PSJD Public Interest News Digest – September 15, 2017

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

Happy Friday! The great need for pro bono legal services in areas hit by storms and fires has just begun. For opportunities to help, stay tuned to the PSJD Blog, follow PSJD on Twitter (@PSJDTweets) and Facebook, or contact your local legal service providers. Together we can help our neighbors recover.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Technology, Harvey and the attorney ‘first responder’;
  • Avvo launches free hotline for DACA program recipients;
  • University of British Columbia Peter A. Allard School of Law launches Cultural Competency Certificate;
  • New immigration pro bono website connects New York lawyers with legal services organizations;
  • Department of Education’s edits of forms call for judicial review in loan forgiveness case, ABA says in filing;
  • Civil Rights Center at University of North Carolina School of Law shut down;
  • Utah will pay for public defenders to represent those arrested in Operation Rio Grande;
  • Florida Bar Foundation allocates up to $500K for civil legal aid after hurricane, establishes fund;
  • Elder rights project launches in Wisconsin, offers legal advice;
  • Minister Monsef announces more than $2.2 million for gender equality projects in British Columbia;
  • DC funds legal assistance for immigrants as DACA recipients worry about the future;
  • Representatives voice support for Legal Services Corporation on House floor;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

September 7, 2017 – “Technology is increasingly enabling speedier deployment of emergency legal services, but it’s not the most sophisticated, innovative gadgets that help the most. Instead, it’s the simpler, more accessible technology driving speedier coordination and deployment of legal support services. Sometimes, all it takes is a charged laptop. Social media is a key piece of this strategy. Lowell Brown, communications division director for the State Bar of Texas, said that social media is playing a central role in the state bar’s communications efforts. ‘There is a lot of outreach going on by us and by other attorney organizations on social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook. I’ve seen a lot of people offering services and connecting to service opportunities that way,’ Brown said. The state bar used Twitter to direct hurricane victims to its legal hotline and to direct attorneys to its volunteer form.” “‘I think technology can shorten response times. I think that technology can help people get back to equilibrium faster—the same thing that technology does when there isn’t a natural disaster it can do in this situation,’ Hire an Esquire’s [Irena] Kin said.” (National Law Journal)(subscription required)

September 7, 2017 – “Following the Department of Justice’s announced plans to close the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Avvo, the world’s leading online legal marketplace connecting consumers and lawyers, today announced it has launched a free hotline for DACA program recipients facing legal issues and questions. The toll-free hotline will help individuals and families by answering basic questions about what the announcement means and how it might affect them. Callers will have access to Avvo’s free Q&A forum and fixed-fee, limited scope legal services for immigration, and can be connected to the local immigration attorney of their choice.” “Any DACA program recipients or family members facing legal issues can seek help by calling Avvo’s toll-free hotline at 1-888-380-4056. The hotline will be managed by Avvo, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST. The DACA program closes its renewal application window on October 5, 2017.” (Markets Insider)

September 7, 2017 – “Law school is in, and this year the University of British Columbia is offering students, faculty, staff and alumni the opportunity to see the world through new eyes. It has launched a Cultural Competency Certificate — believed to be the first in the country — to help participants connect with the Indigenous community and reflect on the impact of Canada’s colonial legal system. The certificate is a starting point, said Patricia Barkaskas, an instructor in the Peter A. Allard School of Law and a Métis person from Alberta. ‘[Participants will] understand what systemic ongoing discrimination based on colonialism really means for people and what as legal professionals do we really need to know.’ The one-year program has six modules and a corresponding session to explore what they have learned in a journal. The latter is a critical element. It offers participants the chance to reflect, analyze and discuss.” (The Lawyer’s Daily)

September 7, 2017 – “The New York State Bar Association and The New York Bar Foundation have sponsored a new website called the Immigration Pro Bono Portal that connects volunteer attorneys with legal service organizations from around the state that serve immigrant communities. ‘The goal is to assist attorneys in finding pro bono volunteer opportunities helping low income immigrant New Yorkers in a way that also benefits the various organizations across the state that are actively working with this population,’ said Kristen Wagner, director of Pro Bono Services at the State Bar. The portal was created in response to a January executive order for a substantial expansion of interior immigration enforcement that left many immigrants in fear of deportation. Without taking political sides on the issue, the State Bar’s Pro Bono Services Department, with guidance from the State Bar’s Committee on Immigration Representation, responded with the creation of the online portal to address the impending legal crisis. Funding for the portal was split evenly between the New York State Bar Association and the New York Bar Foundation. Yuriy Pereyaslavskiy, previously a staff attorney for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley in Kingston, was hired for a one-year fellowship position to staff the online platform. Legal service organizations list their needs on the portal and potential volunteers can search the listings, including by what area of immigration law interests them or may fill out a questionnaire and be provided a potential match by Pereyaslavskiy. Training resources are also available on the portal.” (New York State Bar Association)

September 7, 2017 – “The U.S. Department of Education recently revised two online forms for its Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to say that it applies only to jobs with organizations whose ‘primary purpose’ is either public service or public education. The ABA says in a court filing that this is proof that the change was more than informal and should have been handled through administrative law.” “The Education Department had mentioned ‘primary purpose’ in the past—first in letters to those whose participation in the program was being revoked, then in a response last fall to ABA Executive Director Jack Rives, who questioned the revocations—but argued in a July motion for summary judgment (PDF) that its use of the term was ‘individual, informal, interim, nonprecedential adjudications.’ If the agency were changing its interpretation of its 2008 final rule on the statute, that would open the revocations of program participants to judicial review—a key issue in the litigation. The ABA argues in its lawsuit (PDF) that the agency failed to follow statutory procedures for modifying the regulation in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act and improperly applied the changes retroactively. A spokesman in the Education Department’s press office said Wednesday that the agency does not comment on pending litigation.” (ABA Journal)

