate and 79 in the House of Representatives) serving.  That is 18.5% of the elected officials in Congress.  Doesn’t seem like we’ve come that far in 100 years, have we?  One avenue toward change is to motivate our girls to grow up to become women who  seek change in positive ways.  I know we all know someone like that.  Let’s make an extra effort to support and encourage them.  We all benefit from diversity in our electorate.  (History.com)(Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics)

Super Music Bonus!  A little blues from two of my favorites.

 

 

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – October 31, 2014

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

Happy Halloween everyone!  What great week we had celebrating National Pro Bono Week!  Thank you to all those who worked so hard to make it happen.  It is a great reminder of what we can do when we come together as a community.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • 6 NY Counties take part in study of state funding;
  • South Carolina Legal Services receives its first EJW AmeriCorps Fellow;
  • DOJ names new head of Access to Justice Initiative;
  • No deal on legal aid funding at justice ministers’ meeting;
  • Panel finds MD poor deserve free counsel for family law cases;
  • LSC awards nearly $3.5 Mil in technology grants;
  • Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services received HUD grant;
  • Legal Aid of East TN gets DOJ grant;
  • NYCLU reaches public defender agreement;
  • 13 MD organizations receive funds to combat violence against women;
  • Ontario raises eligibility threshold for legal aid;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants:  Quakers, Abigail Adams, Sarah Grimke, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

October 17, 2014 – Six counties have been chosen to be part of a two-year study to determine whether state funding is solving the problem of underrepresentation of the poor and underserved in court.  “The University at Albany announced Oct. 2 that it will continue its partnership with the state Office of Indigent Legal Services to research the state of legal counsel for the underserved upstate, evaluating the impact of $12 million in state funding spent on tackling the issue. The study is fueled by a $381,402 grant from the National Institute of Justice.  The study is based on ‘counsel at first appearance,’ a concept that guarantees a person can speak with an attorney after being arrested, and before appearing in court.  ILS Director of Research Andrew Davies, a co-investigator on the study, said having no access to an attorney before court can mean jail time without discussion of bail.”  (Watertown Daily Times)

October 17, 2014 – “South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) is excited to announce that it has been selected by Equal Justice Works to host its first-ever AmeriCorps Equal Justice Works Fellow. Lonnie R. Doles, a 2014 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, will be serving as an Employment Opportunity Fellow to provide legal assistance to remove barriers to employment for unemployed or underemployed people who are actively seeking to join the labor market. This assistance will include expungement of minor criminal records, correcting errors in criminal records, restoring driver’s licenses and occupational licenses, and providing other legal assistance aimed at helping individuals get to work. The fellowship will last for one year with the possibility of renewal for second year.”  (SCLS)

October 17, 2014 – “A former California judge who had been the head of California Common Cause, Lisa Foster, has been named the director of the Justice Department’s ‘Access to Justice”’Initiative, officials familiar with the appointment told BuzzFeed News.  The initiative, started by Attorney General Eric Holder in March 2010, aims ‘to address the access-to-justice crisis in the criminal and civil justice system’ by helping to ensure that the justice system is accessible to all people, regardless of income.”  (BuzzFeed News)

October 17, 2014 – “Federal, provincial and territorial justice ministers were unable to reach a deal in meetings this week on increased funding from Ottawa for legal aid. The issue was at the top of the agenda at a two-day meeting in Banff, Alta., that wrapped up Friday. Ottawa used to split the cost of the program 50-50, but now only chips in about 16 per cent. Since 2003, there has been no new federal funding to the program, leaving it to provinces to make up the difference.”  “This is an ongoing issue and discussion with respect to the amount and the support and the distribution of federal funding for legal aid,” said Justice Minister Peter MacKay, who called the discussions constructive and “very frank.”  “I can assure you there have been no doors closed but we’re very encouraged by innovations, by efficiencies that have been identified, these are discussions that are very important and will continue.”  (CP24 News)

October 17, 2014 – “[A] state task force this month recommended assigning free lawyers in certain family-law cases, and spending nearly $8 million over four years to help the poorest Marylanders work through the complex court system.” “The Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland is a group of judges, attorneys, delegates and state senators that has been meeting since December to discuss the benefits of providing legal representation to low-income people involved in civil disputes.”  “A bill, sponsored by Del. Sandy Rosenberg, D-Baltimore, outlining the task force’s recommendations, will be introduced to the legislature at the start of the next session, which begins on Jan. 14, said Dumais, who plans to co-sponsor the bill.”  (Southern Maryland Online)

October 17, 2014 – “The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) today released a list of 38 projects nationwide that will receive Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) funding in 2014. The grants will support a variety of initiatives, including user-friendly online tools for women veterans, mobile delivery of legal services for clients using text messaging, and video-conferencing technology that reaches low-income clients in rural areas. Since its start in 2000, LSC’s TIG program has funded 570 technology projects totaling more than $46 million. With this funding, legal aid organizations have built a network of websites serving both attorneys and clients nationwide, developed easy-to-use online forms, incorporated video technology into service delivery, and enhanced support for pro bono lawyers.”  Click on the article to see which organizations received grants.  (LSC)

