Archive for Public Interest Law News Bulletin

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 15, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law receives gift for clinical endowed chair;
  • Winning apps at Hackcess to Justice help in variety of ways;
  • Iowa Legal Aid receives grant;
  • Groups concerned about Toronto mega-clinics;
  • ABA House of Delegates urges law schools to establish veterans clinics;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Professional Development staff at the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law and the University of Miami School of Law;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 8, 2014 – “The Indiana University Maurer School of Law has received $3.25 million to establish an endowed clinical professorship and provide scholarship funds for Indiana high school graduates attending the law school.  Glenn Scolnik, JD’78, and his wife, Donna, have made a $2 million gift to establish the Glenn and Donna Scolnik Clinical Chair, to be held by the director of the Conservation Law Center. The Scolnik Chair is the first endowed chair for a clinical law professor in the history of Indiana University. Led by professor W. William Weeks, JD’79, the Conservation Law Center provides legal counsel without charge to conservation organizations, works to improve conservation law and policy, and offers law students clinical experience in the practice of conservation law.”  (IU Bloomington Newsroom)

August 8, 2014 – “A disaster-relief mobile app that provides individuals with legal information, resources, and forms for assistance. An interactive tool that calculates whether a user is eligible for indigent legal services, as well as how much prison time criminal defendants face. A game that determines whether a user is in need of legal representation. A website that guides Massachusetts residents through the state’s divorce process. An iOS app that creates legally binding health care proxies and non-binding living wills.  All these tools were created on Thursday and Friday by lawyers and developers participating in the inaugural “Hackcess to Justice” legal hackathon. Held at Suffolk University School of Law in Boston in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting, the hackathon’s main purpose was to use technology to create tools that would expand access to justice for individuals who might not otherwise know whether they needed help and how they could obtain legal representation.”  (ABA Journal)

August 11, 2014 – “A $15,000 grant from the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation will help Iowa Legal Aid assist low-income people in Greater Des Moines by providing free civil legal assistance to low-income people facing health problems. People struggling with health problems and financially often need legal help to deal with issues such as substandard housing, domestic violence, lack of utility service or inappropriately denied public benefits. Iowa Legal Aid is a statewide, not-for-profit organization that has been serving the legal needs of low-income Iowans for more than 37 years. The program’s Health and Law Project has been in operation in Greater Des Moines since 2006.”  (Business Record)

August 11, 2014 – “As Toronto’s legal clinics prepare to consider a merger, some groups are raising concerns about the pending proposal to have only three mega clinics in the city.  ‘In particular, we are concerned that this amalgamation does not reflect a model of community lawyering that responds to the needs of low-income people,’ said the Law Union of Ontario in a recent letter to Legal Aid Ontario chief executive officer Bob Ward and the Ministry of the Attorney General.”  “In response to the criticism, LAO noted it’s the Toronto-area clinics themselves that are leading what it calls the transformation project.”  “The merger proposal follows several years of discussions about changing the way legal clinics work. The efforts culminated with a 2013 report by six east Toronto clinics aimed at finding more efficient ways to deliver services.” (Canadian Lawyer Magazine)

August 11, 2014 – “The ABA House of Delegates has adopted a policy urging all law schools to create veterans law clinics to ensure veterans’ legal needs are met. Resolution 104A (PDF) further states that ‘where a particular law school lacks the necessary resources to create a stand-alone veterans law clinic, the school is urged to meet those legal needs of qualifying veterans through an existing legal clinic.’  The proposal was sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division.”  (ABA Journal)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: 

Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Orientation Community Service Day!  Each year, Louisville’s law school community plans and participates in a day of collective public service. The initiative, which was launched on April 5, 2008, arose from the student body’s input into the university’s strategic planning process. The purpose of this event is to highlight the law school’s commitment to community service, provide significant services, have fun, and make new acquaintances.

The annual HOPE Day of Service is  University of Miami School of Law’s commitment to starting off each year in the community, marking the school’s pro bono ethic and emphasis on service.  Before students even enter the classroom, Miami Law’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center will send hundreds of law students to sites across Miami-Dade County through the Annual HOPE Day of Service on Thursday, August 14th. HOPE will kick-off the day on the Bricks at the law school (1311 Miller Drive) at 8 a.m. New and returning law students will travel to over a dozen sites across Miami-Dade County. Students will engage in a day of service, repairs, clean-ups and renovations and coordinate activities with children, elderly, and homeless families.

Super Music Bonus! 

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 8, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!  With abundant gratitude, we say good-bye this week to our summer interns and our PSJD Publications Coordinator.  What outstanding work they provided, and they greatly enriched the site.  The 2014 Federal Legal Employment Opportunities Guide is now available on PSJD and the 2014 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide will be available for purchase in the NALP Bookstore very soon.  Thank you to our wonderful summer assistants!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • NALP seeks nominations for the 2014 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award;
  • Missouri public defenders have excessive caseloads;
  • Duke Law opens 10th legal clinic;
  • Hackcess to Justice 2014 begins Aug.7 in Boston;
  • Humanist charities raising funds for unaccompanied migrant childrens’ legal aid;
  • SF public defender hires first immigrant-only attorney;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Law School Pro Bono coordinators;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 1, 2014 – The 2014 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award is open to all 2Ls and 3Ls at PSJD subscriber law schools.  The Award recognized the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, the public interest community, and legal education by performing pro bono work.  To find out more information on how to nominate a deserving student, check out the PSJD siteThe deadline for nominations is Friday, August 29, 2014.

