PSJD Public Interest News Digest – June 2, 2017

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

Happy Friday!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Lawyers groups seek pay increase for lawyers taking public defender cases in Wisconsin;
  • New York health system forges new partnership to offer free legal services to patients;
  • Iowa Supreme Court approves grants for nonprofit legal assistance programs;
  • Gift creates Robert B. Kent Public Interest Fund at Cornell Law School;
  • Southwestern Law School establishes a public interest postgraduate fellowship program;
  • Prairie State Legal Services celebrates 40 years of service to community;
  • A high-tech helping hand: the marriage of pro bono and technology;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

May 25, 2017 – “A group of Wisconsin lawyers filed a petition Thursday asking that the state Supreme Court increase the pay rate for private lawyers representing indigent clients through state Public Defender appointments, because a crisis is looming that could find criminal defendants deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel. The petition is another attempt to raise the $40-per-hour rate — the lowest in the nation — which the Office of the State Public Defender has sought in each of its biennial budget requests since 1995. The petition, which seeks to increase the rate to $100 per hour, also asks that the Supreme Court ban flat fee arrangements to private attorneys on public defender cases, which are currently allowed, arguing that they pit a lawyer’s financial interests against a client’s right to effective counsel. But even if the state Supreme Court agrees to amend its rule that governs pay for private attorneys accepting public defender cases, the Legislature would have to agree to the funding increase, which supporters concede could be difficult, given the lack of success of past attempts to raise the pay rate for appointed lawyers.” (Wisconsin State Journal)

May 25, 2017 – “Mount Sinai Health System, an integrated health system with seven hospital campuses in the New York metropolitan area, recently launched the Mount Sinai Medical-Legal Partnership (MSMLP), an independent nonprofit organization, to address unmet needs of their patients who live well below the poverty line. It was created to enhance legal services already provided by lawyers from LegalHealth of New York Legal Assistance Group, Legal Aid and Youth Represent. Although these patients receive high-quality medical care at the hospitals, in many cases they have legal issues that actually are barriers to good health, explained Beth Essig, executive vice president and general counsel, Mount Sinai Health System, in an interview with FierceHealthcare. Unless these legal issues are tackled, the patients will continue to have health problems, she said. Essig said the partnership harnesses the support of legal talent in New York City to integrate it into the health delivery system. The population health management initiative aims to prevent and remedy the social and environmental conditions that are rooted in legal issues, such as housing, education, personal safety and access to healthcare.” (Fierce Healthcare)

May 30, 2017 – “The Iowa Supreme Court has approved $240,101 in grants to nonprofit programs that provide legal assistance to low-income Iowans with civil legal problems. The court awarded grants to 14 organizations throughout Iowa. The grants are funded by the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) program. With this year’s grants, the Supreme Court has awarded more than $24.6 million in IOLTA grants since the program began on July 1, 1985. The grants include $145,657 for legal staff in Iowa Legal Aid regional offices, $31,656 for staff for a volunteer lawyer referral service in Polk County serving the low-income community, and $8,876 for Drake University Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law for a clinical law program in which upper-level law students intern with legal assistance providers throughout the state.” (Business Record)

May 30, 2017 – “The Robert B. Kent Public Interest Fund will be established through a $1 million gift made possible by Robert D. Ziff, J.D. ’92. The fund is named in honor of Kent, a professor at Cornell Law School from 1981 until his retirement in 1992. The fund will support a distinguished post-graduate public interest fellowship to be known as the Robert B. Kent Public Interest Fellowship. The fellowship will be competitively awarded to a new or recent Cornell Law School graduate who demonstrates exceptional commitment to the field of public interest law. It will provide an opportunity for new attorneys to gain experience in work that will improve the quality and delivery of legal services to the poor, the elderly, the homeless and those deprived of their civil rights. The new fund will also support other public interest priorities, such as summer Public Interest Fellowships and the Law School’s loan forgiveness program, both of which enable Cornell Law School students to consider employment opportunities with nonprofit and government employers.” (Cornell Chronicle)

May 31, 2017 – “Southwestern has established a Public Interest Postgraduate Fellowship program. It will offer recent graduates committed to pursuing a public interest law career exposure to direct legal services under the mentorship and supervision of staff attorneys at designated non-profit, public interest firms and legal aid agencies serving underrepresented, low-income client populations in the Los Angeles community. The first two fellowship recipients, Natasha Roland ’16 and Damaris Santamaria ’16, are continuing to uphold the legacy of Southwestern’s dedication to public service through their continued work in providing legal access to underserved communities as yearlong postgraduate fellows hosted by Inner City Law Center and the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice.”(SWLaw Blog)

May 31, 2017 – “An agency that provides legal aid to the region’s neediest clients is turning 40 amid a challenging time to continue its mission. Prairie State Legal Services begins its fifth decade under the looming threat of losing 60 percent of its annual $12.3 million in funding. The potential loss, Executive Director Michael O’Connor said, is the result of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, which would eliminate the agency’s federal funds. ‘We never dreamed that when this year came we would be facing a threat to our very existence,’ O’Connor said. ‘What that would mean would be devastating reductions in services and legal aid, not only here in Rockford but across the nation. While we celebrate, we also prepare to look for a future where we are going to need the support of not only the legal community, but the entire community to make sure that our services are available to those in need,’ O’Connor said.” (Rockford Register Star)

May 31, 2017 – “Bar associations across the country are seeking technology platforms to help mobilize attorneys and create a more resilient legal assistance community.” (Legaltech News)(subscription required)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

Law Students in Action: “The University of South Carolina School of Law is pleased to announce that the 2017 Konduros Public Service Fellows have been selected and are already engaged in pursuing creative solutions to some of SC’s most challenging legal issues.  The six students will be working as law clerks at: SC Legal Services, the SC Centers for Fathers and Families, the SC Center for Heirs Property, SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities and Richland County Court Appointment Advocates.

The Konduros Public Service Fellowships were funded by Jim Konduros, a 1954 law alumnus, who credits the law school for helping him develop the strategic thinking and counseling skills that guided him through a rewarding career that included working with U.S. Senator Olin Johnston and Governor Robert E. McNair, advising major companies and serving as counsel to a hospital system CEO and leading several nonprofit organizations.

One of the goals of the Konduros Public Service Fellowship is to place qualified 1st and 2nd year law students each summer with public interest organizations, government entities or non-profits. The ideal Fellow is one who has the desire to make public service a career.  2017 is the third year students have received funds through the generosity if Mr. Konduros.” (University of South Carolina School of Law)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – May 26, 2017

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

Happy Friday! The big news again is the proposed federal budget and the cuts to key domestic programs, including the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). And the ABA moves for summary judgement in its suit over Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) eligibility.

