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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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.

Looking to Refine Your Resume? Check Out These Great Tips!

Looking for Resume & Cover Letter Tips for Public Service Jobs & Internships?

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Well, look no further! Check out all the great resources from our UW Public Service Law Careers Reference Guide and also the comprehensive tips on PSJD.org.

Inter-American Human Rights System Nuts & Bolts

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What to learn more about the Inter-American Human Rights System? Check the revised edition of the International Justice Resource Center’s manual on Advocacy before the Inter-American System.

Civil Legal Aid Organization Feature: Team Child

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Every day, thousands of youth face profound legal and social barriers that increase their chances of dropping out of school, being homeless or ending up in the juvenile justice system. TeamChild uses its legal expertise and community partnerships to break down barriers to community services in order to overcome the root causes of a youth’s involvement in the juvenile justice system.

TeamChild is a member of the Alliance for Equal Justice, Washington’s network of organizations providing civil legal aid to people in need. TeamChild is also a member of the Washington Defender Association (WDA), a statewide membership organization for public defenders, and of the National Juvenile Justice Network, which enhances the capacity of juvenile justice coalitions and organizations to promote practices that are fair, equitable and developmentally appropriate for all children, youth and families involved in, or at risk of becoming involved in, the justice system.

TeamChild’s work is grounded in our Core Values and commitment to making sure that we are all listening to young people’s perspectives and voices and including them in making decisions about their lives. The stakes for the youth we work with are high ‐without assistance to address their urgent needs, they may drop out of school, end up homeless, or incarcerated.  Legal services for youth are the core of our agency’s work and inform our outreach, trainings, and broader advocacy.

To learn more about Team Child click here.

Reports of Racism in US Justice System- News from ACLU Human Rights Program, NYC

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Earlier this week the ACLU, Lawyers’ Committee, NAACP, and the ABA participated in a hearing initiated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Reports of Racism in the Justice System of the United States. The video of the hearing is available here. The ACLU of Michigan presented a powerful video testimony of Jewel Hall, mother of Milton Hall, an African American homeless man with mental disabilities who was killed in July 2012 by 8 police officers in a firing squad-type shooting. At the hearing, the DOJ was pressed to reopen their criminal civil rights investigation and to hold police officers accountable.  You can read more about this this case in the written submission of the ACLU of Michigan. In conjunction with this hearing the ACLU submitted a written statement on racial disparities in sentencing.

Finally, the IACHR’s Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination is in the process of developing a thematic study on race and criminal justice in the US. This thematic study presents a great opportunity for US civil society groups to engage with the IACHR on race and justice issues; it could also be a useful instrument for the Network and the CERD Task Force to maintain momentum in holding the US accountable for failure to fully implement the Race Convention and the last CERD concluding observations.

Learn more about the ACLU’s Racial Justice and Human Rights Program here.

Need Tips on Your Resume, Blogging, Combatting LGBT Bias? Check Out These Resources!

Teaching law students to blog : Interview of Law Professor Dr. Silvia Hodges Silverstein

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Enhance your Resume: Focus on Outcomes

Learn how to enhance your resume and cover letter by focusing on outcomes instead of just outputs—identify not only which tasks you performed, but also note how those tasks made an impact. In the public interest field, outcomes are becoming more and more important as government, law firm, and private funders of the social justice sector are asking more questions about the impact of their grants and philanthropic contributions. Make your resume stand out to non-profit and government hiring managers by speaking the language of outcomes. Read more here. (Photo by Jen Marlow. Alemaya, Ethiopia.)