September 8, 2017 – “University leaders on Friday voted to strip the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina School of Law of its ability to litigate cases. The move caps a months-long fight between the predominately Republican board of governors for the University of North Carolina and supporters of the center, who say the board’s push was motivated by politics. Proponents of the litigation ban said that it was inappropriate for a public university entity to sue local governments when taxpayers must foot the bill, and that the scope of its work fell outside the university’s mission. Those who opposed the ban argued that litigation is a key resource in the fight for civil rights, and that the center’s work is a public service and helps educate future lawyers. It’s the second time in two years that the UNC board of governors has taken aim at a law school center. That body in 2015 voted to defund the school’s Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity. With Friday’s vote, the board banned all centers within the university system from engaging in litigation, although the law school’s Center for Civil Rights is the only one that currently brings cases in court. Law clinics are exempt from the ban. The center has sued a southeast North Carolina county to stop a landfill being built in a low-income neighborhood, and sued an eastern North Carolina school district alleging segregation, among other matters. The center, which operates exclusively on private money and does not receive state funding, conducts research on civil rights issues, performs community outreach and education, and brings litigation on behalf of clients who are often low-income or minorities. It employs three attorneys but does not house a traditional law clinic. It hires law students as summer interns, who assist in research and on lawsuits. Reconfiguring the center as a law clinic exempt from the ban would be costly, administrators have said. It’s unclear what the new ban means for the future of the center, which was founded in 2011 by the late North Carolina civil rights attorney Julius Chambers. Carol Folt, Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote in a July letter to the board that the ban would likely force the closure of the center. Both Holt and law dean Martin Brinkley opposed the litigation ban.” (Law.com)

September 8, 2017 – “Utah’s Indigent Defense Commission will help foot the bill for additional public defenders needed for those arrested in Operation Rio Grande, the commission announced Friday. Salt Lake County was awarded more than $368,000 to hire two new public defenders to represent those who have been charged with crimes as part of local and state officials’ efforts to reduce lawlessness around Salt Lake City’s downtown homeless shelter. The money will be reimbursed to the county quarterly over the next two years. The Indigent Defense Commission (IDC) voted Wednesday to award the grant to the county. It is the second request for funds the commission has approved since it was formed during the 2016 legislative session to oversee public defense services in the state and dole out $1.5 million in state grants to help counties cover costs.” (The Salt Lake Tribune)

September 8, 2017 – “The Florida Bar Foundation’s board of directors has approved allocating up to $500,000 to support legal organizations after Hurricane Irma. The money can be spent to repair building damage, cover equipment losses and help clients with hurricane-related legal issues, according to a press release. The bar foundation has also created the Florida Hurricane Legal Aid Fund to collect donations for civil legal assistance for victims of Hurricane Irma and any hurricanes that follow. In addition, the foundation has created a ‘storm aid’ website providing links to volunteer opportunities for Florida lawyers. The website also provides links to FloridaLawHelp.org, where Florida residents can find their local legal aid organization, and a link to Florida Free Legal Answers where Floridians can post civil legal questions to be answered by volunteer lawyers.” (ABA Journal)

September 8, 2017 – “As baby boomers continue to age, a renewed effort is launching to keep the elderly safe from abuse and fraud. The Elder Rights Project offers free civil legal assistance to Wisconsin residents 60 years or older who are victims of abuse or crime.” “The Elder Rights Project website, www.legalaction.org. ERP has more information or people can call 1-844-614-5468 to talk with a lawyer. Unlike other services, victims and their families can get Elder Rights Project service regardless of income or assets — it’s not just for low-income. Cases can include physical, sexual and emotional abuse, stalking, harassment, neglect, identity theft and financial exploitation.” (Lodi Enterprise)

September 8, 2017 – “As Canada marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, it is important to reflect on our legacy for the future. Despite the important milestones witnessed in these 150 years, women, girls, and gender-non-conforming people still face hardships. There is more work remaining for gender equality to become a reality in Canada. By investing in a strong and thriving women’s movement today, we are laying the foundation for gender equality tomorrow. Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, along with the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced Government of Canada funding for seven projects that will help advance gender equality in British Columbia.” The list of recipients is at the link. (Markets Insider)

September 12, 2017 – “California leaders took another step to support “Dreamers” on Tuesday by pledging $30 million for legal services and financial aid to help undocumented young people threatened with deportation by the Trump administration. Gov. Jerry Brown, State Sen. President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) agreed to spend an additional $20 million on immigration legal services and $10 million on college financial aid for young people in California protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.” “The money is part of two identical bills introduced Tuesday in the Assembly and Senate. The governor has until Friday, when the legislative session ends, to sign one of them.” (EdSource)

September 12, 2017 – “Community organizations are launching programs to help immigrants get legal advice as many families worry about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.” “Mayor Muriel Bowser announced $1 million in grants that will be given to ten different organizations that help immigrant families get legal advice on matters including citizen applications, ‘Know Your Rights’ trainings, and litigation to protect DACA information.” “The mayor’s office also released a guide, Ensuring the Safety and Security of DC’s Immigrant Community, detailing information about resources available to immigrant families.” (NBC4)

September 13, 2017 – “Yesterday, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced an amendment to increase LSC’s funding by $10 million during debate of the FY 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill. This is the first time a bipartisan amendment to increase LSC funding has ever been offered on the House floor. Although the amendment was withdrawn before a final vote was taken, four members spoke in support of the amendment: Rep. Fitzpatrick (R-PA); Rep. Cohen (D-TN); Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN); and Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the CJS appropriations subcommittee. Chairman John Culberson (R-TX) of the subcommittee opposed the amendment, but expressed support for the important work of LSC and his commitment to work to increase the allocation in conference with the Senate.” (Legal Services Corporation)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

Ofelia Calderón has been named recipient of the 2017 Lewis F. Powell Pro Bono Award by the Virginia State Bar. Calderón, a founding partner of Calderón Seguin PLC in Fairfax County, will be honored for her work in support of immigrants and others in need of legal support without the resources to afford it. ‘She is the standard-bearer among the private bar for what pro-bono service looks like – [a] model and mentor to countless fellow attorneys,’ said Christine Lockhard Poarch, an attorney who nominated Calderón for the accolade. The award will be presented Oct. 18 during the Virginia State Bar Pro Bono Conference and Celebration, to be held in Charlottesville. (Inside NOVA)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett.