In lighter news — good luck to Florida attorney Mike Reed, who will run the equivalent of a marathon each day for 6 days to raise money for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. You read that right – 6 marathons in 6 days! You can read more about this incredible feat below.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Aid Ontario to suspend some refugee services July 1;
  • London Legal Walk raises record amount for legal services;
  • Michigan Indigent Defense Commission minimum standards approved;
  • Florida lawyer to run 6 marathons in 6 days to raise funds for legal aid;
  • Equal Justice Works announces Class of 2017 Fellows;
  • Nebraska Supreme Court appoints an Access to Justice Commission;
  • WWL Pro Bono Survey 2017 analysis released;
  • Thirty-two Attorneys General urge Congress to oppose elimination of Legal Services Corporation funding;
  • Some Republicans oppose defunding LSC;
  • Law firm leaders again urge Congress to fully fund LSC;
  • San Francisco public defender launches new immigration court unit;
  • Measures for Justice launches data analysis of justice system;
  • ABA moves for summary judgment in suit over PSLF;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

May 19, 2017 – “A good chunk of the legal aid services for refugees will be suspended starting on July 1 as Legal Aid Ontario struggles to find 40 per cent in budget savings from serving the vulnerable group. It is too early to confirm what services would be cut from the refugee law program as a province-wide consultation is set to begin on Thursday, but three options are under consideration: suspending all refugee and immigration services when funding runs out in August and September; restricting the coverage to the representation of asylum-seekers in their refugee proceedings, such as filing claims and preparation for and attendance at hearings; or limiting coverage for asylum-seekers to the preparation of the claim only, but continuing to represent clients at the refugee appeals tribunal and federal court. ‘LAO has supported over-expenditures in the refugee program for a number of years and cannot do so any longer, given the increase in demand for services and LAO’s budget challenges in other programs,’ the agency said in the consultation paper posted on its website Friday. ‘LAO recognizes that this will have a serious impact on vulnerable clients and that difficult choices will regrettably need to be made to achieve a balanced-budget plan.'” (Toronto Star)

May 22, 2017 – “A record 700 teams took part in the biggest Legal Walk ever last night, before descending on Carey Street and the Law Society HQ in Chancery Lane for a party afterwards. Flanked by Society president Robert Bourns, Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd told walkers enjoying a well-deserved drink in the Reading Room that they had helped to raise £800,000 towards free legal advice services — beating last year’s £740,000. Yesterday’s efforts ‘shows what lawyers can do for those who do not have access to justice,’ the Lord Chief Justice said.” (Law Society Gazette)

May 22, 2017 – “[Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs] Director Shelly Edgerton has approved the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission’s (MIDC) first set of minimum standards for indigent defense delivery systems. The minimum standards involve education and training, the initial client interview, experts and investigators, and counsel at first appearance in front of a judge or magistrate and other critical stages. Edgerton’s approval follows a thorough review and a public comment period. ‘This is an important step towards Michigan meeting constitutional requirements for the right to counsel and implementing an equal system of justice for everyone,’ said MIDC Executive Director Jonathan Sacks. Every court funding unit in Michigan is now required to submit a plan for compliance with the standards and a cost analysis to the MIDC within 180 days. The MIDC has regional managers located throughout the state, who will work with local court funding units to create plans to comply with the minimum standards. A second set of draft standards was recently published for comment. The next set of standards addresses independence from the judiciary, defender workloads, and qualification and review of attorneys accepting assignments in adult criminal cases. A standard on compensation is being developed and will be published for comment later this year.” (UPMatters.com)

May 23, 2017 – “Starting this Sunday, a Florida lawyer will run six marathons in six days to raise funds for legal aid. Mike Freed, a business attorney with the law firm Gunster, will be attempting this feat to support Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA). Though funding legal aid is something Freed feels passionate about, the Freed-to-Run event had its beginnings in a friendly competition between him and his wife. Last year, human rights attorney Crystal Freed raised $40,000 for victims of sex-trafficking in India by holding a Bollywood-themed benefit. Mike Freed started to think about how he could out fund-raise his wife. He’s had a long-term connection to JALA, for whom he does pro bono work. Since the Great Recession, the need for legal aid assistance among lower and middle-income families in the area has risen sharply. JALA estimates that 48 percent of Jacksonville residents qualify for civil legal aid. Meanwhile, Florida is one of three states that provides no state funding for legal services. ‘Frankly I was just overwhelmed by the need that’s there,’ Freed says.” “Every morning for six days, Mike will start at a different courthouse—cheered on by anyone who manages to make it to the courthouse by 7:30 a.m.—and run his 26.2 miles. On Sunday, May 28, he will begin his journey at the Florida Supreme Court Building in Tallahassee. On Friday, June 2, he will finish at the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, with the opportunity for friends, colleagues and well-wishers to donate $100 and run the final 5K with him. On the courthouse lawn from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. will be an event titled ‘The Finish Line—Celebrating Pro Bono Attorneys,’ with free barbecue and beer provided by sponsors.” (National Jurist)

May 23, 2017 – “Equal Justice Works today named its 2017 class of Equal Justice Works Fellows. Seventy-seven recent law school graduates, the largest class of Equal Justice Works Fellows ever, will launch their public interest law careers through this two-year Fellowship. These Fellows were selected from over 450 applications, which marks a 25% increase over the number of applications from the previous year. Each applicant teams up with a host organization, to apply for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship by designing a unique project to address an unmet legal need. Fellows in the class of 2017 will be working across the country to serve communities including veterans, immigrants, refugees, children with special education needs, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals, minorities, and victims of abuse. The Equal Justice Works Fellowship Class of 2017 includes graduates from 41 law schools who will serve at 68 nonprofit legal services organizations thanks to 75 law firm, corporate, and foundation sponsors, as well as hundreds of individual supporters.”(PR Newswire)

May 23, 2017 – “Our judicial system is based upon the principle that all those coming before the courts are entitled to equal justice. The Nebraska Supreme Court’s Strategic Agenda identifies ‘providing access to swift, fair justice’ as the first of six overarching goals of the Nebraska Judicial Branch. To further that goal, the Court has approved creation of the Nebraska Access to Justice Commission. The phrase ‘access to justice’ describes the ability of any person, regardless of income, race, ethnicity, gender, disability, age or language, to access and efficiently navigate our court system. The 24-member Nebraska Access to Justice Commission brings together representatives from all three branches of government, as well as community members, attorneys and legal organizations, educators, and representatives from organizations serving low-income Nebraskans and those with disabilities.” (KRVN)

