Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Disability Rights Washington report on abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities, and Iowa Supreme Court “Access to Justice Commission” Report

Equal Justice Works: “How Loan Servicers are Derailing Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”

“While Congress and the Trump Administration continue to work towards a budget that may eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, many loan borrowers are facing issues with the loan servicers that are supposed to help them navigate a complex program.”

Read more here.

Disability Rights Washington-“No Excuses: Shining a light on abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities in Washington’s institutions.”

“No Excuses” sheds light on the pattern of unsafe conditions and lack of treatment in Washington’s Residential Habilitation Centers (RHCs), as identified in the State’s own surveys. While most of this information is publicly available, it is apparent that the ongoing problems are not widely known nor discussed. This report synthesizes a single year’s worth of information to call attention to the serious harm that continues to occur. These systemic failures endanger people with developmental disabilities in all of the RHCs and cannot continue, as there are no excuses for these failures.

Read more here.

The Iowa Supreme Court’s “Access to Justice Commission” ReportScales of Justice

“The Iowa Supreme Court’s ‘Access to Justice Commission’ has released a report that outlines steps to remove barriers to civil justice for low-income and disadvantaged Iowans.” “The report identifies dozens of recommendations and goals. They include recruiting more rural lawyers, creating a veterans legal clinic and developing an app to help people navigate legal issues and resources. The report also suggests ways to encourage the corporate community in volunteering and charitable giving around access-to-justice issues.”

Read more here.

Pro Bono Opportunity with Disability Rights Washington

CDC launches website for fellowship and internship opportunities 

cdcThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently established a resource that streamlines information from approximately 65 CDC fellowship and internship opportunities from multiple centers across the agency into a single website. Prospective fellows and interns can now access a single site to search opportunities by length, education/degree requirements, and topic areas. The site also includes a Minority Health Snapshot– opportunities to encourage interest in public health among underrepresented individuals as well as opportunities for those that have an interest in promoting health equity and eliminating health disparities.

Check out the new website here.

Jan 25: Alternatives to Litigation: Careers in ADR & Mediation

UW Law LogoTime: 12:30 to 1:20 p.m.
Date: January 25, 2017
Place: UW School of Law, Room 127

Learn more about alternatives to litigation, such as ADR, meditation and negotiation. Join for a panel discussion with local attorneys. Read the flyer here.

Jan. 31: ABA Inaugural 2017 Fellows Program application now open

center-for-innovationThe ABA Center for Innovation is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for our inaugural 2017 Fellows Program.

This exciting new program will bring creative thinkers to the Center to develop and launch new projects to address critical needs in the legal sector. There are two categories of fellows—

  • NextGen Fellows are recent law school graduates who will spend one year in-residence at the ABA Headquarters in Chicago, IL. These fellows will receive a stipend of $45,000, plus benefits, during their time in the program. There are two (2) NextGen fellowships available with an August 2017 start date.
  • Innovation Fellows will rotate in and out of the Chicago office on a 9-12 week basis, beginning in April 2017. There is no stipend for this fellowship, but sponsorships might be available.

Detailed information about the programs, requirements, and application guidelines can be found here.

Pro Bono Opportunity: Disability Rights Washington looking for volunteers

Disability Rights WashingtonDisability Rights Washington (DRW) is a private non-profit organization that works on disability-rights issues across the state of Washington. Our mission is to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. We pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights.

Volunteers who serve on our Board and councils are critical to our work. We are reaching out to encourage people with disabilities, people of color, and people from every corner of Washington to serve on our Board of Directors, our Mental Health Advisory Council, and our Disabilities Advisory Council. Thank you for applying, and thank you for sharing this message with your network.