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Job’o’th’Week (Experienced Edition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Assistant State Public Defender

The Office

SPD’s mission is to enhance the quality of justice throughout Wisconsin by providing high-quality cost-effective representation to indigent clients, protecting the rights of accused individuals, and by serving as advocates for effective defense services and a rational criminal justice system. The SPD is extremely proud that its system of indigent defense is considered a model for public defender programs around the world. The SPD serves indigent clients in all 72 Wisconsin counties as authorized by the state legislature. Please visit our website at www.wispd.org.

The Position

This position requires experience representing criminal cases or an emphasis on criminal course work in law school. An ASPD must possess a strong sense of commitment and dedication to indigent defense. Requirements include the ability to manage a deadline driven caseload; strong litigation skills; strong writing skills; effective communication skills; and the ability to interact professionally with co-workers, justice officials, clients and others in the office and court system. Fluency in a foreign language is a plus.

Know you have what it takes? Apply here on PSJD.

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – September 8, 2017

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

Happy Friday! This week is more storm damage and the (potential) end of DACA. We’re keeping Florida and the I95 corridor in our thoughts and prayers. Stay tuned to PSJD and the PSJD Blog for opportunities to help in those areas as well as the ongoing efforts in Texas and Louisiana and immigration efforts across the country.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law offers new Public Good Distinction capstone;
  • Center for Access to Justice launches Access to Justice Map of Georgia;
  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law provides funding for student externships;
  • Gonzaga University School of Law launches new Center for Civil and Human Rights;
  • University of Georgia School of Law announces plans to establish a Veterans Legal Services clinic;
  • Trump rescinds DACA;
  • First Public Service Loan Forgiveness application now available;
  • Latham & Watkins takes up fight against transgender military ban;
  • 15 states, D.C. sue Trump Administration over plan to end DACA;
  • 47 conservative nonprofit leaders denounce Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Hate List’ in open letter to media;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 31, 2017 – “The new school year at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will bring a fresh crop of students and along with them, new classes and projects to stretch their legal wings. One new class is the Public Good Distinction capstone, headed by Alexi Freeman, an associate professor of the practice and the school’s director of externships and public interest initiatives. She said her desire to do social justice legal work and her background in nonprofit practice motivated her to spearhead the capstone. Freeman said the goal of the course is to build a sense of community that is key for those in public-interest legal practices, as well as to provide guidance on issues relevant to the practice. Some specific issues include financial mentorship, since public-sector attorneys typically do not make as much as those at private firms, as well as managing the emotional stress that can come with the work. Freeman said she believes law schools historically have not done the best job of encouraging students to go into public-sector work, whether through available classes or job-placement assistance, and her goal is to make entering the sector easier and more accessible.” (Law Week Colorado)

August 31, 2017 – “As part of its goal to help identify and better understand the difficulties people face in navigating the justice system, the Center for Access to Justice has produced an online Access to Justice map of Georgia. The map provides insight into attorney representation and other factors that affect how, and if, Georgia residents are able to gain access to the justice system. ‘This map provides a data-driven picture of how the ability to access justice varies dramatically across the state, and particularly between the metropolitan areas and more rural counties,’ said Lauren Sudeall Lucas, center director and associate professor of law. For each Georgia county, the interactive map shows its population and its number of active lawyers, as well as which Atlanta Legal Aid Society or Georgia Legal Services office serves the area. The map also shows percentages of: households that live near public transit, households that do not have access to a vehicle, households with home Internet access, the population that does not speak English at home and population at or below the poverty level.” (Georgia State University News Hub)

August 31, 2017 – “Beginning this year, the [University of Denver Sturm College of Law] endeavored to help students follow the path toward the public sector by providing summer funding for externships to 26 of them. ‘I want every student who envisions themselves as a public sector lawyer to have the opportunity to do so, and public sector externships are a perfect avenue to be reminded of one’s passions and purpose in the midst of the challenging atmosphere of law school,’ [Alexi Freeman, associate professor of the practice of law and director of Externships and Public Interest Initiatives] says.” “As Freeman sees it, the stipend empowers students to make choices that support their dreams and passions. ‘Far too often,’ she says, ‘the public interest legal community loses law students and lawyers to the private sector, not because of a change in interest or motivation, but because of a need to earn more money. While we understand finances are a factor, we definitely want to push back against that trend and allow students to make choices that are not solely based on funds.'” (University of Denver Newsroom)

September 1, 2017 – “The Gonzaga University School of Law is launching a new Center for Civil and Human Rights this fall to further its mission-based commitment to public service and social justice, and to advance understanding of the law surrounding civil rights and civil liberties. Directed by Gonzaga Law Professor Jason Gillmer, the John J. Hemmingson Chair for Civil Liberties, the Center is made possible by a generous gift by John Hemmingson, a member of Gonzaga’s Board of Trustees. The Center will provide students and scholars with opportunities to explore and address issues relating to civil rights and civil liberties, social and criminal justice, public interest law, immigration, Native American law, and international human rights.” “To advance students’ career development, the Center will coordinate efforts with career placement to foster relationships with potential employers, especially career tracks in civil rights and civil liberties, social and criminal justice, public interest law, immigration, Indian law, and international human rights. The Center will offer significant new scholarship and professional development opportunities for faculty as well, and will sponsor an annual lecture from a nationally known scholar of civil rights and civil liberties.” (newswise)

