Are them some changes that need to made to the legal profession?

Legal Aid, Law Firms & Lawyers of Color by Steve Grumm

A recent New York Times op-ed, “The Case for Black Doctors,” looked at the relatively small number of black physicians in the US and argued that this “dearth of black doctors” is a contributing factor causing alarmingly poor health measurements in African American communities.

The article got me thinking about the legal world, and in particular about legal aid lawyers, who serve relatively large percentages of clients of color.  To be clear: comparing the delivery of medical services and legal services, to say nothing of measuring outcomes, is not even an apples/oranges comparison.  It’s apples/aardvarks.  So the op-ed, which is worth reading in its own right, just served to spur thought for me about things closer to home.

Nonetheless the general idea of client communities of color benefiting when they are able to interface with lawyers of color, a point the op-ed author makes about patients and doctors, makes sense to me.  With that in mind I went hunting for data.  I hope to do more thinking on this later, but for now the data looks like this…

Continue reading here.

Attention Class of 2017! Interested in a Post Grad Judicial Clerkships?

 A judicial clerkship is a highly rewarding and intellectually satisfying job. Judicial clerks sharpen their research and writing skills, are exposed to a variety of legal issues, and gain insight into the entire litigation process.

 To learn more about judicial clerkships, please read the Judicial Clerkship Manual and  sign up for UW Law’s Class of 2017 judicial clerkship mailing list by going to this page https://mailman1.u.washington.edu/mailman/listinfo/judicialclerkships-2017 and following the instructions. We often send information about judicial clerkships to this mailing list rather than the entire student body. 

OSCAR (https://oscar.uscourts.gov), the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review, which many federal court judges use for law clerk recruitment, is now open to the Class of 2017 for read-only access. You may register for an account, manage your applicant profile, upload application documents, and research openings. You will gain full access on August 1, 2015 at which time you will be able to submit applications for available positions. Please note that OSCAR will be unavailable from June 8 through June 15 to implement software enhancements.

USHRN Human Rights Hearing Report Released!

Serious violations of human rights are occurring across the United States, and they too often go under the radar. Issues of racial discrimination are rarely discussed within the context of human rights in the United States, especially their aggravation at the intersection of race and poverty. Environmental racism and access to repro – ductive health are downplayed as human rights issues at home, yet they feature pervasively in the lives of people most directly impacted by injustice. The everyday violence against transgender people and immigrant communities do not often make the front page of newspapers. And the police violence we would call torture anywhere else around the globe is called police brutality here. That was the impetus for USHRN holding the human rights hearings across the United States that are documented in this report.

Continue reading Testimonies of Human Rights at Home: Documenting Injustice in the United States! The report summarizes findings from hearings in NM, AZ, New Orleans, Detroit & Rio Grande Valley.

We don’t need fewer lawyers. We need cheaper ones. by Martha Bergmark (The Washington Post)

In 2014, a Louisiana woman, J., landed in court after a dispute with her landlord over a $25 parking fee. J., 52, was suffering from cancer and did not have an attorney. The court ruled against her, and ordered her to vacate her home within 24 hours.

J.’s case, which was later taken on by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, sounds extreme, but for someone who can’t afford legal counsel, the outcome isn’t surprising. The sad reality is that many Americans facing the loss of a home, family or livelihood are going it alone in civil court, and they’re losing.

In well over two thirds of critical cases in America’s civil courts, people appear without a lawyer, even though the stakes are often just as high as in criminal proceedings. Many people suffer crushing losses in court not because they’ve done something wrong, but simply because they don’t have legal help.

The future of the legal profession is unclear. Student loan debt for law graduates now averages $84,000 for public law schools and $122,000 for private law schools, reflecting the dramatic rise in the cost of attending law school in the past three decades. Despite the growing costs for students, long-term job prospects have become less certain. One study found that among 2010 law school graduates, 20 percent hold jobs that don’t require a law degree. Only 40 percent are employed by law firms, where the financial returns are highest.

Continue reading here.