Read more here and apply to be a volunteer here

New Study Finds Prosecutors Exclude Blacks Because All-White Juries More Likely to Convict

Jury of Your Peers? Study Finds Prosecutors Exclude Blacks Because All-White Juries Are More Likely to Convict, Support Death Penalty

All White Jury Photo

By Manny Otiko | Atlanta Blackstar (Photo credit: Atlanta Blackstar)

According to The New York Times, a study of the Caddo Parish, Louisiana, court system has revealed prosecutors often exclude Blacks from jury trials so they can tip the scales of justice in their favor. The article, written by Adam Liptak, also said prosecutors preferred to have all-white juries because Black jurors reduced their conviction rate.

“No defendants were acquitted when two or fewer of the dozen jurors were black. When there were at least three black jurors, the acquittal rate was 12 percent,” Liptak said. “With five or more, the rate rose to 19 percent. Defendants in all three groups were overwhelmingly black.”

Continue reading here.

Inmates With Mental Illness Tell Their Stories Through the AVID Jail Project

By Kim Mosolf | Rooted in Rights (Video credit: AVID Jail Project)

The AVID Jail Project of Disability Rights Washington works on behalf of inmates with mental illness in several local jails. As Washington’s protection and advocacy agency, Disability Rights Washington is in a unique position to bring recording equipment into jails to capture and share the experiences of people with disabilities. Most members of the public will never enter a jail or have firsthand knowledge of how inmates with mental illness fare inside our jails. This video is a result of our ongoing efforts to give jail inmates with mental illness an opportunity to tell their own stories in their own words.

ORAM Publishes Report Amidst Debates on Uganda’s Possible Re-Introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Disability Rights Washington Seeks Mental Health Advisory Council Members

DRW

Disability Rights Washington (DRW) is a private non-profit organization that protects the rights of people with disabilities statewide. Our mission is to advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities. We work to pursue justice on matters related to human and legal rights.

Volunteers who serve on our Board and councils are critical to our work. We are reaching out to encourage people to serve on our Mental Health Advisory Council.

For more about the role of the MHAC, click here. 

Missed the Careers in Public Policy Panel on October 29th? Podcast Link Available Now!

CPSL Logo

Did you miss the panel on October 29th about Careers in Public Policy?  Here’s your chance to watch the podcast.

Click here to download the materials.

Maryland Poor Deserve Free Attorneys in Family Law Cases, Panel Finds

Maryland

By: Madeleine List, Southern Maryland Online

“[A] state task force this month recommended assigning free lawyers in certain family-law cases, and spending nearly $8 million over four years to help the poorest Marylanders work through the complex court system.” “The Task Force to Study Implementing a Civil Right to Counsel in Maryland is a group of judges, attorneys, delegates and state senators that has been meeting since December to discuss the benefits of providing legal representation to low-income people involved in civil disputes.” “A bill, sponsored by Del. Sandy Rosenberg, D-Baltimore, outlining the task force’s recommendations, will be introduced to the legislature at the start of the next session, which begins on Jan. 14, said Dumais, who plans to co-sponsor the bill.”

Continue reading here.

As Uganda Debates the Re-Introduction of an Anti-Homosexuality Bill, ORAM Publishes a Comprehensive Country of Origin Report on the Conditions of LGBTI Individuals in the Country

ORAM Country of Origin Report - Uganda

By: ORAM International

ORAM has published an extensive report titled “Country of Origin Report: Sexual and Gender Minorities – Uganda.” The unique report includes an extensive case law section, analyzing key asylum decisions in Ugandan LGBTI asylum cases from six jurisdictions worldwide.

This report is particularly timely. Ugandan LGBTI individuals and activists recount growing hostility and fear as Uganda debates re-introducing an “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” while homosexuality remains criminalized under existing law. The Anti-Homosexuality Act, initially dubbed the ” Kill the Gays Bill,” was annulled by Uganda’s Constitutional Court in August 2014 on a parliamentary technicality. The Act imposed up to life imprisonment for same-sex sexual acts, and punished those who advocate for sexual minority rights or provide services to LGBTI people. Violence toward LGBTI individuals in Uganda has escalated, and many are fleeing the country.

