Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Once again, a Republican led administration is seeking to end federal funding for legal services for the poor by eliminating the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). LSC, founded in 1974, is an important funding source of legal services programs for the poor in the United States.
It is not new for those of us who have been working as legal advocates for the poor in various capacities. If at all possible, law schools (not just the clinical programs and externship programs) should denounce this effort by the current President and speak out in support of equal justice and access for all.
Previously, under the administration of Ronald Reagan, Republicans sought to ‘zero’ out the funding of the Legal Services Corporation. The effort failed and LSC lived to struggle on, terribly underfunded, but yet alive somehow amidst a wave of extreme right wing politics. Ronald Reagan and his cohorts persisted over and years and they pressed on again and again trying to cut the program.
Virginia Knapland, a managing attorney at Westchester Legal Services in the 1980's criticized Reagan's efforts at the time and asserted that if LSC was totally cut, “the courtroom doors will be closed to the poor.” Later in the mid 1980's when Reagan again tried to cut the agency completely, law student, James Cott opined in the Christian Science Monitor that “our democracy can only function if our legal system is available to all citizens, not merely those who can afford private legal services.”
Most of the programs that LSC funded back then survived but barely. They also became so overburdened with regulations and bureaucracy many had to remake themselves. They did not want their work to become meaningless because of the absurdity of our politics.
I was a Staff Attorney at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) in the early 1990’s when again a GOP led effort sought to end LSC's funding. Newt Gingrich led that nasty effort and it resulted in a 56 percent cut to our funding. Several of our offices had to be closed and many attorneys and paralegals had to be let go. I would have been one of those attorneys but so many people at NLSP decided to retire and move on, a number of us were able to retain our positions.
The sojourn of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in Washington is a perfect example of the callous governing that has gone on at time since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 in regards to legal services for the poor funding by taxpayers. NLSP once had 11 offices in the city, scattered throughout the city, and had become one of the model programs for advocacy and change in the U.S. regarding the rights of poor people. After the attacks, it had only two offices. In particular, NLSP was at the forefront of changing the nation's landlord-tenant laws to respect and recognize the rights of not just tenants able to afford legal counsel but poor tenants often living in substandard housing. NLSP remains in operation today but is remarkably different as a result of the various attacks over the years by Republican administrations.
Yet to put it all in perspective, even with the many offices NLSP had been operating with LSC funding at various times, both before and after the cuts, it still did not reach the many poor people in the city who needed a lawyer in a divorce, or landlord-tenant dispute, or small claims matter, or a simple workmen’s compensation claim. The LSC funding, to use a terrible, overused metaphor was a drop in the bucket of what is actually needed and that can be afforded.
That is why to cut LSC, without a replacement program, is an act of political cowardice. It doesn’t save the government much money at all and if it does happen, it will likely cost the court systems across the country much more in time and money in trying to handle the confusion created by a decision which is devoid of real thought and deliberation.
It is hoped that law schools will speak our forcibly on this issue and the deans of the law schools will use their influence to once again stop another misguided Republican effort to end federal funding for legal services for the poor.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Opening Plenary, AALS Clinical Conference – Request for Action Items: What Are You Doing in These Tumultuous Times?
This year's AALS clinical conference happens in early May, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. Be a part of the opening plenary session by sharing your work! From the organizers:
We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education. We write with regard to the conference’s opening plenary session, entitled Pushing On and Pushing Through in Tumultuous Times. The conference theme is Serving the Client in Tumultuous Times: Fostering Responsibility to Individuals, Communities, and Society in Clinical Legal Education. As part of the plenary, we would like to hear from you regarding action steps you have taken or plan to take―in response to today’s tumultuous times—during this academic year or action planning this summer with respect to teaching, lawyering, scholarship and/or service. How have these times caused/forced/led/inspired you to change what you have done, what you are doing, and/or what do you plan to do? Please send us a couple of sentences or a paragraph detailing your steps by Friday, March 31, to email@example.com, with the subject line: “Faculty Motivation for Opening Plenary.”
