Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter: Monday, September 19, 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

The Constitution and Gay Marriage

Wednesday, September 21, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., 5052

The UNC Center on the Law and Government will host a dialogue on a proposed amendment to the N.C. Constitution that would outlaw gay marriage. The dialogue will feature two prominent state lawmakers: Paul Stam, the House Republican leader, who introduced the proposed amendment in the House; and Rick Glazier, the House Minority Whip, who opposes the proposed amendment. Professor Michael Gerhardt will moderate the discussion.

Public Interest Peer Mentor Program - Brown Bag Lunch Meet-up!

Wednesday, September 28, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m., Boardroom 5003

Mentors and mentees: join us for the welcoming event of the Public Interest Peer Mentor Program! Take this opportunity to meet your mentor or mentee as well as other UNC Law students interested in a career (or exploring a career) in public interest! Bring a lunch and we'll provide drinks and desserts. We'll email you before the event with the name of your mentor/mentee match! Look forward to meeting you there!

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development General Information Session

Wednesday, September 28, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Career Services Office, 4055

Linda Cruciani (JD '85) and Susan Campbell (JD, MRP '98) will be in the Career Services Office to meet with third-year students to discuss the entry level attorney hiring program at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Linda is Deputy General Counsel for Operations in the headquarters office in Washington, D.C. Susan is Chief Counsel in the Greensboro, NC office. Come by to meet and talk with these two great alums.

Read further for more information about the HUD Legal Honors Program. The deadline for application is Friday, October 28, 2011. If you have any questions, please contact Holly Bryan in the CSO at hmbryan@unc.edu or 919.843.9918.

John Atlas: ACORN and American Democracy

Wednesday, September 28, 6:00 p.m., Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library

John Atlas, acclaimed author of Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Antipoverty Organizing Group, will speak at Wilson Library’s Pleasants Family Assembly Room on September 28 at 6.

Seeds of Change , published by Vanderbilt University Press in 2010, is the inside story about how ACORN built the most effective antipoverty organization in the country by reinventing the field of community organizing and how its success made it a target for conservative activists.

Robert Kuttner, co-founder of The American Prospect, called Seeds of Change, the "definitive book on one of the most effective grassroots organizations of low income Americans…. John Atlas combines scholarship, political insight, and powerful narrative writing in this essential book."

Atlas, a public interest lawyer, writer, radio talk-show host, and organizer, is a founder and current president of the National Housing Institute, which publishes Shelterforce. His work has appeared in numerous places including, The American Prospect, The Huffington Post, Star Ledger, The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Tikkun, The Nation, Dissent, and Social Policy.

Please join John Atlas at a reception in his honor at 5:30. The talk will begin at 6. Both events are free and open to the public. Co-hosted by the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity and the Center for Urban and Regional Studies. Questions? Call the Poverty Center at 919.843.8796. Atlas blogs at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-atlas/ and at http://blog.nj.com/njv_john_atlas/index.html

"Gasland" Sceening and Fracking Forum

Thursday, September 29, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m., 5042

The Environmental Law Project will host a screening of a 30-minute clip from the documentary "Gasland" followed by a 30-minute discussion on hydraulic fracturing by a UNC Law environmental law professor.

Other Public Interest Events

UNC Public Service Fair

Wednesday, September 21, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., The Pit near UNC Student Stores

Attend the UNC Public Service Fair to learn about volunteer and internship opportunities with area nonprofits! While there, pick up lunch from Hunger Lunch for $3 - all you can eat beans, rice, and cornbread. All proceeds benefit a sustainable nutrition project in a developing community. For more information, contact the Carolina Center for Public Service at ccps@unc.edu.

NC NAACP CLE: Education, Expectations, and Incarceration: A Look at How Resegregation, High-Stakes Testing, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline Marginalize our Children

Wednesday, October 12, 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., High Point, NC

The NC NAACP will host the Fifth Annual Romallus O. Murphy CLE in High Point, NC this fall. Four hours of CLE have been requested from the North Carolina State Bar. Registration and lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the CLE will last from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, call NC NAACP at 1.866.NC.NAACP or visit their website at www.naacpnc.org.

The Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law (APIEL) Conference

October 20-23, University of Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville, TN

Registration is now open for the 2nd annual Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law (APIEL) conference at the University of Tennessee College of Law. APIEL welcomes law and policy students, attorneys, community activists, scientists, and policy experts for a weekend of workshops and panels focused on exchanging information and fostering collaboration on the most critical environmental justice issues of our time.

Topics include: the basics of mountaintop removal and strip mining; citizen enforcement of Tennessee water law; future of coal in the Tennessee Valley; "Lands Unsuitable for Mining": citizen victories; mountaintop removal mining and public health; creating mineral tax trust funds for economic diversification; activist-attorney relations; "know your rights" as activists and as the attorneys who represent them.

