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
VDAY General Interest Meeting
Tuesday, February 22, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m, 5042
Want to help end violence against women? Miss your theater days? Come and learn how to participate with VDAY through planning, fundraising, and community outreach. We are also looking for individual's to perform in and direct this year's VDAY Performance at UNC School of Law. The VDAY performance will be held on March 23 at the law school. Read more information about the purpose of VDAY and the international VDAY organization.
UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity: A North Carolina Summit: Progress and Economic Justice in a Time of Crisis
Monday, March 28, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., George Watts Hill Alumni Center, UNC Campus
For most of the last decade, poverty rose in North Carolina - even as the economy grew. Then in 2008, with the onslaught of massive recession, the wheels came off. Poverty rates soared. More than one in six Tar Heels now live in poverty. The numbers are worse for persons of color. And, stunningly, almost a quarter of our kids are poor.
Unemployment has rocked much of the state, leading to one of the highest losses of health care coverage in the nation. In addition, the past two years have seen dramatic reductions in social services, further threatening the security, dignity and opportunity of poor and working families in North Carolina. We now face a massive state budget deficit that will likely be narrowed by fiscal decisions that place the greatest burdens on the most vulnerable. These are, in short, emergency times for poor and working people in North Carolina.
The UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity will convene a summit in Chapel Hill on March 28 to explore the dramatic challenges faced by low income North Carolinians and the crucial steps that must be taken, in the months ahead, to address them. We hope that North Carolinians from all walks of life will join us.
Speakers will include:
- Rev. Dr. William Barber, President, NC NAACP (Keynote address)
- Andrea Bazan, President, Triangle Community Foundation
- Anita Brown-Graham, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues, NC State
- Angela Bryant, Rep. District 7, NC House of Representatives
- William A. "Sandy" Darity, Professor of African-American Studies and Economics, Duke
- Chris Fitzsimon, Executive Director, NC Policy Watch
- William C. "Bill" Friday, President Emeritus, UNC
- Ferrel Guillory, Director, UNC Program on Public Life
- Bob Hall, Executive Director, Democracy North Carolina
- Jarvis Hall, Professor of Political Science, Director of Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change, NC Central; Chair, Political Action Committee, NC NAACP
- George Hausen, Executive Director, Legal Aid of North Carolina
- James H. Johnson, Jr., Director, Urban Investment Strategies Center, Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, Kenan Distinguished Professor, Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC
- Michael D. Jones, Edmund J. Safra Center, Harvard
- Melinda Lawrence, Executive Director, NC Justice Center
- Gene Nichol, Director, Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, UNC
- Timothy Tyson, Adjunct Professor of American Studies, UNC; Senior Research Scholar, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke; author of Blood Done Sign My Name
- Leslie J. Winner, Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
A full conference agenda will soon be available. Registration is $10 but hardship waivers are available. Register online.
Save the Date!
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 http://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.
Current Pro Bono Opportunities
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
Featured Posting for Summer Opportunities
Check out the the postings frequently in the Job Bank and for Resume Collects for summer opportunities in states all across the US. See a recently added posting below!
Summer 2011 Intern, Federal Public Defenders of Western NC, Charlotte, NC
Federal Defenders of Western North Carolina, Inc. ("FDWNC"), a community defender organization, seeks law students for a summer internship in the Charlotte Office. FDWNC represents indigent criminal defendants in the federal courts.
The intern will be involved in conducting legal research, drafting pleadings and memos, interviewing clients at the jail, assisting attorneys with trial preparation, and attending court proceedings. If the intern has completed one half of the required number of credits for graduation, including a course in evidence, she or he is eligible to be certified under the federal student practice rule and may represent clients on federal misdemeanor charges.
Qualified students will be adept at legal research, have strong writing skills, and have a strong interest in representing indigent clients. There is no compensation for the summer internship. Parking is not provided and a background check will be conducted.
Please send a letter of interest, resume, and a writing sample to:
Angela Parrott, First Assistant Federal Defender
Federal Defenders of Western North Carolina, Inc.
129 W. Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Featured Posting for Post Graduate Employment Opportunities
Check out the the postings frequently in the Job Bank and for Resume Collects for opportunities in states all across the US. See a recently added posting below!