September 2, 2017 – “The University of Georgia School of Law has recently announced plans to establish a Veterans Legal Services clinic to provide local veterans with legal assistance. The clinic aims to give veterans care that ‘they might not otherwise have access to or be able to afford,’ according to a press release from the school of law. ‘It’s a win-win situation,’ said Alexander Scherr, associate dean for clinical programs and experiential learning in the UGA School of Law. ‘I am convinced that there is a long-standing, powerful need for veterans to get equal representation for their claims from the Veterans Administration.’ The clinic is expected to be open by fall of 2018.” (The Red & Black)

September 4, 2017 – “The future of the 800,000 so-called DREAMers is in limbo. The Trump administration is rescinding DACA, probably. Congress has six months to replace the program with one of their own. And Trump tweeted last night that he may revisit the issue if they don’t act. DACA stands for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. And it’s the Obama era executive action that helped nearly 800,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents find a way to live and work here without fear of being deported. The Homeland Security Department says it will begin an orderly phasing out of the program.” (NPR)

September 5, 2017 – “It’s been 10 years since the launch of Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which means some borrowers can finally have their loans forgiven through the program. For the first time since PSLF’s beginning, the application to have their loans eliminated is now available.” “There are over 600,000 people enrolled in the PSLF program. Although there may be changes to the PSLF program in the future, any changes would only affect new borrowers. Current borrowers are still eligible for PSLF.” (Student Loan Hero)

September 5, 2017 – “Latham & Watkins represents the LGBT civil rights group Equality California and several transgender members of the military in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of President Donald Trump’s Aug. 25 directive.” (The National Law Journal)(subscription required)

September 6, 2017 – “Fifteen states and the District of Columbia on Wednesday sued to block President Donald Trump’s plan to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation — an act Washington state’s attorney general called ‘a dark time for our country.’ The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of New York. The plaintiffs were New York, Massachusetts, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.” (Time)

September 6, 2017 – “On Wednesday, 47 leaders of conservative nonprofits sent an open letter to the media warning against using the notorious ‘hate map’ put out by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The leaders denounced any news organization that would cite the SPLC’s list of ‘extremists’ and ‘hate groups’ as if it carried moral authority. ‘The SPLC is an attack dog of the political left’ and should be treated as such, the leaders wrote. ‘To associate public interest law firms and think tanks with neo-Nazis and the KKK is unconscionable, and represents the height of irresponsible journalism,’ the leaders declared. ‘All reputable news organizations should immediately stop using the SPLC’s descriptions of individuals and organizations based on its obvious political prejudices.’ The letter addressed ‘Members of the Media’ and strongly warned against the SPLC. The leaders characterized the organization as ‘a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it.'” (PJ Media)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

Community Legal Aid (of Central and Northeast Ohio) plans to recognize Justice for All award recipients at its 65th Anniversary Celebration in September. Honorees will include Akron Children’s Hospital, recipient of the Community Partner Award. The hospital will be recognized for its medical-legal partnership with Community Legal Aid through the Locust Pediatric Care Group, which serves infants, children and adolescents, particularly those with special healthcare needs. Through Project HEAL (health, education, advocacy and law), legal volunteers visit the clinic several days a week. The medical team talks to families to identify issues, and the legal team helps them tackle the challenges they face related to housing, neighborhoods, transportation, education, income stability and access to benefits, according to Maria Duvuvuei, Legal Aid director of development and communication. Others to be presented with Justice for All awards include Nancy Yakubek, of Warren, Pro Bono Award honoree; Alicia Williamson, of Warren, Staff Support Award honoree; and Jaime-Lyn Poh, of Broadview Heights, Staff Attorney Award honoree. (Akron.com)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett.

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Job’o’th’Week (Entry-Level Addition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Outreach Project Attorney: Anishinabe Legal Services, Inc. 

The Organization: 

Anishinabe Legal Services (ALS) is a Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funded 501(c)(3) organization providing free legal assistance and court representation to low-income individuals living on or near the Leech Lake, White Earth and Red Lake Indian Reservations in northern Minnesota. Legal services are provided through grants and contracts with federal, state and tribal governments along with foundational support.

The Position:

ALS is looking for a well-qualified and highly motivated licensed attorney to provide civil legal assistance and court representation to program clients before area Tribal Courts, State Courts and Administrative Forums. This position is specially funded under a one year project grant. Attorney duties will include: extensive outreach and civil legal education efforts across the three Reservation service area entailing a significant amount of travel, creation of self-help materials specific to tribal communities, and direct client services including handling a caseload that covers a wide variety of civil legal matters such as housing, family law matters, and debt/consumer issues.

Know you would be a stellar fit for the position? See the full post on PSJD.

 

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – September 1, 2017

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

Happy Friday! As Texas recovers from Hurricane Harvey, lawyers are mobilizing to help. Here are some resources if you want to help:

The Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation has set up a fund to support legal services in Texas in the wake of the storm.

