How Do You Integrate Pro Bono Into Your Legal Career?

The Need for Pro-Bono Programs at Law Firms

By Legal Solutions Blog

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Lisa Dewey, DLA Piper’s full-time Pro Bono Counsel and Partner since 1999, advises and represents individuals and public interest organizations across the country and around the world. Recently, she spoke about the need for pro bono programs at law firms and DLA Piper’s overall strategy.

Why should law firms (of all sizes) implement a pro bono program?

The obvious answer is that it’s the right thing to do, and it’s our ethical obligation as lawyers. As such, law firms should do everything they can to support pro bono work and, when possible, to create an infrastructure that supports those efforts and the projects that have the most local impact.

Continue reading here.

Avvo founder tells lawyers to ‘get rid of UPL’ if they want innovation and access to justice

Photo of Mark Britton

By Lorelai Laird | ABA Journal

At the close of the first day of the ABA’s House of Delegates meeting, the House’s Committee on Issues of Concern presented talks that were “intended to be provocative.”

The talks, entitled “Issues of Concern to the Legal Profession” in the day’s program, grew out of the research of the Commission on the Future of Legal Services. That commission was created last year by outgoing ABA president William Hubbard to address the problems created by the rise in pro se litigants, the ongoing lack of court funding and the rise of technology to fill some of those gaps.

Continue reading here. Photo credit Kathy Anderson, Photo of Mark Britton.

People of Color Travel Stipend Application Now Open for National Lawyers Guild Law for the People Convention in Oakland, Due 9/15

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The United People of Color Caucus (TUPOCC), the National Student Vice Presidents, the Anti-Racism Committee, the Legal Workers Committee, and the National Office (NO) of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) are pleased to announce, once again, the availability of travel stipends for those who self-identify as a law student of color, a recent graduate of color, and/or a legal worker of color to attend the annual NLG Law for the People Convention in Oakland (October 21-25). – (Register now on the NLG website).

This year priority will be given to law students, legal workers and recent graduates of color but depending on availability of funds lawyers with a demonstrated financial need will also be considered.

The application deadline is midnight PST on September 15, 2015. Applicants may use the online application. LGBTQIA, and persons with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply.

For more information, click here.

Washington State Bar Association Board Seeks Input on Final Report Addressing Governance Task Force Recommendations

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The Board of Governors has completed its year-long review and discussion of the Governance Task Force Recommendations, which were developed through an 18-month, in-depth review of the WSBA’s governance. The Board’s final report is scheduled for adoption at the Sept. 17-18 Board meeting in Seattle.

The Board is seeking comments on the final report. All comments will be included in the public session Board materials and must be received by Sept. 2, 2015. Please email your comments to governance@wsba.org.

Are You Interested in Business Law? Learn How Business Law Lawyers Contribute to Economic Justice!

Food For Thought on Privilege from the World Trust’s Summer of Justice & Racial Healing Series

By World Trust

Spotlight on Business Law Pro Bono: How Business Law Lawyers Contribute to Economic Justice

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By Kimberly Lowe | ABA Dialogue

“Pro bono service has to become as much a part of our substantive efforts as corporate law, tax law, real estate law and all of the other aspects of law that form part of our business law practice.—Joseph Mullaney, General Counsel of Gillette Company

Business law lawyers often feel challenged to provide pro bono legal services within their legal practice area. In an effort to increase the number of pro bono volunteers, many pro bono organizations and professionals claim (and in some instances proclaim) how much business law lawyers grow when they “step out of their comfort zone” and tackle litigation-based pro bono cases. Most business law lawyers (myself included) take offense to the suggestion that we somehow need to grow. Instead of encouraging a business law lawyer to grow experientially through litigation based pro bono, we should encourage each business law lawyer to use his or her legal skills to meet the ethical obligations of ABA Model Rule 6.1, which encourages every lawyer to provide pro bono legal services to “persons of limited means or . . . charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means.” A business law lawyer need not depart from his or her practice area in order to meet this obligation. Assisting a client of limited means in obtaining economic justice (or a nonprofit organization assisting their clients to do the same) is just as laudable as battling on behalf of a client of limited means in a court of law.

Continue reading here.