May 23, 2017 – “Who’s Who Legal is pleased to present the results of its fourth pro bono survey. Once again, the survey was open to firms around the world of any size, and its goal was to provide insight into the efforts firms go to give back to the jurisdictions and communities they work in. Firms were invited to fill in a questionnaire detailing, among other things, the size of their pro bono departments; the overall engagement of partners, non-partners and trainees in the firm; the average number of pro bono hours conducted by fee earners; as well as details of the most significant projects firms took part in during the survey period.” “[W]e received strong participation from Latin America and Asia, but less from international firms, or those in Europe or the USA.” See the link for summary results. An analysis of the 10 top firms in the survey this year is available here. (WWL News)

May 23, 2017 – “Highlighting the need for legal services in low-income communities across the country, Attorney General Lisa Madigan yesterday joined with 31 attorneys general in urging Congress to oppose the Trump Administration’s proposal to eliminate federal funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The letter, sent to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committees, notes that for more than 40 years, the LSC has provided critical funding to civil legal aid organizations that help residents across the nation to access vital legal assistance. LSC funding helps veterans and military families secure important benefits, supports survivors of domestic violence seeking safety, and assists families facing foreclosure and victims of natural disasters. LSC funding also fosters longstanding public-private partnerships between legal aid organizations and private firms and attorneys nationwide who donate their time and skills to assist low-income residents.” “Joining in sending today’s letter were the attorneys general of Alaska, American Samoa, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.” (eNews Park Forest)

May 23, 2017 – “As the Trump administration pushes ahead with a proposal to get rid of the Legal Services Corporation — a federal agency that provides millions of dollars in grants each year for legal aid for low-income Americans — the White House faces opposition not only from Democrats, but from Republicans and corporate America as well. The president’s proposed budget released by the White House on Tuesday calls for a complete defunding of the Legal Services Corporation. The agency, which received $385 million this year from Congress, gives grants to 133 legal aid organizations across the country. Trump’s 2018 budget would provide $33 million to wind down its operations. The fate of the agency’s budget ultimately lies with Congress, though, and several Republicans in the House and Senate have already joined Democrats in opposing the cut. In a May 18 letter obtained by BuzzFeed News, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn — the second ranking Republican in the Senate — and two other Senate Republicans joined Democrats in urging the Senate Committee on Appropriations to provide ‘robust funding’ for the agency. ‘Recent research shows that civil legal aid is a good investment of taxpayer dollars, as it reduces clients’ reliance on other types of governmental aid and enhances their ability to participate in the marketplaces,’ the letter says. The other Republicans who signed the letter were Alaska Sen. Daniel Sullivan and South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds.” (Buzzfeed)

May 23, 2017 – “Heads of more than 165 BigLaw firms — including Dentons, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP — urged Congress on Monday to appropriate $450 million to the Legal Services Corp. for fiscal year 2018, even as the Trump administration has said it plans to shutter the organization. The letter came the same day as President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal.” (Law360)(subscription required)

May 23, 2017 – “A newly created unit of defense attorneys dedicated to representing immigrants faced with deportation began work in San Francisco’s federal immigration courts Tuesday. The new Immigration Unit in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, one of only three such programs in the country, is the result of a deal negotiated by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer in March. Mayor Ed Lee agreed to authorize the use of $200,000 in salary savings in the public defender’s budget to hire three deputy public defenders and a paralegal through the end of this year. Unlike in criminal court, immigrants are not automatically entitled to legal representation in deportation proceedings. However, studies have shown that detained immigrants with attorneys are six times more likely to win their cases. While San Francisco also provides funding to nonprofits specializing in legal aid to immigrants, the public defender’s office is intended to serve those already in detention, a demographic the nonprofits generally don’t serve. The unit’s attorneys are each expected to handle around 50 clients per year — a small portion of the estimated 1,500 detained immigrants who currently have court dates in San Francisco, around 85 percent of whom do not have attorneys.” (NBC Bay Area)

May 23, 2017 – “Measures for Justice launches today with deep data dives on more than 300 county court systems in Washington, Utah, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida, with plans to expand to 20 states by 2020. It pulls together the data that has traditionally remained hidden in ancient databases and endless Excel spreadsheets. Even with just six states included, the comprehensiveness of the platform surpasses anything similar that currently exists. Measures for Justice compiles granular data for 32 different metrics that indicate how equitable a given county’s justice system might be. The portal shows, for instance, how many people within a county plead guilty without a lawyer present, how many non-violent misdemeanor offenders the courts sentence to jail time, and how many people are in jail because they failed to pay bail of less than $500. It offers insight into re-conviction rates and never-prosecuted cases. Users can compare counties or filter information based on how certain measures impact people of different races or income levels.” (Wired)

May 25, 2017 – “The ABA filed a motion for summary judgment on Wednesday in its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education for its decision to drop some lawyers from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. The federal suit alleges the department failed to follow statutory requirements and violated due process rights of the four individual plaintiffs, including two former ABA employees whose participation in the program was revoked. The summary judgment motion asks a judge to require the department to stop issuing retroactive denials and to restore the individual plaintiffs’ eligibility for the program. ‘The department’s arbitrary and capricious reversal of its prior eligibility approvals must be set aside,’ the motion says.” (ABA Journal)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

Law Students in Action: “The Pro Bono Program & Clinic at The John Marshall Law School filed 245 petitions for expungements of juvenile criminal records over the last two years. The petitions were filed on behalf of 69 youths living in areas of the city of Chicago with the highest crime rates.  All of the petitions were granted, giving these individuals the opportunity to start their lives anew and putting them in a better position to succeed in life.” Congratulations on work very well done! (Econo Times)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris.

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Job’o’th’Week (Entry-Level Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Assistant Attorney General – Human Services Division

The Organization

The Attorney General of the State of Wyoming is appointed by the Governor, pursuant to Wyo.Stat. § 9-1-601 . The primary duties of the Attorney General are outlined in Wyo.Stat. § 9-1-603. The Attorney General’s office, by law, provides legal opinions only to elected and appointed state officials and represents the state agencies in actions in courts of law. The Attorney General’s office is prohibited from offering legal advice to private citizens or organizations.