In addition, please ask your students to create brief videos or take photos that we might show during the opening plenary or perhaps at other times throughout the conference or on the conference website in which they address one of the following questions: 1) What have you been doing this academic year to address injustice?; 2) How have you been making a difference this academic year, inside or outside of law school?; and/or 3) In 2017, what motivates you most to become a lawyer? Responses can be sent in a short video format (e.g., less than one-minute iPhone video clip) or on a photo with cue card, as shown in this video of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGxjIBEZvx0, and on the right side of the page here, http://theopedproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=868&Itemid=154. Other examples could include photos or short videos of students meeting with client communities, providing access to legal assistance in new venues such as airports, or meeting with local legislators. Each submission must include the student’s name, law school and year in law school. Submissions may include audio. Please send high-resolution photos and high-definition cellphone videos. Submissions are due by Friday, March 31, and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line: “Student Motivation for Opening Plenary.”
We cannot promise to include all submissions in our opening plenary program. We know we will gain inspiration from all of them.
Opening Plenary Presenters:
Craig B. Futterman, The University of Chicago, The Law School
Bill O. Hing, University of San Francisco School of Law
Susan R. Jones, The George Washington University Law School
Moderator: Michael Pinard, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Planning Committee for AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education:
Luz E. Herrera, Texas A&M University School of Law
Margaret M. Jackson, University of North Dakota School of Law
Lydia Johnson, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law
Paul Radvany, Fordham University School of Law
Alexander Scherr, University of Georgia School of Law
Robin Walker Sterling, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Carol Suzuki, University of New Mexico School of Law, Chair
Send questions to:
Carol M. Suzuki
Professor of Law
University of New Mexico School of Law
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
The National Jurist magazine has released its rankings for law schools' programs for practical training. National Jurist bases its rankings on data reported to the ABA for opportunities available to students in clinics, externships, simulation courses, interscholastic advocacy competitions, and other factors, like pro bono requirements. These are the top 20 schools for practical training according to these rankings:
- Northeastern University
- University of St. Thomas - Minnesota
- Yale Law School
- University of Arizona
- Pepperdine University
- University of California - Irvine
- Valparaiso University
- University of Wisconsin
- University of Denver
- University of Colorado
- Northwestern University
- University of Utah
- University of Cincinnati
- Cardozo School of Law
- Golden Gate University
- Liberty University
- Washington & Lee University
- Pacific McGeorge School of Law
- Brigham Young University
- University of Mississippi
U.S. News has released its annual rankings in higher education, including for law schools and clinical programs. U.S. News bases its rankings of clinical programs on peer-reputation voting. This year, these are the top 20 clinical programs according to these rankings:
- Georgetown University
- American University
- New York University
- Yale University
- University of the District of Columbia
- University of Maryland
- Washington University in St. Louis
- University of Michigan
- Stanford University
- Northwestern University
- University of Balitmore
- University of Denver
- University of New Mexico
- University of California - Irvine
- University of California - Berkeley
- Suffolk University
- Seattle University
- Harvard University
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
"Full Citizenship Project for Law Faculty" was launched on International Women's Day by the Legal Writing Institute (LWI) and the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD). The initiative is intended to correct gender and other disparities among U.S. law faculty. The decision to launch the project on International Women's Day is based on the fact that women are significantly underrepresented in tenured and tenure-track positions on law school faculties (only 36 percent are women) and over-represented on legal writing (70 percent) and clinical faculties (63 percent). Moreover, as status and salaries decrease with a position, the representation of women increases.
Those who support integrated and diverse law school faculties recognize that equality and security contribute to robust and innovative teaching. Second- and tertiary-class status takes its toll on faculty morale both inside and outside the classroom. Those who share the concern that women faculty members should not be relegated to subordinate positions with regard to security of position and academic freedom are encouraged to sign the Full Citizenship Statement, which can be found here. The signature campaign will end on Equal Pay Day, April 4, which is the day that women have to continue working into the new year to make the same amount of income as men did the prior year. The results of the Full Citizenship Project for Law Faculty will be reported to AALS, the ABA, and the American Law Deans Association.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
This week, at the direction of our university administration, Pepperdine announced several new initiatives to provide focused services on students across the university who are affected by changes and potential changes in immigration law and international travel rules. These services include projects by the counseling center, chaplain's office, and point people in each of our five schools.
They also include the new Pepperdine Law Immigration Clinic. This is not a standard, credit-bearing course in the clinical curriculum but is a pilot project with four clinical faculty supervising students who can earn pro bono credit. We are providing advice and counsel under California's limited-scope representation rules. The representation is limited to basic advice, counsel, and referrals for students with questions and concerns about their visas, residency status, documentation, international travel, and immigration matters. The clients are Pepperdine students who are Dreamers, undocumented immigrants, or international students holding passports from affected nations. (Here is our announcement to the law school this week.)