Opportunity for Service: WSBA Now Accepting Applications for Practice of Law Board, Due 8/21

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The WSBA is now recruiting volunteers to serve on the Practice of Law Board. The Board was created by the Washington Supreme Court in 2001 and Reconstituted in July 2015. This Board will focus on:

  • Convening stakeholders to discuss the Practice of Law Board’s future and submit recommendations to the Court;
  • Educating the public about how to receive competent legal assistance; and
  • Considering new avenues for nonlawyers to provide legal and law-related services
  • Rendering Advisory Opinions
  • Referring non-frivolous complaints alleging unauthorized practice of law to appropriate authorities

The Court appoints members after considering nominations from the Practice of Law Board, the Board of Governors and other interested people and organizations. The Board has 13 members and at least four must be community representatives. Members serve three-year terms and are eligible for reappointment to a second term. Lawyer members must be WSBA members on active status. Terms begin Oct. 1, 2015. The Board will have up to 11 openings, including at least three community representatives.

To apply, login to myWSBA, then use this link to access the committee application.

The application deadline is 6 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2015. Please apply only for the Practice of Law Board, as the deadline for other opportunities has passed.

Justice Department Condemns Local Criminalization of Homelessness, Files Brief in Case Against Boise, Idaho

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By National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty | Idaho Legal Aid Services

On August 6, 2015, the Department of Justice put enforcement power behind longstanding federal policy against criminalization of homelessness by filing a statement of interest brief in a case opposing a Boise, ID anti-camping ordinance brought by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) and Idaho Legal Aid Services, with the pro bono support of Latham & Watkins LLP.

The NLCHP case, filed in 2009, seeks to overturn a Boise ordinance which criminalizes sleeping in public, even when there are not enough shelter beds available to homeless individuals. Boise amended its ordinance in 2014 in response to the lawsuit, but continues to allow police to ticket homeless persons if any shelter beds are open, even if those beds are unavailable to individuals due to disability or religious objection, and although the total number of homeless people in Boise far exceeds the number of beds.

Continue reading here.

Coming Full Circle

Krystal Koop Photo (c) Lindsey Yamada

By Kate Clark | The Daily UW

At the age of 12, Krystal Koop found herself living on the streets of Anchorage, Alaska. An abusive relationship was the primary catalyst to her two years of homelessness. She couch-surfed, spent innumerable nights in shelters, and, on the good days, found refuge in a close friend’s home.

At 14, she got shingles — an extremely painful skin rash very rare among teenagers — from the stress and trauma she endured daily. It went untreated for weeks. She had no access to proper treatment or someone she could readily confide in. Eventually, her close friend’s mom, the one she spent many nights with, noticed her itching and squirming.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” the woman asked Koop.

“There were so many reasons why I couldn’t, didn’t say anything,” Koop said.

Continue reading here. Photo credit of Lindsey Yamada.

Are you a Strategic Thinker Looking for a Service Opportunity? Washington’s Access to Justice Board Could Use Your Help!

Opportunity for Service: Washington State Access to Justice Board

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The Access to Justice Board is seeking a strategic thinker with a demonstrated commitment to equitable justice to fill a seat on the Access to Justice Board.  Established by the Washington Supreme Court in 1994, the Board seeks to achieve equal access to the civil justice system for those facing economic and other significant barriers.  The three-year term begins in May 2015 and the position may be filled by an attorney or other community member.  The Board is especially interested in individuals who can help continue to build collaborative relationships with community-based organizations and the Alliance for Equal Justice.

To apply and/or learn more about the work of the Access to Justice Board, please visit www.wsba.org/ATJApplications are due January 9, 2015 at 5PM PST.

Request for Workshop Proposals: Access to Justice Conference

ATJ Workshop

Wenatchee Conference Center, June 12-14

The Access to Justice Board’s Conference Planning Committee is now accepting proposals for 2015 Access to Justice Conference workshops.  This year’s conference will focus on solutions to address structural impediments to equitable justice and meet the needs of our growing client community.  We encourage and invite you to submit a 90 minute workshop proposal for consideration by the committee.  Proposals should be consistent with the criteria outlined in the attached document.  All workshops will take place on Saturday, June 13, 2015 at the Wenatchee Convention Center.

Proposals must be received by 5 p.m., Friday, January 23, 2015. Submit proposals using the attached form to Terra Nevitt, terran@wsba.org. Electronic submissions only please. The conference planning committee will select the workshops and plenary sessions. You will be notified as soon as the final decisions have been made whether or not your proposal was selected. If your proposal is selected you will receive more detailed information about the conference planning process, procedures, policies and deadlines.  If you have questions, please call Terra at (206) 727-8282.

