Volunteering is Good for You, EJW Fellowships Reminder, Public Interest at Private Firms, Understanding and Dismantling Privilege & the Charitable Industrial Complex

Volunteering Good for Health

New Study Finds that Volunteering is Good for Your Health & Well Being

Whether you’re a law student, lawyer, other legal professional or community member, do you ever wonder how and whether you can fit pro bono in your busy life? Think that adding pro bono to your long list of to-dos will add stress to your life? Think again. This new study reveals that do any kind of volunteer work is good for your health and overall quality of life.

“We now know people who volunteer feel better—physically, mentally and emotionally better. And our volunteers tell us that they are convinced their health is better because of the things they do when they volunteer. People who volunteer manage their stress better and feel a stronger connection to their communities. In all of the pathways we take to good health, being a volunteer can help to make a meaningful difference.” Read the report by United Health Group here.

Reminder! 2014 Equal Justice Works Post Grad Fellowships is Now Open

Screen shot 2013-04-03 at 1.49.27 PM

The application period for the 2014 Equal Justice Works Fellowships is now open and will close at 5 p.m. EDT on September 17. Each year the Equal Justice Works Fellowship competition selects qualified and passionate lawyers who have developed new and innovative legal projects that can impact lives and serve communities in desperate need of legal assistance.

Depending on funding, they are able to provide between 45-55 two-year fellowships annually. Fellows receive a competitive salary, generous loan repayment assistance, connections to their prominent sponsors and leaders of the private and public interest bars, participation in trainings, and additional support during their two-year tenure.


Apply to the program 

Alternative Public Interest: Can I Do Public Interest Work in Law Firm?


July 9, 2013- PSJD blog, by Kristian Smith

When many law students and new lawyers are beginning to plan for their careers, they usually have to make a choice between working at a law firm or practicing public interest work. While law firms and public interest work are typically viewed as mutually exclusive, there are many ways for law students and new lawyers to do public interest work while still gaining training and experience at a law firm.

Many large, traditional law firms now have opportunities for attorneys to work on public interest projects while still receiving the training and resources that come along with large firms. With OCI and summer associate hiring fast-approaching, this is something for law students to keep in mind when looking for jobs.

Erica Knievel Songer, an associate at Hogan Lovells, has had a unique experience as a law-firm associate who has been able to spend much of her time at the firm working solely on pro bono projects. Songer said that Hogan’s pro bono practice has a rotation process for junior and senior attorneys to work solely on public interest work for a year at a time.  She said that she has been able to work on many different types of cases – from housing to voting rights – and that her firm encourages all attorneys to practice pro bono work. She said that doing public interest work at a law firm, as opposed to a non-profit or legal services agency, provides a wealth of resources that make it easier to make a difference in the lives of others.

Continue reading Part I of this two-part series here. To read Part II click here.

Understanding and Dismantling Privilege


The White Privilege Conference and The Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion are proud to announce the publication of Vol. 3, No. 1, of Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, their free, open access, online journal.

Papers in this issue include original research, teaching and facilitation tools, and creative works.

You will find Norma Johnson’s highly requested poem that she shared at WPC 14: A poem for my white friends. “I Didn’t Tell You” as well as research examining the intersections of class privilege and disability in the education system; a contribution to rethinking social identity development models; and a satirical poke at the “birthers” questioning President Obama’s country of birth by highlighting many previous presidents not born in the U.S. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege will both enrage and delight, sustain, assist, and nourish…

Please share news of this issue widely. Help us make this work accessible.

And please consider sharing your own work. Author guidelines are here.

The Charitable Industrial Complex

July 26, 2013- New York Times Op-Ed by Peter Buffet, picture courtesy of Open, N.Y

I HAD spent much of my life writing music for commercials, film and television and knew little about the world of philanthropy as practiced by the very wealthy until what I call the big bang happened in 2006. That year, my father, Warren Buffett, made good on his commitment to give nearly all of his accumulated wealth back to society. In addition to making several large donations, he added generously to the three foundations that my parents had created years earlier, one for each of their children to run.