August 1, 2014 – “The American Bar Association yesterday unveiled the findings of a report that uses a data-driven approach to quantify the time Missouri public defenders are able to dedicate to cases compared with the time they need. The association says the research shows defenders here have excessive caseloads. The excessive caseloads identified in “The Missouri Project” report deny indigent defendants the constitutional right to effective counsel, the bar said in a statement. The association also said the research done here can be used as a national blueprint for public defender workload studies.”  (Columbia Daily Tribune)

August 2, 2014 – “Duke Law School’s 10th legal clinic promises to build students’ civil litigation skills while serving the – legal needs of low-income North Carolinians. The Civil Justice Clinic, which will welcome its 1st class of students in August, represents a unique partnership between Duke Law & Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC). Under the – supervision of clinic Director Charles R. Holton ’73, a litigator & partner at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, as well as lawyers in LANC’s Durham office, students will handle civil matters, working directly with clients.”  (southcarolinasc)

August 2, 2014 – “Technology has taken a firm hold in the legal industry. Every day legal professionals use technology-enabled tools for discovery, litigation support, document assembly and information needs. But the promise of technology has been fleeting when it comes to the access to justice arena. Last year the Legal Services Corporation produced a seminal report outlining five key ways that technology can expand access to justice, especially through computers and mobile devices. The ABA is challenging lawyers,  law students developers, coders and others interested in improving access to justice through technology to devise a technology-enabled solution to one of the five areas outlined in the LSC report at two-day, judged hackathon.”  Prize money will be rewarded to the top 3 hacks.  (hackcess to Justice)

August 2, 2014 – “The nation’s largest humanist charity is raising funds to offer legal assistance to the unaccompanied immigrant children flooding over the border.  The Humanist Crisis Response program will donate the funds to two organizations that provide attorneys for minors in immigration hearings — the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona, and Kids in Need of Defense, which operates in California and Texas.  The Humanist Crisis Response Program is a joint effort of two humanist organizations, Foundation Beyond Belief, and the American Humanist Association.”  (Phoenix NewTimes)

August 6, 2014 – “For the first time in his office’s history, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi has hired an attorney to work full-time representing noncitizens facing deportation or other legal issues.  Francisco Ugarte, who previously worked at Dolores Street Community Services, joined Adachi’s team this week and will advise other attorneys in the office on the mind-bogglingly complicated terrain of immigration law and represent some undocumented clients in federal immigration court.”  “Adachi said his office would handle only cases in which the undocumented children are entangled in the local criminal justice system for some other reason. But Adachi is consulting with Supervisor David Campos, who in early September will ask his fellow supervisors to approve an undetermined amount of money to fund legal representation for these kids – including paying nonprofit and private attorneys.”(SFGate)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  Can you believe it’s already time for some law schools to go back to school?  This week we’re honoring those law school professionals who put together service projects as part of 1L Orientation Week.  This week we celebrate one example – Jen Tschirch and The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.  Their Orientation Week is coming up next week, and I’m told they’re expanding to 5 sites.  It is a lot of work for one person to coordinate, but we all know how dedicated you all are and how you gladly do this for your students.  Check out news and pics from last year.  Good luck to you and your students.

Are you doing a great project or have you expanded your reach to new members of your community?  I’d love to recognize your efforts this month.  Please forward your stories to cjackson@nalp.org.  We’d love to include pictures as well.  Thank you all for the amazing scope of work that gets accomplished both this month and the inspiration to keep it going that you inspire in all law students.

Super Music Bonus! This week brings us an interesting interpretation/cover.

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 1, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!  Can you believe it’s August already?  Soon it will be time to return to school.  Check out PSJD for all your back-to-school job search needs.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Services Corp. celebrates 40  years;
  • MD cut back on spending for criminal defense for poor;
  • Naiyareh Karimimanesh Bahá’í Service Fellowship established at Tahirih Justice Center;
  • Texas Civil Rights Project returns to Austin offices;
  • Denver City Council approves municipal defender office;
  • Travis Co. (TX) accepts state funding to create private defender’s office;
  • USPTO adds more schools to Clinic Certification Pilot Program
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: U.S. Servicemembers;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 24, 2014 – “The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the single largest funder of civil legal aid in the country, marks its 40th anniversary on July 25.  LSC will commemorate this milestone beginning with a three-day event bringing together a wide range of legal, government, corporate, and philanthropic leaders to shine a light on the challenges and opportunities facing civil legal aid in America. The 40th Anniversary Kick-Off will be held Sept. 14-16 at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington, DC.”  Congratulations on 40 years very well done and to many, many more.  (LSC)

July 24, 2014 – “Spending on criminal defense for the poor fell 7.9 percent in Maryland from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2012, compared to a national decrease of 4.3 percent, according to a recent Justice Department study.  The Maryland Office of the Public Defender has felt the impact of budget cuts, as the size of the support staff shrank and attorneys dealt with heavy caseloads in recent years, said Maryland Public Defender Paul DeWolfe.”  Spending may increase in future years after the Maryland Court of Appeals found a constitutional right to representation in the early stages of a criminal case, but how much remains to be seen. (LegalTimes)

July 28, 2014 – “Tahirih has received significant support of its Bahá’í Service Fellowship Program to honor the memory of a young lawyer who was passionate about the legal profession and the Bahá’í Faith.  The Naiyareh Karimimanesh Bahá’í Service Fellowship honors the memory of Naiyareh Karimimanesh, a 27-year-old lawyer who passed away in 2007 after a car accident. Naiyareh had a profound impact on those she left behind.”  “The Naiyareh Karimimanesh Bahá’í Service Fellowship will fund three fellowships in 2014 and provide overall support to the program. The Fellowship is designed to engage fellows in service to humanity, promote the equality of women and men, and provide an opportunity for fellows to learn from the work of a well-established, Bahá’í-inspired, nonprofit organization. Fellows are Bahá’ís, and work in a variety of staff roles assisting Tahirih’s clients to achieve justice while also being of service in the local Bahá’í community. They commit to serving Tahirih for a one-year period, and receive a stipend and health insurance for their service.”  (Tahirih Justice Center)

July 28, 2014 – The Texas Civil Rights Project “celebrated the grand reopening of its Austin location Friday night. Last October, an electrical fire destroyed one office in the building and caused heavy smoke damage.  Another legal aid organization let the Texas Civil Rights Project work out of its offices. Now nine months later, the group is glad to have their own space back.”  (Austin News)

June 28, 2014 – “The Denver City Council Monday night approved the creation of a new public defender’s office for municipal offenses.  The new Municipal Public Defender’s Office will open Jan. 1 and will be overseen by a new commission.” (Denver Post)