Lawyers admitted to practice in Texas can look herehere and here for information about volunteering. Out of state attorneys should reach out to Scott Lachman with the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. Legal hotlines are already set up in Texas (800 504-7030) and Louisiana (800 310-7029) to provide legal advice. The ABA Free Legal Answers network is also working to provide access points for lawyers who want to help across the country. And the ABA has additional information on how to help here.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Gillis Long Poverty Law Center funds $200,000 in summer internships in 2017;
  • Maine looking for civil legal aid providers;
  • Florida International University College of Law launches new program to help families;
  • Sentencing reform and criminal defense groups launch state-level clemency project;
  • Gov. Bruce Rauner signs bill making it easier for transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificates;
  • Seattle and King County award $1.5 million in immigrant and refugee legal aid;
  • OneJustice Justice Bus celebrates 10th year;
  • Deported military veterans seeking U.S. citizenship will get access to state legal aid in California;
  • ICE launches new careers web content;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 25, 2017 – “The Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law creates opportunities for students to learn public service lawyering through immersive, substantive legal internships. In summer 2017, the Center placed 40 paid interns in 12 offices across the United States. ‘In keeping with the social justice mission of our law school, we are proud that our law students are providing legal services to the neediest members of our community. Together, they are providing over 10,000 hours of support with local nonprofits this summer. Since the program started in 1991, more than 700 of our law students have participated,’ said Madeleine Landrieu, Dean and Judge Adrian G. Duplantier Distinguished Professor of Law.” (University Newsroom)

August 25, 2017 – “The state of Maine is looking for groups to provide free civil legal services to low-income people and the elderly. Only experienced non-profit organizations, legal aid clinics at law schools, and pro-bono programs are eligible to receive funding from the state’s civil legal services fund. Such groups have until Sept. 1 to apply for funding. Decades ago, the Legislature created the civil legal services fund to help those who can’t afford legal help. A 2016 report by a University of Maine economics professor found that Maine legal aid providers secured about $4 million in benefits from federal programs and $2.4 million in federal grants. The report found such efforts created about $13.4 million in economic activity and created dozens of full-and-part time jobs.” (US News)

August 25, 2017 – “Hiring a lawyer can be pricey — which is partially why many people, particularly in family court, lack legal representation. Florida International University’s College of Law is aiming to fill that gap. In an initiative launched Friday morning, FIU law graduates will offer affordable legal services to families who face financial difficulties hiring a lawyer but whose incomes are too high to qualify for free legal aid programs. Michelle Mason, senior associate dean of the program, anticipates that there will eventually be six to eight in-house fellows providing services to around 360 to 480 clients each year. The program will hire one fellow this semester to begin.” “The program is also designed to double as a teaching tool for young lawyers. Fellows — recent graduates licensed to practice law in Florida — will offer services while learning the necessary skills to open their own practice.” (Miami Herald)

August 25, 2017 – “Clemency Project 2014 ended when Barack Obama left office in January. But several legal groups have launched a clemency project of their own aimed at the states. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has teamed up with sentencing reform group Families Against Mandatory Minimums on the State Clemency Project, which seeks to recruit, train and support pro bono attorneys who will help state prisoners submit applications for commutations of their sentences. Sentence commutation ends a sentence, but does not erase the conviction as a pardon would. FAMM and NACDL were both major participants in CP14, a project that sought to reduce sentences for nonviolent, low-level offenders with no significant ties to organized crime. (The ABA Criminal Justice Section was also a major participant.) The project used a large team of pro bono attorneys to select qualified prisoners out of about 36,000 applications, then represent them through the process of applying for a commutation. The state clemency project builds on that experience, the NACDL press release says. The project will work with interested governors or clemency boards to lay out criteria for commutations and identify prisoners who meet those criteria. Volunteer attorneys, likely drawn from the same state as their clients, will work with their clients to submit petitions. Project staff will work with the state agencies on streamlining the application process and the gathering of supporting information. In the end, the federal Clemency Project 2014 was involved in 894 commutations, a little more than half of the 1,705 total commutations. Depending on how many states participate, the state project could dwarf those numbers, because states imprison far more people than the federal government does.” (ABA Journal)

August 26, 2017 – As part of a package of 100 bills, “Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday signed into law a measure to make it easier for transgender people to change the sex listed on their birth certificates.” ” The Governor “signed legislation that would make it easier for transgender people to change the sex designation on their birth certificates. Formerly, state law said transgender people could only change their birth certificates if a doctor said they had transition surgery. The new law would allow for a change if a medical or mental health provider confirms someone has received ‘clinically appropriate’ treatment. A range of practices including hormone therapy would be covered, using a similar standard that applies to U.S. passports. Supporters said people were often denied coverage for preventive care like pap smears and prostate exams if their birth certificates and identities don’t match, saying the previous surgery requirement was an unnecessary burden. ‘It’s basic common sense that a person’s gender should be recognized and respected, whether or not that person has had any particular kind of surgery,’ John Knight, director of the LGBT and HIV Project for the ACLU of Illinois. ‘I’m extremely proud of our state for taking this important step to modernize a law that has been a significant barrier in transgender people’s lives for many, many years.'” (Chicago Tribune)

August 29, 2017 – “In a unanimous vote back in April, the Seattle City Council passed a resolution to dedicate $1 million to helping locally-based immigrants and refugees get legal representation in the wake of threats to sanctuary cities by the Trump administration. Seattle has since joined with King County to bring that total to more than $1.5 million. On Monday, Seattle and King County announced the recipients of that money: The vast majority, more than $1 million, went collectively in a joint award to Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, who provides legal aid to immigrants in addition to advocacy and education work, and Colectiva Legal del Pueblo, who provide direct legal services to fight deportations. Other recipients include Kids In Need of Defense, West African Community Center, South Park Information and Referral Center, and Filipino Community of Seattle.” (Curbed Seattle)

August 29, 2017 – “The Justice Bus is celebrating its 10th year. Over the past decade, a bus full of volunteer lawyers, counselors and translators — all part of a program called OneJustice — have rolled up and down California giving free legal counsel to low-income people on immigration and naturalization law, veterans’ rights and more. The group recently visited the San Fernando Valley to help immigrants who were qualified and ready to become citizens work through a maze of paperwork.” (NPR)