Early on in our philanthropic journey, my wife and I became aware of something I started to call Philanthropic Colonialism. I noticed that a donor had the urge to “save the day” in some fashion. People (including me) who had very little knowledge of a particular place would think that they could solve a local problem. Whether it involved farming methods, education practices, job training or business development, over and over I would hear people discuss transplanting what worked in one setting directly into another with little regard for culture, geography or societal norms. Continue reading here.

Exciting Post Grad Opportunities in the NW & California Spice Things Up

Attention 2013 Grads! ACLU of Washington Hiring Policy Advocacy Fellow: Project to Protect Health Care Choices

ACLU WAThe ACLU of Washington is working to advance a comprehensive, strategic and effective education and advocacy campaign to safeguard access to medical care free from restrictions based on others’ religious doctrine. Increasingly, secular hospitals are merging with religiously affiliated ones and coming under their religious restrictions to care. The ACLU of Washington believes that no patient should be refused access to lawful health care because of the religious doctrines of the institutions running hospitals, clinics, or other medical facilities. Health care facilities open to the general public should not refuse to provide reproductive health care and end-of-life care services; nor should they discriminate against LGBT patients and families. Religious ideology should not dictate which health care services a patient may choose.

This is a one to two year, full time position to provide legal and policy research on health care mergers in Washington and to coordinate implementation of the campaign plan. The position will work with an inter-departmental team of staff lawyers and advocates and will report to the Deputy Director.

Apply today. Applications reviewed upon receipt. For complete job description and application instructions please click here.

National Juvenile Defender Center Announces Gault Fellowship Application for 2014 & Recent Law Grads

NJDCLaw students graduating in 2014 are invited to apply for a two-year juvenile indigent defense
fellowship at National Juvenile Defender Center (NJDC) in Washington, D.C. starting in
September 2014.

The Fellow will perform extensive legal work for NJDC and assist with the provision of training and technical assistance to the juvenile defense community. The Fellow will work closely with juvenile defense attorneys, public defender offices, law schools, legal clinics, and nonprofit law centers to improve access to counsel and the quality of representation for all children. The Fellow will collaborate with NJDC staff to develop legal and policy work around a broad range of juvenile defense issues. The Fellow will write reports, articles, issue briefs, and fact sheets to inform the field. The Fellow will assist in the research, writing, and crafting of amicus briefs. The Fellow will engage in public speaking and juvenile defender trainings. The Fellow will proactively initiate projects to improve the provision of justice in the juvenile delinquency system. This is not a project-based fellowship. It is internally funded.

Applications are due no later than October 15. For full job description and applciation instructions please click here.

Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California Law Foundation  Announces Public Interest Project Based Fellowship for 2014 & Recent Grads

VABANCThis Fellowship Program will fund one law graduate who will work for one year to provide legal services to and advocacy for the Vietnamese American community and/or other underserved, under resourced communities. This year, the fellow will receive $50,000.

Qualifications for applicants:

  • J.D. in hand at the beginning of the grant period (Fall 2014), awaiting bar results, or planning to take the bar exam the following summer;
  • Strong demonstrated interest and desire in working with the Vietnamese American community and/or social justice work with subordinated communities;
  • Unique life experience or other experiences in overcoming personal adversity/challenges;
  • Overall academic excellence

Application due no later than October 31. For fellowship announcement details and application instrucitons please click here.

Attention 2013 Grads! Office of Public Defense Services in Salem, OR Hiring Entry-Level Appellate PD

PDofficeAPPELLATE CRIMINAL LAW. The Appellate Division of the Office of Public Defense Services represents financially eligible persons in criminal and parole appeals before the Oregon Court of Appeals, the Oregon Supreme Court, and, on occasion, the US Supreme Court. The division is accepting applications for the Deputy Defender 1 position.

The monthly salary range is $4,858 to $6,209 plus full state employment benefits.

Applicants must be members of the Oregon State Bar in good standing or taking the July 2013 bar examination.

Applications will only be accepted via the State of Oregon Employment website. Applications accepted through August 9.