July 29, 2014 – “Travis County commissioners have unanimously voted to accept more than $717,500 in state money for the creation of a private defender’s office.  Judges, court officials and defense lawyers must now work on an official contract for approval next month. But the decision Tuesday signals the county’s commitment to fund the initiative, which proponents aim to fully implement by January.”  “Defense lawyers say they have started the process to establish the new nonprofit that will oversee the appointment of attorneys to cases in the $8.5 million indigent defense system.”  (statesman.com)

July 30, 2014 – “The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the selection of 19 law schools that will join the USPTO’s Law School Clinic Certification Pilot Program this fall. Five law schools will join both the Patent and Trademark portions of the Program, four law schools will join the Patent portion of the Program, and ten law schools will join the Trademark portion of the Program.  These law schools join the 28 law schools currently participating in the Program.  The selection committees chose these schools based on their solid IP curricula, pro bono services to the public, and community networking and outreach.  The Program enables law students to practice patent and/or trademark law before the USPTO under the guidance of an approved faculty clinic supervisor. “  (uspto.gov)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  I had the honor this week of attending a friend’s promotion ceremony.  It reminded me once again of the commitment service requires of both the military person and their family.  There are absolutely days you are saying goodbye to your family before going to work where you may never return.  On this day in history, World War I was erupting, Hilter becomes fuhrer in 1934, and many events since have contrived to send nations to war.  Regardless of how you feel about those events, it is universally true that men and women every day willingly put themselves in harms way.  Please join me in saying thank you and working towards making their return easier.

Super Music Bonus!

 

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – July 25, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope everyone is staying cool out there.  We have some good news in the public sector this week.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • William & Mary names new clinic director;
  • Goodwin Proctor announces 2014 Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color;
  • DC expands pro bono practice rule to in-house lawyers;
  • ABA launches new program to help vets with disability claims;
  • $1.1 mil gift to University of South Carolina’s School of Law will support public interest students;
  • $2.5 mil more going to PA poor;
  • Mississauga legal clinic fights for fair share of funding;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Veterans Village of San Diego;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 17, 2014 – “William & Mary Law School yesterday announced the appointment of Roy A. Hoagland as a visiting professor of practice and director of the Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic.  Hoagland is the former vice president of environmental protection and restoration for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. He previously served as both the deputy director and the executive director for the Virginia office of the foundation. He is currently a principal in HOPE Impacts, LLC, an environmental consulting firm working exclusively with nonprofits and government agencies.”  (William & Mary News)

July 17, 2014 – “Goodwin Procter, a national Am Law 50 firm, today announced the recipients of its 2014 Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color. The fellowships support first-year students from law schools across the country who spend the summer working in community service legal positions. This year’s fellows are: Della Fok, Harvard Law School; Brian Jones, Cornell Law School; Nikki Leon, Stanford Law School; and Marsha Louis, Vanderbilt University Law School.”  (Digital Journal)

July 17, 2014 – “Legal services lawyers in the District of Columbia are hoping a recent change in the local practice rules will bump up pro bono involvement by corporate in-house lawyers.  On Wednesday, the D.C. Court of Appeals adopted a rule allowing in-house lawyers in Washington who aren’t members of the D.C. Bar to perform pro bono work. Those in-house lawyers must be a member in ‘good standing’ with the highest court of another state or territory; have no history of suspension or being disbarred; work under the supervision of an active D.C. Bar member; and be assigned or referred by a local legal-services group.”  (LegalTimes)

June 17, 2014 – “The American Bar Association is launching a pro bono initiative aimed at helping veterans with disability claims caught up in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ backlog.  The ABA’s new Veteran’s Claims Assistance Program represents a partnership with the V.A., but will require volunteer help from hundreds of lawyers.”  “The pilot program will start this summer by helping veterans with backlogged claims in the V.A.’s Chicago and St. Petersburg, Fla., offices. Eligible veterans—those without legal representation—will be identified by the V.A. and given the opportunity to seek help though the ABA program.  Pro bono lawyers will review claims for missing information or a lack of supporting documents. Then the V.A. will expedite its review of the claims, providing quicker access to disability benefits.  Administrators estimate that 3,500 veterans are eligible for the program.” (National Law Journal)

July 21, 2014 - Jim Konduros, a 1954 law alumnus, “has made a $1.1 million gift to the University of South Carolina’s School of Law to provide students with scholarships, fellowships and leadership development.”  “[T]the School of Law scholarships will provide financial support to incoming law students who have worked as a government employee or served in the U.S. armed services. Similarly, the summer fellowships will provide support to students working in public service through governmental or non-profit agencies.”  “In addition to the scholarships and fellowships, law students will benefit from a leadership development program. Students will learn and read about effective management and governance, engage in discussion with respected leaders and complete a project that demonstrates the leadership principles they learn.”(SCNow.com)

July 21, 2014 – “Legal aid for Pennsylvania’s poor and disadvantaged will get more funding under a measure recently signed by Gov. Tom Corbett.  Court fees are slated to increase in order to set aside more money to help eligible low-income Pennsylvanians pay their legal bills.”  “This year, an expert panel recommended the legislature boost civil legal services funding by $50 million.  The latest move to increase court filing fees is expected to yield just under $2.5 million more for legal aid.”  (newsworks)

July 23, 2014 – “Desperate to get its fair-share of provincial funding in order to help vulnerable residents, Mississauga’s legal aid clinic has taken a petition to Queen’s Park.  ‘This government was elected on a platform of being progressive, inclusive and fair,’ said Douglas Kwan, after dropping off a petition with more than 600 signatures.”  “According to data he provided, Mississauga, with a population that’s tripled in 40-years, gets about half the per-capita legal aid funding that Toronto receives. In a city of 750,000, Canada’s sixth largest, the clinic operates with 10 staff. Toronto, which is just under four-times the size, has more than 10-times the number of legal aid staff, 109 across the city.  The result is a staggering case load, and too often vulnerable Mississauga residents just can’t get assistance when it’s needed, Kwan says.”  (The Star)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:    On Friday Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) held its 27th Annual National Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event. Volunteers gathered at San Diego High School to provide services to hundreds of former military service members who live on the streets.  The outreach event began with breakfast and coffee. With more than 100 agencies present and providing help, vets were then offered showers, barbers, medical care, dental care and clothing. Other services included picture IDs for those who needed them, counseling services, chaplain services, shelter information and access to 12-step meetings.”  Stand Down events take place across the country, and are just one part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ efforts to provide services to homeless Veterans.  To learn more, go to the VA’s Events for Homeless Veterans page. (NBC San Diego)

Super Music Bonus! Here’s to all you public service heroes out there. 