Education Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center, Miami, FL
The Southern Poverty Law Center seeks a lawyer to work collaboratively with FYI's directors and staff to:
- Develop and execute campaigns to reform school discipline practices that push children into the juvenile justice system;
- Litigate education cases, including class actions, and take other legal action to protect children;
- Work collaboratively with education stakeholders, parents, elected officials, the faith-based community, and other advocacy organizations to reform Florida's educational systems
The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications:
- Law degree and barred in Florida or willing to sit for the Florida bar at the earliest opportunity;
- Demonstrated experience contributing to social justice campaigns that have used multi-pronged approaches to achieve concrete, measurable results;
- At least two (2) years of legal experience in civil rights and/or education policy;
- Initiative, vision, and a strong commitment to the struggle for social justice.
This position will be based in our Miami, FL office and provides a very competitive salary and excellent benefits, including a generous 401 (k) plan. To apply for the position, please send a cover letter, resume, and three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find the posting online.
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 at http://nalpexchange.org/home.cfm?CFID=35863430&CFTOKEN=18796325.
regularly for both summer and post-graduation opportunities.
Summer Funding Opportunities
Apply for Equal Justice Works Summer Corps 2011!
Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded program that in 2011 will provide 700 law students with the opportunity to earn a $1,132 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for dedicating their summer to a qualifying legal project at a nonprofit public interest organization. To learn more about the program please visit the new Summer Corps webpage.
Program highlights for and changes for 2011 include:
Larger Education Award: The amount of the education award has increased from $1,000 to $1,132 in 2011.
More Opportunities: More Summer Corps funding opportunities mean more opportunities for law students to get involved in the public interest field. The 2011 Summer Corps program will be our largest class to date.
Summer Corps Standouts Awards and Publicity: The Summer Corps Standout Program was started in 2009 to recognize members for their innovative approach to meeting the needs of an underserved or marginalized person or community. Winners received an article promoting their service on our public interest blog and more!
Improved Efficiency: The paperwork requirements have been drastically reduced to further improve the service experience. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is now available electronically and students are able to apply the voucher soon after they finish their service. Please check to make sure your law school is able to accept electronic transfers from the National Service Trust. If your school is not yet registered, please visit the Segal Education Award website.
The National Service Movement: National service is as important as ever and law students play an important role in bridging the justice gap. Summer Corps members have consistently reported that their summer internships solidified their commitment to public interest law, while reigniting their passion for the legal profession.
Apply for a Summer Grant from UNC Law
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. 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
Featured Blog Post: Law School Beyond the Classroom!
Many legal blogs give advice to law students about choosing a law school, getting a job, and keeping up with the current market and news of interest. The Equal Justice Works' blog, written by public interest law students, Equal Justice Works' fellows, and public interest lawyers, is written especially for those in the public interest law community! See this recent post about the need to get outside the law school classroom, especially in this economy. Tips include creating a 30-second elevator speech to use when meeting lawyers during networking events, connecting with alumni as mentors, and keeping the right attitude.
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.
Public Service News
Right to Counsel in New York Foreclosure Proceedings
The New York Times reports on civil-right-to-counsel program being unveiled in New York State foreclosure proceedings: "New York court officials outlined procedures Tuesday aimed at assuring that all homeowners facing foreclosure were represented by a lawyer, a shift that could give tens of thousands of families a better chance at saving their homes. Criminal defendants are guaranteed a lawyer, but New York will be the first state to try to extend that pledge to foreclosures, which are civil matters. There are about 80,000 active foreclosure cases in New York courts. In more than half of them, only the banks have lawyers." The program is going to launch in Queens and Orange Counties in the immediate future. By the end of the year it should be rolled out throughout the state.
Possible Cuts to Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Funding
Tracking coverage on proposals for LSC funding in the coming budget year, PSLawNet has compiled the following articles and links to stay updated:
President Obama is calling for a $30 million appropriations increase (from $420 million to $450 million), as reported by the Blog of the Legal Times. The House Appropriations Committee has proposed slashing at least $75 million from LSC funding (as reported by the National Law Journal - article may be password-protected). LSC has released a statement about the impact that proposed cuts would have on their ability to provide legal services to low-income Americans. This will certainly be an issue to watch in the coming weeks.
For more public interest law news, go to the PSLawNet blog, http://pslawnet.wordpress.com/.