Contact info: Laura Kepford, Operations Manager, Office of Public Defense Services, 1175 Court Street NE, Salem, OR  97301 or email Laura.Kepford@opds.state.or.us

Disability Rights Advocates Announces 2-Year Post Grad Fellowship for 2014 & Recent Grads

DiDRAsability Rights Advocates (DRA) accepts applications each year from third-year law students, judicial law clerks, or recent law school graduates for the DRA Fellowship. The DRA Fellowship is regularly awarded to an exceptional candidate who is passionate about disability, civil rights, and public interest law. This is a two-year fellowship that begins in September 2014. The deadline for applying for the DRA Fellowship is January 15, 2014.

DRA evaluates candidates for DRA Fellowship opportunities in DRA’s central office in Berkeley, California, and DRA’s branch office in New York City.

For complete fellowship description and application instructions please click here.

AILA New Member Lunch for Law Students, Loren Miller Bar Summer of Success Dinner, ALCU Northwest Conference & $$ for UW Law Students for October EJW Conference & Career Fair

August 1- American Immigration Lawyers Association Lunch for Law Students

AILAThe American Immigration Lawyers Association New Members Division would like to invite Seattle area law students who are interested in immigration law to attend our upcoming lunch gathering on 8/1/13 at Fado (801 1st Ave Seattle).  We hope to hold monthly informal lunch gatherings throughout the year and welcome individuals who would like to learn about what practicing immigration law as a new lawyer is like.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is the national association of over 11,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. AILA Member attorneys represent U.S. families seeking permanent residence for close family members, as well as U.S. businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace. AILA Members also represent foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis. Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 38 chapters and over 50 national committees.

Visit the AILA Washington Chapter here.

August 8- Loren Miller Bar Association Summer of Success Dinner

LMBAOriginally formed in Seattle in 1968 as the Loren Miller Bar Club, and officially renamed as the Loren Miller Bar Association in 1997, LMBA is at its core a civil rights organization, focused on addressing the issues of race, and social and economic disparities that affect the African-American community. LMBA was named after Loren Miller, the famed civil rights attorney who successfully argued Shelley v. Kramer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948). Read more about history of the LMBA here.

Date and Time:
Thursday, August 8, 2013 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Island Soul Restaurant
4869 Rainier Ave S. Seattle, WA 98118

Cost: Attorneys – $60 & Free for students

Please RSVP by August 1st to amenajefferson@gmail.com

September 26-27- Save the Date! ACLU Northewest Conference

ACLU_NWCONF_webLocation: Lewis & Clark Law School, 10015 S.W. Terwilliger Boulevard, Portland

Presented by the ACLU of Oregon, the Lewis & Clark Law School ACLU Student Group, and the Oregon Justice Resource Center.

The fourth annual conference brings together law students, legal  professionals and civil libertarians from around the region to explore  current civil liberty issues.


General Information:   The keynote address will be on Thursday, September 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Three panels will take place between 10 am and 5 pm on Friday, September 27, 2013. All events will take place on the Lewis & Clark Law School campus. Lunch will be provided on Friday, and a reception with appetizers and refreshments will follow the panels. Click here for general conference information.

Keynote:   Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU and Director of the ACLU’s Center for Justice, will deliver this year’s keynote address on the topic of Mass Incarceration: Race, Justice and Jim Crow. Ms. Gupta’s work is very impressive, and we are honored to host her. Read more by and about Ms. Gupta here.


Friday will feature three panel discussions followed by a reception where light appetizers and refreshments will be served. The topics up for discussion are:

  • Marijuana Reform and the War on Drugs;
  • Fourth Amendment and Privacy: Big Brother is Watching; and
  • Can We Have Police Accountability 

Click here for more information

Cost:   $45 for attorneys and $10 for students. 


October 25-26- Equal Justice Works Conference & Career Fair Update

EJW logoWe hope you will join us for the 2013 Conference and Career Fair!

Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26

Crystal Gateway Marriott
1700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202

Event Overview      Travel and Accommodations       Employer List

The event schedule, including workshop sessions, and more details will be forthcoming on the EJW website.

Attention UW Law Students!

As usual, the Center for Public Service Law will be able to provide travel stipends of up to $450 for a limited number of UW Law students wishing to attend the conference and career fair.  Stay tuned for a future announcement with information about how to apply for a stipend, including deadlines and priorities for granting stipends.  

