Advances in Transgender Rights in Vietnam! Parliament Adopts New Legislation

Vietnam: Positive Step for Trangsender Rights – Vietnamese Parliament Adopts New Transgender Legislation

HRW

By: Human Rights Watch

On November 24, 2015, the Vietnamese National Assembly approved a bill to legalize sex reassignment surgery and to introduce the right to legal gender recognition for transgender people who have undergone such surgery.

The law allows people who wish to undergo gender affirming surgeries to do so in Vietnamrather than abroad, and to subsequently change the gender marker on their official documents. This constitutes a small, but significant step toward recognition of transgender people’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today.

Continue reading here.

Thousands Mourn Kurdish Human Rights Lawyer Killed in Turkey

Photo of Thousands Mourning at Tahir Elci Funeral

By: Ayla Albayarak | Wall Street Journal | Photo credit: Reuters

Tens of thousands of mourners gathered on Sunday to bid farewell to a prominent human rights lawyer whose shooting death delivered a setback to hopes of bringing an end to months of political violence that has swept through Turkey’s Kurdish region.

Tahir Elci, one of Turkey’s leading advocates for Kurdish rights, was killed Saturday after making an appeal for an end to clashes between Kurdish militants and state security forces.

Mr. Elci was shot during a clash on a narrow street in Diyarbakir, the Kurdish majority city in southeastern Turkey that has been one of the central battlegrounds for renewed clashes since a two-year-old cease-fire collapsed in July.

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Employers and Workers Grapple with Laws Allowing Marijuana Use

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By: G.M. Filisko | ABA Journal

On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court was the ultimate buzzkill.

When the state’s residents passed a referendum in 2012 legalizing recreational marijuana use—long after the state sanctioned medical use in 2000—few had any idea that Coloradans who partook in the bud would end up jeopardizing their livelihood.

That’s exactly what the court permitted inCoats v. Dish Network. The case pitted a quadriplegic licensed to use medical marijuana against his employer. The court held the state’s “lawful activities statute,” which generally prohibits employers from firing employees for engaging in lawful activities off the job, applied only to activities lawful under Colorado and federal law. Because marijuana is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act, its use isn’t lawful—and can remain a valid basis for termination in the state.

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Supreme Court Ruling Could Spark More Unintentional-Discrimination Cases

Eva Paterson

By: Stephanie Francis Ward | ABA Journal | Photo of Eva Paterson; Photo credit: Eva Paterson

A recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion that addressed unconscious discrimination in a low-income housing case could have far-reaching effects on future civil rights and criminal cases involving implicit bias.

The June 2015 opinion (PDF) dealt with a claim against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. It alleged that the department disproportionately gave tax credits to developers of low-income housing in minority inner-city Dallas neighborhoods, while denying the credits in suburbs with large white populations. The Inclusive Communities Project brought the case, alleging that the state agency’s actions led to segregated housing, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

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Attention 1Ls! 5 Public Service Career Planning Tips for the Holidays

Attention 1Ls!  Five Public Service Career Planning Tips for the Holidays

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By Aline Carton-Listfjeld, Center for Public Service Law

Did you miss our recent public service career strategies presentation? Fret not. Here’s the cliff notes version. You can also watch the video podcast here. 

The holidays are a time to rest, spend time with loved ones, practice gratitude and engage in a thoughtful practice of reflection, research and action planning for your career in public service and/or social justice. Here are some career strategizing tips to make the best of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and winter break right around the corner.

  1. Get back to basics. Why law school? Why public service? What issues do you care about? Think about why you came to law school and why specifically you’re interested in public service and/or working for social justice. What personal, volunteer or professional experiences or events have shaped your world view? What causes are you passionate about or get you worked up? What areas of law are you interested in? Why?
    • Write these anecdotes down; this will help you with your cover letter writing.
    • Practice telling these stories at the Thanksgiving dinner table; this will help you when you’re networking and interviewing.
    • Learn more about why stories matter by Marshall Ganz.
  2. Identify lawyering skills. Think about what kinds of advocacy and other lawyering skills you’re drawn towards.
    • Direct Services. Providing direct services to individual clients including advice/counsel, brief services and/or representation in court or administrative proceedings.
    • Systemic Change through Litigation. Engaging in impact litigation/systemic advocacy such as class action law suits which may not involve quite as much direct client work.
    • Community Lawyering. Using the principles of community organizing, combining direct services, impact litigation, and transactional legal services to support community economic development and/or other community-driven social justice initiatives.
    • Public Policy & Politics. Engaging in policy and/or legislative advocacy or reform work either within our outside of a legislative body.
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution. Engaging in alternative means of achieving justice outside of the traditional adversarial system such as alternative dispute resolution, mediation, collaborative law, and restorative justice.
    • Leadership & Social Entrepreneurship. Exploring alternative public service law careers including non-profit leadership/management and social entrepreneurship
  3. Do your research. We want you to make informed, evidence-based decisions to help you carve your career path. Research organizations and agencies that work on the causes and substantive areas that you are passionate about, interested in and/or open to. Where do you start? Go out to coffee with your mentor or perhaps the growing list of contacts with whom you’ve been advised to connect. Check out all of the great resources on our public service career reference guide, the Gallagher Law Library research guide and PSJD. Also, learn about the employers participating in the upcoming NW Public Service Career Fair. Keep in mind that employers are registering on a rolling basis so be sure to check back regularly.
  4. Create a list of preferred employers. Get ready to start applying to summer opportunities. Many public service internships application deadlines are in January and February. Whether or not a non-profit organization or government agency has a posted internship announcement, plan on sending your application materials. This usually includes a resume, cover letter, sometimes a list of references, and maybe a writing sample (yes you can use that 1L memo!). If an employer asks for grades be sure to mention when you expect to receive your grades in your cover letter and send them your transcript when it becomes available.
  5. Get cover letter feedback from your career coach. Take a break from outlining! December is a great time to send cover letters to your career coach for feedback. Once you’ve created a list of employers, draft a cover letter using the tips found here.

