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.