The Position

The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office is seeking an attorney to represent the Secretary of State, Department of Revenue, Wyoming Business Council, Wyoming Public Service Commission, Division of Banking, various licensing boards, and other state agencies as assigned. This position will also assist and advise other clients on legal matters on a day-to-day basis, represent clients in litigation and appeals, provide legal advice, review contracts, draft legal opinions, attend client board meetings, and review administrative rules.

Why not make a home in Wyoming? See the full-post on PSJD.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – May 19, 2017

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

Happy Friday! The big news is the proposed budget for DOE, which includes eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and other deep cuts to financial aid.  Coverage is below.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • New York county public defender’s office receives $750,000 grant;
  • Venable Foundation’s public interest fellowship program celebrates its 9th year;
  • ABA advocates for $450 million budget for Legal Services Corporation;
  • Northeastern University School of Law launches Pro Bono Collaboration;
  • New York state senator allocates funding to Her Justice for immigration legal assistance;
  • PSLF is in danger — but we knew that;
  • Judge blocked nationwide enforcement of rule preventing nonprofits from providing legal assistance to detained immigrants;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

May 13, 2017 – “The state Office of Indigent Legal Services has awarded Cattaraugus County another counsel on first appearance grant for $746,125 to keep the program. The goal is to provide an attorney when a police officer arrests someone and brings them before a judge for arraignment. In the past, these defendants were often jailed in lieu of bail. Public Defender Mark Williams, whose office applied for the grants, said the first grant allowed his office to hire an additional attorney, another investigator and clerical staff.” (Olean Times Herald)

May 15, 2017 – “Continuing its commitment to advancing legal support for the public sector, Venable LLP has awarded four public interest fellowships to students from Fordham Law School, New York University Law School, and Columbia University School of Law who are undertaking public service internships this summer with nonprofits or government entities. Launched by the firm’s New York office in 2008, the Venable Foundation Public Interest Fellowship provides financial support to first-year law students in New York who are pursuing public service internships in New York City or in other cities where Venable maintains an office. The Fellowship recipients are chosen on the basis of their academic performance, demonstrated qualities of leadership, and commitment to the use of the law to further the public good. ” (Venable News & Insights)

May 15, 2017 – “ABA President Linda Klein submitted a statement to the U.S. Senate on Friday urging them to set the Legal Services Corp. budget to $450 million for 2018. Klein’s statement is largely similar to her testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives in early May. It echoes the lobbying which the ABA has been doing on the LSC’s behalf since President Donald Trump’s proposed budget was announced, one which would eliminate all LSC funding. The LSC is the largest provider of civil legal aid in the nation. ‘Funding for equal justice under federal law cannot be shouldered by state and local governments as an unfunded mandate,’ Klein wrote in her statement. ‘The federal government should contribute its fair share. That can only be accomplished through funding the Legal Services Corporation.’ Lawmakers struck a budget deal at the end of April which includes funding for the LSC at the current level of $385 million through the end of the fiscal year in September. But there has not yet been an agreement on what level of funding — if any — will be appropriated for the LSC in Fiscal Year 2018.” (ABA Journal)

May 15, 2017 – “Northeastern University School of Law has seen an increased need for volunteers in the legal arena thanks to changing federal priorities — to help defeat recent federal executive orders and proposed changes that would cut back on individual rights and freedoms. That’s why it has recently launched a new Pro Bono Collaboration, so students can fill that need. The new program provides law students with the opportunity to provide pro bono legal research and assistance to organizations such as the ACLU, Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project, Greater Boston Legal Services, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the National Lawyers Guild and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, among others. ‘The reaction to the election inspired many people to increase their involvement in representing immigrants, refugees and LGBTQ individuals,’ said professor Lucy Williams, faculty director for public interest and pro bono initiatives. ‘The law school wanted to create an outlet for that energy. We hope the Pro Bono Collaboration will provide a permanent benefit to the community.’ Professor Wally Holohan will lead the new collaboration. Student volunteers will handle a wide range of responsibilities, including meeting with immigrants being held in ICE detention facilities, conducting research and discovery, performing intake for hate incidents, harassment and intimidation and organizing trainings. Students in the NUSL Pro Bono Collaboration will spend approximately 10 to 15 hours per week volunteering over an 11-week academic quarter.” (National Jurist)

May 15, 2017 – “State Senator Jose Peralta announced a $50,000 state allocation to Her Justice, an organization that provides legal services to women in need. Her Justice, with the assistance of law firms, helps hundreds of women who have been victims of crime to obtain ‘U’ visas. Peralta and Her Justice are partnering with other nonprofits to assist immigrant families and hold ‘Know your Rights’ forums.” “Her Justice is a non-profit organization that takes a ‘pro bono first’ approach to the provision of legal services to low-income women in crisis in all five boroughs of New York City. The staff of 18 lawyers and legal assistants trains, recruits and supervises volunteer attorneys from over 80 law firms to ensure that more than 3,000 vulnerable women every year receive free legal assistance in family, divorce and immigration matters.”(Queens Gazette)

May 17, 2017 – “Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.” “The administration is also seeking to overhaul key elements of federal financial aid. The spending proposal would maintain funding for Pell Grants for students in financial need, but it would eliminate more than $700 million in Perkins loans for disadvantaged students; nearly halve the work-study program that helps students work their way through school, cutting $490 million; take a first step toward ending subsidized loans, for which the government pays interest while the borrower is in school; and end loan forgiveness for public servants. The loan forgiveness program, enacted in 2007, was designed to encourage college graduates to pursue careers as social workers, teachers, public defenders or doctors in rural areas. There are at least 552,931 people on track to receive the benefit, with the first wave of forgiveness set for October. It’s unclear how the proposed elimination would affect those borrowers. The administration also wants to replace five income-driven student loan repayment plans with a single plan. That change would likely benefit many undergraduate borrowers, who currently can have the balance of their loan forgiven after paying 10 percent of their income for 20 years. Trump’s proposal — which makes good on a campaign promise — would raise the maximum payment to 12.5 percent of income, but shorten the payment period to 15 years. The proposal is less sweet for borrowers who take out loans to earn advanced degrees. They currently pay monthly bills capped at 10 percent of income for 25 years. Under the new plan, they’d pay more (12.5 percent of income) for longer (30 years). There were no estimates on how much the government would save by eliminating public-service loan forgiveness, overhauling the income-based repayment plans and ending subsidized loans.” (Washington Post)

Additional coverage and a breakdown of programs with proposed funding cuts or elimination. (Forbes)

