Public Interest News Digest from PSJD

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Here is the latest weekly News Digest from PSJD!

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Happy Friday! We are off to the NALP Annual Education Conference in Seattle. The Digest will take a break for this week and return on April 18. We hope to see many of you at the conference!

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

Here are the week’s headlines:

  • ABA Job Corps targets access to justice paradox;
  • New rules allow retired Iowa attorneys and law students to help legal aid;
  • New job site launches in Canada;
  • PA considers bill to establish training center for public defenders;
  • Students form Law Students Society of Ontario;
  • The Washington University School of Law establishes Prosecution Law Clinic;
  • New scholarship from Davis Levin Livingston promotes public interest lawyers;
  • Spotlight on Public Service Servants: Phil Morgan;
  • Super Music Bonus!

The summaries:

March 27, 2014 – “The American Bar Association will pay between $5,000 and $15,000 to organizations that come up with good ways to match unemployed law school graduates to unmet legal needs for the poor. The organization this month urged law schools, bar associations, courts and other organizations to submit requests for proposals and will reward the best ideas with financial support, ABA President James Silkenat said, under a new program dubbed the Legal Access Job Corps.” “To qualify for grants, projects must provide both legal services to the poor or people with moderate incomes, and employment for recent law graduates. Existing projects are not eligible.” Ideas are due by May 15. (National Law Journal)

March 30, 2014 – “The Iowa Supreme Court ruled this month to allow retired Iowa attorneys and attorneys licensed in other states to provide pro bono services to legal aid organizations. The state’s legal aid offices turns thousands of low income people away every year because of the high caseload and lack of attorneys. The rule allows retired attorneys to apply for an emeritus license and volunteer their time for a legal aid office.” “The court also amended the student practice rule this month which will provide more assistance to the offices by allowing law school students in the state to handle cases under supervision.” “Guy Cook, attorney and Iowa State Bar Association president, said the rule change also allows law school graduates to provide legal services to clients while they are waiting to pass the bar exam on behalf of the offices of the public defender, attorney general, county attorney or legal aid organizations.” (The Gazette)

March 31, 2014 – What started last year as a Facebook page for University of Ottawa civil law graduate, Nikolitsa Katsoulias has just turned into a full-blown job site and blog. The Law Job Exchange, launched just three weeks ago, promises to ‘link you up with opportunities that you may have otherwise missed.” “The web site is all about sharing opportunities and I don’t think that’s something law students are necessarily used to with the competitiveness of the profession,” says web site founder Katsoulias. “But [students] seem to be embracing it, so I encourage them to log on and share an opportunity if they find one.” “The main feature of the web site is its job postings, which visitors can only view if they are members. Members can also opt to have job alerts e-mailed to them. Jobs are primarily Canadian-based, but international opportunities have been available.” (Canadian Lawyer)

April 1, 2014 – “Advocates Tuesday urged state Senate lawmakers to support better training for lawyers tasked with defending adult criminal defendants and juvenile delinquents who can’t afford to hire a lawyer. A measure before state lawmakers would create such a program with $1 million in the next fiscal year. Access to such free counsel is required under the U.S. Constitution and federal case law, but Pennsylvania is the only state that doesn’t help fund county offices providing indigent defense.” (witf.org)

April 1, 2014 – All of the student societies at Ontario’s seven law schools have agreed to participate in a newly formed Law Students Society of Ontario. “The goal of the Law Students’ Society of Ontario (LSSO) is to advance student concerns to governmental, regulatory, and educational stakeholders on issues such as access to legal education, professional accreditation requirements, and other matters affecting law students across the province.” “Membership in the LSSO has been ratified by student groups at all seven Ontario law schools (the University of Windsor, Western University, the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School (York University), Queen’s University, the University of Ottawa, and Lakehead University).” (LSSO website)

April 2, 2014 – “The Washington University School of Law will establish a Prosecution Law Clinic in partnership with the City of St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. The new clinic joins 17 other clinical opportunities within the law school’s long-standing Clinical Education Program. The clinic will be funded by a generous gift from former prosecutor and Washington University School of Law alumna Alicia McDonnell (JD ’95), who hopes to strengthen the ranks of criminal prosecutors by creating opportunities for talented law students to gain hands-on experience essential to a career in criminal justice.” (Washington University of St. Louis)

April 2, 2014 – “With a new scholarship, the Honolulu-based law firm of Davis Levin Livingston intends to support law students intending to pursue public interest law and add to the ranks of motivated young attorneys willing to consider a career as a public interest lawyer.” “The $3000 scholarship will be awarded to a student entering law school this fall. A letter of acceptance is required, and candidates are asked to write a short essay demonstrating their intention to pursue a career as a public interest lawyer. The scholarship will be payable by The Davis Levin Livingston Charitable Foundation to the law school of attendance by the awardee to assist with tuition or other expenses.” (Digital Journal)

Spotlight on Outstanding Public Servants: NLegal aid attorney Phillip Morgan, who likely has represented more public housing tenants in San Francisco than anyone, is retiring. As an attorney for Bay Area Legal Aid, Morgan fought for housing rights with countless clients over the course of his long career. He had an institutional knowledge of the SF Housing Authority that will surely be missed. Read more about his amazing work. Thank you for your service!

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