Congratulations! César Vargas Just Became New York’s First Undocumented Lawyer

Looking for Some Table Talk & Interview Tips for this Week’s NW Public Service Career Fair?

 25083_nwpifair-logoThat’s right, folks; The NW Public Service Career Fair is just a few short days away!

 First, breathe. Next, check out these great resources from our friends at Equal Justice Works. Taking just a few minutes to check out these great (and brief) articles on how best to prep for table talk and career fair interviews will give you the confidence you need to make the best impression and meet great attorneys in the process!

 For complete details on the fairs this Friday and Saturday please visit: http://law.lclark.edu/student_groups/public_service_career_fairs/

 Looking forward to seeing you there!

 -the Center for Public Service Law

Equal Justice Works has new summer funding opportunities!

c4ca2-6a00d8341bfae553ef01b8d1022e63970c-800wiEqual Justice Works is excited to announce the Rural Summer Legal Corps program which connects public interest law students with LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities. 

Applications must be submitted by February 29 for the 31 positions open nationwide. Participants must complete 300 hours of service by August 31, 2016 to receive the $4,000 stipend.

More information can be found below and at www.rurallegalcorps.org. Please share this opportunity with any students who may be interested! Questions can be directed toruralcorps@equaljusticeworks.org.

SERVICE

The Rural Summer Legal Corps program will operate between May-August 2016. Participants will begin the summer with intensive training from poverty law experts on housing, domestic violence, public benefits, migrant farmworkers, Native American, and family law. After the training, the law students will travel directly to their host site to begin their 8-10 week placement.

Participants will build their legal skills in various areas, such as direct legal services, outreach and education, and capacity building.

OPEN POSITIONS

Position descriptions and more information on the Legal Aid Providers can be found on our website. Applications must be submitted here by February 29.

César Vargas Just Became New York’s First Undocumented Lawyer

05-cesar-vargas-w529-h352After a nearly three-year wait, a five-judge panel in New York ruled this week that César Vargas — a native of Mexico and longtime New Yorker — can be admitted to practice law in the state he’s called home since he was 5, even though he remains an undocumented immigrant. The unanimous decision can be read as a huge win for DREAMers, who have faced some tough opposition in Congress and the courts — just last week, a federal appeals court in Texas refused to block a February ruling that effectively halted President Obama’s plan to ease restrictions on millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

But Vargas’s case was chiefly a state matter. And boiled down to its basics, the judges faced a rather simple question: Does the fact of Vargas’s undocumented status reflect in any way on his “character and fitness” to practice law in New York? The court ruled conclusively:

We find that the undocumented status of an individual applicant does not, alone, suggest that the applicant is not possessed of the qualities that enable attorneys to vigorously defend their client’s interests within the bounds of the law, nor does it suggest that the applicant cannot protect, as an officer of the court, the rule of law and the administration of justice.

The judges reached this conclusion rather easily. They deferred to the bar committee’s “stellar” rating of Vargas, determined that he met all the statutory requirements to become an attorney, and found “no rational basis” that his immigration status “reflects adversely on his competence to practice law in the State of New York.”

Continue reading here. Photo credit: Donald Bowers/2013 Getty Images