And Slate has a good summary article. (Slate)

May 17, 2017 – “A federal judge in Seattle has blocked nationwide enforcement of a rule to prevent nonprofits from providing legal assistance to detained immigrants. U.S. District Judge Richard Jones found the Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and other legal assistance groups would suffer ‘significant harm’ if the Justice Department enforced a 2008 rule designed to prevent victimization of detained immigrants by people who pretend to be attorneys. The group sued May 8, after receiving a cease-and-desist notice from the Justice Department saying it must commit to full legal representation for every immigrant it advises or refrain from giving any legal advice whatsoever. Calling the order ‘a new and novel’ interpretation of the rule, the group says it violates attorneys’ First and 10th Amendment rights and would prevent many immigrants from receiving any legal assistance. At a Wednesday hearing, Jones ordered the Justice Department to stop enforcing the rule against the Seattle-based group and nationwide, saying the government had threatened to send similar cease-and-desist notices to other nonprofits providing legal aid to immigrants.” (Courthouse News Service)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

“This month the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) celebrates its first 40 years of life. NCLR is a non-profit, public interest law firm in the United States that advocates for equitable public policies affecting the LGBT community, provides free legal assistance to LGBT clients and their legal advocates, and conducts community education on LGBT legal issues. Headquartered in San Francisco with an office in Washington, D.C., it is the only organization in the U.S. dedicated to lesbian legal issues, and the largest national lesbian organization in terms of members. Each year, NCLR shapes the legal landscape for all LGBT people and families across the nation through its precedent-setting litigation, legislation, policy, and public education. For 40 years NCLR has led historic cases, and is still blazing trails in pursuit of justice, fairness, and legal protections for all LGBT people.” Congratulations!! (People’s World)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris.

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Job’o’th’Week (Summer Internship Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Summer Intern

The Organization (Pawtucket, RI)

SouthCoast Fair Housing (SCFH) is a private, non-profit fair housing organization. SCFH’s mission is to eradicate housing discrimination, increase equal housing opportunities, and help develop inclusive communities. SCFH works to accomplish these goals through education and outreach, advocacy, and enforcement activities.

The Position

We are seeking highly motivated law students (1L or 2L) for summer internships to assist with cases pending before federal and state courts and administrative agencies. Interns work on individual housing discrimination cases by conducting pre-litigation investigations and by researching and analyzing a wide variety of substantive and procedural legal issues. Interns also help with legal research involving systemic discrimination in rental, sales, and mortgage lending on the basis of race, national origin, disability, source of income, sexual orientation, and other protected characteristics under state and federal fair housing laws. The focus of most cases developed with student assistance is on reducing residential segregation and expanding access to affordable housing throughout Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

Be off on the road to Rhode Island this summer! Find the full-post on PSJD.


Veterans Legal Corps JD Intern

The Organization (New York, NY)

The City Bar Justice Center (CBJC) increases access to justice by leveraging the resources of the New York City legal community. Drawing upon our relationship with the New York City Bar Association (City Bar), the Justice Center provides legal assistance to those in need; mobilizes lawyers, law firms, corporate legal departments, and other legal institutions to provide pro bono legal services; educates the public on legal issues; fosters strategic relationships; and impacts public policy.

The Position

The City Bar Justice Center is seeking a Veterans Legal Corps intern for Summer 2017 as part of the Equal Jutstice Works AmeriCorps JD program. The intern will work closely with the Project Director to screen and interview potential clients, enter and analyze data, provide direct assistance under the direction of the attorney, prepare drafts of legal forms, schedule meetings with clients and pro bono attorneys, write reports, blogs and social media posts, manage clinics and assist in general administrative work and other duties as assigned.

Take a bite out of The BIG Apple this summer! See the full-post on PSJD.


Litigation Fellowship

The Organization (Houston, TX)

Lone Star legal Aid is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit law firm and its mission is to protect and advance the civil rights of low-income Texans by providing advocacy, legal representation, and community education that ensure equal access to justice.

The Position

Lone Star Legal Aid is seeking one law student in Lone Star Legal Aid’s Houston office assisting attorneys with providing legal services to clients facing eviction and other landlord/tenant issues such as utility cut-offs and lock-outs.  The fellowship lasts for 10 weeks, for 40 hours per week.

Go see if everything really is bigger in Texas! See the full-post on PSJD.


Civil Rights Internship

The Organization (Chicago, IL)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, with regional offices nationwide and in Canada. The national headquarters is located on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

The Position

Our Civil Rights Department handles cases that range from prejudiced gestures to full-blown discrimination. Our clients are Muslims, as well as members from other faith communities who have had Islam imputed upon them. Law Clerks and interns assist in several projects that highlight distinct civil rights issues that range from citizenship delays to securing the rights of Muslims to practice their religion freely in the public sphere, schools, places of employment, prisons, and other institutions.

Feel the breeze roll off Lake Michigan this summer in Chicago. Check out the full-post on PSJD.


Volunteer Intern

The Organization (Washington, D.C.)

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society.  The Special Litigation Section is one of several sections in the Civil Rights Division.

The Position

Volunteer interns with the Special Litigation Section have opportunities to gain significant hands-on experience across each of our practice areas. Interns assist attorneys in conducting preliminary inquiries, investigating, litigating, and monitoring compliance with agreements. Assignments for interns may include conducting legal and factual research, assisting with witness interviews, making presentations, participating in case strategy sessions, and drafting memoranda, motions, and reports. Spanish language proficiency is desirable but not required. Students indicating proficiency may be tested.

Get started on your House of Cards photo renditions this summer in D.C.! The full-post is available on PSJD.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – May 12, 2017

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

Happy Friday! Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms, Grandmoms, Mom figures, female role models, and just plain strong women stepping up every day to help the generations that follow. It seems there are so many forces at work right now trying to take us back, keep us down, make us less. Let’s take this weekend (and every other day) to celebrate and appreciate ALL females!!