Country of Origin reports are a critical tool for adjudicators and protection experts assessing risk of persecution, credibility, and availability of state protection in asylum and refugee claims. Building on its expertise and its deep understanding of the refugee field, ORAM demonstrates through this report that a nuanced and culturally-informed approach to sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in Country of Origin Information (COI) will lead to more accurate adjudication of LGBTI asylum and refugee claims.

Download the full report here.

 

Are You Interested in Defending Human Rights? Internship Opportunities Available

Disability Rights Washington Hiring Civil Rights Attorney, Due TODAY

Disability Rights Washington

Disability Rights Washington (DRW) seeks two attorneys to advocate for people with mental illness in jails located in King County.  DRW is looking for one attorney with 3+ years experience and one entry-level attorney. 

Each attorney will spend a significant portion of his or her time monitoring one or two jails located in King County and educating inmates about their legal rights and self-advocacy strategies.  The attorney will also respond to allegations of abuse and neglect, develop and disseminate information and referral resources, and investigate systemic legal violations.  Each position will likely involve negotiation and collaboration with assigned jail(s), and may involve litigation.

For complete details, click here.

Brooklyn Defender Services Seeking Attorney to Work in Civil Justice Project’s Education Advocacy Unit, Due 10/30

Brooklyn Defender Services Logo

Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) is one of the largest public defense providers in the United States. We represent more than 43,000 clients per year in a variety of legal proceedings in New York City, primarily indigent criminal, family, and immigration defense. BDS represents clients who have diverse, complex and multi-faceted needs in a high volume and very fast-pacedsetting.

BDS’ Education Unit advocates for the educational rights of BDS’ clients in formal proceedings against the Department of Education, as well as informally and in collaboration with school officials. Frequently, the young clients BDS serves in family and criminal proceedings are “overage and under-credited,” and confronting obstacles to completing their education including, among other factors, special education needs, school suspensions, difficulty accessing alternative education options, and disruptions in education due to foster care placement, incarceration and homelessness.  We work with our young clients and their families to identify their educational goals and then provide the necessary representation and advocacy to remove the identified obstacles.

BDS has an immediate opening for an Education Staff Attorney to provide legal representation and informal advocacy to address the education needs of our criminal, family, and immigration defense clients.

For complete details, click here.

Department of Justice Offices Boards and Divisions Seeking Trial Attorney, Due 10/30

DOJseal

The Civil Rights Division (Division) of the Department of Justice, created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

The Employment Litigation Section (ELS) enforces federal statutes and an executive order that prohibit employment discrimination. These statutes include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, which ELS enforces as to state and local government employers, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, 38 U.S.C. 4312, which ELS enforces as to private, state and local government employers.

For complete details, click here.

Kendall Fellowship in Environmental Justice and Climate Policy, Due 10/31

UCS Logo

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the leading science-based organization at the center of today’s most exciting and important policy debates, seeks outstanding candidates for the Kendall Science Fellows program. This up to two-year fellowship is open to candidates who will have completed their Ph.D. by spring 2015. The fellow will work with staff in both the Center for Science and Democracy and the Climate and Energy Program at UCS, and with external partners from environmental justice (EJ) organizations, to study costs and benefits of emissions reduction strategies to combat climate change.  The fellow will contribute to formulating research questions, investigating, presenting, and making policy and other recommendations to strengthen connections and bridge gaps between the mainstream environmental movement and environmental justice movement. This fellowship will also have an impact on UCS’s broader environmental justice and equity priorities.

For complete details, click here.

ACLU of Washington Seeking Temporary Legislative Session Aide, Due Before 11/1

ACLU of WA

The ACLU of Washington is a non-profit public interest organization devoted to protecting civil rights and civil liberties. The Legislative Session Aide is part of the Policy Advocacy Group, which consists of legislative, field and policy staff who advance the ACLU-WA’s priorities at the state and local level and strategically involve ACLU-WA supporters in that effort.

