The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) is seeking skilled law clerks interested in investigating complaints of discrimination for their investigations division. OHR was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. Investigations law clerks will be involved in many aspects of the agency’s day-to-day work, participate in the implementation of program activities, and provide critical support to the Division.
Want to spend your spring break brushing up on your lit skills? The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia has got you covered:
The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia is pleased to present the 2016 Spring Break Criminal Defense Trial Practice Institute (Institute). The Institute seeks to help students cultivate effective trial advocacy skills and explore indigent criminal defense work. The program consists of a week of workshops on how to conduct opening statements, direct examinations, cross examinations, and closing arguments. In addition, students will learn how to develop theories of defense, master the rules of evidence, and impeach witnesses at trial. At the end of the program, students will participate in full-length mock trials presided over by District of Columbia Superior Court judges.
The Institute is designed to support law students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups, students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, and/or students from law schools that lack criminal defense and trial advocacy training opportunities.
The Institute will be held March 13 – March 18, 2016. Each student is expected to commit to participating in the entire program, which also includes daily evening sessions. The program is free of charge to students, although students are expected to provide their own transportation and lodging.
For more information on how to apply, click here. (Application Deadline: January 30, 2016).
Attention Students! Interested in working in child welfare law? Plan on interning this summer at a child welfare law office? Then you may be interested in Michigan Law’s Summer Fellowship training. For the past twenty years, the University of Michigan Law School has invited students interested in child welfare law to spend three days in Ann Arbor, prior to starting their summer internship at a child welfare office, to participate in a comprehensive training on child welfare law and practice.For fellows accepted into the program, the Bergstrom Foundation will provide travel expenses for the participants, housing during the fellowship, training, and meals.
by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships
Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season. We start off the new year with a number of new initiatives providing increased access to justice. Let’s keep this going.
Here are the week’s headlines:
Canadian lawyer launches online course for pro se litigants;
Bank settlement funds to help West Virginia State Bar provide legal services;
North Dakota indigent defense attorneys see caseloads spike;
Colorado Lawyers Committee launches young lawyers division with pro bono mission;
Appellate pro bono pilot project launched in Hawaii;
Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
Super Music Bonus!
December 31, 2015 – “Human rights lawyer Amer Mushtaq is trying to streamline access to justice for self-representing litigants going through the Ontario small claims court system with an online course he has developed. Individuals hoping to represent themselves in a dispute — whether they are filing or responding to a claim — can take the $199 online course prior to filing or attending trial in order to understand the complex process. The video guide is broken up into steps with PowerPoint slideshow presentation addressing key issues self-representing litigants tend to face. In the past few years, Mushtaq has become more aware of the problems potential clients have with small claims court cases. ‘They want help, but they just can’t afford our firm,’ he says.” (Canadian Lawyer)
January 5, 2016 – “The West Virginia State Bar received $329,000 from a U.S. Department of Justice settlement with Bank of America that will help legal services organizations in the state provide foreclosure-prevention assistance to indigent citizens and/or support community redevelopment legal services.” “Applicants for the newly announced grants must qualify as a legal services organization but do not have to be current grantees.” (The West Virginia State Bar)
January 5, 2016 – “The number of court cases involving clients who can’t afford legal services climbed in all areas of North Dakota during the last fiscal year, with large increases seen in northern judicial districts, the head of the state’s Commission on Legal Counsel for Indigents said Tuesday. In the Northwest Judicial District alone, felony cases assigned to indigent defense attorneys jumped by nearly 30 percent from fiscal year 2014 to 2015, from 760 cases to 983 cases, and have skyrocketed by more than 500 percent since 2010’s count of 162 felony cases. Overall, cases assigned to indigent defense attorneys increased by 18 percent in 2015 in the Northwest Judicial District, 24 percent in the North Central Judicial District and 44 percent in the Northeast Judicial District, compared to an 11 percent increase statewide, from 12,180 cases to 13,511 cases. Commission Executive Director H. Jean Delaney told the Legislature’s interim Judiciary Committee that she expects the numbers will increase again in fiscal year 2016. Delaney said more case assignments mean more costs for the agency, which suffered a budget shortfall during the 2013-15 biennium and received additional funding for 2015-17, including seven new full-time positions – three of them attorneys in Bismarck, Williston and Watford City.” (The Dickinson Press)