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Sacramento to provide city-funded legal services to immigrants;
  • Saskatchewan to explore letting non-lawyers provide some legal services;
  • Harvard Law Review establishes public interest fellowship;
  • Texas Access to Justice Foundation establishing endowment to assist veterans;
  • Montana lawyers provided $18 million in pro bono legal services in 2016;
  • Advocacy group sues U.S. after being warned to stop providing legal advice;
  • Columbia Law School receives $15 Mil gift for new scholarships for public interest students and clinical professorship;
  • Governor’s appointment gives Oregon Supreme Court first female majority;
  • ABA launches study of biases encountered by LGBT-plus and disabled lawyers;
  • San Antonio to fund educational and legal aid services for immigrants;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

May 5, 2017 – “Undocumented immigrants in Sacramento will have city-funded legal services as soon as next month to fight deportation and ‘prepare for the worst’ as their fears grow about federal immigration enforcement. Sacramento City Council members voted unanimously late Thursday to set aside up to $300,000 for a network of legal, educational and faith-based nonprofit groups that will help residents with immediate immigration problems and advise them how to protect children and assets if parents are deported. The network also would educate them on their rights.” (The Sacramento Bee)

May 5, 2017 – “An 11-person team of law professionals and members of the public has been assembled to look at whether to allow non-lawyers to provide some legal services to Saskatchewan residents, as the provincial government explores expanding legal services. According to a government news release issued Friday, the project is a joint effort between the Ministry of Justice and the Law Society of Saskatchewan. ‘We know there’s interest in exploring new ways to access and provide legal services, and this task team is going to explore potential opportunities around that for us,’ Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said in Friday’s release. The task force is expected to make its recommendation within the next year year.” (CBC News)

May 8, 2017 – “The Harvard Law Review has announced the creation of a public interest fellowship, which will enable one recent Harvard Law graduate to spend a year following law school working in public service. The program’s inaugural fellow, who will be selected in the fall of 2017, will receive funding to support a year of work in a public interest-related role within a nonprofit organization, the government, or another institution. The fellow will have the opportunity to have a short piece relating to his or her work considered for publication in the Law Review’s online Forum at the end of the year. Said Assistant Dean for Public Service Alexa Shabecoff: ‘I’m thrilled that the Law Review will be funding a public interest fellowship. There is such great need for public interest lawyers but most organizations don’t have the budget to hire to meet the need.  At the same time, so many stellar HLS students want to do public interest work but are confronted by a scarcity of entry-level public interest positions. This new fellowship will help an amazing HLS student launch their public interest career while providing badly needed services.’ The fellow will receive a $65,000 stipend and healthcare benefits. A committee of Law School professors independent of the Law Review will select a student or recent graduate with a demonstrated interest in both public interest work and legal scholarship. Any person who will graduate from Harvard Law School at the end of the academic year in which he or she applies, or who has graduated from the Law School in either of the previous two years, will be eligible to apply for the fellowship.” (Harvard Law Today)

May 9, 2017 – “Hoping to help veterans get access to health care, housing and other needs, the Texas Access to Justice Foundation is establishing an endowment to pay for free legal services. The Joe Jamail Endowment for Veteran Legal Services will help Texas veterans ‘successfully integrate back into civilian life and secure the rights and benefits for which they risked their lives,’ the Justice Foundation said in a news release. Texas has 1.67 million veterans, the second-largest veteran population in the country, according to the foundation.” “Last year, the foundation helped about 8,000 veterans, and, with the endowment, foundation leaders are hoping to ‘one day have sufficient funding to be able to serve the legal needs of all veterans.'” (My Statesman)

May 9, 2017 – “The Montana Supreme Court and the State Bar of Montana announced Monday that in 2016 almost $18 million was reported in pro bono legal services for low-income families by attorneys across the state. According to the report, almost 1,600 Montana attorneys provided more than 120,000 hours of service to low-income Montanans.” (KTVQ)

May 9, 2017 – “A nonprofit fighting the Trump administration’s travel ban in court sued the U.S. Justice Department after being warned to stop offering legal aid to undocumented immigrants. The department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review demanded that the immigrants’ advocacy group refrain from advising people facing deportation if it isn’t formally representing them. The Northwest Immigrants Rights Project said the government’s sudden invocation of a 2008 regulation is a bureaucratic maneuver to stymie its assistance to poor people threatened with being returned to their native countries.” “The legal director of the Northwest Immigrants Rights Project said the 2008 regulation that requires it to enter formal notice any time it offers help to an undocumented immigrant creates an unrealistic paperwork burden for his 30-attorney staff. ‘It’s just not possible to talk to all of those people who need aid and file all of that paperwork,’ Matt Adams said. ‘Effectively, they’re trying to make it easier to successfully deport thousands of people a year.’ The group said that while it’s complying with the regulation for now, the Justice Department’s warning letter violates its constitutional right to free speech and Washington state’s Tenth Amendment right to regulate legal services. If upheld in court, the policy would ‘preclude that majority of people in deportation proceedings’ from receiving any legal assistance, according to the filing.” (Bloomberg)

May 9, 2017 – “Columbia Law School has received a $15 million donation from the Jerome L. Greene Foundation—a philanthropy established in 1978 by the late lawyer and real estate investor Jerome L. Greene and his late wife Dawn M. Greene. The funds will establish new scholarships for students interested in public interest, academic, and government careers, and create a new clinical professorship. “This pledge, for which the Columbia community is deeply grateful, significantly enhances access to Columbia Law School for the next generation of leaders and legal professionals through scholarships and critical core support for clinics,” said law dean Gillian Lester in an announcement of the donation Tuesday.” “The largest portion of the gift, $7 million, will establish the Greene Public Service Scholars program, which will furnish full-tuition scholarships to students who pursue government and public interest jobs. Another $5 million will create a matching scholarship fund that aims to prompt others to donate toward named, endowed student scholarships. The remaining $3 million will establish the Greene Clinical Professorship.” (New York Law Journal)

May 10, 2017 – “Governor Kate Brown announced Wednesday she will appoint Rebecca A. Duncan to the Oregon Supreme Court. Judge Duncan will be the seven-person court’s fourth woman member, making the court a majority of women for the first time in state history. Judge Duncan currently sits on the Oregon Court of Appeals and will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice David V. Brewer. The appointment will be effective immediately after Justice Brewer retires on June 30.” (KTVZ)

May 10, 2017 – “The ABA is launching a nationwide study to identify biases encountered by LGBT-plus and disabled lawyers in the legal profession. The study, to be conducted by the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, will help develop strategies to fight biases, according to an ABA press release that quotes President Linda A. Klein and was released Wednesday. ‘This study is integral to the ABA’s continuing efforts to promote the full and equal participation of all diverse persons, including LGBT-plus lawyers and lawyers with disabilities, in the association and the legal profession as a whole,’ Klein said. The plus after the acronym refers to other gender and sexual minorities. The study is part of the ABA Pathway to the Profession Project. Statistics from the National Association for Law Placement show differences in employment for openly LGBT and disabled lawyers, according to the ABA press release. Openly LGBT lawyers are more likely to work for public interest law organizations than law firms, when compared to other legal professional demographic groups. Law graduates with disabilities were less likely to be employed than other graduates, including minorities and LGBT graduates.” (ABA Journal)