 

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – July 18, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Aid of Western Ohio honored for innovation;
  • Vinson Elkins providing virtual pro bono assistance;
  • Legal Aid Alberta phasing out drop-in services;
  • Alberta auditor general planning probe of legal aid funding;
  • Nova Scotia Legal Aid adding more services;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Chuck Bennett;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 12, 2014 – “Legal Aid of Western Ohio received the Irwin Cantor Innovative Program Award at the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Annual Conference.  The Irwin Cantor Innovative Program Award was created to recognize innovative court connected or court-related programs.”  “Legal Aid was nominated for this award by all of the juvenile and domestic relations judges and magistrates in the original four of the counties served by the program.”  (Northwest Signal)

July 12, 2014 – “With cheap headsets and free Internet service, Vinson & Elkins LLP has created a “virtual” clinic that allows desk-bound lawyers to provide services to the poor — a model the firm believes could be revolutionary in providing pro bono services.  The idea for the firm’s Houston pro bono project was borne in the post-financial crisis years, said Ellyn Josef, the firm’s pro bono counsel, when the typically long lines at weekend pro bono clinics held at Houston-area community centers became even longer.”  (Law 360) (registration required)

July 14, 2014 – “Legal Aid Alberta is phasing out drop-in legal services centres in smaller cities across Alberta.  The move will cost 35 jobs in seven locations, but 16 new positions will be added answering telephones at the main call centre in Edmonton, said Jan Archbold, spokeswoman for Legal Aid. Staffing for duty counsel at courthouses and at criminal resolution offices will also increase.”  “The closures affect offices in Wetaskiwin, Medicine Hat, Peace River, St. Paul, Whitecourt, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie. By reallocating resources, Legal Aid will now also have a duty counsel in every courthouse while court is in session. Those lawyers help anyone facing charges get through the first court appearance.”  (Edmonton Journal)

June 15, 2014 – “The auditor general of Alberta is planning to review funding for the province’s troubled Legal Aid program.  In a letter to NDP MLA Rachel Notley, Merwan Saher confirmed his office is planning to perform a systems audit ‘in the near future.’  Notley wrote Saher last month requesting his officer look at how underfunding for Legal Aid affects the costs of court services and prosecutions. She received his reply on Tuesday.”  This announcement follows in the wake of the earlier announcement by Legal Aid Alberta that it’s closing offices to save money.  (CBCnews)

July 17, 2014 – “Karen Hudson, QC, executive director of the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission, said in the 1970s, legal aid would offer assistance in social justice issues, but later narrowed its focus to criminal and family law.  It is now returning to its roots by offering full service in areas of Canadian Pension Plan applications, social assistance claims, Employment Insurance appeals as well as landlord and tenant disputes and housing grants.” “She said giving people proper representation in social justice is important because these issues affect their income and livelihood.  ‘When people have insecurity in their income or housing, it only worsens their intersections with family justice system and criminal justice system,’ Hudson added.”  These services are available now.  (The News)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  “Chuck Bennett figured the Kenosha [WI] Office of the Public Defender would be a short stop when he took the job in 1982, fresh out of law school — but he stayed for decades.  Bennett’s last day at the office was Friday, retiring after 32 years.  The opening here was the only one for which he applied. Bennett wanted to be close to Milwaukee, and though he hadn’t ever been to Kenosha, the location looked pretty good, and the job was exactly what he wanted.”  He has gained the respect of the judges and prosecutors and says “some of the most rewarding moments, he said, are when he runs into former clients.  ‘There are the ones you helped and they never got in trouble again,’ he said. ‘I’ve never had a bad experience meeting someone I represented before.’”  Congratulations on a career well-spent on helping the voiceless.  (Kenosha News)

Super Music Bonus!

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – July 11, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Aid Ontario to fund more Gladue services in Thunder Bay;
  • LA court opens self-help website;
  • Denver (CO) County Court judges seek new defender office;
  • BC lawyers back to job action;
  • ND pilot program exposes law students to rural careers;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Scopes Trial litigants;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

July 4, 2014 – “Legal Aid Ontario plans to address the ‘acute need’ for Gladue services in Northwestern Ontario in the coming months.  ‘When all this is finished we’ll have the best Gladue program across the country,’ director general Nye Thomas said. ‘There’ll still be more work to do after that, but it’s addressing a long standing need.’  Gladue reports allow the court to consider the life circumstances of Aboriginal people accused of crimes. It’s a method of addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in the criminal justice system.”  “Nishnawbe Aski Legal Services submitted a proposal for Legal Aid Ontario to fund three Gladue report writers. One based in Thunder Bay, one in Sioux Lookout and one in Timmins.”  “The Lakehead Law school has also asked for funding for Gladue services from Legal Aid Ontario.”  The details haven’t been finalized, but Thomas is optimistic that they will be able to provide funding to both those programs within a year.  (cbcnews)

July 5, 2014 – “A state district judge has introduced a new self-help website designed to provide easier and wider access to legal services.
Fourth Judicial District Judge Wendell Manning says the website — www.4thjdcselfhelp.com — is the result of a collaboration between the court, its bar association, the Louisiana Bar Association, the Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court’s Office and Access to Justice.”  “Manning says he hopes the site’s services will help to close the gap between those who qualify for legal aid and those who have an income source but can’t afford an attorney.”  (GoErie.com)

July 5, 2014 – “Denver County Court is seeking creation of a public defender’s office for municipal offenses, replacing contracted attorneys with in-house lawyers to represent needy defendants.  Similar to an office in Aurora, the new public defender would represent those accused of violating municipal ordinances — not state criminal offenses — if they face jail time.  Presiding Judge John Marcucci made the case for the change to a City Council committee, which signed off 4-0.”  If approved, the office will begin operation January 1, 2015. (The Denver Post)