The university also funded a retainer for an outside, expert immigration attorney to handle more complex matters for students, short of appearing in adversarial proceedings. The retained lawyer is one of our former supervising attorneys in the clinics and is one of the leading immigration lawyers in Los Angeles.
In frustrating times, it has been wonderful to see our university mobilize for its students, to marshal its resources quickly, and gather committed people from across the university ecosystem who are eager and willing to add work their portfolios.
Several other schools and organizations have been at work on similar projects, and their resources have been invaluable to us as we get up to speed on this work. Our colleagues in immigration clinics around the country have been generous in sharing insight, materials, and ideas as we get started.
Here are some important and useful resources from our University of California neighbors for which are very grateful:
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
CLEA has opened registration for the 2017 New Clinicians Conference, May 6, 2017, in Denver, Colorado. The New Clinicians Conference will be on the day before the AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education and will be at the Colorado Bar, a short walk from the AALS conference hotel.
From the CLEA description:
The New Clinicians Conference will offer resources for teaching and lawyering in clinics, orientation to the legal academy, opportunity for building networks, and ideas for improving our work. Designed for clinicians in their first year or two of clinical teaching, the full-day program will include multiple plenary sessions, facilitated small groups, and break-out sessions.
The deadline to register for one of the sixty spots at the conference is April 18, 2017.
I have the privilege of working on the organizing committee for this conference and am very excited for the plans. I have benefited and witnessed the great benefit of this conference for the lawyer-teachers who are just joining our work. The experiences and relationships here are invaluable. Deans and directors will receive a great return on their investment for sending new clinicians to accelerate their learning and work here.
As a Transactional Clinical Professor in Appalachia, you may be surprised to learn I recently included this topic in my seminar. I believe it is our duty as lawyers to think critically about the world and systems around us. We may not be experts in immigration or water rights or policing, but attorneys should bear witness and parse through emotional reactions to unpack (or issue spot) legitimate concerns. All lawyers must be engaged in justice and my students, who advocate for economic opportunity, are no different.
My learning goals for exploring the “Muslim Ban” are:
- Connect troubling current events with the law
- Explore the justice implications and human consequences of these events
- Explore our impact as lawyers and the importance of bearing witness (“showing up”)
- Connect these concepts to our clients, their communities, and their realities to engender empathy for all families and individuals at risk.
I always use multimedia as a means to ease into politically sensitive topics. My students find multimedia to be refreshing addition to standard legal reading assignments (statutes, cases, regulations, and even the occasional executive order). Additionally, multimedia forces students to think about laws in action rather than in a vacuum. The voice over the radio or facial expression on film is far more persuasive, often telling a personal and compelling story. Even those who disagree will at least be forced to listen (literally).
For this assignment, I used two podcasts along with the text of the executive order. The premise is exploring how contracts (Powers of Attorney, Guardianship Agreements) could provide some security or protection to families who are separated. In order to discuss the contracts, we needed to understand the situation causing the separation.
We start by discussing the groups targeted by the Executive Order. We explore the colloquial use of “Muslim Ban” despite the word Muslim not appearing in the text. We discuss the underlying national security justifications. I explain that this will serve as our benchmark when considering the collateral consequences and tensions with our understanding of “justice.”
I use the multimedia to illustrate these human collateral consequences. The first podcast is an episode of This American Life, titled “Taking Names.” It chronicles the story of Kirk Johnson, who worked for USAID during the reconstruction of Fallujah, Iraq. Kirk began a list of Iraqis marked for retaliation based on their cooperation with the U.S. Military and other U.S. agencies. It is a heartbreaking portrait of the families and individuals seeking asylum. The podcast also outlines the rigorous, existing vetting mechanisms for refugees. Using a slightly dated podcast also reinforces that the plight of refugees, the vetting process, and national security concerns are not new. I do this because a large percentage of the state supported the current administration. To make sure students listen, I must make it clear that this is a longstanding problem exacerbated by the “Muslim Ban.” We then begin discussing the justice implications of the ban. Are these refugees a threat? When comparing the national security concerns with the existing process and human consequences, do we understand the tensions, problems, and subsequent outrage?