January 6, 2016 – “The 38-year-old Colorado Lawyers Committee has launched a Young Lawyers Division, with a mission to make a difference in the lives of children and the underserved. Matthew Linton, of counsel at the Holland & Hart Denver office, has been elected chair of the new division. The Colorado Lawyers Committee has volunteer participants from 60 firms with about 900 attorneys available and 30 pro bono projects currently active. The idea of the committee was to carefully choose pro bono work that would make an impact in social issues, said Connie Talmage, Colorado Lawyers Committee executive director. The committee has taken on major issues that affect children and the under-privileged, she said. For example, the group worked a case that helped the state deliver food stamps to applicants in a more timely fashion. The mission of the YLD, which is for attorneys younger than 40 and who have been in practice less than eight years, is to empower passionate young lawyers to make a difference for children and the underserved through education, advocacy and systemic change.” (Denver Business Journal)
January 6, 2016 – “The Hawaii State Judiciary, in partnership with the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii, and the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Appellate Section, has launched the Hawaii Appellate Pro Bono Pilot Project. The project provides volunteer appellate counsel to individuals who are representing themselves on appeal. ‘This project is a win-win,’ said Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Jr., Chairman of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission. ‘In addition to providing legal support to those who need it, the Hawaii Appellate Pro Bono Pilot Project will give our volunteer attorneys a valuable opportunity to participate in the handling of appellate cases. We hope it will also be a chance for our experienced appellate counsel to mentor the next generation of appellate attorneys.’ When an individual files a notice of appeal at the Hawaii State Supreme Court Clerk’s Office and is not represented by an attorney, the pro se litigant will be provided information about the Hawaii Appellate Pro Bono Pilot Project. This pilot project is currently limited to civil cases involving foreclosures, summary possessions, employment discrimination, worker’s compensation, wrongful termination, denial of unemployment benefits, state tax appeals, probate matters, and paternity and non-married custody cases. Participants in the Hawaii Appellate Pro Bono Pilot Project are required to meet certain income-need requirements and, if qualified, to pay an administration fee of $50.00 to Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii. In addition, litigants will be responsible for any costs associated with the appeal, including filing, transcript, or other costs related to the preparation of the record on appeal and presentation of arguments in the appellate courts.” (Hawai’i State Judiciary)
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:
The AALS Pro Bono and Public Service Section has selected winners for the 2016 Rhode and Drinan Awards. The Deborah L. Rhode Award is awarded to a full-time faculty member or dean who has made an outstanding contribution to increasing pro bono and public service in the law school setting through scholarship, leadership, or service. The Father Robert Drinan Award is awarded to a professional faculty or staff member at a law school who has forwarded the ethic of pro bono service through personal service, program design or management.
The purpose of these awards is to honor those who have dedicated significant efforts towards increasing access to justice throughout the law school environment and to inspire similar efforts from others. The awards honor those who personally design and manage pro bono programs, those leaders in legal education who promote these programs, and those who personally give of their time and talents in pro bono service.
The 2016 award winners are as follows:
Deborah L. Rhode Award –Jim Rosenblatt, Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law, Mississippi College of Law
Father Robert Drinan Award – Professor Janet Weinstein, California Wester School of Law
Super Music Bonus!Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Eulen Jang.
The Greater Washington Area Chapter of the National Bar Association is hosting an exciting program on “Surviving on a Public Interest Salary”. Check out their message below for more information:
When: February 9, 2016, 6:30-8:00 PM Where: District of Columbia Court of Appeals, 430 E Street, N.W., Second Floor, Courtroom 1, Washington, D.C.
Do you have dreams of advocating for the low income community?
Do you want to defend the civil rights of those who cannot afford counsel?
Do you want to embark upon a career as a federal government servant?
