Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter: Monday, January 17, 2011

About the Pro Bono Newsletter

The Office of Public Service Programs is here to serve students who are pursuing a career in public interest law and provide opportunities for all students to engage in the School of Law's tradition of public service. Look out for the Public Service Newsletter each Monday for information about public service career opportunities, events, resources, news, and more. View past newsletters.

Events at UNC Law

Mountain Justice with Larry Gibson
Tuesday, January 18, 6:00 p.m., University Room, Hyde Hall

Join the Sierra Student Coalition, the Parr Center for Ethics, the Institute for the Environment, CUAB, and the UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18th in the University Room at Hyde Hall for an evening with Larry Gibson. A leading voice in the fight against mountaintop removal and the destruction of the Appalachian Mountains, Mr. Gibson is known for his lifelong fight to save his home and his family's mountain in the heart of coal country. The event will be followed by questions and discussion as well as a small reception where attendees will have a chance to talk with Mr. Gibson.

Mr. Gibson is most well-known for his lifelong work to protect Kayford Mountain, West Virginia, from the environmental degradation of mountaintop removal. He is an internationally known voice who has been named one of CNN's "Heroes," has appeared on ABC's 20/20, has appeared before the United Nations, and has spoken to thousands of community, church, and university groups across the country. He has most recently been honored by Ohio Citizen Action, which awarded him the 2010 Enduring Courage Award.

The event, highlighting the connection between poverty and environmental issues, is free and open to the public. Nearby parking available at Wallace Deck at 150 E. Rosemary St., and most parking is free on the UNC campus after 5:00pm. For more information, email or call 919-843-8796.

Interviewing Skills Presentation
Wednesday, January 19, 12:00 p.m to 1:00 p.m., Room 4085

Attend this interviewing skills presentation from the CSO to brush up on your interviewing skills! This presentation will cover interviewing basics, preparation tips, dos and don'ts, and thank you letter etiquette.

State of the NC Environment: Talk with Secretary of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Friday, January 21, 12:00 p.m to 1:00 p.m., Room 5052

The NC Bar Association's Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Section leadership will be visiting the school on Friday, January 21. Students are invited to attend both:

  • a section meeting in room 4082 from 10:30-11:50.
  • a talk with the Secretary of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the State of the NC Environment from 12:00 to 12:50 p.m.We will meet in Room 5052, and the NCBA is generously providing lunch for attendees who RSVP to Lindsay Knell by 5 p.m. next Tuesday, January 18.

The Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Section currently has 413 members, representing governmental, nonprofit, and private environmental law practitioners. The section provides a forum for collegial interaction among North Carolina environmental lawyers from all three sectors. They will have a wealth of experience and knowledge to share, so please avail yourselves of this opportunity to meet these attorneys who have dedicated themselves to working for the citizens of NC. This event is sponsored by CSO, the Environmental Law Project and the NC Bar Association.

1L Summer Job Information Fair
Tuesday, January 25, 11:45 a.m to 1:00 p.m., Rotunda

First-year students will have a chance to explore summer job options by talking with upper class students who have worked in a variety of settings, including small, medium and large law firms, corporations, prosecutors' offices, public defenders' offices, non-profit, federal government, state government, legal aid, judicial internships and more.

Free pizza for all 1L attendees.

Public Interest Retreat
Friday, February 4, 1:00 p.m to 5:30 p.m., UNC School of Law

Mark your calendars for the Public Interest Retreat on February 4, 2011! The goals of the retreat are to connect law students to the local public interest community and to encourage community-building, to inspire students interested in public interest law to continue on the path to becoming public interest lawyers, and to reconnect students to the values and strengths that inspired their decisions to go to law school.

There will be a casual happy hour following the Retreat. Location TBA.

Rebellious Lawyering Conference
February 18-20, Yale Law School

Reblaw brings together practitioners, law students, academics, and community activists from around the country to discuss progressive strategies for social change, both through legal action and beyond. This year's keynote speakers include Burt Neuborne, Graham Boyd, Laurie Rubiner, and Jose Padilla.

Please visit for more information. Also, check out the Rebellious Lawyering blog for information and updates about the conference:

Registration is now open on the website. When you register, you'll be able to sign up receive FREE HOUSING for the weekend in New Haven on the spare beds, couches and floors of local friendly, rebellious law students.

