The Average Number of Legal Problems Per Low-Income Household Has Tripled Over the Last Decade

New Report: 2015 Washington State Civil Legal Needs Study Update Reveals Troubling Justice Gap

Equal Justice Coalition Logo

By: Equal Justice Coalition 

SEATTLE — Oct. 29, 2015 — A Washington Supreme Court commissioned statewide survey of more than 1,600 low-income Washingtonians discovered that seven of ten low-income individuals and families in Washington State face at least one significant civil legal problem each year, and the average number of problems per low-income household has tripled over the last decade.

Despite the growing number of civil legal problems that often implicate their most basic needs, the vast majority of low-income Washingtonians do not receive the legal help they need to solve these problems. More than three-quarters of those with civil legal problems struggle without a lawyer or any type of legal help.

Continue reading here.

Free CLE for ABA Members: From Montgomery to Ferguson and Baltimore, Lawyers as Agents of Change: The Role of the Law in the Long Arc of Justice

ABA Logo

Monday, November 16, 2015
1:00 PM – 2:35 PM ET

1.5 General CLE Credits

Webinar
List price $195
ABA Member Price FREE

In this month’s ABA Free CLE Series, join us as we:

  • Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Explore the role of lawyers and the judiciary as a participant in resolving social conflicts

Speakers
Nicole Austin-Hillery | Director and Counsel | The Brennan Center For Justice | Washington, DC
Sheila Y. Thomas | Attorney at Law | Law Offices of Sheila Thomas | Oakland, CA
Stephen F. Hanlon | Adjunct Professor | Saint Louis University School of Law | St. Louis, MO

Moderator
Paulette Brown
President | American Bar Association

Register online here.

Seminar Promotes Access to Justice for the Deaf

Deaf Seminar - Photo credit David Keane

By: Sean O’Riodan | Irish Examiner | Photo credit David Keane

“We can learn a lot from the experiences shared by the members of the Irish deaf community who participated in this research,” said Ms Harold.

“One of the most significant findings is the need to improve communication awareness amongst those who assist and support Deaf victims of crime, in order to make their services more accessible.”

Ms Harold, who has been funded by Irish Research Council to explore deaf people’s experiences as victims of crime and their interaction with the criminal justice process, said the event was very worthwhile.

Continue reading here.

For Non-U.S. Citizens, Early Release from Prison Means Swift Deportation

By: Pamela Constable | Washington Post | Photo credit: Washington Post

prisoner family photo

Nearly one in three of the inmates being released from U.S. prisons this month as part of an effort to roll back harsh drug sentences will not be returning to the states and cities where they were arrested.

Instead, they are being deported.

They are non-U.S. citizens, who in many cases were in this country legally when they were caught selling drugs and given long sentences under the “mandatory minimum” laws that grew out of the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic.

Like the rest of the 6,000 prisoners selected for the U.S. Prison Bureau’s largest-ever mass release, each has been found by a judge not to be a threat to society. But every one of the non-citizens in the group had either received final deportation orders from immigration judges or was being reviewed for deportation before the mass release was planned, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

Continue reading here.

Mexico’s Supreme Court Rules that Smoking Pot is a Fundamental Human Right

Demonstraters Protest

By: Christopher Ingraham | Washington Post | Photo Credit: Alex Cruz/European Press Photo Agency

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled 4-to-1 Wednesday that outlawing the possession and use of the marijuana plant represents a violation of fundamental human rights. While the ruling does not mean that marijuana is now legal in the country — it only applies to the four plaintiffs in this specific case — it gives a tremendous amount of political space for lawmakers to introduce marijuana reform bills at the state and federal level in Mexico.

“It’s really a monumental case,” said Hannah Hetzer of the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug reform advocacy group, in an interview. “It was argued on human rights grounds, which is unusual, and it’s taking place in Mexico, the epicenter of some of the worst effects of the war on drugs.”

Continue reading here.

Student Loan News, Student Funding for EJW Career Fair, WLI Applications Now Open, Global Justice Series and the Local Take on the ‘War on Drugs’

EJW Debt Relief News: The Future Looks Grim for Student Loans

EJW Ed Debt Relief

Here’s the latest on Education Debt Relief News from Equal Justice Works.

In case you hadn’t heard, Congress did retroactively fix the doubling of subsidized Direct Loan interest rates that took effect July 1. The deal reached in the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act creates fixed rates each academic year that are based on the 10-year Treasury rate plus a set amount that varies depending on the type of loan. For example, the interest rate for loans to undergraduates will be the Treasury note rate plus an additional 2.05 percentage points. For graduate and professional students, interest rates will be calculated by adding 3.6 percentage points to their Direct Unsubsidized Loans and 4.6 percentage points to their PLUS Loans.