For my students, I must also reinforce that transactional lawyers are not exempt from these larger justice conversations. We may not be immigration lawyers, but can still contribute. The second podcast is an interview with fellow Clinical Professor Sarah Sherman-Stokes and helps my students understand our role in justice. Sarah is one of the stellar Clinicians at Boston University and works in the Immigrant Rights Clinic. Sarah discusses her experience in being a lawyer and law professor at Logan. My students were particularly moved by Sarah’s retelling of bringing Entrepreneurship Clinic Students to the airport. She uses the phrase “show up” and reiterates how our legal training, even as students, gives us the skills to interview, fact gather, and be of use. The full podcast is available here.
I conclude the class by discussing ways my Clinic can help communities, families, and individuals prepare for these circumstances through our transactional skills. We discuss how basic contracts like Guardianship Agreements and Powers of Attorney can help families plan for disasters. We discuss the importance of educating the public, helping them understand the guardianship hearings and family law system. Can we collaborate with the family law clinic to create a teach-in or general self-help or legal advocacy tools for families? We discuss who in our communities could benefit from this – individuals seeking in-patient treatment, individuals fearing arrest, etc. We revisit that parents seeking to protect their children exist in all communities. We have the skills to help them understand their rights and even draft basic agreements to protect their loved ones. We must remember - we are in a position of power in a time of great uncertainty.
Thursday, February 2, 2017
On February 1, 1933—exactly eighty-four years ago [today/ yesterday] –Adolf Hitler delivered his first speech as Chancellor of Germany. That address is significant for a number of reasons beyond its anniversary.
After President Donald Trump’s Inauguration, a number of prominent news sources ran comparisons between his speech and that of past presidents, noting that most had focused their addresses on themes of hope (“Yes we can…”), self-sacrifice (“Ask not what your country can do for you…”). Trump, on the other hand, focused on darker imagery and nationalistic themes.
The point of many of the comparison stories was that President Trump’s inaugural address veered from historical trends. Looking back a bit farther back, however—and across the Atlantic Ocean—shows that our newly inaugurated President’s speech was neither unique nor new. It was simply unique in modern American history.
Preserved for their historical relevance, Hitler’s speeches are widely available, in reliable translation, in libraries and in web-based sources. Progressives have been making comparisons between Trump and Hitler since the early days of the 2016 Presidential campaign. But not all supremacist language takes us back to Nazi Germany; Twenty-first century racism is abhorrent in its own right. So I invite your independent comparison of that 1933 radio address with the one offered at President Trump’s Inauguration. The parallels in both structure and rhetoric are stark. Lest these comparisons seem hyperbolic, I include direct quotes from each address.
To begin with, each address alludes to a golden time in the nation’s history that must be restored. Each also seeks to locate blame with those responsible for struggles of the People (for whom both Trump and Hitler claim to speak).
President Trump: For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost . ... Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. … Their triumphs have not been your triumphs and, while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
Chancellor Hitler: More than fourteen years have passed since the unhappy day when the German people, blinded by promises from foes at home and abroad, lost touch with honor and freedom, thereby losing all…
Next, both Trump and Hitler conjure dismal imagery. This, as many news sources pointed out, was what so starkly differed between Trump’s inaugural speech and his predecessors’. But this tactic packs a powerful rhetorical punch; exaggerating the failures of past government inspires those who feel envious, resentful, downtrodden to trust in the exercise of power who would restore the days of prosper and plenty.
President Trump: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation… and the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
Chancellor Hitler: The misery of our people is horrible to behold! Millions of the industrial proletariat are unemployed and starving; the whole of the middle class and the small artisans have been impoverished.
Throughout both speeches, both Trump and Hitler call on God’s blessing for their righteous causes. Some were surprised at the language of Trump’s Inaugural address, which was more overtly religious than is typical for him. Of course, neither speech is interfaith: it is clear whose God is invoked (and which religions are not welcome at the table).
President Trump: When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. … we will be protected by God.
Chancellor Hitler: The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life....
Perhaps most widely discussed in Donald Trump’s inaugural speech are the nationalist and populist themes. Trump calls this “Americanism.” We have seen this before. Structurally, these themes pervade each address.
President Trump: We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny….
Chancellor Hitler: But we are all filled with unbounded confidence for we believe in our people and their imperishable virtues. Every class and every individual must help us to found the new Reich.
Appealing to the faith of the people and pledging commitment to a common cause, both Trump and Hitler close with strong statements of populist purpose and national unity.
