Are You a Pro Bono Project Leader? Registration for the Winter Pro Bono Leadership & Advocacy Course Now Open!

Attention 2L & 3L Pro Bono Project Leaders! Registration for Winter Pro Bono Leadership & Advocacy Course is Now Open!

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Attention leaders of student-initiated pro bono service learning projects including IFAP, IMAP, SYLAW, App Help, ELS, Ed Law and any other emerging pro bono legal assistance projects!  

Get academic credit for your pro bono legal aid leadership work AND  get concrete tools and skills to apply to your day-to-day organizational leadership and management.  You can now register for our 2 credit Pro Bono Leadership & Advocacy class taught by Dean Michele Storms and Aline Carton-Listfjeld from the Center for Public Service Law. The class will meet Tuesdays, 5:30-7:20pm.

Click here for the syllabus. Registration is by instructor permission only so please email Aline Carton-Listfjeld at acarton@uw.edu to register. Ideally we’d like at least two student leaders from each student-led pro bono service learning project.

UW Project Focuses on Fines and Fees that Create “Prisoners of Debt”

By: Deborah Bach | UW Today | Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Criminals are meant to pay their debts to society through sentencing, but a different type of court-imposed debt can tie them to the criminal justice system for life and impact their ability to move forward with their lives.

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DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Though debtors’ prisons were eliminated in the United States almost two centuries ago, a modern-day version exists in the dizzyingly complex system of fines and fees levied against people as they move through the court system.

Offenders are charged for everything from DNA samples to electronic monitoring devices, jury trials and even room and board while imprisoned. The fees can add up to thousands of dollars, and those who fail to pay are routinely jailed.

Continue reading here.

Attention 3Ls and Recent Grads! Interested in Working at the Office for Civil Rights (OCR)? Get Ahead by Submitting Your Resume Early in OCR’s Resume Bank!

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The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) may be hiring in the near future and you may qualify under the Excepted Hiring Authority for Attorneys.

OCR is looking for the best and brightest to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation. If you are a highly motivated, creative individual who would like to be involved in enforcing federal civil rights laws, prohibiting discrimination and ensuring equal access to education, OCR is the place for you!

OCR maintains a resume bank from which candidates may be selected for consideration to fill vacancies for positions in OCR as they arise. OCR accepts resumes from individuals who are eligible for consideration for noncompetitive hiring via:  Schedule A Persons with Disabilities appointments (5 CFR 213.3102(u)); Veterans’ Recruitment Appointments; former Peace Corps and Americorps appointees (22 USC 2506); and Excepted Hiring Authority for Attorneys.

If you are interested in working at OCR and are eligible for consideration under any of these hiring authorities, please send your resume to OCRJobs@ed.gov.  In your email, please indicate the type of position as well as the regional office or offices for which you would like to be considered (Enforcement Offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and/or Washington DC; the Program Legal Group in Washington DC, and/or the Resource Management Group in Washington DC). For more information about OCR and our work, please see our website and our Annual Report.

OCR will keep your resume on file for possible consideration for 365 days following the date of submission. Please note, however, that the OCRJobs@ed.gov account is not staffed to respond to questions. Should you be selected for consideration, you will be contacted by OCR to confirm your continued interest. Interested candidates are encouraged to check www.usajobs.gov for OCR positions as well.

Our Gift to You: Free Debt Relief Webinar 

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By: Equal Justice Works

It’s the holidays! For law students, ‘tis the season for intense study groups, first semester finals, and (hopefully) a much-needed chance to relax after it’s all over.

We know that the holiday season can be tough. That’s why we’re offering our free monthly webinar,  “Drowning in Debt! What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know about Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness,” on Thursday, December 17, 2015 from 3:00 to 4:00 pm EDT to help student loan borrowers plan out their finances just in time for the new year! Whether you’re currently a law student, recent law graduate, or professional attorney, this webinar will provide you with the information you need to know about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, income-driven repayment plans, and more. Come check it out and learn how to manage your student debt!

New REPAYE Plan Almost Ready for Launch

The Department of Education recently announced the new income-driven REPAYE (Revised Pay As You Earn) plan will be available to borrowers in mid-December! This revamped option will cap your monthly payments at 10% of your discretionary income, and will be available to all undergraduate and graduate federal loan borrowers regardless of when the money was borrowed.

