Seattle Times gets it right on indigent defendant rights, LSE identifyies legal protections for women

New website dedicated to examining how international and domestic law can combat violence against women

tackling-violence-against-women-image

Tackling Violence against Women is a new website dedicated to explaining the international and regional human rights systems that can be used to tackle violence against women and girls.

In addition to explaining CEDAW (the UN treaty and monitoring body dedicated to the elimination of discrimination against women) the site highlights opportunities for interaction with other treaties and institutions in tackling gender-based violence. It introduces the other UN treaty bodies and explains how civil society can engage with their work and their potential to affect change. Sections on regional human rights treaties and organisations show how different bodies are simultaneously approaching the global problem. Read the full press release here.

Photo courtesy of the London School of Economics, Centre for Women, Peace and Security

Seattle Times editorial board applauds WA Supreme Court for protecting defendant’s rights

Washington State Temple of Justice

September, 29 2016
By Seattle Times Editorial Board
Photo courtesy: Common Good Blog library

In City of Richland v. Wakefield, the Washington State Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that judges must consider the financial standing of defendant’s when addressing what the defendant owes the court. The Seattle Times praised the ruling, and so do we!

“It was a good ruling because counties are tacking on discretionary court fines and fees to pay for their judicial systems, despite the fact that a vast majority of defendants are indigent,” wrote the editorial board.

Planning for Fellowships in 2015? Apply Now, Apply Early!

Attention All Law Students!  Washington State Supreme Court Seeking Survey Volunteer Interviewers, Due 6/1/14

Washington State Temple of Justice

Under auspices of the Washington State Supreme Court CLNS Update Committee, work with the Washington State Office of Civil Legal Aid and Washington State University’s Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (WSU-SESRC) conducting face-to-face interviews to update our understanding of the unmet civil (non-criminal) legal problems faced by low-income residents of Washington State.

Time commitment: Completion of up to 3 hours of required training; up to 15 contact hours for completing 8 interviews and entering information.

Interviewer’s primary responsibility will be to conduct face-to-face interviews with low-income Washington State residents & enter the data into a secure data base following the interview. The project includes mandatory training in interviewing protocols.

For a complete description on the scope of the volunteer work and application instructions, click here.

Columbia Legal Services Seeking Institutions Project Staff Attorney, Due 6/25/14

CLS Logo

The Institutions Project (IP) is seeking a full-time attorney with a minimum of five years of litigation experience.  IP is an advocacy team consisting of five attorneys, a paralegal, and two legal assistants. IP engages in system systemic advocacy for individuals and groups, in collaboration with other programs and the private, 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.

Under the supervision of the Project Coordinator, staff attorneys provide civil legal advice and representation in areas of importance to Columbia Legal Services low-income clients.  Staff attorneys are expected to be able to use the full range of potential forums appropriate to address relevant issues for our clients, including litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and administrative or legislative representation.  The changing needs of our clients require attorneys to engage in an ongoing effort to gain and share expertise and resources with their coworkers and others throughout the Alliance for Equal Justice.

For a complete job description and application instructions, click here.

Community Legal Services in Philly Accepting 2015 Fellowship Applications, Due 7/7

CLSPhillyCommunity Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia (CLS) sponsors law students and lawyers for fellowships funded by the Independence Foundationthe Skadden Fellowship FoundationEqual Justice Works, the Open Society Foundations, theStoneleigh Foundation, the Borchard Fellowship in Law & Aging, and other fellowship programs (including fellowships offered directly by law schools).  Fellows work closely with our experienced staff attorneys and are directly supervised by a more senior attorney.  Fellows carry their own caseload and gain valuable experience in providing a wide range of services, from brief advice and counsel to representation at administrative hearings, judicial proceedings, and appeals.  Fellows are also deeply involved in our policy and systemic advocacy work.  Past fellows have provided crucial advocacy for our clients, contributed greatly to CLS’ development as a legal services organization, and many have become long-term members of our staff.

