Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) Releases New Tool Called “Your Money Your Goals” For Financial Empowerment

Volunteer for Citizenship Day in Moses Lake, and Pasco on Saturday, September 19

Citizenship Day

Date: Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015
Time: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Location(s): Moses Lake – Big Bend Community College, ATEC Building 1800, 7611 Bolling St NE, Moses Lake, WA 98837; Pasco – Columbia Basic College, Center for Career & Technical Education (corner of W. Argent Rd & Saraceno Way), Pasco, WA 99301

Citizenship Day is a FREE one-day legal clinic to help legal permanent residents apply for citizenship and it is hosted by the WA State Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and OneAmerica. Citizenship is a critical part of American Dream for many immigrant families, but the high cost of attorneys and fear of the process stop many eligible people from becoming citizens. We’ll have volunteer immigration lawyers, paralegals and interpreters on hand to help eligible permanent residents successfully fill out citizenship applications (N-400s).  It’s a great way to earn community service hours without a long-term commitment, meet other students, and help your community.

WE ARE IN NEED OF INTERPRETERS: General volunteers and bilingual interpreters (Spanish and English) are needed at the Pasco and Moses Lake sites on September 19th. If you are interest in helping, please email Katelyn Chrisman at Katelyn@weareoneamerica.org, and SIGN UP HERE.

To sign up, click here. 

Latina/o Bar Association of Washington (LBAW) Offers 2015-2016 Mentorship Program, Sign Up Now!

LBAW

We are excited to reintroduce LBAW’s Mentorship Program.  We encourage you to sign up!

If you would like to be a part of LBAW’s 2015-2016 Mentorship Program, please complete the mentor form or mentee form and return it to membership@lbaw.org no later than Tuesday, September 22. 

LBAW’s Mentor/Mentee Welcome will be held Friday, September 25, at the home of LBAW’s President Chach Duarte White on Mercer Island at 5:30 p.m.—8:00 p.m.  Come eat, drink, and meet your mentor/mentee!  Details will be included in the next LBAW Announcement and on the LBAW website and Facebook page.  We look forward to seeing you!

Registration Now Open for Stanford Law School’s 16th Annual Shaking the Foundations Progressive Lawyering Conference on October 17

Shaking the Foundations 2015

Stanford Law School’s 16th annual Shaking the Foundations conference will be on Saturday, October 17, 2015. This year, we are excited to feature Bay Area workers’ rights advocate Saru Jayaraman, author of Behind the Kitchen Door, as our keynote speaker at 10 a.m.

Shaking the Foundations brings the progressive community together each year to discuss issues within the movement, explore the role of young lawyers, and encourage attendees to work toward social and environmental justice. This year’s conference will focus on West Coast issues. Panel and workshop topics include criminal justice, immigration, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, environmental justice, consumer protection, Native American law, labor, housing, and other progressive topics. Check out our website for the full schedule.

To register, click here.

Pro Bono For Financial Empowerment

ABA Logo

By William J. Woodward, Jr. | ABA Center for Pro Bono Exchange

“Holistic pro bono” is an idea whose time may have come. When used in the legal pro bono community, the term refers to supplying a needy client with help that may go beyond legal help to include help from other professionals such as housing counselors, addiction experts, accountants, technology specialists, and so on.

The idea may have just had a substantial boost from the work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”), the Federal agency created by the Dodd-Frank law and charged with protecting consumers of financial products and services. While the agency has regulatory and enforcement power, Congress also charged it broadly with educating consumers in financial matters.

Continue reading here.

Call for Submissions for the 11th Annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights

LSRJ Logo

Law Students for Reproductive Justice, in collaboration with the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice at Berkeley Law School, is pleased to announce the Call for Submission for the eleventh annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights.

This year, the Sarah Weddington Writing Prize’s suggested theme is “Restoring Public Insurance Coverage for Abortion,” with a focus on the Hyde Amendment and Harris v. McRae (1980). However, submissions on other topics will also be accepted.

The deadline for submission is Monday, January 18, 2016.  Winning authors will receive cash prizes: $750 (first place), $500 (second place), or $250 (third place).  Additionally, each winning author will receive a copy of the newly released casebook, Melissa Murray and Kristin Luker’s Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice. The first place winner will also have a chance at publication with the NYU Review of Law and Social Change.

For more information, please download the 2015 Call for Submissions here.

Judge Mary Yu Joins the Washington Supreme Court

Governor Jay Inslee Appoints Judge Mary Yu to Washington State Supreme CourtJustice Mary Yu

By Washington Courts

Gov. Jay Inslee today appointed King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu to the Washington State Supreme Court. Yu will fill the seat of Justice Jim Johnson who retired from the court earlier this week due to health issues.

“Judge Yu has distinguished herself throughout her career as someone of great intellect, dedication and compassion,” Inslee said in announcing the appointment at the Temple of Justice. “She has brought to her work, and to her life, a never-wavering commitment to ensuring justice for everyone.

“Her appointment today is a moment all Washingtonians can be proud of.”

Appearing with current members of the Supreme Court, Yu committed herself to working collaboratively with her new colleagues “so the integrity of this institution is only strengthened by our work.”