The Legislative Session Aide will support the Legislative Director during the 2015 state legislative session in Olympia.  The Legislative Director is primarily in Olympia during the session and relies on the Session Aide, who works in our Seattle office, for managing scheduling, bill analysis and tracking, and other important support work.  The Session Aide also works within a closely coordinated four-person team consisting of the Legislative Director, Legislative Associate (who primarily lobbies in Olympia along with the Legislative Director) and Policy Advocacy Group Assistant (based in Seattle).  This is a full-time, temporary position which begins as soon as possible in November, and continues through the conclusion of the 2015 legislative session, currently slated for late April.

For complete details, click here.

Human Rights First Seeking Anti-Trafficking Campaign Legal Intern, Due 11/14

human_rights_first

The Anti-Trafficking Campaign Legal Intern will support Human Rights First’s work researching the legal framework of human trafficking, particularly in the areas of criminal, labor, and international law. The Intern will work closely with team members to advance program goals and strategic objectives. The start date for this position January 20,2015. It may be either a part or full time position and will run through May 2015.

Please apply through Careers Human Rights.

For complete details, click here.

Attention 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLMs! Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Seeking International Human Rights Intern, Due 11/14

CCR Logo

The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) seeks experienced second or third-year law students or LLM students with a strong commitment to social justice to provide legal research and analysis as part of a semester-long unpaid internship opportunity. CCR is a national not-for-profit legal, educational, and advocacy organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Interns will have the opportunity to work with CCR attorneys on a range of projects, particularly related to corporate accountability, torture, detention, suppression of dissent, and anti-militarism and violations under the Alien Tort Statute, the Torture Victim Protection Act, and universal jurisdiction.  The intern will spend 10-20 hours per week between January and May 2015 assisting attorneys on projects. This position is also open to students seeking full-time semester-long externships.

For complete details, click here.

Columbia Legal Services Seeking Staff Attorney for Its Institutions Project, Requires 3+ Years Litigation Experience

CLS Logo

The Institutions Project (IP) is seeking a full-time attorney with a minimum of three years of litigation experience. IP is an advocacy team consisting of five attorneys, a paralegal, and two legal assistants. IP engages in systemic advocacy for individuals and groups, in collaboration with other programs and the private bar, on behalf of people in facilities for the developmentally disabled, psychiatric hospitals, and adult and juvenile state and local correctional facilities throughout Washington. IP systemic advocacy has focused on cases that have a broad impact on solving the most critical issues of clients in institutions, including class actions, legislative representation and other policy advocacy on behalf of clients.

For complete details, click here.

King County Superior Court Seeking On-Call Bailiffs, Paid Position

king-county-logo-washington-state

Temporary, at-will employee who is employed at the pleasure of the hiring authority, King County Superior Court. The position is short term in duration, 910 hours or less in a calendar year. Work is sporadic and not guaranteed. Employee will cover in court for absent bailiffs when they are on leave.

Duties: Assist the assigned judge, act as a liaison between the court and other agencies, jurisdictions, jurors observers, court staff visitors and the general public. Handle sensitive, confidential and potentially volatile situations. Maintain database of case management. Ensures confidential and direct support to facilitate the operation of the Court.

Skills required: Ability to work in high pressure environment in a calm, professional manner. Ability to maintain confidential information on matters before the court. Skill in organizational techniques including prioritizing multiple tasks while adapting to frequent and sudden changes in workload demand. Must be able to work both independently and as a member of a team.

Rate of pay is $27.61 per hour, with 40 hours of paid training provided prior to assignments. This on-call position is not benefits eligible.

There are two positions that are open immediately. Please email Heiti Milnor-Lewis and/or Sandra Ogilvie with a resume.

Children’s Law Center of California Seeking Contract Attorney in Dependency Law

Children's Law Center of California Logo

Children’s Law Center of California (CLC) represents children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned that come under the protection of either the Los Angeles or Sacramento County Juvenile Dependency Court systems. Children’s Law Center was created by the Superior Court in 1990 to serve as appointed counsel for these Los Angeles youth. In July of 2011 we opened our doors in Sacramento County and now serve as appointed counsel for all abused and neglected children in both Los Angeles and Sacramento counties.

