Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter: Monday, February 13, 2012

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

Attention 2Ls: Clinic & Externship programs info. meeting!

February 13, noon, room 5042

There will be an information meeting at noon on Monday, February 13 in room 5042 to begin the lottery registration process for the 2012-2013 Clinic and Externship Programs. Students who wish to enroll in a Clinic or Externship for the 2012-2013 academic year MUST attend this important meeting. The lottery registration will close on Monday, February 20 at 4 p.m. Please address any lottery registration questions to the Clinic Business Manager, Melissa Cobb. Information about the online registration/preference selection process may be found online.

Public Interest Peer Mentor Program

February 17, noon, room 4085

Are you a 1L or 2L interested in public service employment? Would you like some advice for your summer job hunt? On Friday, February 17, come hear from 2L and 3L students who have worked in public interest summer internships. Get advice for your job hunt and learn more about different public interest sectors. This event is sponsored by the Office for Public Service Programs.

Attention 1Ls and 2Ls: Want to be a C-PILO officer?

February 23, noon, room 4004

C-PILO is currently looking for students to serve as C-PILO officers for the upcoming 2012-2013 term. Terms will begin at the end of March, will last one year, and are open to all students that are not graduating this year. Serving as an officer is an important leadership position and provides an invaluable service to students seeking and exploring public service careers, and is vital to our law school's ongoing commitment to public interest law. If you are interested in serving on the new board, please send your resume (without a GPA listed) and cover letter to Zachary Kohn before February 26 at 5 p.m. The general interest meeting will be February 23 at noon in room 4004.

Reproductive Justice Conference

February 18, UNC School of Law

LSRJ (Law Students for Reproductive Justice) Regional Conferences bring together chapter leaders and reproductive justice community members to learn about current reproductive justice issues, hear from RJ experts, and network with fellow students. This year's conference will focus on "Reproductive Justice for Healthy Families". The conference is free for law students, and you can register online. Questions? Email the conference coordinators.

2012 UNC Conference on Race, Class, Gender, and Ethnicity

February 25, UNC School of Law Rotunda

Register now for the upcoming conference on Race, Class, Gender and Ethnicity at the UNC Law School. This year's conference is entitled "Waking Up From the American Dream: The Sober Reality of Class in America." The Conference will be on Saturday, February 25 and registration is open now. More information and registration materials are available on the conference website.

Other Public Interest Events

18th Annual Rebellious Lawyering Conference

February 17-18, Yale Law School, New Haven, CT

The RebLaw conference is an annual, student-run conference that brings together practitioners, law students, and community advocates from around the country to discuss innovative, progressive approaches to law and social change. This year's keynote speaker will be Gerald Lopez, UCLA law professor and author of "Rebellious Lawyering: One Chicano's Vision of Progressive Law Practice." Registration and more details about the conference are available online. You can also find regular updates on RebLaw's Facebook page.

Legal Implications of the Marriage Amendment: A Panel Discussion

February 17, 3:30-5:00 p.m., NC Central School of Law room 100

The North Carolina Central University School of Law will host a panel of professors from area law schools on Friday, February 17, from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. in Room 100 who will discuss the legal issues surrounding the proposed marriage amendment that will be on the ballot in North Carolina on May 8, 2012. The panelists will include: Irv Joyner, Angela Gilmore and Lydia Lavelle from NCCU School of Law; Barbara Fedders from the University of North Carolina School of Law and James Coleman from Duke University School of Law. The event is co-sponsored by Outlaw Alliance and is open to the public. For more information, contact Lydia Lavelle.

Minority Health Law Conference

February 24, Friday Center, Chapel Hill

The 33rd Annual Minority Health Law Conference will be held on February 24 at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. This year’s topic is "Translational Research -- The Road from Efficacy to Equity". The UNC Minority Health Conference is the largest and longest-running student-led health conference in the country. You can find more information and register for the Minority Health Conference on their website.

Robert M. Cover Public Interest Law Retreat

March 2-4, Sargent Center, Peterborough, NH

This retreat brings together public interest law students and practitioners for a weekend of learning, networking, and fun. 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, discuss the status of public interest law, and learn more about what a public interest legal career is like. The registration deadline is February 16, and is expected to sell out quickly. Find more information about the retreat and register online.