CLS invites law students beginning their third year, recent law school graduates, and those with judicial clerkships to apply for sponsorship for a fellowship.  For consideration for fellowships that begin in 2015, applications will be accepted until Monday, July 7, 2014. 

For a complete description and application instructions, click here. Please note this post has recently been corrected.

Eastside Legal Assistance Program Seeking Rule 9 Intern, Due 12/31

ELAP Logo

The Eastside Legal Assistance Program (ELAP) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that provides access to justice through free civil legal aid to low income residents of East and Northeast King County Washington and domestic violence legal aid throughout King County.

Your role as a Rule 9 Intern will be to assist ELAP DV Staff Attorneys in their representation of clients who are survivors of domestic violence.  This volunteer position requires a minimum of ten hours a week for a minimum of one semester.

For a complete job description and application instructions, click 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. 

Join UW in Celebrating Diversity Week!

(c) Jason Frizzel_DiversityCelebrate Diversity at the UW!  Check out these Events!

1. Tuesday, February 18th at 5:30, RM 138
A talk by Mr. Tim Wise (author of “White Like Me” and “Dear White America”) titled: “Colorblind: The Rise of Post Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equality.”

2. Friday, February 21st at 6:00 PM, Samuel Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center, 3931 Brooklyn Ave. N.E.
Salmon Bingo Dinner sponsored by the Native American Law Students’ Association.

3. Monday, February 24th at 12:30 PM, RM 119
“The Scales of Justice,” Miriam Shames and Nathan Whitaker, duo cellists will present a short program of uplifting cello music.

4. Monday, February 24th at 4:30 PM, RM 133
A talk by Henry Aronson (attorney who has spent a career working on social justice issues) titled: “Questioning the Unquestionable-Public Service.” Reception to follow.

5. Monday, February 24th at 5:30 PM, RM 127
Transgender 101; Skylar Brett, recent UW Law grad presents on transgender issues.

6. Tuesday, February 25th at 12:30 PM, RM 119
A talk by Barbara Madsen, Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court covering the challenges facing women in the legal system and the importance of diversity.

7. Tuesday, February 25th at 3:30 PM, RM 115
A discussion of Aaron Dixon’s book “My People Are Rising.” Mr. Dixon was a founding member of the Seattle Black Panther Party.

8. Tuesday, February 25th at 5:30 PM, RM 127
A film about immigration, rights and justice titled: “Unified Struggle.” Following this 25 minute film the filmmaker and protagonist shall be available for a discussion and Q and A.

9. Wednesday, February 26th at 12:30 PM, RM 119
“Transformative Justice” speaker to be named.

10. Wednesday, February 26th at 4:00 PM, RM 115
“Diversity on the Bench,” a panel discussion by a group of judges to be named.  Reception to follow.

11. Thursday, February 27th at 12:30 PM, RM 127
Professors Michael Hatfield, Shannon McCormack and Scott Schumacher to speak on tax policy and social outcomes.

12. Thursday, February 27th at 2:00 PM, RM 118
Professor Faith Stevelman to speak on “Corporations, Power and Diversity.”

13. Thursday, February 27th at 3:00 PM, RM 133
Washington Attorneys with Disabilities Association presents “Cripple, Gimp, Lame & Krazy LLP:  The Story of Attorneys with Disabilities.”

14. Thursday, February 27th at 5:30 PM, RM 115
A BLSA TGIT featuring “super yummy” southern desserts.

15. Friday, February 28th at 12:30 PM, RM 116
Admissions director Mathiew Le will speak on admission policy.

2013 Pro Bono Honorees, Victory for Low-Income Litigants, WSBA Service Opportunities & Become a Mentor

Thank You and Congrats to the 2013 Pro Bono Honors Program Honorees

Award_ribbon_blue_1stCongratulations to Pro Bono Student of the Year Johanna Gusman! Johanna volunteered for the Seattle Women’s Commission, the UN Special Rapporteur, the UW International Human Rights Shadow Letter Writing Project and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In addition to her pro bono service hours, Johanna was recognized for her leadership of a pro bono student project. For a complete list of honorees please click here.