Questions? Please contact

Robert M. Cover Public Interest Law Retreat
March 4-6, Sargent Center, Peterborough, NH

The Retreat brings together public interest law students and practitioners for a weekend of networking and dialogue. This retreat was envisioned by Robert Cover, a Yale Law School Professor and social activist, in order to bring law students together with legal professionals and academics to build networks, to discuss the status of public interest law, and to learn more about what a public interest legal career is like. Find more information about the retreat at

Current Pro Bono Opportunities

Current Projects

Train to be a Guardian ad Litem!
This spring, the Guardian Ad Litem office in Orange/Chatham county will be hosting a training here at UNC Law for any student interested in becoming a Guardian ad Litem. A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is a trained community volunteer appointed by a district court judge to investigate and determine the needs of abused and neglected children who are involved with DSS. The GAL advocates for the child's best interest by making independent recommendations to the court related to the child's needs.

The required training to become a GAL is approximately 15-20 hours and will tentatively be held at UNC Law from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on February 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 17 (one of these dates will be removed). All trainings (aside from required in-court observation) will take place at UNC Law. Please contact Mary Irvine at for more information.

The Pro Bono Program will begin posting new projects on January 18, 2011 - check the Pro Bono Board or website below for available projects then.

Projects are posted on the Pro Bono Board near the mailboxes and are listed online at Students can sign up for projects on the Pro Bono Board or email Lauren Felter at

Summer and Post-Graduate Employment Opportunities

Highlighted Public Interest Opportunity: Social Justice Fellowship Program, Community Justice Program, Florida Legal Services

A program of Florida Legal Services, the Community Justice Project (CJP) provides legal support to community organizations fighting for racial and economic justice in Miami's low-income communities. CJP's dynamic community lawyering model is grounded in the practice of true collaboration with organizers to build a more fair, just, and democratic society. By supporting and strengthening community organizations, CJP's assists clients to regain control over their lives and their communities. CJP primarily works in the areas of housing justice, workers' rights, and civil rights.

This fellowship program is designed to train the next generation of social justice, civil rights, and movement lawyers. Specifically, our program is for talented and committed law students who want to learn about community lawyering and gain experience representing community organizations and other organized groups fighting for racial and economic justice. Fellows gain practical litigation experience and also sharpen their theoretical understanding of the relationship between social change, organizing and lawyering. Fellows work under the direct supervision of CJP attorneys and are given high-quality assignments and feedback. Fellows also participate in a weekly educational seminar. Topics range from litigation skills, theories of social change, and guest lectures by noted local organizers & activists. Fellows' responsibilities include: legal research & writing for litigation, factual investigation, client & witness interviews, policy research, and participation in client and community meetings.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after January 1, 2011. Please submit your resume, cover letter, 2 references and a writing sample by email to Gloria Louis at All application materials must be compiled and sent together as one PDF attachment. Please put "2011 Social Justice Summer Fellowship Application" in the subject line of the e-mail. Incomplete materials or improperly formatted materials will not be considered. After receipt of application materials, interviews will be offered to suitable applicants and may be conducted in person or over the phone.

New Postings for Summer Opportunities in the Job Bank

Check out the the postings frequently in the Job Bank for summer opportunities in states all across the US.

  • US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee - various TN locations
  • Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel - Harrisburg, PA
  • Cherokee Supreme Court - Cherokee, NC
  • Research Assistant, NC General Assembly - Raleigh, NC
  • NC Innocence Inquiry Commission - Raleigh, NC
  • ...and more!

Spring On-Campus Interviews

Many public interest employers have already signed up to interview students on campus this spring for open summer internship positions. Log in to Symplicity for the full OCI schedule with deadlines and employers.

Public Interest Career-Related Events

Many student organizations are hosting career-related events over the next several weeks as students are looking for public interest summer positions. These events are a wonderful opportunity to get information about working in a particular area of law and learn about organizations and agencies doing the work as well as meet local practitioners who work there or students who have interned in the field over the summer. Check out the list of events below and see the school calendar for more information:

  • January 26, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Environmental Law Career Panel in Boardroom 5003
  • January 27, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Children's Rights Career Panel in Room 4082

Check Symplicity regularly for both summer and post-graduation opportunities.

Summer Funding Opportunities

Apply for the Goodwin Procter Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color

Goodwin Procter has established the Goodwin Procter Public Interest Fellowships for Law Students of Color. These Fellowships will provide two first year law students of color with awards of $7,500 each, to help cover expenses from working in a public interest law position during the summer after the first year of law school.  In addition, Goodwin has partnered with our client Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (the largest corporation domiciled in Massachusetts) to provide a third fellowship award, the MassMutual/Goodwin Public Interest Fellowship for Law Students of Color.

