Have you Already Secured a Summer Internship doing Social Justice Work? Don’t Miss Out on an Early Application for Funding

On Human Rights Day, UN Official Calls for Member States to ‘Stamp Out Torture’

Jean-Marc Ferre

By: UN News Centre

10 December 2014 – Governments must ramp up their efforts in eradicating the practice of torture and compensate the victims of this “most vicious of crimes,” the top United Nations human rights official has urged, as he marked the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention against Torture.

In a press statement issued today following the release of two “ground-breaking” reports – one from the United States and another from Brazil – on the use of torture by both Governments, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, called on all Member States “to act unequivocally” in stamping out the practice.

“Today is not only Human Rights Day,” Mr. Zeid said, as he recalled the UN-backed observance commemorating the date on which the General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “it is also the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention against Torture on 10 December 1984.”

“Yet, as yesterday’s US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report shows, torture is still taking place in quite a few of the 156 countries that have ratified the Convention against Torture and have domestic legislation making it illegal.”

Continue reading here. Photo credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

2015 Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowship for Social and Economic Justice, Applications Due 1/12/15

Haywood Burns

The Haywood Burns Fellowships are designed to encourage students to work in the National Lawyer’s Guild’s tradition of “people’s lawyering.” The program exists to help students apply their talents and skills to find creative ways to use the law to advance justice. Burns Fellowships provoke law students to question traditional notions of how one must practice law and to provide a summer experience that will enrich and challenge them.

Over the years, the Summer Projects program has expanded to place hundreds of students with public interest organizations working to protect and further the civil rights of oppressed people in the United States. Although providing legal work under the direction of their attorney-organizers is important, the primary mission of the summer projects is to strengthen each student’s long-term commitment to promote justice and equality. Fellows have worked with groups to provide legal, political, and educational support on a wide variety of issues, including voting rights; union democracy; workplace health and safety; the death penalty and prison reform; lesbian/gay/bisexual/trans rights; defense of protesters from police harassment and criminal sanctions; and international human rights.

For more information, click here.

Human Rights Essay Award: Call for Submissions, Due 2/1/15

WCL

Are you interested in attending an all-expense paid 3 week summer program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law taught by over 39 world-renowned practitioners and academics at American University Washington College of Law? Well, now is your chance! Submit an essay to the Human Rights Essay Award Competition and you could be the lucky winner to receive a scholarship to attend the 2015 Program of Advanced Studies in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. This year’s topic is “Transitional Justice, International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law” and the deadline to submit is February 1, 2015. Participants have the flexibility to choose any subject related to the assigned topic. The best articles may be published in the American University International Law Review.

This annual competition sponsored by the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law seeks to stimulate the production of scholarly work in international human rights law. The Academy will grant two Awards, one for the best article in English and one for the best article in Spanish. The Award in each case will consist of: a scholarship to the Academy’s Program of Advanced Studies, travel expenses to Washington D.C., housing at the university dorms and a per diem for living expenses.

For detailed guidelines about the award, click here.

Attention US Citizens! David L. Boren Fellowship, Applications Due 1/27/15

boren-logo

The David L. Boren Fellowship provides a unique funding opportunity for U.S. students to study in world regions critical to U.S. interests (Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East).  Boren Fellows receive up to $24,000 for overseas study or up to $30,000 for a combination of overseas and domestic study.

Deadline: January 27, 2015 at 2:00 PM (PST)

For UW Information Session Webinars: December 9, 2014 and January 6, 2015.  Register online here.

For more information, click here.

 

Interested in Working in the Bay Area? Join CPSL For Its Annual San Francisco Visit

Attention Law Students Interested in Working in Bay Area! Join the CPSL for our Annual San Francisco Public Service Employer Visit.  RSVP By December 8

SF

2015 SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC SERVICE CITY VISIT: FRIDAY, JANUARY 16, 2015

The  Center for Public Service Law has planned our fourth annual San Francisco  Public Service Law City Visit for Friday, January 16, 2014.  On that day we will visit four public interest/public service agencies – two in Oakland  and two in San Francisco.  This year we will visit a variety of  organizations including the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Ella Baker Center, the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), and one more site awaiting final confirmation.  Over the last several years UW Law students have taken this trip and visited different public service and public interest sites, receiving excellent exposure to public service law in San Francisco.

Who may attend?  UW law students.

Why attend? If you are interested in seeking summer positions in the San Francisco Bay Area or if you think you might practice public interest or public service law in the Bay Area after graduating then this is a great opportunity to get a sense of the lay of the land.  At each place we visit, the  organization will give us a brief presentation and then lawyers on staff will answer our questions.  Meeting the public service lawyers in these offices will help you to begin building relationships — which is vital to “breaking in” to a new community.  None of the employers we visit can guarantee our jobs for students, but students have created important connections and at least one secured an externship.  Two other organizations we have visited have welcomed collaborative projects with students or hosted Equal Justice  Works fellowship applications, based on us establishing relationships with them through the city visits.