Washington State Association for Justice Offering Bar Preparation Scholarship for Diversity and Women, Apply Now for Exam Dates in July 2015/February 2016

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The Mission of the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ) is to stand up in the courtroom and the halls of government for real people. We defend your Constitutional rights, including the right to have your day in court. We hold corporate and other powerful interests accountable. We are a community creating and sharing resources for our members to secure justice.

WSAJ is committed to implementing strategies that will result in significant and measurable progress towards increasing diversity in the plaintiff’s bar. To help achieve this endeavor, WSAJ has pledged scholarship monies to assist diverse individuals in covering the tuition cost of a bar preparation course. Diversity refers to individuals who self-identify with those groups historically discriminated against and or those groups that are historically under-represented in the legal profession based on disability, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on several criteria, including (but not limited to) demonstrated interest and intent to practice in the plaintiff’s bar, financial need, academic achievements, extracurricular and community activities, and life experiences. No single criteria is determinative.

Applications are due by Monday, January 12, 2015. 

For more information on the diversity scholarship, click here.
For more information on the scholarship for women, click here.

Lawyers Fostering Independence Offering Free CLE This Friday

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Lawyers Fostering Independence (LFI) provides free civil legal services to young people who have been in foster, group, or kinship care at some point while growing up. With the help of volunteer attorneys, our mission is to improve outcomes for former foster youth by providing them with access to legal services – services that can mitigate the specific adversities experienced by these youth who have been raised in our care.

Our all-day training is on December 5th from 9:00am-3:30pm at Garvey Schubert Barer.

The morning will consist of an introduction to LFI, hearing from former foster youth about their experiences and needs, and our Trauma-Informed Legal Representation CLE (1.5 ethics credits pending). The afternoon will include two training sessions: one on credit and debt issues and the other on sealing juvenile records and vacating adult records. 1.25 CLE credits pending for each of these sessions.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Contact Serena Holthe to register.  Click here for more information.

The Innocence Project NW  Freedom Fridays

IPNW

Friday, December 5, 2014
12:00 – 4:00 PM 
Dorsey Whitney, 701 5th Avenue, Suite 6100, Seattle, WA

Speakers:

  • Jacqueline McMurtrie is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Law and the founder and Director of the Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW). The only resource of its kind in Washington State, IPNW’s mission is to exonerate the innocent, remedy causes of wrongful conviction and offer law students an outstanding education. Since 1997, IPNW has obtained exonerations of thirteen men and women who collectively served over 90 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
  • Fernanda Torres is a Staff Attorney and Volunteer Coordinator at the Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW). She helps oversee the screening and review of applications for assistance and leads the litigation of non-DNA cases. She recruits and supervises IPNW volunteers. Prior to joining IPNW, Ms. Torres practiced criminal defense as a public defender and in private practice.

For more information, click here.

Pro Bono Opportunity with the King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project and Family Law Program

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The Housing Justice Project is a walk-in legal clinic providing counsel and advice, negotiations with landlords or opposing counsel, and limited representation for low income residential tenants facing eviction in King county. HJP clinics operate at the King County Courthouse in Seattle and the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Apply to volunteer as an intern by January 25, 2015. For more information about the Housing Justice Project, click here.

Pro Bono Services family law programs promote family safety and equal access to the legal system by assisting domestic violence survivors, children at risk of abuse or neglect and clients facing barriers to accessing the courts due to language, disability or other factors. Programs include the Family Law Mentor Program, Kinship Care Solutions Project and Self Help Plus Program.

Position is open until filled.  For more information about the Family Law Program, click here.

Pro Bono Opportunity Working with Domestic Violence Survivors

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Your role as a Family Law Legal Support volunteer will be to assist staff attorneys in their representation of the client.

Note that this position is based out of the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN) offices in Tukwila, WA to support the ELAP DV Staff Attorney placed on-site at DAWN.

This is a volunteer opportunity provided by VolunteerMatch, in partnership with LinkedIn for Good.

For more information, click here.

Equity and Social Justice Work is Hard. Seriously Hard Work. No, Really it is.

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By: Cultures Connecting Blog

Significant change, whether individual or within an organization can be challenging. Even when we want to change, it doesn’t happen easily. I recently heard implicit bias compared to a habit, albeit a bad one. Think about how hard it is to change a habit…

A couple of months ago, my brother in law was coming over to my house to pick up his dog after work. We’d talked earlier and he reminded me to leave the front door open for him. Then he sent me a text about 15 minutes before I was leaving as a second reminder. “Leave the door unlocked, leave the door unlocked,” I chanted in my head as I gathered my things to go. Then I went through my mental list of what I needed to bring with me, made sure I had it all, walked out, locked the door and left. His poor dog was locked inside.