July 5, 2014 – “The Trial Lawyers Association of BC is starting a new wave of job action today. Kamloops lawyer Michelle Stanford, who sits on the Legal Aid Action Committee, says a blackout period starts today and runs until August 8th. That means participating lawyers will refuse to perform duty counsel services, attend trials or bail or sentencing hearings. The next stage will involve one week of blackouts per month. That begins in October and will go on indefinitely.  Stanford says the lawyers have long been pressing the government for desperately needed Legal Aid funding, money to help those who can’t afford their own legal representation. She says the unfortunate part of this job action, is it will hurt those they want to serve. That includes people needing help with family matters or dealing with mental health issues.  The lawyers’ job action was halted after the last provincial election to allow talks to continue with the new Attorney General, but now they’re putting the heat back on.”  (CFJC TV)

July 5, 2014 – “Opportunities abound to practice law in rural North Dakota. The challenge has been persuading young law students to seize those opportunities.  The State Bar Association of North Dakota, University of North Dakota School of Law and North Dakota court system have responded with a pilot project that this summer has two law students working for pay as clerks for rural district judges. The program is designed to expose students to the law and lifestyle in communities of fewer than 15,000 people.” Currently, two students are participating, but there are hopes to expand the program to allow students to clerk with rural attorneys.  (The Bismark Tribune)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  On July 10, 1925, in Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law.  The law, which had been passed in March, made it a misdemeanor punishable by fine to “teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” With local businessman George Rappalyea, Scopes had conspired to get charged with this violation, and after his arrest the pair enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to organize a defense. Hearing of this coordinated attack on Christian fundamentalism, William Jennings Bryan, the three-time Democratic presidential candidate and a fundamentalist hero, volunteered to assist the prosecution. Soon after, the great attorney Clarence Darrow agreed to join the ACLU in the defense, and the stage was set for one of the most famous trials in U.S. history.  Reviewing the details now provides a fascinating look at where we’ve been and perhaps a preview of where we’re going as a society. Read more here.

Super Music Bonus!   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYCNiI_yQeY

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – July 4, 2014

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

Happy July 4th!  Have a safe and happy holiday!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic conduct needs assessment for trans people;
  • NYC legal aid groups get grant to help low-income tenants fighting eviction;
  • Justice Department of Canada aims to cut $52 mil in legal services;
  • NYC funds public defender system for immigrants;
  • St. Mary’s University School of Law to offer Presidential Scholarships to service-oriented students;
  • Baylor Law receives pro bono award;
  • MO legislature grants public defense money – Governor takes it away;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Our Founding Fathers;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

June 24, 2014 – “The HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) is leading an innovative Trans Legal Needs Assessment project that will help trans people meet their legal needs and determine the barriers they face in accessing justice. Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is funding this project as part of its support for the addition of gender identity and gender expression to the Ontario Human Rights Code.”  Ryan Peck, executive director of HALCO, adds, “Our goal for this project is to help a wide range of legal service providers make their vital services more available and accessible to all trans people.”  (Legal Aid Ontario)

June 26, 2014 – “New Yorkers facing eviction will get more help in Housing Court this year.  The City Council’s final budget, approved early Thursday, earmarked $5 million for free legal assistance for low-income tenants who are fighting their landlords in Housing Court, more than double the $2 million that was allocated last year.  The money will go to The Legal Aid Society, Legal Services NYC and other public attorney groups, in an effort to prevent the nearly 30,000 evictions that occurred in New York City last year, advocates said.”  (DNAinfo New York)

June 26, 2014 – “The federal Justice department is taking steps to cut $52.2 million worth of legal services it provides government over the next three years with “two waves” of reforms that will eliminate jobs, change the working relationship with client departments and, it hopes, improve efficiency.”  “In the first wave, the changes will eliminate the positions of 65 lawyers and 15 management jobs by 2017, which the department believes can be done by attrition rather than layoffs.  According to a memo circulated to staff, a key area for reform is ‘re-defining’ Justice’s relationship with client departments ‘to strike the right balance between supply and demand of legal services.’”  (Ottawa Citizen)

June 26, 2014 – “Poor New York City residents who have been detained in the immigration system and are facing deportation will now have legal representation to help them through the complicated proceedings after city lawmakers voted to fund a program advocates say is the first of its kind in the country. Lawmakers approved $4.9 million for the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project as part of the $75 billion budget passed early Thursday covering the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. The funding allows the initiative, which started as a $500,000 pilot program last year, to cover all eligible immigrant city residents appearing in immigration courts in New York City or the New Jersey cities of Elizabeth and Newark.”  (Wall Street Journal)

June 26, 2014 – “The St. Mary’s University School of Law will present as many as five, full-tuition Presidential Scholarships each year to service-oriented law students, starting as early as Fall 2014. The Presidential Scholarship is open to any law school applicant of outstanding academic achievement, commitment to the service to others, and potential for a life of community leadership.  The scholarship will cover 100 percent of the tuition and fees required to complete the Juris Doctor degree at St. Mary’s University, as well as a $5,000 annual stipend. Recipients will be expected to be active in the law school community while a student and to complete all three years of legal study at St. Mary’s.” (St. Mary’s University)

June 26, 2014 – “Baylor Law School was honored today by the State Bar of Texas with an award for exceptional service to the poor during the awards presentation at the organization’s Annual Meeting at the Hilton Austin and Austin Convention Center.  The State Bar presented Baylor Law School with the 2014 W. Frank Newton Award for Pro Bono Excellence. The award, presented by the bar’s Legal Services to the Poor in Civil Matters Committee, recognizes the pro bono contribution of attorney groups whose members have made an outstanding contribution to the provision of, or access to, legal services to the poor.”  (The Gilmore Mirror)

June 29, 2014 – “The Missouri State Public Defender System has once again failed in its quest for more funding.  Backed by new evidence that supports its claims of understaffing, the public defender system received about $4 million in funding increases from the legislature in the budget for fiscal year 2015. But Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed about 80 percent of the increase Tuesday.”  The system will receive “about $36 million in next year’s budget, with some additional money included to help the system contract out cases.”  (Missourian)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  On July 4, 1776, “[i]n Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king.”  From there, a system of government and laws developed that is the bedrock of our society.  Read more about the events leading up to the Declaration here.  Enjoy this uniquely American holiday! 