May 11, 2017 – “This week, South Side Councilman Rey Saldaña pushed through a request for the city to help fund educational and legal services for San Antonio’s immigrant and refugee population. At its Thursday meeting, City Council approved pulling some $150,000 from its $1 million emergency fund to pay for a range of services that include know-your-rights workshops, power of attorney legal clinics, and help on citizenship applications. Saldaña says the emergency funds, which are usually tapped for things like natural disasters, are sorely needed in light of immigration crackdowns at both the state and federal levels.” (San Antonio Current)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

“The West Virginia State Bar and Legal Aid awarded the 2016 Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award to professor Marjorie McDiarmid in recognition of her staunch work as a public defender and her support of legal aid. McDiarmid attributes the award to the law students working with her in West Virginia University’s Clinical Law Program, of which she is the director. Founded in 1976, the program has dedicated more than 600,000 hours of pro bono aid to more than 2,000 clients and provided training to more than 1,000 of the university’s law students. It is most notably known for its work in domestic violence cases. ‘I decided in high school I wanted to be a lawyer mainly because I thought that there were people who got the short end of the stick and needed representation,’ said McDiarmid.” And now she is passing that passion and sense of duty to the next generation of public interest lawyers.  Congratulations Professor McDiarmid!  (West Virginia Record)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris.

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Job’o’th’Week (Experienced Edition)

 

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Staff Attorney

The Organization

The ACLU of Maine has an active annual legal docket of approximately 10-15 cases addressing a variety of issues. Our legal strategies are part of a multi-disciplinary approach to advocacy that integrates legal, policy, and communications tools and is built on the belief that fighting for civil liberties and rights means not just persuading judges but also gaining the support of policy makers, government officials and the general public.

The Position

The Staff Attorney will be responsible for developing civil liberties and civil rights impact litigation. The attorney will litigate individual and class action cases raising constitutional and statutory claims in Maine and federal courts, at trial and appellate levels, through direct representation and the filing of amicus briefs. The attorney should anticipate working in a range of civil liberties and civil rights areas. The Staff Attorney, in conjunction with the Legal Director, works closely with cooperating attorneys from private firms and with other public interest attorneys, including attorneys with the National ACLU and other ACLU affiliate offices.

Is this position your MAINE attraction?  Find the full-post on PSJD.

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Resource Round-Up: PSJD Employer Profile Directory

The PSJD Resource Center has valuable information for law students, career counselors and lawyers about public service law jobs.

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

The PSJD Employer Profile Directory, though technically not in the PSJD Resource Center, is a great resource for law students and JD holders to do a targeted search on employers in the legal area that they are interested in. Employer profiles are also a great way to find employers in a particular geographic area. On the advanced search page, check employer profiles and then enter the rest of the search parameters.  You will receive a list of all the employers that meet those parameters that are active on PSJD. Green asterisks mean that the employer has an open position currently posted on the site.


*Career Counselor’s Corner*

Amanda Furst, JD, Director of Public Interest Programs at University of Minnesota Law School says “PSJD’s Employer DIrectory is a great resource for students exploring national public interest markets! Students can research practice areas, location, employer size, and more to learn more about opportunities in their preferred locations. As I counsel students on public interest career paths, I use the Employer Directory to provide specific suggestions targeted to my students’ needs.” Do you know of public interest employers in your area not in the database? Send them to us in an email and we’ll get them on PSJD.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – May 5, 2017

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

Happy Friday! Funding is the story of the week. Let’s take a moment to celebrate what these funds can do in the right hands. We’ll get back to the greater funding debate later.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Advocacy groups take British Columbia government to court over legal aid;
  • Idaho Supreme Court allows ACLU class action public defense case to proceed;
  • Seattle Mayor signs $1 million immigrant legal defense fund;
  • Corporate Pro Bono publishes 2016 Benchmarking Report;
  • Kentucky starts hotline for free legal help over custody and visitation issues;
  • Foundation gives $500,000 to University of Maine School of Law’s immigration clinic;
  • Pro bono reporting in Indiana draws mixed reaction;
  • Michigan will soon be asked to pay more for indigent defense;
  • Stop gap budget includes LSC funding, but crisis is not averted;
  • South Texas College of Law Houston receives $1.27 million gift to launch criminal defense certification program;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

April 27, 2017 – “Three Vancouver advocacy groups say funding cuts to B.C. legal aid have made it harder for women fleeing abusive relationships to get help from lawyers. As a result, West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (West Coast LEAF) and the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre (BCPIAC), with help from the Single Mothers’ Alliance B.C., have filed a constitutional challenge against the province and the Legal Services Society.” “In their challenge, BCPIAC and West Coast LEAF say the financial eligibility criteria and the cap on legal hours imposed by the Legal Services Society is unconstitutional. The B.C. Government has not responded to a request for comment on the challenge.” (CBC News)

April 28, 2017 – “The Idaho Supreme Court today ruled that the ACLU’s class action lawsuit challenging Idaho’s public defense system statewide will proceed. In a unanimous decision, written by Idaho’s Chief Justice, the Court said that the Idahoans who brought the suit had raised systemic violations of fundamental constitutional rights. The case will now proceed for the courts to determine the extent of the violations. The lawsuit, called Tucker v. State of Idaho, was filed in 2015 by the ACLU, the ACLU of Idaho, and the global law firm Hogan Lovells.” “[The] Idaho Supreme Court opinion dismisses Idaho Governor Butch Otter as a defendant in the case, concluding that his connection to Idaho’s public defense system is too indirect for him to be held accountable for Idaho’s human rights violations regarding public defense. The class action lawsuit will continue, however, against both the State of Idaho itself as well as the members of its Public Defense Commission.” (ACLU News)

April 28, 2017 – “Mayor Ed Murray was joined by Councilmembers M. Lorena González and Tim Burgess in signing an ordinance creating a $1 million legal defense fund for Seattle residents and workers who cannot afford legal representation or services in immigration proceedings.” “The legal defense fund will be structured as contracts that eligible community-based organizations can apply for to hire immigration attorneys, legal staff, and services to aid immigrants who are detained, as well as those who are not detained but facing deportation and other complex cases. Unlike other courts, people in immigration proceedings do not have the right to a court-appointed attorney. The Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs will administer the program, which will become available this summer.” (The Skanner)