These are aspirations for many in the legal profession, but they often face a commonly perceived obstacle. Please join us for a panel discussion about how one can survive on the salary of a public interest attorney.
Our Panelists Include:
Melanie Bates, Director of Policy and Communications, D.C. ACLU – Moderator
Michelle Bonner, Executive Director, DC Corrections Information Council
Kendra Brown, Policy Director, Congressional Black Caucus
Kensley Dougan, Financial Planner, Strategies For Wealth
Ashley McDowell, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia
Our panelists will provide practical advice about budgeting, paying bills (including student loans), saving for retirement, obtaining promotions, longevity in public service, and much more.
PLEASE RSVPto GWAC Law Student Affairs Committee Co-Chair and Employment and Professional Development Committee Chair, Janea Raines, HERE.
The Rhode Island Center for Justice is seeking to hire a Supervising Attorney. The Supervising Attorney will provide direct legal representation and supervise provision of legal services to clients across their program areas which currently include the Wage Justice Project, Tenant Advocacy Project, and Lifeline Project. The Center for Justice is a non-profit public interest law center with a mission to expand access to justice for low-income communities by providing free civil legal representation to low income Rhode Island individuals, families, and communities.
Equal Justice Works is hosting another Free Student Debt Webinar! Check out their message below:
New Year, New You: Take Control of Your Student Loans
Happy New Year! While everyone else is making plans to hit the gym, we’ve got a better suggestion for your New Year’s Resolution: get a firm handle on your student loans!
Sounds like a lofty goal? No worries – Equal Justice Works is here to help! We’re offering our free monthly webinar, “Drowning in Debt! What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EDT to help student loan borrowers plan out their finances just in time for the new year! Whether you’re currently a law student, recent law graduate, or professional attorney, this webinar will provide you with the information you need to know about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, and more. Come check it out and learn how to manage your student debt!
REPAYE Plan Now Available
With a new year comes new student loan repayment options! As promised, the Department of Education launched the income-driven REPAYE (Revised Pay As You Earn) plan last month. The REPAYE plan offers monthly payments capped at 10% of your discretionary income, improved interest accrual protections, and is open to all borrowers regardless of when your loans were taken out.
There’s a lot to learn about the new REPAYE plan, so make sure you attend the webinar on January 19th to get the basics. We’re also updating our free student debt e-book Take Control of Your Future to include all the in-depth information you need to know about REPAYE. Download it now to be notified automatically of all updates!
Another 2016 New Year’s Resolution: Protect Public Service Loan Forgiveness!
As always, we urge you to take action to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) before Congress moves forward with capping or eliminating this vital program for public service workers. In addition to coming to the January 19th webinar for the latest legislative updates, you can join the ABA’s Save #Loan4Giveness campaign today by taking action via social media!
Want to spread the word about PSLF, or just learn more about the program? Read and share our latest Huffington Post articles “Ten Things You Should Know About Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Part One and Two” to get the basics!
Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. Our webinars are tailored to law students and lawyers, but the information is applicable to anyone who needs help managing the burden of student loan debt. To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter (@EJW_org, #studentdebthelp) and on Facebook!
by Christina Jackson, NALP Director of Public Service Initiatives & Fellowships
Happy Holidays! We hope you have a safe and happy holiday season. We are also celebrating with family and friends, and will return in the new year.
Here are the week’s headlines:
Michigan Voces gets $10,000 grant for immigrant legal services;
Can technology help the middle class close the justice gap?;
Legal Aid Ontario announces new CEO;
Utah Supreme Court approves creation of limited paralegal practitioners;
Collaboration helps New Yorkers facing foreclosure get live chat assistance;
New York mayor launches nearly $8 million assistance program for immigrants;
Legal Aid Ontario launches financial eligibility app;
Legal Services Corporation awards first Vieth grants;
Notre Dame Law School to launch new clinic;
Spotlight on Public Service Servants;
Super Music Bonus!