Super Music Bonus! A track to add to your July 4th playlist.

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – June 27, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • FL attorneys file petition to increase fees to help legal aid;
  • Legal Aid Foundation launches Thunderdome Tallahassee;
  • Anonymous donor gives $4 mil to SMU for legal clinic;
  • New federal agencies sign up for virtual interns;
  • B.C. lawyers to withhold legal aid in protest;
  • “And Justice for All” welcomes first legal fellow;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: “Clerical Queen” Cindy Jensen;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

June 19, 2014 – “A coalition of attorneys, including former Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero, filed a petition Monday with the state’s top court seeking to hike fees on lawyers to help fund legal services for the poor.  The Florida Bar wasted no time reaffirming its opposition to the effort to increase Bar fees by $100, noting there are lawyers struggling to make ends meet.  Bar President Eugene Pettis said the Bar doesn’t oppose the intent of the petition, rather how the funding ‘crisis’ and the continued delivery of legal aid is addressed.”  (Florida Courier)

June 23, 2014 – “The Legal Aid Foundation has announced a new program: Thunderdome Tallahassee, a hands-on legal group training program to provide education, camaraderie, networking, leadership and recognition to a new generation of lawyers serving the community.  For 45 years, the Legal Aid Foundation has matched volunteer lawyers to low-income families needing legal solutions to desperate situations. Though many lawyers in our area volunteer free representation to those who need it, finding a family law volunteer is particularly difficult.”  “Thunderdome Tallahassee addresses this gaping need for equal access to the law, while supporting volunteer lawyers with the best in legal education and leadership development. This summer, 15 to 20 diverse young lawyers will apply or be nominated for LAF’s inaugural class. Each will commit to volunteer representation for a family law case more than 9 months of training, mentorship and leadership development.  Upon completion of the program, participants will be invited to return as mentors and presenters to future Thunderdome Tallahassee classes. This supportive environment will foster new and continued volunteerism, benefiting local families and children.”  (Tallahassee Democrat)

June 23, 2014 – “An anonymous donor has given $4 million to SMU’s Dedman School of Law to endow the new VanSickle Family Law Clinic to provide free legal help for Dallas residents and skills training for law students.  The clinic, expected to open in fall 2015, will help low-income North Texas residents with divorces, annulments, paternity actions, custody and visitation issues, and child support.”  (Dallas News)

June 23, 2014 – “A dozen federal agencies have signed on to a virtual internship program run through the State Department that fields out special agency projects to American college students.”  The Virtual Student Foreign Service eInternship program “received 315 requests from federal agencies for e-interns this year, a record number compared to the 276 requests in 2013.”  “The 315 projects available this year include work in research, computer programming, graphic design, journalism, data analysis, social media, finance, blogging, STEM, food security, public diplomacy and law. If selected, e-interns will commit to volunteering 10 hours per week starting in September 2014 through April 2014.”  Students can apply to their top three projects on USAJobs.gov between July 2 and 22. The 320 projects will be posted on the VSFS website at the end of June.  (Nextgov)

June 23, 2014 – “B.C. lawyers are being urged not to work on legal aid cases next month to protest what some legal advocates are calling a chronic underfunding of the system, possibly leading to empty courtrooms. ‘The idea is that we’re going to keep judges very unbusy for the month of July,’ Birgit Eder, a member of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.’s legal aid action committee, said in an interview.”  “Ms. Eder said lawyers in Vancouver, Victoria and Kamloops have been asked not to schedule any legal aid matters for next month. The committee says the amount of money put into legal aid by government lags far behind other court spending, and that 40 per cent of people accused in criminal court must now represent themselves. It says 90 per cent of people in small-claims court represent themselves, while in family court, it’s 95 per cent.”  “Justice Minister Suzanne Anton, in a written statement, said government recognizes the important role legal aid plays in providing services. She said that’s why the province increased the Legal Services Society’s budget by $2-million this year, to $74.5-million.  She expressed confidence the protest would not bog down the court system.” (The Globe and Mail)

June 24, 2014 – “‘And Justice for All,’ a Utah nonprofit organization that supports three legal service agencies and provides grants to five others, has launched a legal fellowship program thanks to a $10,000 grant from CIT Bank.  Mary Anne Davies, a recent graduate of Loyola Law School, has joined the Disability Law Center as the first ‘And Justice for All’ legal fellow. The center is a protection and advocacy organization for people with disabilities.  As a fellow, Davies joins a staff of about 30 in assisting people with disabilities who have experienced discrimination at work, school or in the community. The agency also advocates for people who are abused or neglected in institutional settings or in the community.”  (Deseret News)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  This happens all over the federal government, but no one talks about it.  A great person with experience sees a problem and does something about it.  Enter “Clerical Queen” Cindy Jensen. Thinking there had to be a better way than the cumbersome manual payment process formerly used, which was based on hard-copy billing, Ms. Jensen began brainstorming a computerized billing program six years ago.  “Six months later, with the help of two technicians, a prototype had been developed. Today her CJA eVoucher (the CJA stands for Criminal Justice Act) is used in 18 federal courthouses in western states and, earlier this year, the director of federal courthouses announced that it would become the standard system throughout the country.”  The system is expected to speed up payment to indigent defense attorneys at more than 100 federal courthouses across the country.  Outstanding work Ms. Jensen!! (Las Vegas Sun)

Super Music Bonus! 