Duke Careers in Service Symposium 2012

February 17, Duke Law School

The Careers in Service Symposium will be held at Duke Law School on Friday, February 17 from 12:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. The program will include panels of alumni and locally-practicing attorneys who will talk about their careers in various practice areas of government and public interest legal work. Also scheduled are smaller "mini-sessions," which will allow students an opportunity to meet with panelists in smaller group settings, as well as a networking reception at the close of the event. View the draft agenda and speakers bios and register online. The registration fee for non-Duke registrants is $10. If you have any questions about this symposium, please contact Laura Brockington.

UGA Working in the Public Interest Conference

March 2-3, University of Georgia School of Law, Athens GA

Registration is now open for the 7th annual Working in the Public Interest Conference at the University of Georgia School of Law in Athens, Georgia, to be held March 2 to March 3. This conference seeks to bring together both practitioners and students to discuss real issues confronting attorneys working in the public interest. WIPI considers the broad scope of public interest law, presenting topics this year that will examine pressing economic issues, such as the impact of the student debt burden on the economy and the fallout from budget cuts on the prosecution of domestic violence, and other topics, including the sustainability of animal farming and perspectives on solo practice and alternative careers. For more information and to register for the conference, please visit the website.

UVA Workshop - Law and War: An International Humanitarian Law Workshop

March 24-25, University of Virginia School of Law

The Human Rights Program of UVA Law will be hosting a weekend workshop, in conjunction with the American Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross, focusing on international humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict). This workshop features lectures and hands-on exercises that guide participants through an intensive examination of international humanitarian law (IHL) with a focus on its application to combatants and civilians. The workshop is free, and applications must be submitted by February 24. To access the application or for any questions, contact Jessica Lee.

Upcoming Events at The Parr Center for Ethics at UNC

Lunch & Learn: "The Meaning of Political Protest"

February 22, noon, Hyde Hall's University Room

Pardue Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Parr Center Fellow Dr. Bernard Boxill will speak on the history of political protest in the United States and what lessons from the past might be applied to the modern Tea Party and Occupy movements. This event is open to the public, lunch is provided, and registration is required.

Summer and Post-Graduate Employment Opportunities

Southern Education Leadership Initiative

The Southern Education Foundation (SEF) is seeking graduate student applicants. Internships are eight weeks during the summer, and interns receive a stipend of $4,500 plus travel expenses. Interns are placed with nonprofits and foundations throughout the region focused on providing advocacy, grant-making, policy analysis, research, community organizing, and direct service in education. Applications must be received by March 1. More information about the program and the application process is available online.

Summer Law Clerkships

Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, Inc. is seeking law clerks for the Summer of 2012 in its nine offices to assist attorneys in all phases of client representation and program work. This well-established legal services program is in its 40th year of serving low-income clients and client groups in a 37-county area. Interested applicants should apply via email or mail to Lorie Elam, Deputy Director, Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Ky., Inc., 120 North Front Avenue, Prestonsburg, KY 41653. Applicants should send resume, writing sample, and list of references along with a statement regarding the applicant's ability to provide funding for himself/herself.

Research Assistant position with Professor Sabbeth

Professor Kathryn Sabbeth seeks a research assistant for Summer 2012. Subject areas of research are expected to include the definition of public interest lawyering, the role of lawyers' work in American society, and possibly topics in employment discrimination. The position will be 30 hours per week. See Symplicity job posting #5412 for application instructions.

2012 AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships

The 2012 Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps host sites will be announced in June. Please visit PSLawNet in the spring to find a selection of AmeriCorps Fellowship openings across the country. Alumni and 3L/4L students apply directly to the host site for open positions, and the host sites will select the appropriate candidates to become 2012 Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows. If you have any questions regarding the AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships, please email AmeriCorps directly.

Don't forget to check PSLawNet and Symplicity frequently for new job postings. Public Interest jobs are being posted frequently!

Funding Opportunities

ABA Internship for students with a disability

In continuing its mission to promote the equal participation of law students with disabilities in the legal profession, the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights established a partnership with Prudential Financial, Inc., to provide a summer internship opportunity to a 1L with a disability at the Fortune 500 company's Law Department. This internship is paid and will be located in New Jersey. You can find more information and apply online. The deadline for applications is March 25.