EJW conferenceImportant Dates

August 13- September 12: Student and recent graduate registration and application

September 13- October 11: Student and recent graduate registration (for those not applying or seeking an interview)

September 19- October 3: Employer application review and interview selection

September 19- October 8: Student and recent graduate accept/decline interview invitations

Volunteers Needed for LBAW Immigration Clinic, IACHR Expresses Concern over Solitary Confinement in US, New Report on Affordable Housing Strategies & Seattle Times Editorial and Frontline Documentary on Rape of Migrant Farmworker Women

Volunteers Still Needed for July 28 Immigration Legal Clinic at Hispanic SeaFair

LBAWlogoThe Latina/o Bar Association of Washington (LBAW)  is still in need of attorney and non-attorney (aka law students) volunteers to help out at the Immigration Legal Clinic to be held during Hispanic SeaFair THIS Sunday, July 28th.  Volunteers are asked to arrive 30 minutes early at 1:30 p.m.  Your help would be much appreciated!

Law student volunteers are needed for help with intakes and interpretation.

When? 2-4pm, Sunday,  July 28

Where? Seattle Center, Next 50 Pavillion

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Expresses Concern over Excessive Use of Solitary Confinement in the United States

IACHR logo

July 18, 2013, Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its concern as to the causes of a widespread hunger strike taking place in high number of prisons across the State of California, which allegedly originated as a form of protest against the exessive use of solitary confinement. The IACHR urges federal and state authorities to take the necessary measures to bring about the resolution of this situation and to restrict the use of solitary confinement of prisoners in accordinace with the international human rights standards. Continue reading full press release here.

New NY Appleseed Report: “Preserving Affordable Housing in  Gentrifying Neighborhoods: Strategies to Prevent Displacement

AppleseedThis is an exciting and comprehensive overview of federal, state and local housing program tools for advocates.

To address growing concerns with gentrification in NYC, this manual compiles known strategies for preserving affordable housing -tools currently available in NY and tools available only in other jurisdictions which community-based groups, legislators and policy makers may wish to consider.

Make no mistake, this manual will be immensely useful for affordable housing advocates across the country.

This manual outlines preservation tools that can apply to a wide range of properties, irrespective of whether they presently participate in an affordable housing program. In the “Practical Application” sections the authors note the specific issues that the programs at issue can address most effectively.

Specific affordable housing programs discussed include:
•Section 8 programs
•Rent regulation
•Section 236
•Section 202 fi nancing
•Low Income Housing Tax Credits
•Other HUD funding

Read and download the full manual for free here.

Seattle Times Editorial: Stop sexual harassment in U.S. agriculture

Rape in the FieldsRape and sexual assault in U.S. agricultural settings across rural America, from fields to processing plants, is drawing overdue attention

July 18, 2013–The enduring legacy of a recent PBS “Frontline” documentary will be the light shed on a subject deep in the shadows: sexual assault in the U.S. agricultural industry.

From the nation’s largest apple-growing operation, northwest of Yakima, to the citrus groves of Florida, women have been assaulted for generations.

“Rape in the Fields” details the human, legal and economic issues at play and, most important, sends the message the behavior will no longer occur with anonymous impunity. Read more here.

Watch Rape in the Fields on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Announcing Entry-Level Post Grad Positions Galore

Northwest Justice Project Hiring Staff Attorney for Homeless Legal Services Project in Tacoma

NJPThe Homeless Legal Services Project is a partnership between NJP, Pierce County Community Connections’ Homeless programs office, and local homeless services providers. The Project’s design is to provide civil legal assistance to homeless families that are targeted to resolve issues most likely to preserve existing housing or assist families in becoming re-housed. Areas of legal services delivery will involve publically subsidized and private landlord-tenant disputes; other housing-related problems including deposit, tenant screening, and credit check issues; public benefits and healthcare; consumer; background checks, other administrative disqualifications from employment, driver’s license reinstatement; and other issues experienced by homeless clients.

Applicants should have experience either in law practice or clinic settings in assisting low income, homeless, mentally ill, or similarly marginalized populations; a demonstrated commitment to equal justice for low income communities; and a desire to work in Pierce County, WA. This project is grant funded for a three-year period and any commitment to employment at the end of three years is dependent on grant renewal or the availability of other funds.