“Trial court judges, at every level of court, are the workhorses of our system of justice,” she said. “I am proud to come from their ranks and will do all that I can to remember that the trial court remains the place where the law is actually applied to everyday life.”

Continue reading here.

Big News! Department of Education Guidance Says Transgender Students Protected Under Federal LawTransgender Law Center

By Transgender Law Center

Transgender Law Center praised the U.S. Department of Education for releasing guidelines today that make it clear transgender and gender nonconforming students are protected from discrimination under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in schools.

“We hear from hundreds of students each year who simply want to be themselves and learn at school,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center. ”Sadly, many schools continue to exclude transgender students from being able to fully participate. Now, every school in the nation should know they are required to give all students, including transgender students, a fair chance at success.”

Increasingly, courts and federal agencies are making clear that transgender and gender nonconforming people–people who do not conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity–are covered under laws that protect people from discrimination based on sex.

Continue reading here.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Releases Tools to Protect Foster Care Children From Credit Reporting ProblemsCFPB

By Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today took action to better protect children in the foster care system from credit reporting problems that could compromise their future credit. The Bureau published action letters for child welfare caseworkers to send to credit bureaus if they find errors on the credit reports of the children in their care.

“The Bureau is very concerned about foster care children’s vulnerability to credit reporting problems that can wreak financial havoc for them,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We want to help ensure that youth leave foster care with clean credit so that they have a firm foundation for their financial future.”

Credit reporting touches the financial lives of nearly each and every American and can be of particular significance to youth in foster care as they are more susceptible to credit problems and identity theft. The nearly 400,000 children in the United States foster care system often lack a permanent address, and their personal information is frequently shared among numerous adults and agency databases.

Continue reading here.

Landesa Pilots Women First Model in Uganda

By Landesa, Rural Development InstituteLandesa_Women First Uganda

The Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights developed and piloted a model for working with women and their communities to strengthen women’s land tenure security in Northern Uganda. The project significantly improved women’s sense of security of their rights to land.

A total of 250 women participated in the pilot program. One year after the start of the pilot, those women reported an increase in the amount of land they could farm (on average a 3 acre increase) an increase in community recognition of their rights to land, an increased sense of long-term tenure security, and increased awareness of customary justice and dispute resolution mechanisms.  This tenure security can help the women feed themselves and their families, earn income, and helps women achieve direct financial benefits by allowing them to invest in their land to improve their harvests, rent out their land without fear that it will be usurped, sell their land when it is no longer needed, or use the land as collateral.

Click here for a final project report and a step-by-step toolkit that provides practitioners with the resources needed to replicate this model.

ALERT! Traveling abroad this summer for your internship or externship?

Travel abroad

The University of Washington has important resources for you and we urge you to take advantage of them.  Resources include travel insurance and also emergency contact information.  Please register your summer travel with the office of Global Affairs. 

Click here for more information. 

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.

EJW Survey for Aspiring PDs, Housing Survey Shows Discrimination is Alive and Well, Post Grad Fellowships Panel at UW Law & CFPB Creates Ed Loan Complaint System

Interested in Becoming a Public Defender?  Take a Quick Survey by Equal Justice Works to Help Improve Resources

Screen shot 2013-03-19 at 8.21.47 PMThe demand in public defense is high, but it can be a challenge to find available positions. Equal Justice Works would like to be a bridge between public defender offices seeking talented new hires with law students and graduates such as you. Equal Justice Works is exploring different options to make this a reality. Please take the time to complete their survey, Public Defense Careers: Are You Trying to Become a Public Defender?, to inform their work and help address the challenges of entering this field.

Long Awaited HUD Housing Discrimination Study Reveals Findings

The decennial report from the Urban Institute for HUD finds continuing persistent racial discrimination in sale and rental markets, though in more subtle forms than in prior decades.  While the report’s careful research methods may actually understate the prevalence of housing discrimination, it underscores the continuing importance of basic fair housing testing and enforcement work.  Read the lead author’s blog post here and watch a great short clip summarizing some of the findings

Interested in Post Grad Fellowships? Attend our Annual July Fellowships Panel and Reception

Group of human hands showing unityWhen? Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 3:30-5:15 pm, networking reception to follow

Where? University of Washington School of Law, W.H. Gates Hall, Room 117. For map and direction click here.

Sponsored by the Washington State Access to Justice Board Law School Relations Fellowship Sub-Committee.

Come learn more about the process of applying for post-graduate public interest law fellowships, including Equal Justice Works Fellowships, EJW AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships, Soros Open Society Institute, Georgetown Policy Fellowship and other opportunities. Learn how to research fellowships and hear from recipients about their experiences.

Panelists include: Mary Whisner – UW School of Law Reference Librarian (former Georgetown Fellow); Sara Zier – Soros Fellow; Alex West – Equal Justice Works-Americorps Fellow; Vanessa Torres Hernandez – Equal Justice Works Fellow; Moderator: Shelley Halstead 3L UW

Please RSVP to Ann Spangler by Friday, July 5, 2013

Having Problems with your Student Loan Servicer? Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Launches Student Debt Resources and Online Complaint System

CFPBThe Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched some great resources on student debt and new tools to help keep your lenders and loan servicers accountable. Also check out their recent op-ed on how student debt drains our overall economy and what we can do about it.