Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter: Monday, January 31, 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

Poverty and Economic Justice Scholarship at Carolina Law
Tuesday, February 1, 12:00 p.m to 12:50 p.m., 5046

On February 1, the Poverty Center will host a program highlighting recent powerful work in economic justice by three Carolina faculty members: Max Eichner, Melissa Jacoby and Deborah Weissman.

Max Eichner's new book, The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America's Political Ideals (Oxford Press) argues that the state bears responsibility for structuring societal institutions to support families in their care and developmental functions. These demands apply, particularly, when labor markets fail to assure adequate opportunities for caretaking. Melissa Jacoby's multidisciplinary research leading the national Consumer Bankruptcy Project, has revealed and explored the dramatic link between a modern bankruptcy explosion and the challenges of financing medical care. Deborah Weissman's recent work on local immigration enforcement practices, especially under the auspices of the 287(g) program in North Carolina, demonstrates a hard intersection between race, poverty and vulnerability in our communities.

Professors Eichner, Jacoby and Weissman will discuss their research and activism projects - as academics, lawyers and citizens - in the context of broader claims of economic justice. Gene Nichol will moderate the discussion.

Pizza will be served.

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.

The agenda includes a meet and greet with fellow law students and local attorneys, Life Entrepreneurs program designed to help participants break down abstract career ideas into manageable, practical goals and to create a meaningful, well-balanced work and personal life, a session on loan forgiveness and other financial matters, and a panel of public interest attorneys. Finally, the group will hear from Professor Gene Nichol about his motivation and insight in engaging in public interest work. There will be a casual happy hour following the Retreat.

Sign up for the Public Interest Retreat now at: mysignup.com/publicinterestretreat.

Summer Public Interest Grant Information Session
Wednesday, February 16, 12:00 p.m to 12:50 p.m., 5042

This information session is open to current 1L and 2Ls interested in applying for a summer grant for unpaid public interest work for Summer 2011. We will cover the application process, and answer any questions regarding summer funding. Questions? Contact Dean Novinsky at snovinsk@email.unc.edu, or Dorsey Ballard at edballar@email.unc.edu.

Other Public Interest Opportunities

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 http://www.yale.edu/reblaw/ for more information. Also, check out the Rebellious Lawyering blog for information and updates about the conference: http://blogs.law.yale.edu/blogs/reblaw/.

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 rebellious.law.questions@gmail.com

Race in North Carolina: Justice and Reconciliation Film Forum
February 26, 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Jordan-Matthews High School, Siler City, NC
February 27, 1:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Fearrington Village Barn, Pittsboro, NC

ChathamArts is hosting a film forum with sponsorship from the NC Humanities Council to explore issues of race, justice and reconciliation in NC. On February 26, Greensboro: Closer to Truth, The Trials of Darryl Hunt and An Unlikely Friendship will be shown. On February 27, Blood Done Sign My Name and Moving Midway will be shown. This free event, open to the public, will feature Q & A sessions and panel discussions with central characters, producers and directors of the films. For film descriptions, event schedule and more info, go to www.chathamarts.org.

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 http://www.law.yale.edu/news/coverretreat11.htm.

Assisting Law Students with Disabilities Conference
Thursday, March 10, American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC

This annual conference is designed to provide information to law students with disabilities on a variety of subject areas and this year will have a strong focus on seeking employment, which is a concern for all students in this economy, but may present an even greater challenge to students with disabilities. The keynote speaker will be Patricia A. Shiu, Director, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, US Department of Labor. The full agenda can be found at http://www.wcl.american.edu/secle/founders/2011/20110310.cfm Please register for the conference by going to http://www.wcl.american.edu/secle/registration.

University of Georgia School of Law Public Interest Weekend
April 1-2, University of Georgia, School of Law, Athens, GA

Join Working in the Public Interest (WIPI) and Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) as we host our annual public interest events. Save the date for this premier public interest event so that you can be in the midst of the greatest students, leading professionals, and experienced faculty who are all excited about public interest.

EJF will kick off the celebration with the EJF Auction the evening of Friday, April 1. The auction raises funds to provide stipends for law students who work in unpaid public interest positions. More information at http://www.law.uga.edu/ejf.