APPLICATIONS:  Email a cover letter, resume and references by August 23, 2013 to Bridgette Murphy: bridgettem@nwjustice.org re: Homeless Legal Services position. For complete application info and details please click here.

Disability Rights Washington Seeking Entry-Level Civil Litigation Attorney in Seattle

DRWDisability Rights Washington (DRW), a private non-profit organization advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, seeks a civil litigation attorney for an entry level position.  All candidates should have significant interest and experience in working with people with disabilities.

The attorney will conduct legal research, writing, and advocacy to support DRW’s class actions and other impact litigation.  Additionally, the attorney will work collaboratively with other DRW staff, co-counsel, and advocacy partners to engage in creative, multimodal advocacy strategies to achieve social justice for Washingtonians with psychiatric, developmental, sensory, and physical disabilities.

DRW is designated by the governor as the independent federally mandated protection and advocacy system for Washington State.  As such, DRW promotes, expands, and protects the human and civil rights of people with disabilities.

Excellent research and writing skills, academic performance, and references are required. Attorneys with disabilities and attorneys with bilingual fluency are strongly encouraged to apply. DRW is an equal opportunity employer.

Deadline for submissions is August 12, 2013. For complete application instructions please click here.

Post-Grad Fellowship at Human Rights Watch

HRWAlan R. and Barbara D. Finberg Fellowship – Established in memory of Alan R. and Barbara D. Finberg, early supporters of Human Rights Watch (“HRW”), this fellowship is open to recent graduates (at the Master’s level) in the fields of law, journalism, international relations, or other relevant studies. Fellows typically work full-time in Human Rights Watch’s New York or Washington, D.C. office or in some instances in another location.

Fellows monitor human rights developments in various countries, conduct on-site investigations, draft reports on human rights conditions, and engage in advocacy and media outreach aimed at publicizing and curtailing human rights violations.

Applicants must demonstrate a strong background in international human rights and be committed to building a career in human rights. Research experience, including experience conducting interviews, ideally in the context of human rights research, is required. Field experience in human rights work is strongly desirable. Applicants must have exceptional analytic skills and excellent oral and written communications skills in English. Proficiency in one language in addition to English is strongly desired as is familiarity with countries or regions where serious human rights violations occur.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: OCTOBER 16, 2013. For complete info and application instructions please click here.

The Defender Assocation’s Racial Disparity Project Seeks to Sponsor a 2014 Project Based Fellow


The Defender Association’s Racial Disparity Project (RDP) is seeking to sponsor a public interest legal fellowship applicant. The opportunity is for those who wish to begin working in Fall 2014.

We invite people who are passionate about policy and legal issues that are affecting low-income individuals, communities of color, and people involved in the criminal justice system. We are looking for individuals who can work independently, innovatively, and passionately to effect change on a systemic level. Fellows are essential to the RDP’s work. Because the RDP is leanly staffed grant-funded project, fellows take on significant projects that move the RDP’s mission forward in leaps and bounds. This is an exciting opportunity for recent law school graduates and young lawyers to work in a progressive-minded environment.

Examples of appropriate public interest law fellowships to apply to include, but are not limited to:
-Equal Justice Works Fellowship, Application Deadline: 9/17/2013
-Skadden Fellowship, Application Deadline: 10/7/2013
-Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship, Application Deadline: 10/23/2013

Check details on Symplicity and for more info contact Anita Khandelwal at anita.khandelwal@defender.org.

Washington Gender and Justice and Minority Justice Commissions Seeking Program Coordinator

WA AOCThe WA AOC has a job opening for someone who understands issues of equity and access to the justice system, has skills thinking and talking about the ways in which institutionalized racism and sexism manifest in the legal system, and would like to work in Seattle/Olympia, WA.

This position coordinates/staffs the Gender and Justice and Minority Justice Commissions out of the Administrative Office of the Courts.  This position works closely with Chief Justice of Washington’s Supreme Court, Justice Barbara Madsen.