CLC seeks to hire a contract attorney in dependency law.

For complete details, click here.

Working in DC this Summer? Consider Learning More About Law & Policy Making

Disability Rights Washington (DRW) Releases Documentary about the WSBA’s “Questions of Discrimination”

By Gillian Maguire, Disability Rights Washington

Disability Rights Washington’s video “Questions of Discrimination” criticizes the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) exam questions that single out applicants with mental health disabilities and ask for treatment records.

In Washington, as in many other states, several bar application questions and rules call into question an individual’s “character and fitness” to practice law if they have a mental health disability.

According to several law students and attorneys, applicants struggle in answering these questions because they feel forced to choose between their rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination, and their ability to practice their chosen profession.

“WSBA asks a question that’s trying to identify whether or not a lawyer is going to be a problem from a character standpoint. They take kind of a wholesale question like, ‘have you ever been treated for mental health’, that has a built-in assumption that anybody who has ever seen a therapist has a character flaw that might be a problem with them being an attorney. And that’s not borne out by science,” says Andy Imparato, Executive Director of the national Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

Continue reading here.

Duke Law Offering 2014 Summer Institute on Law & Policy in Washington, DC

Duke Law DC Summer Institute

Working in Washington? Put the Duke Law D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy on your agenda: A great way to learn law applicable to your policy area of expertise — without ever leaving Washington.

Course offerings in the 2014 Duke Law D.C. Summer Institute on Law and Policy focus on topics important to current and aspiring practitioners in fields that require mastery of constitutional, statutory, and regulatory law and policymaking. The two sessions this summer are July 7-17, 2014, and July 21-July 31, 2014.  Each course is designed to provide an accessible introduction to the pertinent legal and policy subject matter. Those living and working in Washington who are potentially interested in attending law school, or who otherwise seek greater familiarity with the legal framework in a particular field, are especially encouraged to enroll.

In each two-week session, classes will be held Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings from either5:45-7:15 p.m. or 7:30-9:00 p.m., at the Duke in Washington office located near Metro Center at 1201 New York Ave., NW, Suite 1110, in Washington.Wednesday evenings are reserved for special programs, including events with Judge Patricia Millett on July 23, and with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg onJuly 30. Participants in either or both sessions are invited to attend all of the Wednesday night events.

To enroll, click here.

Asian Pacific American Legal Groups Urge Chicago Officials to Investigate Anti-Asian and Anti-Immigrant Video Incident

NAPABA Logo

By Tina Matsuoka, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

WASHINGTON — The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and its Chicago-based affiliates — the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (AABA), Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (CABA), and Korean American Bar Association of Chicago (KABA) — along with the Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA) and the Indian-American Bar Association of Chicago (IABA) express concern over the actions of certain Chicago police officers captured by recently-released video surveillance, which depicts officers using racist and anti-immigrant language during an arrest last summer.

“The actions shown in the video raise questions about how people of color and immigrants, particularly those who are limited English proficient, are treated by Chicago police officers,” said Bill Simonitsch, president of NAPABA. “We urge Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to fully investigate this incident and work with the local Asian Pacific American community to ensure that immigrants and all people of color feel protected by local law enforcement officials.”

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court on May 14, 2014, Chicago police officers verbally harassed and physically abused a Chinese American spa manager during a raid on a local business in July 2013. The security video shows officers entering the spa, apprehending the woman and striking her while she was kneeling and handcuffed. Police officers can be heard on the video making racist and anti-immigrant remarks during the arrest. One officer refused to believe that the woman was an American citizen and told her “You’re not f—— American! I’ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the f— you came from.”

NAPABA, AABA, CABA, KABA, FALA, and IABA urge the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police Department to fully investigate the specific allegations raised by the video, determine whether any systemic problems of official misconduct exist, and take appropriate action to ensure that all visitors and residents, regardless of gender, race, national origin, immigration status, or English proficiency, feel welcome and safe in the City of Chicago.