Sounds like a great plan, but there are some potential pitfalls that every savvy borrower should be aware of. We discuss some of these dangers in our latest Huffington Post blog article, “Love and Student Debt: How the New REPAYE Plan Could Affect Marriages,” and we’ll be talking in-depth about the REPAYE plan during our webinar.

We’ll be updating our free student debt e-book Take Control of Your Future to include all the in-depth information you need to know about REPAYE. Download it now to be notified of all updates!

Help Protect Public Service Loan Forgiveness

As always, we urge you to take action to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness before Congress moves forward with capping or eliminating this vital program for public service workers. In addition to coming to the December 17th webinar for the latest legislative updates, you can join  the ABA’s Save #Loan4Giveness campaign today by taking action via social media!

Washington Court Recognizes Constitutional and Public Trust Duty to Protect the Atmosphere for Present and Future Generations

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By: Our Children’s Trust

Late last night, eight Washington youth received a groundbreaking ruling from Judge Hollis Hill in their climate change lawsuit. In this landmark decision, Judge Hill declared “[the youths’] survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming…before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late.

The court confirmed what the Washington petitioners and other young people we work with across the nation have been arguing in the courts, that “[t]he state has a constitutional obligation to protect the public’s interest in natural resources held in trust for the common benefit of the people.”

Continue reading here.

New Study Raises Questions on Fairness in Harsh Prison Sentences

2016 Equal Justice Works Fellowship Applications Open!

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The application for the 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellowship is open until 5 p.m. EDT on September 18, 2015. Learn more about our fellowships and the application by:

Don’t forget to talk with Aline Carton-Listfjeld at the Center for Public Service Law before applying for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship.

Harsh Prison Sentences Swell Ranks of Lifers and Raise Questions About Fairness, Study Finds

By Deborah Bach | UW Today

Prison in Washington

Stricter state sentencing laws in Washington have swelled the ranks of inmates serving life sentences to nearly one in five.

And some lifers who opted to go to trial are serving much longer sentences than others who committed the same crimes and plea-bargained — raising questions about equitable treatment of prisoners.

Those are among the findings in a new analysis by undergraduate honors students in the University of Washington’s Law, Societies & Justice program, who sought to determine the number of lifers in Washington prisons, the legal processes that lead to life sentences and the cost of housing those inmates, many of whom will die behind bars.

Continue reading here.

Photo courtesy of David McSpadden / Flickr

Looking for a Career in Public Service or Simply More Direct Client Work? Check Out These Announcements

Are You Primarily Interested in a Career in Public Service Law? Has it Been a While Since you Last Met with Your Public Service Career Coach?

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Whether you’ve got summer plans lined up or not, now’s a great time to reconnect with your public service career coach. We can help you strategize and discuss internships, externships, fellowships, pro bono, clinics, post grad planning and beyond, not to mention interview and networking tips. Not sure who you should be meeting with? 1Ls and 2Ls should contact Assistant Director Aline Carton-Listfjeld or schedule directly in Symplicity. 3Ls should contact Assistant Dean Michele Storms.

Youth Opportunities Act Opens Doors to Thousands of Young Adults across Washington State

By Columbia Legal Services

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Photo courtesy of Abdullah üsame Deniz and StockVault.

OLYMPIA – Governor Jay Inslee plans to sign the Youth Opportunities Act (HB 1651) into law tomorrow, after years of negotiations resulted in overwhelming, bipartisan support for the bill from the Washington State Legislature. The Act will result in the sealing of 6,000-10,000 young adults’ juvenile offense records each year, allowing them to receive greater opportunities in housing, education, and employment. Championed by Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-32), and negotiated by Sen. Jeannie Darneille (D-27) and Sen. Steve O’Ban (R-32), the bill received near unanimous support in the Legislature.

“The Youth Opportunities Act eliminates a major barrier for many rehabilitated youth who can now contribute fully to their communities,” said Casey Trupin, Attorney with the Children & Youth project at Columbia Legal Services (CLS). “By supporting one of the biggest juvenile justice reforms in decades, the Legislature has offered a path for young adults to pursue education, employment, and housing.” For four years, CLS has worked closely with partners such as Friends of YouthFaith Action NetworkMockingbird SocietyChildren’s Alliance, and many other strong advocates to ensure this bill passed.

Continue reading here.