In addition to the $7,500 award for work in a public interest law position during the summer after the first year of law school, students will also receive a guaranteed callback interview with a Goodwin Procter office during the fall interview season after the student's first year of law school, to allow the student to be considered for a position in the Summer Associate Program during the summer after the student's second year of law school.

For more information about the program and eligibility, visit

Apply for the 2011 Robert E. Bryan Public Service Fellowship and the Entrepreneurial Public Service Fellowship

The Carolina Center for Public Service awards summer fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students to support innovative public service and engagement projects in North Carolina and throughout the world. Fellowships are $3,000 each and the deadline is in late January. To learn more about the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Fellowship and the UNC Entrepreneurial Public Service Fellowship, please visit

Public Service News

10 Public Interest Networking Tips from PSLawNet and Michael Bergmann, Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Initiative
Check out the following tips (abridged from a PSLawNet guest blog post by Michael Bergmann) about how to maximize public interest networking opportunities:

  1. It's always better to give than receive! Networking isn't about getting a job or business development; it's about developing relationships and making connections. Networking is about meeting others to learn about what their needs are, how you can help and what connections you can make. If you approach it from this angle, you'll be successful and receive your rewards. If not, you'll be labeled a schmoozer, 'pol' or worse.
  2. RSVP when asked, and do what you said! They wouldn't ask if they didn't care. If a host is asking for responses, be sure to let them know if you're coming and if you say you are, be there.
  3. Turn your cell phone/PDA/pager off! I know it's hard, but try it. Hiding in a corner checking messages or on a call doesn't go unnoticed. And, answering the phone or checking e-mail while you're talking, well, need I say more?
  4. Listen more than you talk! This is critical to a good networking session. Take the time to learn about the person. But, no one wants to carry the weight of the whole conversation, so talk responsibly.
  5. Learn the person's name and use it! This is important during the conversation and for afterwards. Doing so will show your sincerity and interest in the person and will help you remember their name later.
  6. Know who you are and what you are! Be able to explain who you are and to tell a little about yourself. No one wants to hear the highlights of you resume or feel like their being sold something. Explain who you are and what you do in a short but thorough way and relate to what you've learned about them.
  7. Put your best face forward! If you're that mad/sad/angry/sick, don't go. No one wants to hear your whining or sob story when they first meet you and your less than sunny disposition will impede your ability to make connections.
  8. Always have business cards on you! Nothing kills a great networking opportunity like not having a way to connect again in the future. And, be sure the one you give it is really yours! You might jot down some important facts about the person or your conversation on the back of the card for later use.
  9. Don't shoulder surf! You may think no one notices, but they do. When talking with someone be sure to give them your full attention. If you're not enjoying the conversation, then politely move on.
  10. Follow up with the contacts you make! Whenever possible, you should follow-up within a week of meeting a new contact. Include some highlights from your discussion to help them remember you. And, if they follow-up with you first, be sure to respond.

Profiles of Judy Clarke, Federal Defender for Arizona Shooter
Among the many news items devoted over the past week to the shootings in Arizona of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other attendees of her constituent event, news sources have profiled Judy Clarke, the federal defender who has been assigned to represent Jared Loughner. The New York Times called Clarke a "master strategist" and the Union-Tribune focused on her passion for making the justice system work fairly for those accused of crimes. Read the linked articles above for more information about Clarke and her remarkable record of helping defendants in high-profile cases avoid the death penalty.

Public Service Resources

Check out the Public Interest Job Search Guide!

The Public Interest Job Search Guide provides practical advice on how to conduct your job or summer internship search, a suggested timeline for all students, a list of resources, and information about public interest law organizations. This resource will be updated soon. Access this resource.

Other Public Interest Opportunities

Fill out this survey from PSLawNet for a chance to win a gift card!

PSLawNet is beginning a large-scale website redesign to ensure that they are providing law students and law graduates searching for public interest legal jobs with the most comprehensive and useful resource.

They need your input to guarantee that PSLawNet makes the changes to the website's design, job search functions, career resources, and social media interfaces to ensure that they best serve you. Please complete the short survey (should take you no more than 5-10 minutes).

To thank you for your time, completion of the survey by individuals with PSLawNet job seeker accounts will give the opportunity to enter a drawing for a gift card.

  • First Prize Winner: $100 gift card
  • Second Prize Winner: $50 gift card
  • Third Prize Winner: $50 gift card

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey! Please feel free to contact with any other feedback.

To add items or provide feedback, please contact Sylvia Novinsky, Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs, or Mary Irvine, Public Service Fellow.

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