The legislation also raises the interest rate caps on all those loans. Undergraduates could find themselves paying up to 8.25 percent (compared to a current maximum of 6.8 percent). Graduate and professional students could be even harder hit: the interest rate cap for Direct Unsubsidized Loans is 9.5 percent (versus the current 6.8 percent max) and the cap for PLUS Loans is now a whopping 10.5 percent (far above the current 7.9 percent max).

The bottom line? While this legislation is good for current students who will benefit from today’s low interest rates, future students will pay far, far higher rates. In fact, if CBO estimates are correct, students will start paying higher rates by 2017.

Our recommendation? Set yourself up for success in managing your student debt by purchasing (and reading!) our comprehensive student debt e-book, viewing our weekly Student Loan Ranger blog, and attending one of our free webinars.

Skoll World Forum Launches Special Global Justice Series 

WJPThe World Justice Project is pleased to announce that the Skoll World Forum, in partnership with Thompson Reuters Foundation, has launched a special series on global justice featuring participants of our World Justice Forum IV (convened last month in The Hague, Netherlands). Speakers were asked to reflect on a wide range of issues including land rights, access to water, criminal justice, and more. Articles will be published every day throughout the week, and can be found here: Skoll World Forum: A Special Series on Global Justice. The pieces will also be syndicated through www.trust.org, the Thompson Reuters Foundation website. Featured writers so far have included Sakena Yacoobi (Afghan Institute of Learning), Faustina Pereira (BRAC), John Oldfield (WASH Advocates), and William H. Neukom (World Justice Project), with more to come in the following days.

Washington Leadership Institute (WLI) Now Accepting Applications: Deadline September 20, 2013

WLI logo UWLAW WSBAThe WLI is a collaborative leadership training program administered by the WSBA and the University of Washington School of Law.  The mission of the WLI is to recruit and train diverse and underrepresented lawyers for future leadership within the legal and bar community.  Download the application packet for more information and to apply.

Need funding to Attend the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair?

EJW conferenceOnce again this fall UW Law through the Center for Public Service Law will be able to provide travel support for a limited number of UW Law students to attend the EJW Conference and Career Fair in October.

The time frame to apply for travel reimbursement is between September 23 and October 4 (at noon).  You may request travel reimbursement (stipends will range from $400-$450 for reimbursement only) by sending your statement of interest and need along with your updated résumé to Assistant Dean Michele Storms at mestorms@uw.edu by noon Friday October 4.  Priority will be given to students who have been granted interviews at the career fair (students will be notified by October 3) but if you are serious about attending and do not have an interview you should still apply.  Please note that the deadline to apply for interviews at the career fair is September 12.  Please do not apply for travel reimbursement until September 23.  Reimbursement award decisions will be made by noon October 8.

For students attending the fair, regardless of interview status we’re having a lunch time session on how to make the best use of the conference and career fair.  That session will take place Friday October 21 at 12:30 location TBA.

Reminder of EJW Important Dates:

August 13- September 12: Student and recent graduate registration and application

September 13- October 11: Student and recent graduate registration (for those not applying or seeking an interview)

September 19- October 3: Employer application review and interview selection

September 19- October 8: Student and recent graduate accept/decline interview invitations

Federal “De-Escalation” of War on Drugs Follows King County’s Five Year Plan

KCPA Dan Satterberg

THE PROSECUTOR’S POST, Vol. 6, Issue 4 August 14, 2013

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new “Smart on Crime” policy shift for federal law enforcement this week in the approach to illegal drug markets.  The AG said that his new approach is aimed at undoing laws that maintain “a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration” that “traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities.”

Federal prosecutors generally have not handled low level drug cases, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for our area accounts for only about 5% of all local prosecutions.  Nevertheless, Attorney General Holder should be commended for recognizing something that King County has acknowledged for years —  we cannot arrest and prosecute our way out of the social and criminal problems associated with low level drug markets.

The shift in King County began as leaders came to see more clearly that drug crimes are different than other crimes.  People addicted to cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and/or prescription drugs present complex issues that are not solved through incarceration.  The costs of incarceration have been borne by all of us, the public, the addict, and many families and community members who watched a loved one spiral out of control through the grip of addiction and then lost that family member to prison.

Here in King County we began the journey envisioned by Attorney General Holder almost 20 years ago, when we started the nation’s 12th Drug Diversion Court – a court centered on treatment and a clean and sober life – not on jail and prison. There are now over 2,000 drug courts nationwide.  The State of Washington followed suit over ten years ago, when the State Legislature reduced sentences for drug crimes, reversing the trend started in 1989 of very long prison sentences for drug sales, regardless of the amount.  Continue reading here.