December 10, 2015 – “Voces, a Battle Creek-area [Michigan] organization that primarily assists Latino and Hispanic families, has received a $10,000 capacity-building grant to strengthen its immigration legal services. Voces is one of 10 groups in its category to receive funding from the National Council of La Raza, a Washington, D.C.-based Latino advocacy organization. The grant will be used to build a process to provide immigration services, to pay for training of staff and volunteers on how to provide immigration support and to assist the organization in earning accreditation by the Bureau of Immigration Appeals. It also will allow Voces staff to represent community members in certain immigration cases, allowing them to forego a search for paid legal council.” (Battle Creek Enquirer)
December 11, 2015 – Here is an interesting editorial from the Jurist discussing how technology could help with disparities in justice. (Jurist)
December 14, 2015 – “Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is pleased to announce the appointment of David Field, a senior executive at Legal Aid Ontario, as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2016. He succeeds Robert Ward, who retires this December. Mr. Field’s 33-year financial and strategic planning career in the public sector includes his work as the Director and Chief Financial Officer, Business and Fiscal Planning Branch at the Ministry of the Attorney General, and Director Financial Planning and Business Management Branch at both the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. In his most recent role as Vice President of Strategic Planning and Compliance at LAO, Mr. Field has been instrumental in LAO’s development of modern management methods to benefit client service and organizational effectiveness. Mr. Field has worked in various capacities for the Government of Ontario since 1982. He holds an MBA in public administration fromYork University as well as a BA in political science from the University of Waterloo. ” (Newswire)
December 14, 2015 – “There are issues with how Utahns access their justice system, a Utah Supreme Court justice said. Many people either can’t afford lawyers, Deno Himonas said Monday, or simply don’t want to hire one to help them navigate the court system as they file for divorce, settle debts or resolve eviction issues. ‘Lawyers have been incredibly generous with their time,’ Himonas said. ‘And are trying to address [those issues] through pro bono measures. But at the end of the day, though, we need to come up with an economically viable model that will help improve access for those individuals in our civil justice system.’ To that end, the Utah Supreme Court has approved the creation of a new legal profession: limited paralegal practitioners. An LPP, or paraprofessional, will have more training and responsibilities than a normal paralegal, but is not quite a lawyer. The paraprofessional will be able to help the public in those areas where Utahns generally aren’t hiring lawyers.” “The Utah Supreme Court has approved creation of the new legal profession — but it will take some time to implement the program. Now that the task force has presented its findings to the Supreme Court and the judicial council, a committee will be appointed to figure out the nuts and bolts of how the program will work, including what educational requirements will be needed and what the exact limitations will be.” (The Salt Lake Tribune)
December 14, 2015 – “LawHelpNY, a family of online legal information and referral Internet portals for low and moderate income New Yorkers, announces the launch of its LiveHelp chatting service for visitors to the New York State Unified Court Systems website, CourtHelp. The LiveHelp service will allow visitors to the site to chat with operators who can guide them to legal resources and organizations that may be able to assist them in their case. The initiative is a collaborative effort of multiple organizations working to create a more seamless and integrated help system for vulnerable New Yorkers seeking assistance with legal problems. Since 2010, LiveHelp operators, primarily trained law student volunteers, have assisted individuals visiting the LawHelpNY website who are often facing serious legal problems, but can’t afford a lawyer. LiveHelp will now be available to visitors on the foreclosure pages of the CourtHelp website, primarily homeowners facing foreclosure, as well as tenants of buildings in foreclosure.” “The project is funded by an LSC (Legal Services Corporation) Technology Initiative Grant awarded to Legal Assistance of Western New York. The initiative serves as a pilot to explore the effectiveness of providing real-time assistance to unrepresented litigants visiting the CourtHelp website to further close the justice gap in New York State Courts.” (probono.net)