2012 Summer Corps Application

The Equal Justice Works Summer Corps program provides law students with the opportunity to dedicate at least 300 hours of their summer to a legal project at a qualifying nonprofit public interest organization. In 2012, 711 law students will be eligible to receive an AmeriCorps education award in the amount of $1,175 upon their successful completion of the Summer Corps program. Applications for 2012 Summer Corps will be available March 1, 2012. The deadline to apply is March 23, 2012. Please visit our website to learn more, or attend the webinar for more information on the application process.

Summer 2012 Public Interest Grant Information Session

February 20 & Feb. 22, noon, room 4085

Will you be working in unpaid public interest employment this summer? If so, come to this information session! This is open to current 1L and 2Ls interested in applying for a summer grant for unpaid public interest work for Summer 2012. This meeting will give you all you need to know about the application process and summer funding. Information sessions will be held on Monday, February 20 and Wednesday, February 22 from 12:00 p.m.-12:50 p.m. in room 4085. Grant applications are due March 23, and recipients will be notified on April 5. Questions? Contact Dean Novinsky or Dorsey Bachenheimer.

Current Pro Bono Opportunities

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

New Orleans Public Defenders (3L)

The Orleans Parish Prison houses, among other inmates, individuals awaiting trial who have not been able to make bond. Resources and treatment options for individuals with medical, and particularly mental health, problems are severely limited. We have had a number of clients in OPP who have not been able to obtain the medications they need and/or were taking before their arrest, and we have heard from OPP's medical director that they have a policy of a 30-day waiting period before administering any mental health medication. We would like to explore the possibility of OPD or another organization filing a federal lawsuit to enjoin this practice. The student should research case law related to applicable federal standards in the 5th circuit and elsewhere, pull cases that are on point for relevant procedural and substantive rules, and advise whether litigation in this area is worthwhile.

  • Skills Built: Legal Research and Writing
  • Time Commitment: 20 Hours
  • Project Due Date: April 30, 2012.
  • Location of Work: Remote Location.
  • Area of Law: Criminal Law, Prisoner's Rights
  • Requirements: 3L; The advising attorney has provided research points which will be provided to the assigned student.

Landowner Protection and Natural Gas Extraction Research

The rural advancement foundation international RAFI-USA is a local farmer advocacy non-profit organization working to educate North Carolinians about property rights as oil and gas companies approach rural landowners with predatory contracts. We are looking for students to conduct research on landowner protection and oil and gas laws in states with natural gas extraction. This information will allow comparison of state protections and support our landowner education and outreach efforts. Research can be done remotely and the duration can vary from three weeks to three months.

  • Skills Built: Legal Research and Writing
  • Time Commitment: 20+ Hours
  • Project Due Date: Ongoing, Flexible.
  • Location of Work: Remote Location.
  • Area of Law: Property, Environmental
  • Requirements: Open to ALL students.

If you are interested in these openings, or any other pro bono projects, please sign up on the bulletin board or e-mail .

Save the Date!

Free Webinar Series: The Summer Public Interest Job Search

This webinar series, cosponsored by NALP and Equal Justice Works, will provide law students with insight on the key elements of the summer public-interest job application process. All events are free - enroll now!

Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair

Save the date for the Equal Justice Career Fair this Fall. This year, the conference and career fair will be held on Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27 in Arlington, VA. More details will be posted as the event nears, but this is an event you don't want to miss!

Public Interest Blog Spotlight

Looking for an interesting and inspiring new blog?

Each week we will highlight a different blog that covers information relevant to public interest law students and attorneys. This week's focus is on: American Civil Liberties Union - The ACLU's Blog of Rights covers topics such as criminal law/capital punishment, voting rights, and reproductive freedom. Check it out today!

Career Corner

Judicial Clerkship Programs for 2Ls (all students welcome)

A judicial clerkship is a full-time, paid position which usually lasts a year but continues to pay considerable dividends throughout one's career. Second-year students who are interested in exploring the possibility of seeking a 2013 clerkship need to start thinking about it now, since most judges hire clerks well in advance of graduation. We strongly encourage you to attend all three of the following programs:

Alumni Clerkship Panel

February 29, noon, room 4004

Our panel features distinguished UNC alumni who worked as federal and state court clerks after graduating from law school. The panelists now work in various areas of the legal profession, and will speak about their experiences as clerks and how clerkships helped launch their careers.