President Trump: Together we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And, yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you and God bless America. Thank you. God bless America
Chancellor Hitler: Now, people of Germany, give us four years and then pass judgment upon us. … May God Almighty give our work His blessing, strengthen our purpose, and endow us with wisdom and the trust of our people, for we are fighting not for ourselves but for Germany.
And so we have structural similarities, similar language, similar themes. Content aside, both speeches employ brilliant tactics for rallying believers to a cause and for unifying “the people” – Hitler called them “Volk”—behind broad exercise of power. Hitler delivered far more dangerous speeches, and Trump has more addresses yet to come. But the way in each man chose to introduce himself as a new world leader is telling- and tellingly parallel.
Am I suggesting, with this comparison, that President Trump is the next Fuhrer and the United States is destined for another Holocaust and World War III? No. In addition to our Separation of Powers, we have seen organized resistance to concerning efforts of the new Administration. Last weekend’s Marches demonstrated peaceful vigilance against authoritarian policies and xenophobic rhetoric. But must we continue to learn from the past and read the warning signs as we see them? Yes. Jawohl.
This post appeared earlier in the Macon Telegraph, February 1, 2017.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Prof. Kendall Kerew of Georgia State has announced the launch of the new Lextern website.
Lextern is an invaluable resource for externship and other field placement programs.
Kendall describes the new project:
It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of a new version of LexternWeb (https://www.lexternweb.org/). As many of you know, Professor Sandy Ogilvy of Catholic University Columbus School of Law created LexternWeb in 2009 for the benefit and use of faculty and administrators engaged in teaching and coordinating legal externship programs. With Professor Ogilvy's support and input, the AALS Clinical Section's Externship Committee has created this new version of LexternWeb to continue Professor Ogilvy's work to promote information sharing and collaboration among externship faculty nationwide.
Like its predecessor, the new LexternWeb is a one-stop shop for every kind of Externship Program resource. The site includes a variety of materials related to law school programs, externship teaching, site supervision, scholarship, and professional organizations. Moving forward, AALS Externship Committee Co-Chair Kendall Kerew will work in conjunction with the Committee and Professor Ogilvy to administer the LexternWeb site. To post your program-related materials, please email them to Kendall at email@example.com.
Special thanks to the many colleagues and friends who helped us bring the LexternWeb to you. In particular, we would like to again thank Sandy Ogilvy for his inspired work with LexternWeb over so many years and for being so supportive of this update.
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
SALT asks that you immediately contact your state’s ABA Delegates and other ABA delegates you may know to urge rejection of a proposal that will come before the ABA House of Delegates as Resolution 110B on Monday, February 6 (sample email below). If you are in the Miami area, we also encourage you to attend the House of Delegates Session and speak against Resolution 110B.
The proposal would revise ABA Standard 316, the bar passage accreditation standard, to impose a single nationwide standard on all law schools. Specifically, the proposed standard would require that 75% of all members of a law school graduating class who sit for a bar exam must pass within two years of graduation. The proposal is simplistic in failing to take into account dramatic variations in passing scores adopted by different states. It is inequitable in posing a threat both to schools in states with low pass rates and to schools that serve historically disadvantaged students and communities. The proposed change was approved by the ABA Council on Legal Education (the “Council”) with no study of possible adverse effects or meaningful discussion of serious reservations brought to its attention.
Numerous groups and individuals raised concerns about the proposal in written comments to the Council and in testimony at a Council hearing in San Francisco on August 6. The only hearing testimony presented was in opposition to the proposed standard. Despite the significance of the proposal, the Council spent less than an hour deliberating over its approval. In that short discussion, the Council spent a scant few minutes on the concerns raised by opponents.
In its comments and testimony SALT identified important unanswered questions that need consideration to ensure the bar passage standard works appropriately and fairly. Those include whether schools in states with consistently lower pass rates would meet the proposed single nationwide standard, what impact the proposal would have on the admission of students from diverse, economically disadvantaged, and non-traditional backgrounds and the overall diversity of the bench and bar, and the extent to which the standard could lead schools in states with low pass rates to focus on bar-type courses for their students, thereby limiting the growth of experiential and skills-oriented learning that recently adopted accreditation standards seek to encourage.