October 17, 2014 – “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday awarded $450,000 to Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Services Inc. for education and outreach under the Fair Housing Act.  The agency, based in Washington, said the goal is to make people aware of illegal acts affecting themselves or others in their community because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status or disability, and the rights available to them.”  (observer-reporter.com)
October 20, 2014 – “The Department of Justice is giving Legal Aid of East Tennessee a $500,000 grant to help serve victims of domestic violence as part of the Violence Against Women Act.  The group typically provides services to individuals whose income is at or below the poverty line and a grant like this helps them serve more victims. ‘This grant allows us to serve people that are above that 125% of poverty level, and I think the Department of Justice realizes that victims of domestic violence often are in financial situations where their hands are tied, and they might not have access to family resources where other people might be able to pay a lawyer. So we have a little bit of leeway when it comes to serving folks who are a little above our normal income guideline,’ said Debra House, director of Legal Aid of East Tennessee. They have gotten this grant before but it previously was not renewed.”  (WBIR)
October 21, 2014 – “The New York Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP today announced a historic settlement that overhauls public defense in five counties and lays the foundation for statewide reform of New York’s broken public defense system. By entering into the agreement, the state is taking responsibility for providing public defense for the first time in the more than 50 years since the Supreme Court held that it is a state obligation.”  “Under the agreement, the state will adopt major reforms focusing on five New York counties – Ontario, Onondaga (Syracuse), Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington – that were chosen because their public defense systems are all different and cover communities large and small, but are all emblems of New York’s flawed approach. The agreement will last 7½ years and is subject to court approval.”  Click on the article for the provisions of the agreement.  (NYCLU)
October 26, 2014 – “U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) announced that thirteen organizations in Maryland have received a total of $8,286,161 in grants from the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for efforts around the state that will help protect women and families from domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and other dating violence. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. These funds are authorized by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), legislation introduced in 1994 by then-Senator Joe Biden which Senator Mikulski cosponsored. Senators Mikulski and Cardin have both fought to reauthorize the legislation, most recently 2013. Senator Mikulski is Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds VAWA programs administered by DOJ and OVW.”  Click on the article for a list of the organizations.  (TheBayNet.com)
October 30, 2014 – “Ontario is moving forward with a plan that will allow over one million more people to qualify for legal aid services. Ontario will raise the income level — also known as the eligibility threshold — at which people can qualify for legal aid assistance. Once fully implemented, an additional one million low-income people will have access to legal aid services — more than double the number of people eligible for legal aid services today. The 2014 budget includes an initial investment of $95.7 million to increase the eligibility threshold by six per cent for the first three years of the plan. The first increase will take place on Nov. 1, 2014.”  (Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: Society of Friends (the Quakers), Abigail Adams, Sarah Grimke, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth.  What do these and  many more individuals have in common?  They worked tirelessly to ensure that all men and women were free and had the right to vote.  A mid-term election is coming up next week, which generally means lower voter turnout.  Keep in mind the struggles of others to ensure our right to vote, and exercise your rights come Tuesday.

Super Music Bonus!  

 

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EJW’s NEW Immigrant Children’s Defense Corps Seeks Fellows to Begin Dec. 1st

From our friends at EJW:

Last month, we announced some very exciting news about a new justice AmeriCorps program that will fund legal assistance to unaccompanied immigrant children facing deportation. The new Immigrant Children’s Defense Corps is an initiative of that program, and we are now recruiting fellows to begin by Dec. 1!

About Immigrant Children’s Defense Corps

The Immigrant Children’s Defense Corps is an initiative of the new justice AmeriCorps program. Through this initiative, Equal Justice Works is partnering with Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) to place 55 legal professionals – lawyers and paralegals – in 14 cities across the United States.

We have created a separate website, joinjusticeamericorps.org, with more details on this new initiative, including how to apply and how you can help support the Immigrant Children’s Defense Corps.

Applications are now being accepted

Interested individuals should apply as soon as possible and must be ready to start Dec. 1! Applicants should submit materials directly to the host organization(s) of interest. A list of host organizations and their contact information is available at joinjusticeamericorps.org.

Special opportunity to meet our host organizations

We have set aside a special room at our Conference and Career Fair Oct. 24-25 for host organizations to interview and network with any recent graduates interested in applying for positions this fall. Law school professionals and current students also are invited to stop by and learn more about the program and our host organizations. You can learn more about Conference and Career Fair on our website.

Recent graduates do not have to register for the entire event to take advantage of this opportunity. Fill out this form to sign up for updates, and let us know if you’ll be attending.

NEXT STEPS

Additional information about this new initiative is available at joinjusticeamericorps.org. Feel free to email us at justiceamericorps@equaljusticeworks.org with any questions about the program.

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