The WIPI Conference begins with a keynote address on April 1 before the EJF auction. The conference continues with panels and roundtables on Saturday, April 2. This student run conference has been offered annually since 2005, and seeks to bring together eminent practitioners in their respective fields, students, and faculty to discuss practical approaches to law, which can promote social justice and human rights for all. The conference offers CLE credit and includes roundtables, panel discussions, and a plenary conference. Find more information at http://www.law.uga.edu/wipi.

(Registration information and event details will be posted soon)

Current Pro Bono Opportunities

Current Projects

  • Butner Reentry Legal Assistance Project - Everett & Everett, Durham, NC
  • Capital Trial Research - Fair Trial Initiative, Durham, NC
  • Reaching Out to Latino Community - LeeAnne Quattrucci, PA, Wilmington, NC

Projects are posted on the Pro Bono Board near the mailboxes and are listed online at http://www.law.unc.edu/studentlife/probono/projects/. Students can sign up for projects on the Pro Bono Board or email Lauren Felter at UNCProBonoProjects@gmail.com.

Summer and Post-Graduate Employment Opportunities

New Postings for Summer Opportunities in the Job Bank and Resume Collects

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

  • Servicemembers Legal Defense Network - Washington, DC
  • Human Rights Initiative of North Texas - Dallas, TX
  • Legal Aid of NC - Pittsboro, NC
  • Cherokee Supreme Court - Cherokee, NC
  • NC Housing Coalition - Raleigh, NC
  • NC Officer of the Appellate Defender - Durham, NC
  • Securities and Exchange Commission, Summer 1L Honors Program - various US locations
  • ...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.

Summer Housing

If you are looking for housing this summer, The Association for Legal Career Professionals, also known as NALP, hosts a site for law students who are looking for a summer rental and/or renting their housing for the summer. Start searching here: http://nalpexchange.org/home.cfm?CFID=35863430&CFTOKEN=18796325.

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

Summer Funding Opportunities

Apply for a Fellowship for the NC Bar Association for Students Working in Environmental Law

The Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law Section of the NC Bar Association is offering up to two environmental law fellowship positions this summer for students taking positions in public or nonprofit sector organizations. The fellowships are designed to encourage disadvantaged or traditionally underrepresented law students to study and pursue careers in environmental law. The fellowships are open to all first and second year law students from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds, including minorities and students from households with limited resources.

The student is expected to procure employment themselves. The fellowship salary will be $5,000 for the summer, with a minimum eight week commitment. A committee will select the fellowship recipients. Applications need to be postmarked by February 11, 2011. Come by the CSO for a copy of application and more details.

Apply for a Summer Grant

Each year several summer grants are awarded to students who are taking unpaid or low-paying summer public interest jobs. Funding for these grants comes from several sources including CPILO, funds established at the law school by generous donors, and student organizations that raise money for a grant to a student working in a particular interest area.

The deadline for applying for a summer grant is March 25, 2011 and students will be notified after that date. An information session will be on February 16 at noon in 5042.

To view and complete the Summer Grant Application visit My Carolina Law, click on the Student Life tab at the top of the page, and select the Summer Grants link. Be sure to check out 10 Tips for Writing a Strong Grant Application.

Contact Dean Novinsky or Dorsey Ballard for questions about grants.

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 http://www.goodwinprocter.com/Careers/Diversity/The-Goodwin-Diversity-Fellowships/Eligibility-Requirements.aspx. Applications must be received by February 25, 2011 to be considered.

Public Service Resources

5 Tips for Public Interest Interviews!

PSLawNet suggests the following tips when interviewing for a summer public interest position. These tips definitely apply to interviewing for post-graduate positions as well. See the full PSLawNet post.

  1. Do mock interviews. This is a great way to identify questions that could trip you up and get feedback from someone who has experience.
  2. Enthusiasm and confidence are palpable. These characteristics are perceived by the interviewer and set the stage for the interview. Remember to make eye contact and smile while answering questions.
  3. Be prepared for "Why do you want to work here?" or "Why are you choosing this kind of work questions?" Everyone knows these questions are coming - often at the beginning of an interview. We think that employers are really asking two questions: 1) Why do you want to be a lawyer?, and 2) Why are you interested in being this kind of lawyer? You should be prepared to answer both and to connect those answers.
  4. Ask some questions of your own.
  5. Send a thank you note or email within 48 hours of the interview.

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. Access this resource.


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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