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – June 20, 2014

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

Happy Friday everyone!  Summer officially begins tomorrow, but it’s been HOT here for some time.  I just visited Fredericton, NB, where it was absolutely beautiful.  Thank you to all my Canadian hosts for a wonderful trip!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Montgomery Co, AL gets a public defender office;
  • Cleveland, OH firm launches pro bono veterans clinic;
  • NC House & Senate slash budget for legal services;
  • Canyon Co, ID appoints first chief public defender;
  • IN task force created to increase free legal aid;
  • GA public defender system sued;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: June 23 is UN Public Service Day;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

June 12, 2014 – “Aylia McKee is building Montgomery County’s first Public Defender’s Office from the ground up.”  “The state committed $2.2 million to fund the office, including salaries, benefits and office supplies. The Montgomery County Commission has provided the historic Greil mansion next to the county courthouse on Lawrence Street to house its staff.”  “McKee is currently looking to hire seasoned attorneys who will work as her deputy attorneys in the Public Defender’s Office. She hopes to have her key staff in place by the end of next month.  At full capacity, the public defender’s office will have a staff of about 30 people, with between 16-18 attorneys.  McKee does not yet have a set date when the office will start taking cases.”  “The public defender’s office will be phased in to the courtrooms in Montgomery County and as the office takes on more cases, the contract attorneys will be phased out. But McKee says there is still going to be a lot of work and responsibility for private attorneys. They will be needed to help handle any conflict cases or cases with multiple defendants.”  (WSFA)

June 12, 2014 - ”McDonald Hopkins, working with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Veterans Administration Community Referral and Resource Center, has developed a new initiative to provide free legal advice and referrals to low-income veterans in need of help. This unique collaboration – conceived by Anne Owings Ford and R. Jeffrey Pollock, co-chairs of the firm’s Pro Bono and Public Service Committee – is the first of its kind in Cleveland, and connects low-income veterans with our volunteer lawyers to deliver direct legal advice and recommend a course of action. The inaugural Clinic, held May 7, 2014, was a rousing success.”  (Digital Journal)

June 12, 2014 – “The state Senate budget proposes to cut more than $2 million in legal aid funding, which could make it more difficult for North Carolina’s poorest residents to defend their rights.  Under the Access to Civil Justice Act, a portion of court filing fees are given to legal aid groups in North Carolina—$1.8 million per year. The Senate’s budget bill cuts this funding. The Senate budget also eliminates the Access to Civil Justice Grant, which provided more than $670,000 to legal services in North Carolina last year.”  “While the Senate’s proposed budget eliminates funding both from filing fees and the direct grant, in the House’s proposed budget, funding from filing fees is restored while the Access to Civil Justice Grant is eliminated.” (Indy Week)

June 12, 2014 – “The Canyon County Board of Commissioners has appointed Tera A. Harden as the county’s first chief public defender.  Harden will officially start her new role in July so she will have time to build her staff before the county’s new in-house Public Defender’s Department officially goes into service on Oct. 1. The Public Defender Department will be housed in the newly built Canyon County Administration Building in Caldwell.”  (Idaho Statesman)

June 16, 2014 – “An Indiana Supreme Court task force plans to submit recommendations next week for how to increase the amount of free legal services Hoosier attorneys donate to the poor.  The Supreme Court has already decided against mandatory pro bono services, instead asking a task force to suggest ways to implement mandatory reporting of pro bono hours.”  “The task force is also looking at other administrative issues, including how to define pro bono work.   The justices will make the final decision on how to implement the requirement.”  (Indiana Public Media)
June 16, 2014 – “A former Middle Georgia public defender has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleges breakdowns at all levels of the state’s indigent defense system.  The lawsuit, filed Monday, said that public defenders in the Towaliga Judicial Circuit were forced to work in unsanitary and dilapadated offices and carry crushing case loads. The plaintiff, Jim Kight, who worked as a defender in the circuit for eight years, was fired in retaliation last year after he complained about the conditions, the suit said.”  (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  The UN Public Service Day intends to celebrate the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlight the contribution of public service in the development process; recognize the work of public servants, and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.  The United Nations Public Service Day 2014 theme is, “Innovating Governance for Sustainable Development and Well-being of the People.” (United Nations)

Super Music Bonus! Try to stay cool out there folks! 

Comments

PSJD Public Interest News Digest – June 13, 2014

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

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!  This week there is a lot going on.  The big news is the extension of PAYE.  Here’s hoping it means more folks can follow their passions.

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • The 2014 Public Sector & Public Interest Attorney Salary Report now available;
  • Ontario justice groups launch access to justice collaborative;
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service receives grant;
  • DOJ starts legal aid program for immigrant children;
  • The Capital Assistance Project of Louisiana seeks to withdraw from multiple capital cases citing budget problems;
  • FL firm launches veterans scholarship;
  • CA pioneers court-aided one-day divorce;
  • President Obama extends PAYE;
  • ABA Council says no to paid student externships;
  • Senator Warren’s student loan bill stalls;
  • FL Gov. Scott vetoes legal services funding & Board of Governors rejects proposed bar fee increase;
  • DC Bar Foundation awards $600,000 for legal services;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: NYC Bar Association honors public service;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

The Public Sector & Public Interest Attorney Salary Report is now available in the NALP bookstore.  It is THE definitive source for public sector salaries.  You can search by employer type and region.  There is also great information LRAP programs and federal government salaries and benefits.

June 5, 2014 – The Law Society of Upper Canada’s access to justice initiative, known as TAG, creates a forum for the legal and justice sectors to foster teamwork on the access to justice front.  “LSUC Treasurer Thomas Conway, who created the initiative, says this is ‘without a doubt’ one of his biggest accomplishments.”  “Two years ago, when I was first elected, the goal I set was to define a new role for the law society in improving access to justice,” says Conway.  “At the meeting, participants discussed what they are already doing to share their knowledge with other justice groups, and brainstormed innovative ideas to make justice more accessible. Their suggestions included creating a sort of “incubator” for lawyers building a practice to help underserved clients, coaching self-represented litigants, and setting up a ‘legal brokerage’ to assist family law litigants at a reduced fee.”  Collaborators will use the information they have to press government and other agencies to work together to provide better access to justice.  (Canadian Lawyer Magazine)

June 5, 2014 - ”The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) has recently granted $100,000 to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to support three key program areas. $50,000 will be designated to support the LIRS Access to Justice Program, which engages congregations to help provide holistic services to immigrants and migrants released from detention on the journey to integration. The grant will expand educational resources for local congregations, increase staff capacity, and cover travel to support local partners.”  “As the second largest refugee resettlement agency in the U.S., LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating with refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. Celebrating 75 years of service and advocacy this year, LIRS has helped more than 500,000 migrants and refugees rebuild their lives in America.”  (news.gnomes.es)