The job description doesn’t really capture the fun and the potential of the job, which is working with some very dedicated judges, attorneys and advocates on these commissions to create educational programs, and further the work of these very important commissions.   Someone with organizational development, grant writing, diversity/anti-oppression training experience, and collaboration-building skills would be well-positioned to apply. Being an attorney is not necessary; but the ability to talk with judges is a requirement. The person has to spend some time in the Olympia office each week, but the possibility of working offsite in Seattle part of the time is potentially negotiable.

Act now!  The application deadline is July 26th.

Reclaiming Prosperity Speaker Series, National Teleconference on Drones, & Extrajudicial Killings and Save the Date for October Workers’ Rights Conference

July 25-  Reclaiming Prosperity Speaker Series with Manuel Pastor

ReclaimingProsperity-e1366910971400Can ensuring everyone has an equal chance at success actually lead to prosperity? Or do we have to trade fairness and equity for economic growth? Join University of Southern California professor Manuel Pastor for a discussion of “Just Economics” in the new Reclaiming Prosperity speaker series.

A self-described “nerd for social justice,” Pastor believes “The American story is a story of individuals and what they do to get ahead, but it’s also a story of the public policies we put in place so people can realize their dreams… and told that way, I think we can make more change in this country.”

This dynamic conversation with Manuel Pastor will take place downstairs at Town Hall Seattle on July 25 at 7:30 pm. In Just Economics: Equity and Prosperity in a Changing Nation Pastor will delve into what equity means and how reconnecting people can be the key to smart growth.

Manuel Pastor is a professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is a well-known economist and expert on immigration, workforce demographics and urban and regional movements for equity, economic opportunity, and growth. His recent books include, Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions, and This Could Be the Start of Something Big: How Social Movements for Regional Equity are Transforming Metropolitan America.

This is the third event in a new and ongoing speaker series called Reclaiming Prosperity, focused on transforming our economy and building a prosperous future for working people and their families.

To purchase your $5 tickets and learn more visit www.townhallseattle.org or www.reclaimingprosperity.org.

The series is presented by Town Hall Seattle, in partnership with Citizen University, True Patriot Network, The Washington Budget & Policy Center, The University of Washington School of Law, OneAmerica, Working Washington, SEIU Healthcare 775NW, Fuse Washington, The Progress Alliance of Washington and The Stranger.

July 25- Drones: Extrajudicial Killings A Frank Disscussion on National and International Implications of the U.S. Drones Program

ABA section of internat law

A free non-CLE teleconference proudly presented by ABA Section of International Law International Human Rights Committee

Thursday, July 25, 2013
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM US EDT  –
By teleconference only


The U.S. Drone Program has been subject of much debate. Join our experts in a riveting assessment of the program’s targetted killings conducted extrajudically without due process. What are the national and international implications of the U.S. Drone Program? What is the impact to U.S. citizens and the international community at large?

Moderator:  Ronald J. Bettauer, International Litigator and Arbitrator, former Deputy Legal Advisor U.S. Department of State


Amos N. Guiora, Professor and Co-Director, Center For Global Justice, University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law; author of Legitimate  Target: A Criteria-Based Approach to Targeted Killing (Oxford University Press)

Kate Martin, Director Litigation Project, Center for National Security Studies; Professorial Lecturer George Washington University School of Law; former general counsel to the National Security Archive, a research library located at George        Washington University

Gabor Rona, International Legal Director of Human Rights First, former Legal Advisor in the Legal Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva

Gary Solis, Professor of Law, Georgetown Law School and Washington University Law School. Retired Professor of Law, U.S. Military Academy

Save the Date! October 25-26- 15th Annual Law Student Workers’ Rights Conference 

labor-unionThe Conference Center of the Maritime Institute, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

Keynote Speaker: Craig Becker, AFL-CIO

Friday Evening Film & Discussion: The Dignity & Worth of Labor    A showing of the film Trash Dance, followed by discussion

Much More: With multiple interactive workshops, panel discussions and  keynote  address, the conference will give each participant additional  insight into becoming  an advocate for workers and their families.  Students will:

  • gain a greater understanding of, appreciation for and interest in the issues  facing American workers;
  • supplement their labor and workers’ rights courses; and
  • network with fellow law students, top labor attorneys, professors, nonprofit  practitioners and government officials.