Even though I wanted to change that habit and was focusing a lot of mental energy on doing something different, the moment I got distracted, I forgot and went back to what I do every day.

Now imagine there are a bunch of individuals trying to change an organization. But they’ve all learned and practiced habits of stereotypes, biases, and institutional oppression for years. Some have even gotten rewarded for this behavior by being told they’re a “good fit” at the company and getting promoted. Some are the founders of the organization or have worked there so long they see any mention of needed change as a personal affront. Others have been going along to get along, trying not to make waves by bringing up experiences of marginalization. They may even be telling themselves they imagined it or making excuses for oppressive behavior such as, “I know he didn’t mean it that way.”

Continue reading here.

KCBA Seeking VLS Coordinator & Family Law Legal Intern/Extern

Attention Recent Grads!  KCBA Seeking Volunteer Legal Services Coordinator, Deadline 2/5

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Work as a member of the Pro Bono Services team at the King County Bar Association, and manage the VLS program including program development, daily operations, and community outreach. This position is responsible for placing cases for ongoing representation with volunteer attorneys in priority legal subject areas, overseeing public education programs (currently Make Change!), and supporting the Bailey Boushay Wills Clinic.

For a full description and application details, please click here.

Washington Attorney General’s Office Torts Division in Tumwater Seeking Two Attorneys, Deadline 2/7

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The Torts Division has two openings for attorneys – one on the Corrections litigation team and the other on the Transportation litigation team. The Corrections team defends the Department of Corrections, the natural resource and environmental agencies, Financial Institutions, and the Secretary of State among others. The Transportation team handles tort work for the Department of Transportation, the Washington State Patrol, the Department of Labor and Industries, and the Department of Health.

Specific cases are assigned based on experience and interest; however, there are ample opportunities to work on cases outside of your assigned team. Torts practices in a fast-paced environment that is inclusive, supportive and fun-loving, but that maintains the appropriate emphasis on the significance of the important policy and legal issues inherent in tort cases. While these positions are located in the AGO’s Tumwater office, travel may be required.

For a full description and application details, please click here.

Attention 2Ls, 3Ls, and Recent Grads! KCBA Pro Bono Services Seeking Family Law Legal Intern/Extern

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The Family Law Programs of the King County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Services promote family safety and equal access to the legal system by assisting domestic violence survivors, children at risk of abuse or neglect, and clients facing barriers to accessing the courts due to language, disability, and other factors. This position will work directly with the Kinship Care Solutions Project which provides pro bono representation in nonparental custody actions, and the Self Help Plus program which provides pro se assistance in uncontested dissolutions and parenting plan actions.

For a full description and application details, please click here.

Washington Appleseed Seeking Legal Fellow, Deadline 2/28

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Washington Appleseed works to address social and economic problems in our state by developing new public policy initiatives, challenging unjust laws, and helping people better understand and fully exercise their rights.

The Summer Legal Fellow position is an excellent opportunity for law students to gain hands on experience working with Seattle’s top law firms and learn more about important social justice issues. Fellows work with Appleseed project teams to develop systemic responses to pressing local and national issues. Fellows can expect to be involved in legal and community organizing, research and writing, factual investigation and to work with staff and volunteer attorneys as well as activists. Specific issue focus varies throughout the year, though general issues being addressed include housing, consumer protection, children’s issues, public health/healthcare, juvenile justice, economic justice, educational reform, and corporate and government accountability.

For a full description and application details, please click here.

Attention 3Ls and Recent Grads!  Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship, Deadline 3/1

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Justice Fellows will be hosted in clusters of 2-4 in New York City’s leading non-profit legal services offices, which will be selected to participate in the IJC on a competitive the basis. Upon selection, Fellows will have the opportunity to indicate their preferences for the host organization where they will work, though the IJC will, ultimately, make placement decisions.

Justice Fellows will represent immigrants with the most complex cases that require lawyers to handle the case from start to finish, such as deportation defense and affirmative petitions for victims of crime, domestic violence and human trafficking, among others. The Justice Fellows will be primarily supervised by experienced attorneys at their host organization, with supplemental support from the IJC’s own supervisory staff.

For more information and application details, please click here.