August 29, 2017 – “Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher applauded the California Department of Social Services for declaring that the state will provide legal services to deported military veterans from California, a huge victory for these often-overlooked veterans as they seek citizenship. Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher made this issue one of her top priorities for the 2017 legislative year and personally requested a letter from the CDSS affirming its commitment to provide these legal services. ‘This is great news for anyone who cares about how our nation treats its veterans,’ Assemblywoman Gonzalez Fletcher said. ‘These are patriots who were willing to risk their lives for this country. To reward their service and sacrifice by deporting them is unconscionable and un-American.’ California becomes the first to provide this legal help, which will be available to all deported veterans who formerly lived in California and were honorably discharged from the military, according to an Aug. 25 letter from the Department of Social Service.” (Yuba.net)

August 30, 2017 – “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is hiring. The nation’s premier federal law enforcement agency focused on protecting America from cross-border crime and illegal immigration launched an enhanced careers section on its website Aug. 29 to help top candidates apply for a variety of jobs. In addition, ICE started a new Twitter feed – @ICEgovCareers – dedicated solely to job-related information about the agency, including recruiting events, job opportunities and more. The presidential executive order Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, instructs ICE to hire 10,000 law enforcement positions in the coming years. ICE’s current 20,000 employees focus on carrying out smart immigration enforcement, preventing terrorism and combating transnational criminal threats.  In fiscal year 2017, ICE hired more than 1,300 new employees across all job series, and anticipates filling another approximately 100 vacancies before the end of this fiscal year.” “Visitors may find the frequently asked questions (FAQs) web page the most helpful resources on the website. The exhaustive list covers topics that include: general questions about ICE and the hiring surge; law enforcement positions; Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO); Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) and Management and Administration(M&A); or questions specific to students and veterans. The website also has a link to sign up for the latest news and job vacancies to be sent to your inbox.” (ICE Newsroom)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

Sarah Leverette, one of the first female lawyers in South Carolina and a longstanding legal and social influencer, is being recognized for her life’s work of improving the lives of fellow South Carolinians. The S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center is honoring 97-year-old Leverette with the 2017 Rev. Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney Award for Justice. The award recognizes Leverette as an influential advocate for equal rights for women in the law and in the community. Leverette graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1943 as the only woman in her class and just the third woman ever to graduate from the school at the time. She defied many of the expectations for women of her time to become a woman admired in the South Carolina legal profession as influential and a trailblazer.” Read more about here amazing career at the link. (The State)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett.

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Job’o’th’Week (Fellowship Addition)

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Veteran Legal Corps Fellow

The Organization

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides free legal services to eligible clients in civil cases through five regional offices. Land of Lincoln is funded by numerous partners, including the Legal Services Corporation, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, CNCS AmeriCorps and Equal Justice Works, United Way, Area Agencies on Aging.

The Position

Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps have partnered together to provide the Veterans Legal Corps Fellowship opportunity to aid the legal needs of veterans and military families across the nation. The Veteran Legal Corps (VLC) Fellow will provide civil legal assistance to veterans and military families.

One Fellowship is available in the Eastern Regional office, in Champaign, Illinois. Based on Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps guidelines, the term of service will begin in September 2017 for one year (with a possible renewal contingent upon continued AmeriCorps funding). Position requires completion of NSOPR, state(s), and FBI Fingerprint criminal background checks and compliance with all CNCS Federal Regulations throughout the fellowship program.

Is this your dream opportunity?  See the full-post on PSJD.

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EXTENDED DEADLINE: Call for nominations for the 2017 Pro Bono Publico Award

2017 Pro Bono Publico Award Call for Nominations! 

It’s that time of year again. We are seeking nominations for the 2017 PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award. Information is below. You can find additional information and the nomination form on PSJD. The deadline for nominations has been extended to Friday, September 8th by 5:00 p.m. If you have any questions, please email psjd@nalp.org.

Purpose

To recognize the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, the public interest community, and legal education by performing pro bono work.

Eligibility

The Pro Bono Publico Award is available to any second- or third-year law student at a PSJD U.S. or Canadian Subscriber School.  Each Subscriber School may submit up to 2 nominees.  The recipient will be announced during National Pro Bono Week – usually held in October – and honored during an Award Ceremony at the recipient’s school thereafter.  The award recipient will receive a commemorative plaque and a monetary award of $1,000.

Award Criteria

Selection is based on the extracurricular commitment the nominees have made to law-related public service projects or organizations; the quality of work they performed; and the impact of their work on the community, their fellow students, and the school.  Actual pro bono work will be the primary consideration.

Nomination Deadline & Packet Contents

Initial nominations must be received by Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 5pm Eastern Time, by fax, mail, or email (see contact information at bottom).  Along with the nomination form and a résumé, nomination packets should include a two-page statement detailing the work the nominee has done, the impact it has had on the nominee’s community, and why this nominee is deserving of the award.  Input or quotes from those involved in the work or from impacted community members may be included and are strongly encouraged. PLEASE SUBMIT ONE PDF CONTAINING ALL THE NOMINATION MATERIALS.

Need an idea for your nomination? Check out the 2016 Pro Bono Publico Award winner Gabrielle Lucero’s blog post at the link below.

Pro Bono Publico Award Winner Gabrielle “Gabs” Lucero

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PSJD Public Interest News Digest – August 25, 2017

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

Happy Friday! Up and down news this week. Some programs are expanding while others are closing offices. With funding cuts and shrinking budgets, pro bono is more important than ever. Check out PSJD for pro bono opportunities in your area.