June 6, 2014 – “The Department of Justice said on Friday it will help provide lawyers for the growing number of children coming to the United States illegally, without parents or relatives accompanying them.  The new program, established in conjunction with the agency that administers the AmeriCorps volunteer program, will seek out around 100 lawyers and paralegals to provide legal services to the children, the department said.”  The new justice AmeriCorps members will also “help identify unaccompanied immigrant children who have been victims of human trafficking or abuse to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those who perpetrate such crimes on those children.” (Reuters) (DOJ)

June 6, 2014 – The Capital Assistance Project of Louisiana (CAPOLA) has filed motions to withdraw as council in multiple capital cases, citing budget issues.  “Court records document the issue:  ‘In recent years the contractual arrangements and awarding of the annual contracts have been handled by the Louisiana Public Defender Board (LPDB)… The Executive Director of CAPOLA has been informed by the LPDB that LPDB has made no provision to fund CAPOLA for the upcoming fiscal year.’  CAPOLA received almost $1.4 million funding in 2013from the state board’s $33m dollar budget.”  “Louisiana State public defender Jay Dixon says they’re reviewing CAPOLA’s operations and calls the motions to withdraw ‘premature.’  Prosecutors say allowing CAPOLA attorneys to drop cases could affect their ability to try for the death penalty, a claim Dixon denies.”  The state board meets with CAPOLA board members this week to examine their performance review.  (KTBS)

June 6, 2014 – “Florida traffic attorneys Katz & Phillips, PA announced a new scholarship this week for veterans of the armed forces pursuing a law degree.  The $1,000 Law Scholarship for Veterans is the first of its kind offered by Katz & Phillips, which issues a number of law school scholarships every year. It’s aimed at high-achieving, passionate law students who are either current or retired members of the military.”  “The scholarship is open to veterans of any branch of service, who served at home or overseas, who are attending or have been accepted to law school. Details and an application can be found online.”  (Digital Journal)
June 6, 2014 – With budgets being slashed and more and more litigants doing their own cases, the new reality of access to justice has to include helping individuals “do it themselves.”  The California Courts have taken up the charge with a new program for those seeking a divorce.  “In California, roughly three-fourths of family law litigants lack lawyers, said Maureen F. Hallahan, supervising judge in the family law division at San Diego Superior Court.”  “So now some courts in California offer one-day divorce programs for people who either can’t afford or don’t want to hire a lawyer. ‘The reality is, people are going to do it without lawyers, and we had to accommodate that,’ said Judge Hallahan.  The program doesn’t mean a divorce is truly started and completed in a single day — residency and notification requirements have to be met first. You must, for example, already have filed a divorce petition and served your spouse with divorce papers to participate. But the program does allow you to wrap things up in a single day, or even a matter of hours, once you meet the initial criteria.”  Currently, San Diego and Sacramento have programs.  I suspect we will see more soon.  (New York Times)

June 9, 2014 – President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum Monday expanding Pay As You Earn (PAYE) to  an additional 5 million borrowers.  The program “let borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income in payments, but was only available for those who started borrowing after October 2007.  Obama’s memo expands that program by making opening it to those who borrowed anytime in the past.”  “Obama also announced he is directing the government to renegotiate contracts with federal student loan servicers to encourage them to make it easier for borrowers to avoid defaulting on their loans.”  The President also to endorsed Sentate legislation that would let college graduates with heavy debts refinance their loans.  The Senate is expected to debate the legislation next week.  (PBS NewsHour)

June 10, 2014 – “It appears the American Bar Association’s ban on allowing law students to receive both pay and academic credit for externships will remain in force.”  “The council on June 6 took up a multitude of revisions to the accreditation standards and sent them for review by the ABA’s House of Delegates during its next annual meeting in August in Boston. The council could revise the standards depending on the delgates’ feedback, but it has the final say.”  (National Law Journal)

June 11, 2014 – “The Senate on Wednesday voted not to move forward on a bill from Sen. Elizabeth Warren that would have allowed an estimated 25 million people with older student loans to refinance that debt at current, lower interest rates.  President Barack Obama and second lady Jill Biden had thrown their support behind the bill in recent days, and Obama on Monday rolled out new executive actions to help address student loan debt alongside the action in the Senate.”  (Politico)

June 11, 2014 – “For the fourth year running, Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed funding earmarked to provide legal service for low-income Florida residents.  According to the News Service of Florida, the June 2 veto eliminated $2 million that the 2014-15 state budget of $77.1 billion described as ‘civil legal assistance.’”  “Scott’s veto comes as the legal community debates a proposal by some to raise Florida Bar annual dues 27 percent, from $265 to $365, to fund legal services for low-income residents.”  The Florida Bar board of governors recently voted against the proposal, while proponents plan to petition the Florida Supreme Court on June 16 “to request The Florida Bar take up the issue” again.  (KeysInfoNet)

June 12, 2014 – “The DC Bar Foundation announces the FY14 DC Legal Services Grants awards to 20 organizations totaling $600,000 to support civil legal services providers, based in the District of Columbia, that serve low-income, underrepresented DC residents.”  “The Board of the Bar Foundation is pleased that we could add $600,000 to the ability of civil legal service providers to undertake their important work. This is an important supplement to the $3.4 million that we disbursed earlier this year for the Access to Justice Grants program. We will continue to work hard so this support can continue to expand in the years ahead,” said Marc L. Fleischaker, President of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.  (DC Bar Foundation)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:  The New York City Bar Association last night honored the recipients of the 25th Annual Legal Services Awards, which give recognition to attorneys and non-attorneys who provide outstanding civil legal assistance to New York’s poor. Among the honorees was Margaret Becker, Director of LSNYC’s Staten Island Disaster Recovery Unit.  This year’s other recipients were: Alan Canner, The Legal Aid Society, Harlem Community Law Office; Bernadette Jentsch, MFY Legal Services; Liz Markuci, Immigration Project, Volunteers of Legal Service; and Leander McRae, Preserving Affordable Housing Program, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A . The Awards were presented by Hon. Jenny Rivera, Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.  Congratulations and thank you for your great work!  (Legal Services NYC)

Super Music Bonus! Worst summer jobs with Jimmy Fallon of The Tonight Show.

Comments