AILA New Member Lunch for Law Students, Loren Miller Bar Summer of Success Dinner, ALCU Northwest Conference & $$ for UW Law Students for October EJW Conference & Career Fair

August 1- American Immigration Lawyers Association Lunch for Law Students

AILAThe American Immigration Lawyers Association New Members Division would like to invite Seattle area law students who are interested in immigration law to attend our upcoming lunch gathering on 8/1/13 at Fado (801 1st Ave Seattle).  We hope to hold monthly informal lunch gatherings throughout the year and welcome individuals who would like to learn about what practicing immigration law as a new lawyer is like.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is the national association of over 11,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. AILA Member attorneys represent U.S. families seeking permanent residence for close family members, as well as U.S. businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace. AILA Members also represent foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis. Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 38 chapters and over 50 national committees.

Visit the AILA Washington Chapter here.

August 8- Loren Miller Bar Association Summer of Success Dinner

LMBAOriginally formed in Seattle in 1968 as the Loren Miller Bar Club, and officially renamed as the Loren Miller Bar Association in 1997, LMBA is at its core a civil rights organization, focused on addressing the issues of race, and social and economic disparities that affect the African-American community. LMBA was named after Loren Miller, the famed civil rights attorney who successfully argued Shelley v. Kramer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948). Read more about history of the LMBA here.

Date and Time:
Thursday, August 8, 2013 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm

Location:
Island Soul Restaurant
4869 Rainier Ave S. Seattle, WA 98118

Cost: Attorneys – $60 & Free for students

Please RSVP by August 1st to amenajefferson@gmail.com

September 26-27- Save the Date! ACLU Northewest Conference

ACLU_NWCONF_webLocation: Lewis & Clark Law School, 10015 S.W. Terwilliger Boulevard, Portland

Presented by the ACLU of Oregon, the Lewis & Clark Law School ACLU Student Group, and the Oregon Justice Resource Center.

The fourth annual conference brings together law students, legal  professionals and civil libertarians from around the region to explore  current civil liberty issues.

REGISTER HERE!

General Information:   The keynote address will be on Thursday, September 26 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. Three panels will take place between 10 am and 5 pm on Friday, September 27, 2013. All events will take place on the Lewis & Clark Law School campus. Lunch will be provided on Friday, and a reception with appetizers and refreshments will follow the panels. Click here for general conference information.

Keynote:   Vanita Gupta, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU and Director of the ACLU’s Center for Justice, will deliver this year’s keynote address on the topic of Mass Incarceration: Race, Justice and Jim Crow. Ms. Gupta’s work is very impressive, and we are honored to host her. Read more by and about Ms. Gupta here.

Panels:

Friday will feature three panel discussions followed by a reception where light appetizers and refreshments will be served. The topics up for discussion are:

  • Marijuana Reform and the War on Drugs;
  • Fourth Amendment and Privacy: Big Brother is Watching; and
  • Can We Have Police Accountability 

Click here for more information

Cost:   $45 for attorneys and $10 for students. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. 

October 25-26- Equal Justice Works Conference & Career Fair Update

EJW logoWe hope you will join us for the 2013 Conference and Career Fair!

Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26

Crystal Gateway Marriott
1700 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, VA 22202

Event Overview      Travel and Accommodations       Employer List

The event schedule, including workshop sessions, and more details will be forthcoming on the EJW website.

Attention UW Law Students!

As usual, the Center for Public Service Law will be able to provide travel stipends of up to $450 for a limited number of UW Law students wishing to attend the conference and career fair.  Stay tuned for a future announcement with information about how to apply for a stipend, including deadlines and priorities for granting stipends.  

EJW conferenceImportant Dates

August 13- September 12: Student and recent graduate registration and application

September 13- October 11: Student and recent graduate registration (for those not applying or seeking an interview)

September 19- October 3: Employer application review and interview selection

September 19- October 8: Student and recent graduate accept/decline interview invitations

COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES: The War on Drugs, Women, Families and Communities

COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES: The War on Drugs, Women, Families and Communities

Tuesday, September 25, 2012, Southside Commons, 3518 S. Edmunds, Seattle, WA

Featured Speakers: King County Superior Court, Judge Mary Yu; Surge Northwest Board Member, Lillian Hewko; Community Advocate, Dede Adhanom

This event is co-sponsored by ACLU of Washington, El Centro de la Raza, Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project of Seattle University and University of Washington Schools of Law, Law Students for Reproductive Justice—University of Washington Chapter, Legal Voice, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum—Seattle Chapter, Pinay sa Seattle, Progreso: Latino Progress, Sahngnoksoo, and The CAIR Project.

This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration requested at http://tinyurl.com/SurgeNW.  Childcare and interpretation available upon request by Monday, September 17.