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • Legal Aid Ontario defunds African Legal Clinic;
  • DNA, early champion of Indian rights, to shutter 3 legal offices;
  • New York expanding pro bono clemency program;
  • Ottawa’s first Indigenous peoples court announced;
  • Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic established at Vanderbilt Law School;
  • Michigan Legal Help creates toolkit for parents of students ‘facing discipline’;
  • Out & Equal Workplace Advocates announces recipients of inaugural Global Fellowship program;
  • Associates’ Committee expands legal aid fundraising efforts;
  • Bills filed to link more pro bono attorneys with Florida’s special needs kids;
  • Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants; and
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

August 16, 2017 – The following is a statement from Legal Aid Ontario President and CEO David Field. “The Clinic Committee of Legal Aid Ontario’s Board of Directors has decided, under its dispute resolution process, to withdraw LAO’s [Legal Aid Ontario] funding of the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC) effective September 30, 2017. Every dollar of funding currently provided to ACLC will be redirected to a new organization to provide dedicated services to the Black community. LAO’s priority is addressing the legal needs of a very vulnerable segment of our population—members of Black communities who need our help. We have work to do to meet those needs. LAO is committed to doing that work through hearing directly from members of the Black community, working with an advisory committee comprised of community leaders and investing additional funding to improve access to justice for members of the Black community. The Clinic Committee of LAO’s Board of Directors has found that ACLC’s board and management have engaged in financial mismanagement and that there has been a lack of board oversight. Although LAO’s dispute resolution process is internal, it is clear to me that there is an overriding public interest in what has occurred. Therefore, in the interest of transparency, I have directed that the decisions of the clinic committee and supporting documents be posted on LAO’s website. LAO will ensure that there will be no interruption or delay to legal services to Black Ontarians. LAO will immediately begin working with members of the community to establish a new community-based organization to deliver legal aid services to Ontario’s Black community. In the meantime, LAO will provide legal services through the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, members of the private bar, and LAO’s Test Case Program.” (thestar.com)(Legal Aid Ontario)

And Ontario province is now evaluating its contribution. “Now that Legal Aid Ontario has yanked its funding from the African Canadian Legal Clinic, the province is rethinking its own contribution. In a decision released last week, a committee of Legal Aid’s board of directors said the organization had failed to meet all eight conditions placed on it in 2014 to address concerns of financial mismanagement and poor governance. ‘Given the serious nature of its findings, the province is reviewing the decision and supporting documents produced by the sub-committee in order to assess the government’s funding relationship with the African Canadian Legal Clinic going forward,’ wrote Andrew Rudyk, press secretary for the office of Attorney General Yasir Naqvi. He did not offer a timeline for the review.” (Metro News)

August 18, 2017 – “For 50 years, DNA — or, in Navajo, Dinébe’iiná Náhiilna be Agha’diit’ahii — has provided free legal services to low-income people in three Southwestern states and won groundbreaking cases in Indian law on behalf of its clients. Now, facing years of financial shortfalls, it is planning to shutter three of its nine offices — in Crownpoint, Shiprock and Monument Valley, Utah. Some staff will move to remaining offices, and others will be laid off. DNA provides free legal services in areas such as consumer fraud, public benefits, wills and estates, taxes, housing evictions and domestic violence.” (Santa Fe New Mexican)

August 21, 2017 – “New York is partnering with several legal organizations to expand the state’s pro bono clemency program, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday. The state will partner with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Families Against Mandatory Minimums and other organizations helping incarcerated individuals seeking clemency from the governor’s office to provide ‘high-quality clemency applications.’ ‘These nationally recognized organizations have already proven successful in helping incarcerated individuals get access to the resources they need to apply for clemency, make the case for their rehabilitation and have the opportunity to contribute to and re-enter society,’ Cuomo said in a statement.” (New York Law Journal)

August 22, 2017 – “The provincial government will announce the opening of Ottawa’s first court for Indigenous peoples this week, CBC News has confirmed.” “The opening of the specialized court is meant to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canada’s criminal justice system. Ottawa’s first Indigenous court, also known as a Gladue court, draws its name from a 1995 court case where a defendant successfully argued the court should consider the lived experience of an Indigenous offender, for example, the trauma associated with the residential schools system.” (CBC News)

August 22, 2017 – “A $2 million investment in Vanderbilt Law School by Cal Turner Jr., BA’62, will provide legal support to entrepreneurs on shoestring budgets to help them get up and running. The funding, which results from the growth of a previous endowed gift from Turner, names the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic at the law school. The clinic will offer students hands-on opportunities to assist individuals with legal matters, such as applying for tax-exempt status and drafting lease agreements, when they otherwise would not be able to afford representation. ‘The Turner clinic sits at the intersection of law and business, reinforcing Vanderbilt’s strengths in working across disciplines to achieve viable solutions,’ said Chris Guthrie, dean and John Wade–Kent Syverud Professor of Law. ‘This funding allows us to better support our students and faculty who provide this important legal representation to lower-income clients. We’re deeply grateful for this new opportunity.'” “Under the guidance of faculty mentors, students in the Turner Family Community Enterprise Clinic will receive course credit as they hone legal skills in a range of transactional matters, including entity formation, governance, tax, contracts, employment, intellectual property and risk management. The clinic also will expose students to opportunities that arise in today’s rapidly evolving legal environment, which is explored in the school’s Program on Law and Innovation.” (Vanderbilt News)

August 22, 2017 – “A website that provides free legal assistance for simple civil matters now offers a toolkit for parents of children who are in trouble at school. The toolkit is a landing page on the Michigan Legal Help website’s education section called, ‘My Child is Facing Punishment or Expulsion from School.’ It consists of articles, answers to common questions, and local referrals for issues relating to special education accommodations, discipline and student rights. It also includes a do-it-yourself letter for students receiving special education services who are being suspended or expelled. The toolkit has a drop-down menu that allows users to filter results by Michigan county. Resources and referrals vary based on the user’s location.” (grbj.com)