What are the expenses? You must pay for your own airfare and lodging. On Friday we will provide lunch and public transportation fees.  Participants will be eligible for up to $150 reimbursement of documented travel expenses.

How to RSVP:  contact Aline Carton-Listfjeld at acarton@uw.edu if you are interested in attending or if you have additional questions.  Please do so by Monday, December 8 as  we will want to confirm a minimum number of participants in order to go forward with the trip.

Volunteer Opportunities with the WSBA Board of Governors, Due 12/30

wsba2

The WSBA Board of Governors (BOG) is accepting letters of interest and résumés from members interested in serving on the following council and committees. Notice of BOG action will follow its January 2015 meeting.

  • Council on Public Legal Education — The Council on Public Legal Education brings together lawyers, judges, educators, and community representatives to promote public understanding of the law and civic rights and responsibilities. The Council meets two to three times per year and works through its committees. This is a three-year term.
  • Office of Public Defense Advisory Committee — The Office of Public Defense Advisory Committee meets quarterly to recommend policies for the agency’s appellate indigent defense, trial public defense, and parents’ representation programs, advise the agency on oversight of its programs, make recommendations regarding legislative positions and proposed rules, review budgetary matters, and consider appeals of billing decisions. This is a three-year term.
  • Washington Pattern Forms Committee — The Washington Pattern Forms Committee develops and maintains standardized forms for use in Washington state courts. The mandatory pattern forms and pattern forms cover several subject areas, such as: domestic relations, protection orders, guardianship, garnishment, juvenile court, misdemeanor judgment and sentencing, and felony judgment and sentencing forms. This is a four-year term.

For more information on these opportunities, click here.

Please submit letters of interest and résumés on or before Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, to WSBA Communications Department, 1325 Fourth Avenue #600, Seattle, WA 98101-2539; or email barleaders@wsba.org.

President Obama Announces Sweeping Immigration Reform, Says His Plan Is Lawful

President Obama

By Reuters, Newsweek

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama imposed the most sweeping immigration reform in a generation on Thursday, easing the threat of deportation for about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants and setting up a clash with Republicans.

In a White House speech, Obama rejected Republican critics who say his decision to bypass Congress and take executive action is tantamount to amnesty for illegal immigrants and urged them to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation that the Republican-controled House of Representatives has blocked.

“Today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it,” Obama said. “It’s been this way for decades. And for decades we haven’t done much about it.”

Continue reading here. Photo credit: Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

A Push for Legal Aid in Civil Cases Finds Its Advocates

German and Lorenza Artiga

By Erik Eckholm and Ian Lovett, The New York Times

LOS ANGELES — Lorenza and German Artiga raised six children in a rent-controlled bungalow here, their only home since they moved from El Salvador 29 years ago.

So they were stunned this past summer when their landlord served them with eviction papers, claiming that their 12-year-old granddaughter Carolyn, whose mother was killed in a car crash in 2007, was an illegal occupant.

Up against a seasoned lawyer and bewildering paperwork, the couple, who speak little English and could never afford a lawyer, would very likely have been forced out of their home and the landlord could have raised the rent for new tenants.

Continue reading here.  Photo credit: Monica Almeida/The New York Times

WSBA Pro Bono 101 Training: How To Be an Effective Pro Bono Advocate, Free CLE

WSBA Logo

As part of our goal to enhance a culture of service within the WSBA membership, we are pleased to offer free CLE courses to volunteer attorneys who participate in WSBA Public Service Programs and provide pro bono assistance in their communities.

We are excited to announce WSBA Pro Bono 101: How to be an Effective Pro Bono Advocate, a CLE that will provide participants interested in volunteering with the tools, knowledge and strategies needed to successfully engage in pro bono and public service. We had over 750 members join us on October 9th for the original webcast and we’re excited to provide this as an A/V CLE through our Public Service Trainings page.

Volunteers must be authenticated to view any Public Service Trainings. To be authenticated, volunteers will need to email publicservice@wsba.org and include their name, bar number, and the name of the Qualified Legal Service Provider they are currently working with.

Zeid urges restraint, and determined effort to root out institutionalized discrimination in wake of U.S. Ferguson verdict

UNHCHR

By: Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner For Human Rights in Geneva

“The Grand Jury’s decision not to charge a police officer who fatally shoot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has led to violent protests, including looting and arson. I urge all protestors to avoid violence and destruction in the wake of this decision, in accordance with the expressed wishes of Mr. Brown’s parents and with the law. People have the right to express their dismay and their disagreement with the Grand Jury’s verdict, but not to cause harm to others, or to their property, in the process.

Without knowing the details of the evidence laid before the Missouri Grand Jury – which in turn depends on the quality of the investigation into the killing of Michael Brown – I am not, at this point, able to comment on whether or not the verdict conforms with international human rights law.

Nevertheless, I am deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in U.S. prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on Death Row.

Continue reading here.