Other comments in opposition came from, among others:
- CLEA ("We … urge that the Council: (1) conduct an evidence-based inquiry into the immediate impact of proposed Standard 316 on schools in states with low pass rates and on the diversity of law schools; and (2) consider more systematically whether the bar examination, as the exclusive means of assessing readiness to practice law, is too limited in the proficiencies it assesses for entry into the legal profession.” See also CLEA’s recent Call for Action urging its members join the growing concerted effort to make sure that the House of Delegates does not simply rubberstamp Resolution 110B.)
- Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and University (“HBCU”) law schools (“We write out of concern and alarm that the proposed standard, if adopted, will be detrimental to meaningful access to justice for both potential lawyers of color and the communities greatly in need of their advocacy. … The entire profession should be deeply concerned at the potential adverse impact this standard change would have on law schools associated with HBCUS. … There has been no study conducted by the ABA to assess how the proposed standard will impact law schools with large percentages of minority law [students].”
- ABA Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline (“The proposed changes to Standard 316 are contrary to ABA Goal III and presents significant impediments to increasing diversity in the legal profession.”)
- Congressional Black Caucus (“We request that the American Bar Association forego adoption or implementation of the proposed standard pending a more inclusive dialogue and assessment on the standard’s impact on diversity in the legal profession.”)
- New York State Bar Association (“Far too much is currently unknown and the facts needed for informed decision-making are lacking. For New York, there probably could not be a more inappropriate time to impose any new standards.”)
More recently, 90 law school deans signed a letter urging postponement of the Standard 316 proposal for one year for additional consideration and study. “Despite the diversity of opinion on this difficult issue, all the deans who have signed this letter believe that there should be an opportunity for further reflection, and perhaps more careful study and analysis, before a new standard is adopted, especially because this standard could well have serious, albeit unintended, consequences on the welfare of many law schools and students.”
Please join SALT in urging ABA delegates to reject the simplistic and inequitable 316 proposal. Thank you!
Sample email to your state’s ABA delegates
For a state-by-state list of delegates, click here. In the alternative, most state representatives for the ABA House of Delegates can be found on your state bar website. You can also search on the internet for your state name and “ABA House of Delegates.” If you are a member of the ABA, there is a delegate directory link on the main ABA website that is accessible to you.
Dear ABA Delegate:
I write to ask that you vote to send Resolution 110B back to the Council on Legal Education for further study and consideration. Resolution 110B proposes a revision of Standard 316 that has not been adequately studied despite reasonable concern that it may have serious, detrimental unintended consequences.
The Council was understandably motivated to simplify current Standard 316, but in its haste to do so has not adequately studied the impact of the proposed change. In fact, the Council passed the proposed Standard 316 after a short discussion that included virtually no consideration of the concerns expressed in numerous written comments and public testimony presented to the Council. Serious concerns remain about the unintended impact of the proposal on schools in states with low bar pass rates, on efforts to diversify the profession, and on reform of legal education to teach the many skills needed for effective and ethical law practice.
I urge you and the other delegates of [insert name of your state] to reject Resolution 110B and send it back to Council for careful and comprehensive study of its likely impact.
[Your name here]
Monday, January 23, 2017
Through some serendipity, I am spending this week in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie at its Exchanging Hemispheres program. I'm helping teach a short course, Access to Justice and Clinical Legal Education Theory, Practice & Skills. My contribution today was a session on clinical pedagogy and program design with law professors and students who are eager to launch a clinical program in Sao Paulo.
After one day here, I have renewed inspiration and commitment to our work in light of the lawyers and students who have shared this classroom today. The first speaker today was Prof. Daniel Bonilla of Univeridad de Los Andes in Colombia who described his work in establishing El Grupo de Derecho de Interés Público (G-DIP), a human rights legal clinic in Bogota.
Later, we heard from Mackenzie psychology professors about their work with Juridicial Psychology and clinical programs for psychology supporting people in the legal system and new programs to integrate law students into their work.
Throughout the day, Prof. Alan Russell of London South Bank University discussed his work and experience at its Legal Advice Clinic. Prof. Russell led the course last week to demonstrate the experience of clinical education and its promise for access to justice.
Two law professors from another university in southern Brazil attended to contribute their work with their consumer protection clinic. Other Mackenzie faculty discussed their work in human rights and their designs for a new labor law clinic and other enterprises.
We all shared our alarm at the rise of global nationalism and our current political disruptions, our resolve to promote justice and the rule of law, and the great need to teach students about civil engagement, integrity, and public citizenship. Clinical legal education is taking root throughout the world, with a deep understanding that lawyers are essential to constitutional democracy. This heightens the necessity for training lawyers in this age of disruption.