August 22, 2017 – “After a competitive application process featuring applicants from more than 20 countries on five continents, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates has announced its inaugural cohort of Global Fellows: Levis Nderitu, Sullivan Reed Society, Kenya; Suresh Ramdas, HP Inc., India; and Kaspars Zalitis, Association Open Centre, Latvia. ‘Each and every one of our Global Fellows is a true inspiration,’ said Selisse Berry, Founder and CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. ‘Levis, Suresh, and Kaspars have demonstrated incredible commitment to advancing LGBT rights and workplace equality, even in the most challenging of environments. Though the movement for LGBT equality has made significant progress in recent years, it’s critical to remember that in 76 countries we can still be arrested, imprisoned or even killed because of who we are and who we love. Our Global Fellows make me confident that the future of LGBT workplace equality is bright. I look forward to offering each one of them this learning opportunity, and to learning from them as well.’ The fellows will travel to the United States to participate in an intensive five-week Out & Equal leadership development program for emerging global advocates in LGBT workplace equality.” (LGBT Weekly)

August 23, 2017 – “A grassroots effort to empower law firm associates to be more charitable has gained some momentum, and some help. Last year, Corey Laplante, then an associate at Skadden Arps, launched The Associates’ Committee, a group that raised more than $200,000 from Big Law associates for legal aid groups and litigation non-profits for the homeless, veterans, survivors of domestic violence and others. As the group enters its second year, Laplante — now an associate in Los Angeles at the litigation boutique Wilkinson Walsh + Eskovitz — says the Committee is generating interest from big law firms and partners, not just from associates. Laplante said he hopes to ‘increase the impact’ of the group through firm support and that member-associates have taken up the cause with a letter writing campaign to their firms. ‘They’re saying they’re members and are passionate about their cause and would like the firm to match their contribution,’ he explained. Among the partners supporting the group is Jeff Simes, chair of the litigation department at Goodwin Procter, where partners have pledged a total of $6,000 to the group. ‘It’s a great thing when associates pull together and are excited about something. It’s infectious,’ he said. Along with Goodwin, Laplante’s former firm Skadden has pledged $10,000 to the organization.” (Bloomberg Law)

August 24, 2017 – “Two Florida lawmakers are hoping to get more pro-bono attorneys to help kids with special needs for the 2018 legislative session. Rep. Frank White (R-Pensacola) and Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) filed the ‘Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018.’ The goal is to encourage more attorneys to take pro-bono cases involving special needs children who have been abused, abandoned and neglected. Florida Guardian ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz says it builds on a 2014 law.” (WGCU)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants!

The Waco-McLennan County Young Lawyers Association was presented with the Texas Young Lawyers Association Award of Achievement for Service to the Public. The group was honored for its Pro Bono Challenge, a partnership with Baylor Law School that has connected many lawyers in McLennan County to low-income veterans and others in need of pro bono legal services. The program was developed by MCYLA President-elect Stephen Rispoli, who serves as the assistant dean of pro bono programs at Baylor Law School, C. Scott Omo of Pakis, Giotes, Page & Burleson PC, and Josh Borderud, director of the Baylor Law Veterans Clinic. (Waco Tribune-Herald)

Music Bonus! Music pick from the PSJD Fellow Brittany Swett.

 

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Job’o’th’Week (Internship Edition): U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Help Wanted

Photo: Brenda Gottesman – CC License

Legal Intern

The Organization

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is responsible for adjudicating applications for immigration benefits in the United States.The Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) provides in-house legal guidance and counsel to USCIS offices throughout the United States. Interns from local law schools are tasked to assist OCC Associate Counsel in their duties and responsibilities.

The Position

The USCIS Denver Field Office, located in Centennial, Colorado, will host 1 law student intern for the spring 2018 academic semester. Through a combination of assigned projects, readings, writing activities and meetings, the law students will be provided with the following opportunities: to learn substantive immigration law, to improve research and writing skills, in the context of immigration law, to learn about the roles and jobs of USCIS attorneys, to learn about the roles and jobs of USCIS Field Office Operations personnel (such as adjudications officers and supervisors), and about the roles and jobs of various USCIS positions at offices other than USCIS Field Offices, to make contacts within the USCIS agency nationwide, and to learn about the roles and jobs of non-USCIS government attorneys in the field of immigration law, such as immigration judges in the Executive Office for Immigration Review (DOJ-EOIR), and immigration court trial attorneys in the United States Immigration & Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE)

Know that you would be a great fit?  Check out the full-post on PSJD.

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“Civil Rights in the 21st Century”: University of California’s Upcoming Public Service Conference

The Place: On September 23rd and 24th, University of California will again host its inaugural Public Service Law Conference at UCLA’s Luskin Center.

The Event: “In partnership with the UC Office of the President, Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), Berkeley School of Law, UCLA School of Law, UC Davis School of Law, and UC Irvine School of Law, the conference will bring together more than 500 law students, faculty members, lawyers, and nonprofit professionals committed to advancing civil rights and the public good. Panels and speeches will focus on the people, organizations, and systems working on the legal aspects of vital issues like immigration, homelessness, police accountability, water rights, and veterans’ issues during a day-and-a-half long conference.

Keynote Speakers and Panelists Include: Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California; Peter Neufeld, Co-Founder of the Innocence Project; Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director at the National Immigration Law Center; Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean at UC Berkeley School of Law; Jennifer Mnookin, Dean at UCLA School of Law; Kevin Johnson, Dean at UC Davis School of Law; L. Song Richardson, Interim Dean at UC Irvine School of Law; and more.

Registering: Individuals interested in attending the conference may register here. Registration is $150 and includes a lunch and evening reception on the first day with speakers and sponsors, breakfast on the second day, and all CLE costs (if applicable).”

Why We At PSJD Would Go: Due to University of California’s large network of schools and outreach within the state, the speakers at this event are among the best attorneys in the Public Sector and in their respective fields. Each is an expert on the topic they will be lecturing on and could potentially offer a plethora of insights into their specialties. In addition, the conference has particular workshops focused on furthering your own career in public service, including a panel entitled “How to Get a Job: Panel of Experts.” Plus, who doesn’t want a good excuse to soak up some Southern California sunshine?

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