May 1, 2017 – “CPBO is pleased to share the 2016 Benchmarking Report: An Overview of In-House Pro Bono. This report summarizes the responses of 55 legal departments, providing unique insight into current trends in in-house pro bono. Key hightlights:

  • 87% of departments have pro bono committees
  • 92% of departments have non-attorneys who participate in pro bono
  • 91% of departments work with legal services providers that provide professional liability insurance
  • 55% of departments enter into pro bono partnerships with other legal departments
  • 29% of departments engage in global pro bono”

(Corporate Pro Bono)

May 1, 2017 – “A new telephone hotline gives qualifying parents free legal assistance related to their custody and visitation concerns. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Office of Child Support Enforcement (CSE) has an agreement with the Legal Aid Society (LAS) to operate the ‘Custody and Visitation’ Hotline. The statewide service is for eligible parents, on an income-based scale, who have concerns regarding custody and visitation issues with their children. Steve Veno, Commissioner of the CHFS Department for Income Services, which oversees the CSE, said an LAS attorney will handle all hotline calls and provide legal advice or assistance to callers such as how to file a motion, how to file or change a child custody or visitation order in the appropriate court and how to work through visitation and custody issues.” (WKYT)

May 2, 2017 – “The Refugee and Human Rights Clinic at the University of Maine School of Law has received a $500,000 grant to offer legal services to immigrants over the next four years. The money comes from the Sam L. Cohen Foundation of South Portland, which provided the seed money to get the clinic started five years ago and has given some funding each year for its operation. But this is the first year the foundation has underwritten the program’s entire cost — and comes at a time when requests for legal help at the clinic are on the rise.” (Bangor Daily News)

May 3, 2017 – “The first round of data collected from Indiana’s new pro bono reporting rule invoked opposing reactions among the members of the Coalition for Court Access who recently reviewed the numbers. Some thought the amount of time and money lawyers donated to legal aid was shameful, while others were thrilled with the level of giving.” “Being just the first year, drawing inferences from the numbers is difficult, but Scott Wylie, member of the CCA pro bono working group, said the numbers provide a start.” “The numbers show less than 50 percent of Indiana attorneys in 2015 gave their time to helping clients who either could not pay anything or could only pay a greatly reduced rate. Of the 15,544 Hoosier lawyers covered by the reporting rule, 41 percent donated only their time. Adding in the 896 attorneys who gave both time and money, that total bumps up to 47 percent.” (The Indiana Lawyer)

May 3, 2017 – “Lawmakers’ years-old promise to invest in criminal defense for poor people is about to be tested as a state panel proposes new limits on court-appointed attorney caseloads. The Michigan Indigent Defense Commission, created under a 2013 law that came with a legislative promise that the state would pay for reforms, has proposed three new standards for Michigan’s county-run court-appointed attorney systems. The standards would limit attorneys to no more than 150 felonies or 400 non-traffic misdemeanors per year, forbid judges or judicial employees from choosing or paying the attorneys who argue in their courtrooms, and set new minimum qualifications for attorneys who represent criminal defendants who can’t afford their own lawyer.” “The commission will accept public comment on the new standards through October, with a public hearing to happen in late summer or early fall, before final proposals are sent to the Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs for approval. The first batch of standards, which were unveiled in 2015, haven’t yet been approved. LARA spokesman Jason Moon said a decision should happen ‘in the next several weeks.'” (Lansing State Journal)

May 3, 2017 – Over the weekend, Congress reached a deal to keep the government open through September. “The spending agreement Congress brokered retains $385 million for Legal Services Corp., the national organization that funds services for low income, disabled and senior citizens. That measure restores the current year’s funding at budgeted levels.” However, that does not mean the danger has passed. Far from it, experts warn. “‘The crisis is not averted. Quite the contrary,” said Steve Gottlieb, executive director of Atlanta Legal Aid. ‘We will see all summer about what happens the next year.’ ‘[T]he budget the president proposed [for 2018] has no money in it for the Legal Services Corp,’ Gottlieb said.” As has been widely reported, the White House is gearing up for the bigger budget fight at the end of the summer. Pressure needs to continue on Congress to fully fund civil legal aid. (Daily Report)

May 4, 2017 – “South Texas College of Law Houston has received a $1.27 million gift aimed at launching a criminal defense certification program, which is meant to train defense lawyers to more effectively represent indigent defendants in the city’s courts. The money came from an anonymous donor, the school said in a statement, adding that it would be the first program of its kind in the state. The program would be geared toward preparing lawyers to meet the minimum experience requirements to be appointed as counsel for indigent defendants, the school said.” “Law students can join the program, which focuses on criminal law and procedure, in their second year. Students in the program also will participate in a yearlong Criminal Defense Clinic—an addition to the school’s Randall O. Sorrels Legal Clinics—in which they work alongside criminal defense attorneys on staff who are themselves included on the county’s indigent list. After graduation, the lawyers will be mentored by Houston-area criminal defense attorneys to help ease their transition into practice, the school said, adding that the mentorship program will produce attorneys who are prepared for defending indigent defendants in court.” (Texas Lawyer)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants:

The Public Defender Association of Pennsylvania has presented Nicole Sloane, an assistant Erie County public defender, with the Gideon Award for indigent defense work. She received the award, which recognizes “a person or organization who has significantly improved, promoted, elevated or otherwise benefited indigent defense in Pennsylvania,” in Harrisburg on Friday, according to the PDA. Sloane clerked for Erie County Judge William R. Cunningham before becoming an assistant public defender in 2006. She earned her law degree in 2005 from Duquesne University School of Law. Sloane was commissioned as an officer during her service in the U.S. Army and served as a member of the Army National Guard. She is also the only Erie County lawyer who is certified to try death penalty cases. (GoErie.com)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Delisa Morris.

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Job’o’th’Week (Internship Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Summer 2017 NALP PSJD Project Assistants

The Organization

NALP is an association of over 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond.

NALP believes in fairness, facts and the power of a diverse community. We work every day to be the best career services, recruitment, and professional development organization in the world because we want the lawyers and law students we serve to have an ethical recruiting system, employment data they can trust, and expert advisers to guide and support them in every stage of their careers.

The Position

NALP seeks three to four summer project assistants to help update and maintain database content on its PSJD website. This is an ideal opportunity for law or graduate students who desire to supplement their income while interning or clerking in Washington, DC in the summer of 2017.

Come work for NALP! See the full-post on PSJD.

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