December 15, 2015 – “Although President Obama’s executive amnesty programs remain held up in the courts, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched a nearly $8 million initiative to provide legal assistance to the illegal immigrant community in the city and prepare them for executive amnesty. ‘New York City’s commitment to our immigrant communities will not waver. While the courts delay executive action and much-needed relief, while some voices may attempt to create hostility toward immigrants, while more than 30 governors tried to resist the resettlement of Syrian refugees, New York City will demonstrate the power and values of our city.’ de Blasio said Monday, announcing the initiative. Dubbed ActionNYC, the $7.9 million program will create ‘navigation hubs’ in each of the five boroughs for immigrants to receive legal assistance and education about possible immigration benefits available to them.” “The program is slated to start in the spring of 2016 and will be administered by Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, in collaboration with the Human Resources Administration and the Research Foundation of the City University of New York. The initiative will provide contracts to ‘community-based organizations’ and legal services to implement the program.” (Breitbart)
December 16, 2015 – “Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is launching a mobile phone application (app) to help people determine whether they are financially eligible for a legal aid certificate. The app also gives applicants real-time access to call centre wait times. This is the first version of the app, and it follows the organization’s recent expansion of financial and legal eligibility criteria for legal aid services in Ontario. The app is available free of charge through app stores for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices. The app does not collect or store any user data.” (Newswire)
December 16, 2015 – “The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that seven legal aid organizations will receive grants from its new G. Duane Vieth Leadership Development Program, LSC’s first grant initiative to support training in leadership skills in the field of civil legal aid. Generously funded by the Arnold & Porter LLP Foundation, the program will award grants each year to leaders of LSC-funded organizations to support training, coaching, or other professional development in non-profit leadership skills. The competitive grant program honors long-time Arnold & Porter Managing Partner G. Duane “Bud” Vieth, who joined the firm in 1949 and is now a retired partner, and highlights the importance of developing entrepreneurial and business acumen among leaders of civil legal aid organizations. ” “This is the first named initiative to result from LSC’s Campaign for Justice, a private fundraising effort to expand the impact and capacity of civil legal aid providers across the country. The 134 LSC-funded legal aid programs will each be eligible to receive one grant of up to $10,000 every five years.” (Legal Services Corporation)
December 17, 2015 – “Notre Dame Law School will launch a new clinic – the Notre Dame Tax Clinic – to help law students gain legal experience and to serve the community. The clinic will be funded by a grant from the Internal Revenue Service and support from the University of Notre Dame’s Office of Research. The clinic, approved by the faculty this month, will strengthen the tax law program for law students with the addition of an experiential component, and add a second litigation clinic, said Bob Jones, associate dean for experiential programs.” “The clinic’s academic component, scheduled to start in the 2016 fall semester, will enroll between eight and 10 students each semester. The Notre Dame Tax Clinic course would include a class covering skills, substantive law, and procedural law and about 10 hours of casework each week. Students would be the primary attorneys working with the clients, supervised by a licensed attorney.” (Notre Dame Law School News)
Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:
United Airlines lawyers — recipients of the Public Interest Law Initiative’s 2015 Pro Bono Initiative Award.
United Airlines is headquartered in Chicago and its lawyers have worked diligently to establish a strong program that is truly making a difference for those in need. United’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee partners with local organizations to provide opportunities for attorneys and non-attorneys to do pro bono or community service work within their work day. Stressing the importance of passion, the Committee focuses on engaging individuals in causes they personally care about.
United attorneys volunteer with Cabrini Green Legal Aid’s Expungement Help Desk and Live Call hearings at 26th & California. They participate in the Center for Disability and Elder Law’s Senior Center Initiative, and work with the National Immigrant Justice Center at Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) clinics and represent asylum applicants. United attorneys help staff the Equip for Equality hotline on a weekly basis, facilitate court reform efforts at the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, and assist those in need with preparation of their tax returns. These are just some of the areas of focus for their pro bono program. (PILI press release)
Super Music Bonus!Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Eulen Jang. And a bonus track from one Geek to all of you!
The South Texas Pro Bono Representation Project (ProBAR) has an immediate opening for an attorney or law graduate at the ProBAR Children’s Project. ProBAR provides direct legal services to unaccompanied children detained along the southern border in Texas and the Children’s Project serves the population of over 2,000 detained, unaccompanied children at Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters across the Rio Grande Valley.