Looking for a Chance to Work with Clients?  The Moderate Means Program is Recruiting Interns for Spring and Summer Quarters, Applications Due 4/11

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Photo courtesy of StockVault.

The Statewide Moderate Means Program (MMP) is a joint venture between the Washington State Bar Association and the Washington State law schools. The goal of the program is to increase access to civil legal services by people of moderate means who cannot afford an attorney but make too much money to qualify for traditional legal aid services. The program is focused on the areas of Family, Housing and Consumer law.

Law students serving as MMP volunteer interns will interview potential clients by telephone to collect information and evaluate their cases. Qualifying cases will be referred by the MMP interns to participating attorneys who have agreed to represent Moderate Means Program clients for a reduced fee. MMP interns will be expected to commit to a minimum of five hours a week for the duration of spring quarter and this summer (one hour is a weekly staff meeting).

Click here for more information.

America’s Growing Inequality: The Impact of Poverty and Race Publication Explores Poverty & Race

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America’s Growing Inequality: The Impact of Poverty and Race, edited by Chester Hartman is now available in hardcover – includes the best articles and essays from Poverty & Race; with a foreword by Congressman Luis Gutierrez. The book is a compilation of the best and still-most-relevant articles published in Poverty & Race, the bimonthly of The Poverty & Race Research Action Council from 2006 to the present. Authors are some of the leading figures in a range of activities around these themes. It is the fourth such book PRRAC has published over the years, each with a high-visibility foreword writer: Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Bill Bradley, Julian Bond in previous books, Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Chicago for this book. The
chapters are organized into four sections: Race & Poverty: The Structural Underpinnings; Deconstructing Poverty and Racial Inequities; Re(emerging) Issues; Civil Rights History.

Order here at the PRRAC discounted rate; see the Table of Contents here.

Missed the Recent SJT on Public Interest Post Grad Fellowships? Don’t Fret. We’ve got all of the info right here!

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Download our presentation slides here and watch the podcast here. You’ll find all of the essentials on the nuts and bolts of organizational and project based public interest post grad fellowships, how to find them and some strategies for successful applications.

Kirwan Institute Releases Second State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2014

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With the results in the Zimmerman and Dunn trials, introducing people to Implicit Bias research seems more important than ever. The Kirwan Institute is excited to be able to continue to support the field with this new edition of State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review. Chapter 1 serves as a primer to introduce the topic, capturing some of the key ideas that were discussed at length in the 2013 edition. The next two chapters focus on the newest scholarly literature from 2013 (Chapter 2 reviews many of these recent publications, and Chapter 3 takes a step back to reflect on some of the larger trends occurring in the field). Chapters 4 and 5 delve into the concept of implicit racial bias as it operates within particular domains, specifically employment and housing (building on the sectors discussed in last year’s edition: Education, Health and Criminal Justice). The publication closes with materials in the appendices that we thought might be useful to those who are seeking to educate others regarding implicit racial bias, including “A Conversation with an Implicit Bias Skeptic.”

Click here to download the report.

Hunger Strikers Released from Solitary Confinement at the Northwest Detention Center

Activists rally outside the ICE Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington on March 11, 2014

Photo of activists rallying outside the ICE Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington on March 11, 2014, courtesy of Reuters and Jason Redmond.

By Columbia Legal Services & American Civil Liberties Union

Federal immigration authorities have released hunger strikers from solitary confinement at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington. The action came after the ACLU of Washington (ACLU-WA) and Columbia Legal Services (CLS) filed a lawsuit seeking a court order to prohibit U.S. Immigration and Enforcement (ICE) from retaliating against detainees who engage in First Amendment-protected activities by placing them in solitary confinement.

“Our clients are very grateful to be out of solitary confinement after 6 days in it. This is a victory for free speech and fair treatment,” said Melissa Lee, Attorney and Institutions Project Coordinator with CLS.

“We’re very pleased that ICE has stopped retaliating against detainees engaged in peaceful protest. Punishing hunger strikers by putting them in isolation cells was an unlawful attempt to chill free speech rights” said ACLU-WA Legal Director Sarah Dunne.

Continue reading here.

Mediation Training from a Social Justice Perspective Conducted by the Social Justice Mediation Institute, May 19-23

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Hosted by the City of Seattle Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.

$450 if registration completed before April 15.  $500 after April 15.  Some fee reductions available.