To register click here. Please review these links before completing your registration for the conference:

Interntional Human Rights Training in Italy, Sweatshops Don’t Just Happen, Less $$ for Legal Aid for Poor, SNAP Benefits Uncertain & New Complaint Mechanism for Consumers

Call for Applications: International Human Rights Protection Mechanisms

Partners for Human RightsThe Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights and American University Washington College of Law, are organizing the first training on International Human Rights Protection Mechanisms, to be held in Florence, Italy from September 9 to 14, 2013. The deadline to submit applications is August 2, 2013. The training will gather practitioners from different protection mechanisms who will have the chance to share their experiences and lessons learned, both in using international mechanisms and working for their improvement.

Among the trainers there will be key actors of each protection mechanism, such as the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the UN, Mr. Frank La Rue, the Chair of the Committee Against Torture and Chair of Treaty Bodies from OHCHR, Dean Claudio Grossman, and former Executive Secretary of the Inter American Commission on Human Rights, Santiago A. Canton, among others.

For complete info about the training in Italy please click here.

Sweatshops Don’t Just Happen- They’re a Policy

candlesOp-Ed By David L. Wilson, Truthout

On May 5, The New York Times dedicated its “Sunday Dialogue” feature to letters about the factory collapse in Bangladesh that had killed more than 1,100 garment workers a week and a half earlier. The “dialogue” started with a letter from University of Michigan business school professor Jerry Davis, who apportioned blame for the disaster to “the owners of the building and the factories it contained, to the government of Bangladesh, to the retailers who sold the clothing,” and to us. Through “[o]ur willingness to buy garments sewn under dangerous conditions,” he wrote, we “create the demand that underwrites these tragedies.”

There’s a striking omission in Prof. Davis’ list – the people whose policies make the sweatshop economy possible.

For more than three decades, US politicians, think tanks and columnists have promoted an economic program known in most of the world as neoliberalism. Here in North America, we use nicer-sounding terms like “free markets,” “free trade” and “globalization,” but the effect on developing nations is the same.

Trade agreements like NAFTA slash the tariffs that once protected local farmers from competition with the industrialized world’s government-subsidized agribusinesses. Driven off the land by cheap imports, the farmers find themselves in cities already filled with workers whose jobs were eliminated by privatization and austerity, policies that international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed as loan conditions. Meanwhile, the same trade agreements that have thrown millions of desperate jobseekers onto the labor market also make it cost-effective for multinational corporations to transfer factory work from their own countries to the Global South. Continue reading here.

US Spending Less and Less on Legal Aid for Poor

budget-cutOp-Ed by Gene Johnson for the Associated Press

The U.S. government is increasingly cutting money for legal defense for the poor — making the right to counsel, a constitutional guarantee, an even more challenging promise to keep.

High-profile cases have been affected by widespread budget cuts. In New York, the trial of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law was delayed because the public defenders representing him had to take unpaid time off. The lawyers for the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect have faced unpaid time off as well.

And with staffing cuts causing delays in cases, defendants who can’t afford a lawyer may have to spend more time in custody — raising concerns about the right to a speedy trial. Read more of this AP article here.

Farm Bill Passed Without SNAP (aka Food Stamps)

SNAPOp-Ed by Housing is a Human Right Blog

On July 11th, House Republicans devised a way to push through farm subsidies while avoiding making a decision on SNAP, a program that 47 million Americans rely on for sustenance. Republicans stripped SNAP from the Farm Bill, marking the first time that food stamps have not been part of the Farm Bill since 1973 and ending the uneasy but expedient coalition whereby “farm-state lawmakers went along with food stamps to keep the crop subsidies flowing [and] urban lawmakers did the reverse.” The future of SNAP is now perilously uncertain, as a future House bill focusing solely on SNAP will likely include even more massive spending cuts that deny life-sustaining benefits to millions of Americans, including families with young children. Continue reading here.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Puts Companies on Notice About Harmful Debt Collection Practices

CFPBThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) put companies on notice through bulletins advising that all companies under Bureau jurisdiction will be held accountable for unlawful conduct in collecting a consumer’s debts. The CFPB also announced that it is now accepting debt collection complaints and is publishing action letters for consumers to consider using in corresponding with debt collectors. Read the full announcement here.