The APIEL conference hopes to create a common ground for community organizers, lawyers and researchers to communicate, educate each other and have fun. For students, APIEL is a chance to network with leading lawyers, professionals, and community activists whose are fighting for environmental justice and economic transition in central Appalachia. A complete list of workshops and panels will soon be available at www.apiel.org.

The attendance fee for the conference is $65 for Thursday through Sunday, which includes pizza on Thursday night. All other meals, transportation and lodging are the responsibility of the participant. Participants who are only attending part of the conference may pay by the day. Please note that need-based conference registration scholarships can be applied for through your registration form, and they will be granted on a first-come-first-serve basis to those who qualify.

Visit www.apiel.org for more information.

Post-Graduate Employment Opportunities

Equal Justice Works: Registration Ends Today!

The Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair is being held on October 21-22, 2011 in Washington, DC. The opportunity to register for the Conference and Career Fair with the ability to apply for interview spots closes today. Students interested in seeking interviews must register today and go online to submit their resumes and other job materials to be considered for an interview. For more information, visit http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/law-school/conference-and-careerfair/students. Register online.

Public Defender Corps: Application Deadline Extended!

Equal Justice Works and the Southern Public Defender Training Center (SPTDC) have launched a new initiative, the Public Defender Corps. Across the country, public defender offices are underfunded, understaffed and burdened with insurmountable caseloads. With too few public defenders handling too many cases, those who cannot afford representation are being denied their fundamental right to counsel, and many are languishing in jail at taxpayers’ expense. Public Defender Corps will provide intensive training and mentoring to new attorneys with the goal of supporting the public defender community and raising the standard of representation across the country. The inaugural class of 18 Public Defender Corps members has completed their training and joined offices in Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucket, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Approximately 14 Fellowship positions will be available in 2012.

The application deadline for the Public Defender Corps has been extended to September 30 at 5:00 pm. For more information about the Public Defender Corps and how to apply, visit http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/post-grad/public-defender-corps.

2011-2012 Guide to Internships & Fellowships in Reproductive Rights and Justice

Back by popular demand, Law Students for Reproductive Justice is pleased to share the latest edition of the2011-12 Guide to Internships & Fellowships in Reproductive Rights & Justice. View to the 2011-2012 Guide.

This one-of-a-kind tool can help guide interested law students toward summers, semesters, or careers in reproductive justice advocacy. Public interest and career service counselors, professors, mentors, and students alike can use the Guide to identify, target, and apply for pre- and post-graduate professional training opportunities. The Guide contains listings for legal internships and fellowships at75 non-profit organizations across the country. The opportunities range from local grassroots education to state court litigation to federal policy advocacy to the analysis of international legal norms.

Current Pro Bono Opportunities

Current Pro Bono Projects

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 UNCProBonoProjects@gmail.com.

Individual Projects:

  • Interviewing, Research, and Document Review Assistance, Glenn, Mills, Fisher, & Mahoney P.A. - Durham, NC
  • National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) Research AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women - Washington D.C.

Upcoming Pro Bono Events

Fall Break Wills Project Interest Meeting

Wednesday, September 21, 12:00 p.m. to 12:50 p.m., 4085

Attend this interest meeting to learn more about the Fall Break Wills Trip and how to apply!

Public Service News

U.S. Census 2010 Poverty Data Released

The poverty rate in 2010 is the highest since 1993. In 2010, 15% of the population was living in poverty. Over 1 in 5 children lives in poverty. The 2010 U.S. Census Poverty Data speaks for itself. What do the numbers mean for legal services? 1 in 5 Americans qualifies for civil legal services at the legal aid offices funded by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). As John G. Levi, Chairman of the LSC Board of Directors wrote in a recent press release, 60.4 million Americans are eligible, up 3.6 million for the previous year. In this environment, legal aid offices are receiving inquiries for services at increasing rates. In addition to lobbying for greater funding, LSC is creating a Pro Bono Task Force to explore new ways to engage attorneys in pro bono projects through legal aid programs.

Proposals to Ensure Equal Access to Justice during "the Great Recession"

The Pro Bono Institute's President and Chief Executive Officer Esther Lardent has proposed seven steps to alleviate the gap between the need for legal assistance and the availability of free legal services for the poor. Here are some of her ideas: 150 mandatory pro bono hours required of all law students before graduation, assume attorneys are willing to take on pro bono cases and allow uninterested attorneys to opt out, and putting procedures in place to accurately and consistently track pro bono contributions of private attorneys. Read more about Ardent's suggestions.


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