35.0 CLEs (5.0 ethics) approved.  (There will be a charge of $25 for members of the Washington State Bar Association asking for CLEs.)

For application and more information, please send an e-mail to Vivien.sharples@seattle.gov

This institute prepares trainees to mediate while applying a social justice lens to their own techniques.  We explore how mediation can routinely replicate inequalities despite our intensions to the contrary.  Trainees gain strategies to address these challenges while still facilitating a process with self-determination about the outcome for the disputing parties.   Concepts from narrative theory are applied to equip mediators with additional tools for effectively understanding the dispute and building agreements.

For more information about the training, click here.

Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Echoing Green, AmeriCorps… Oh My! Navigating Public Interest Fellowships

March 31: Global Mondays: Truth, Justice and Reparation in Northern Ireland

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Monday, Mar. 31, 2014
12:30-1:20 PM, Gates Hall RM 117 (unless noted)

Hosted by UW Law Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development and the PhD Program, and the Comparative Law & Society Studies (CLASS) Center

“Dealing with the Past: Narrating Truth in Northern Ireland”

Dr. Kathleen Cavanaugh, Irish Center for Human Rights, National University of Ireland

In truth telling processes in transitional societies, such as Northern Ireland, mechanisms established to find the truth, such as truth commissions, endeavour to find a common narrative emerging about the causes of conflict. At the same time, there is now evidence that such processes also create silences; some narratives are not fully represented. This lecture will provide some background on the conflict in Northern Ireland and how such a meta-conflict situation has given rise to conflicts over memories of state.

Image courtesy of Stockvault and Nicolas Raymond.

April 1: Social Justice Tuesday: Public Interest Post Graduate Fellowships

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Tuesday, Apr. 1, 2014
12:30-1:20 PM, RM 133

Speaker: Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Center for Public Service Law

Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Echoing Green, AmeriCorps…Oh my!

Trying to make sense of the all the fellowships out there? Get vital resources and learn about the different types of fellowships for recent law grads with experience and passion for social justice and public interest law. 1Ls and 2Ls are strongly encouraged to attend.

If you would like lunch please RSVP via Symplicity or Email by 12:00 pm Monday, March 31.

April 2-3: Clinics Information Fair

2014 Clinic Info Week Schedule

April 7: Global Mondays, LGBT Rights Internationally: Russia, India, Uganda, Nigeria and Beyond

Monday, Apr. 7, 2014
12:30 – 1:20 PM, RM 127
Speakers from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission:

Jessica Stern

Jessica Stern is the Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. As the first researcher on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights at Human Rights Watch, she conducted fact-finding investigations and advocacy around sexual orientation and gender identity in countries including Iran, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. She holds a masters degree in human rights from the London School of Economics. She is frequently quoted in the Mail & Guardian, Al Jazeera English, the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France Presse, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, The Guardian and The BBC.

Grace Poore

Grace Poore, from Malaysia, has been the Regional Program Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific Islands at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) since 2007.  She develops the work in Asia, oversees multi-country projects on human rights documentation and advocacy in Asia, and conducts trainings.  She co-wrote the video “Courage Unfolds” about LGBT activism in Asia and the Yogyakarta Principles.  Ms. Poore holds a Masters degree from Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Communications.  She is currently working on a report about violence against lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender people in five Asian countries.

May 5: Gates Public Service Law Speaker Series: Professor Thomas Buergenthal Speaking on “Becoming an International Judge via the Holocaust”

Thomas Buergenthal

Monday, May 5, 2014
4:30 – 5:30 PM, RM 133
Reception to follow at the Burke Museum

Thomas Buergenthal is the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at George Washington University. He came to the United States at the age of 17. He spent the first 11 years of his life in various German camps and is one of the youngest survivors of the Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. Considered one of the world’s leading international human rights experts, Professor Buergenthal was a Judge and President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as well as President of the Administrative Tribunal of the Inter-American Development. He was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and UN Truth Commission for El Salvador. He is a member of the Ethics  Commission of the International Olympic Committee and the honorary president of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in San José.

Co-Sponsors: The Jackson School, the UW Center for Human Rights, Hillel, and the  Jewish Studies Department. 

Reception Sponsored by the Gates Public Service Law Program and the UW Center for Human Rights. (Sponsorship of this event by the University of Washington School of Law and the W.H. Gates Public Service law Program does not imply endorsement.)

RSVP via Symplicity or email.