Interested in Learning More About Immigration? Register for the New Immigration Policy Seminar for the Winter Quarter

Associated Press Detention Center Holding Cell

B512 Legislation and the Formulation of Public Policy
By: Professor Angelica Chazaro

This course will examine immigration laws and policies related to how removal (deportation) laws and policies are established and implemented, and including the emergence and role of social change movements. Topics will include the intersection of immigration and criminal law, border security, state and local enforcement, the root causes of unauthorized migration, and the challenges of immigration law reform. The course will cover both legal doctrine and legislative issues concerning immigration detention and enforcement.

This course is mandatory for the immigration-related externships with the Washington Defender’s Association and NWIRP.  Externship applications are due Monday, November 24.  See Symplicity for more details.

Attention Attorneys! Free CLE on Domestic Violence Legal Team Training

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Thursday, December 4, 2014
8:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Perkins Coie (1201 Third Ave #4900, Seattle)
FREE (attendees must pledge to volunteer either for DVAP or DVIP)
Lunch Provided
CLE Credits: Pending (includes ethics credits)
RSVP to April Campbell by Monday, November 24, 2014

This is a FREE training and ideal for both litigators and transactional lawyers.
There are two volunteer options covered in this training: (1) going into court to litigate motions and (2) volunteering for the in-shelter legal clinic.

Litigators: Volunteer for the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project (DVAP). Learn how you can be an effective advocate for domestic violence survivors by litigating motions for revision and reconsideration, and increasing your chances of success at return hearings. Build your courtroom advocacy skills while making a meaningful difference in the life of a survivor and her children. Cases are for a short time frame with a discrete time commitment.

Transactional Lawyers: Volunteer at the Domestic Violence Impact Project’s (DVIP) monthly in-shelter legal clinic. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with a survivor and empower her through education and helping her draft a declaration that will be attached to her petition. No court required. Discrete time commitment.

If you have any questions about this CLE please email April Campbell.

Attorney General sends Notice of Endangerment and Intent to Sue to U.S. Dept. of Energy and its contractors to protect workers from hazardous Hanford tank vapors

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By: Bob Ferguson, Washington State Office of the Attorney General

After 20 years and many reports and studies, federal government still not adequately protecting Hanford workers

Attorney General Bob Ferguson is sending the U.S. Dept. of Energy, and its contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS), a Notice of Endangerment and Intent to Sue. Ferguson seeks to protect workers at the federal Hanford Nuclear Reservation from hazardous chemical vapors that continue to jeopardize worker health and safety.

On Oct. 30, 2014, an independent panel of experts issued the federally-funded Hanford Tank Vapor Assessment Report which determined that “ongoing emission of tank vapors, which contain a mixture of toxic chemicals, is inconsistent with the provisions of a safe and healthful workplace free from recognized hazards.”  They further found that the data “strongly suggests a causal link between chemical vapor release and subsequent adverse health effects experienced by tank farm workers.”

The report was the latest in a series of reports assessing the problem of tank workers falling sick after exposure to chemical vapors from on-site waste holding tanks.

Continue reading here.

Campaign for Equal Justice: Support Legal Aid on Giving Tuesday, December 2nd

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With Thanksgiving and Black Friday just around the corner, we are all looking forward to getting great deals on Christmas gifts and holiday treats. But don’t forget to set a little aside for people in need on Giving Tuesday!

As our November newsletter noted, the Campaign is still about $600,000 away from raising the funds clients like Zahul need to receive legal aid. Your generosity this holiday season will make the difference.

Plan a gift to help out low-income people in legal crisis on Giving Tuesday, December 2nd.

All you have to do is visit our secure online donation page on December 2nd to make your gift.  Thanks for remembering people in need!