The Pro Bono Honors Program, a program of the Center for Public Service Law, encourages law students, faculty and staff to provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income communities; connects students to pro bono resources and opportunities; promotes leadership development; trains students on vital topics such as professionalism, cultural and cross-difference competency and secondary trauma/compassion fatigue; recognizes student pro bono work beyond the 60-hour public service graduation requirement; and promotes a culture of public service in the life of the law school and in the legal profession.

For more info on the Pro Bono Honors Program please click here.

State Supreme Court News: Victory for Low-Income Litigants

SupremeCourtJustices2013The State Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled that GR 34 requires that all fees and costs be waived for indigent litigants.  Congrats to our friends at Legal Voice and the Northwest Justice Project!

We hold GR 34 provides a uniform standard for determining whether an individual is indigent and further requires the court to waive all fees and costs for individuals who meet this standard. The rule was adopted to ensure that indigent litigants have equal access to justice. Any fees required of indigent litigants are invalid and must be waived under the rule.

Read the full decision here.

Community Representatives Sought for Law-Related Boards and Council

WSBA.jpegThe Washington State Bar Association seeks members of the public (including law students) to serve on four boards and one council for terms beginning October 1, 2013. Serving on a WSBA board or council is an excellent opportunity to get an insider’s view on how the practice of law is regulated in Washington State.

  • The Council on Public Defense addresses concerns about the quality of indigent defense services in Washington State.  Appointment is for a one-year term.
  • The Character and Fitness Board deals with matters of character and fitness bearing on qualifications of applicants for admission to practice law in Washington. The Board conducts hearings on the admission of any applicant referred to it for hearing, considers petitions for reinstatement after disbarment, and makes recommendations to the Board of Governors and Supreme Court regarding admission and reinstatement.  Appointment is for a three-year term. Hearings generally are held every month. Three of the 14-16 members of the Board are not lawyers.
  • The Disciplinary Board reviews lawyer discipline decisions. It is made up of four review committees; each committee has two lawyer members and one non-lawyer member. One committee meets each month to review requests for public hearing, admonitions, interim suspensions and other matters. The board meets six times a year as a full board.
  • The Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Board compensates clients who have suffered a direct financial loss caused by the dishonest conduct of a lawyer in connection with the practice of law. The Fund is funded by an annual assessment of members of the WSBA by order of the Washington State Supreme Court.
  • The Limited Practice Board oversees administration of, and compliance with, the Limited Practice Rule (APR 12) authorizing certain lay persons to select, prepare, and complete legal documents pertaining to the closing of real-estate and personal property transactions. The Board is responsible for the certification and regulation of limited practice officers (LPOs).

Applications are also being accepted for other boards which may have openings during the coming year.

Applications must be received at the WSBA offices by Friday, June 14, 2013. To apply, complete the application posted at http://bit.ly/rnvXKY and return it with your resume as directed on the form. Previous applicants should re-apply as applications expire after one year. Appointment letters for current openings will be sent in late summer. If you have questions, please email barleaders@wsba.org.

2L & 3L Volunteers Needed! Help Mentor 1Ls

Wise MentorMembers of the 3L class are teaming up with CPLD to launch a mentoring program for 1L students focused on career development.  The goal of this program is to provide 1L students with mentorship as they prepare to start their post-law school job search.  Additionally, the program allows upper class students to interact with 1L students, who they would not normally get the chance to know.

All 2L and 3L students are encouraged to apply to be a mentor.  We are especially in need of students who participated in OCI, and/or submitted applications for judicial clerkships and public service positions.  The time commitment is up to you.

To take part in the program, please respond to the questions in this catalyst survey: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/josiem/202709

Attention 1L students: Look for an upcoming announcement about how you can sign up to be paired with a 2L or 3L mentor.

Questions? Contact Jeff DeGroot, degrootj@uw.edu, or Valerie Rickman, vrickman@uw.edu.