The Nuts and Bolts of Applying for Judicial Clerkships

March 21, noon, room 4085

What is J-CAP? Who is OSCAR? If you plan to apply for clerkships, you'll need to know! We'll give you everything you need, including info on what goes into an application, how to find judges, what the timetable is, and more.

Still Looking for a Summer Internship?

Don't forget to check out the Career Services Office's public interest job search guide! This thorough manual details the different practice areas available to a public interest attorney, gives helpful advice on activities to participate in during law school to build your resume, and job search strategies. Also, make sure to review the resume and cover letter advice and samples!

The 10 Biggest Public Interest Interview Mistakes

  1. You Didn't Do Your Homework
    If you can pass civil procedure you can certainly take five minutes to look at an organization's website and at least learn their mission statement! No excuses, just do it. I'll quiz you on it, I will!
  2. You Dismiss My Training
    Organizations are not particularly interested in training you for an entire summer if the biggest impact you think you will have down the road is "taking on a few pro bono cases" or that you'd like an internship "to get class credit." We want to see how you are dedicated to the field, or, at least, want to apply our training and work to help others in need.
  3. You Take Me Too Seriously
    It's actually ok to relax in the interview and let your personality show. We'll be working together late in the night working on an appellate brief and THEN get a call that a client was arrested…again! So we're looking for people we can click with on a personal and professional level.
  4. …Or You Don't Take Me Seriously Enough!
    Yes, I'm 28 and a female but that doesn't mean working with me isn't tough or that I'll beg for any law student to come crawling my way. You may be older and in many respects wiser but don't forget who is interviewing whom.
  5. You Fabricate Your Language Skills
    Conversational means you know how to say more than "what is your name" and "how old are you." Proficient articulates that you can get the job done, literally, in the language you use. Don't think you'll get off without being tested, I often bring others who speak a language I need to test prospective interns' chops.
  6. You Patronize the Clients
    I'd rather not hear about how all you want to do is "help the poor people" and how having a law degree (or half of one) makes you superman. We love what we do but we also recognize why we are here and it's largely because we love the population. You should want to learn as much, if not more, from the clients as you are able to provide and to recognize that in the interview.
  7. You Take a One-size Fits All Approach to Public Interest
    I love an intern with variety but housing foreclosure for the elderly applies a different skill set than youth in foster care. Do issues and talents overlap? Absolutely! But I want you to be able to speak about and articulate why this particular internship speaks to you.
  8. You Didn't Ask Me Any Questions
    If a law student doesn't have questions at the end of an interview, I worry about their intellectual curiosity and genuine devotion to the position. Students should come to every interview armed with at least one follow up, "where do you find your client base" works in most situations!
  9. You Confused the Name of My NGO
    This maybe goes with number one but, again, do your homework! Sanctuary for Families is different than Safe Horizons, and Advocates for Children is not the Administration for Children's Services. Print out a page of each NGO you are interviewing with and highlight key items, review this sheet before each interview and you should be good to go!
  10. You Didn't Show Up
    Interviews at these fairs are lightning fast and you've got to make an impression (and not the kind where the interviewer is left sitting at a table alone staring into space.) Even if you have a job offer that you would like to take, contact the employer in advance of your interview so that they have a chance to talk to someone else. You never know who you'll want to interview with in the future and trust us, we talk!

by Lauren Burke, Esq. Originally published at PSLawNet.

Public Service News

NALP Job Search Webinars

Summer job search webinars, produced by NALP and Equal Justice Works, are available on the NALP website. The two, hour-long webinars offered expert tips and best practices on cover-letter and resume drafting, as well as interviewing and networking. These webinars are free to access.

Equal Justice Debt Relief Webinars

Educational debt has become a crippling burden for far too many, and especially for those who want to pursue careers in public service. Equal Justice Works provides in depth information on loan repayment assistance programs and relief programs like Income-Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness to help everyone pursue the career of their dreams. A schedule of the free, live webinars is available online.

New Federal Funding for Indigent Defense

The ABA Journal reports two new Department of Justice programs geared toward understanding and overcoming the barriers between indigent criminal defendants and legal services. These new programs will make up to $2.4 million in federal funding available to researchers. Read the full story.

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

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