Meeting these kindred spirits, committed lawyers and teachers, has revived my spirit and calling for our work in our global community. The coffee is also very strong. Brazil is good to me today.
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Much post election analysis has focused on the plight of rural Americans. My colleague, Jennifer Oliva, has written an analysis on the negative effects of an ACA repeal in West Virginia, a largely rural state. The full post is available here:
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
On Friday February 3, 2017, UDC’s David A. Clarke School of Law will host a day-long conference on the detention of Central American Families in the United States.
The conference will bring together advocates, law students, and academics throughout the nation who have been fighting to end the detention of immigrant families. In June 2014, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reinstituted an abandoned policy of detaining children and their parents seeking asylum in the United States. Families were first held in Artesia, New Mexico, which was accurately described as a “deportation mill,” and now in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas, along with a smaller detention center in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Thousands of children and their mothers have now been held in confinement while their cases are processed, with a small portion of the families held for more than a year.
We will start the day with opening remarks from Professor emeritus, Barbara Hines, followed by a panel tracing the history of family detention and painting a picture of the current detention system. This will be followed by a panel examining the legal and advocacy challenges to the practice of detaining mothers and children, from the Flores case to hunger strikes by the mothers themselves. During lunch, students who have volunteered inside the detention centers from UDC and Lewis & Clark will share their perspectives. After lunch, scholars and advocates will examine the international human rights ramifications of detaining families and of asylum free zones in the United States. Finally, we will pivot to examine the post-release crisis. How do we ensure adequate representation for asylum-seeking families released from detention? How do we win claims for protection in difficult jurisdictions? We will also examine the lessons learned from the massive national movement built to advocate for detained families and try to replicate our successes in representation in detained and non-detained settings nationwide.
Confirmed speakers include:
- Cecilia Anguiano, Law Student at Lewis & Clark Colle Law School, Portland, Oregon
- Blaine Bookey, Co-Legal Director, Center for Gender and Refugee Studies, San Francisco, CA
- Bridget Cambria, Partner with Cambria & Kline; Founder, ALDEA People’s Center, Reading, Pennsylvania
- Kristina Campbell, Professor of Law and Jack and Lovell Olender Director, Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
- Dree Collopy, Partner, Benach Collopy LLP, Washington DC
- Tessa Copeland, Law Student at Lewis & Clark College Law School, Portland, Oregon
- Melissa Crow, Legal Director at the American Immigration Council
- Conchita Cruz, Co-Director Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project
- Andrew Free, Law Office of R. Andrew Free, Nashville, Tennessee
- Lindsay M. Harris, Assistant Professor of Law, Immigration and Human Rights Clinic, UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
- Barbara Hines, Emerson Fellow and Clinical Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas – Austin
- Karen Lucas, Associate Director of Advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association ·
- Michelle Mendez, Staff Attorney, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc
- Andrea Meza, Equal Justice Works Fellow & Staff Attorney, RAICES, San Antonio, Texas
- Lindsay Nash, Visiting Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Cardozo Law
- Sarah Paoletti, Practice Professor of Law, Director of Transnational Legal Clinic, Penn Law
- Swapna Reddy, Co-Director, Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project
- Katie Shepherd, former Managing Attorney of the CARA Project and current Legal Fellow at the American Immigration Council
- Anita Sinha, Assistant Professor of Law, Director of International Human Rights Clinic, American University Washington College of Law.
- Maureen Sweeney, Associate Professor, Director of Immigration Clinic, University of Maryland Law School
- Shana Tabak¸ Visiting Assistant Professor, Georgia State University, College of Law and Global Studies Institute
Registration: Please register for the conference here.
All questions should be directed to Assistant Professor of Law, Lindsay M. Harris at Lindsay.firstname.lastname@example.org
By Inga N. Laurent*
In Jamaica, I don’t have a car. This means if I want to get somewhere I walk or take a taxi. During my first few weeks of living here, the resistance I laid down to the acceptance of this reality was monumental. It was almost akin to a deal-breaker for me. I struggled so much with control, factors outside of my control, including traffic and my ability to accurately estimate timing and order my world. I lamented that I couldn’t just run to the grocery store when I wanted; it all felt somehow backward.
What I couldn’t see at the time, now makes me chuckle. In the last few months, slowly and surely and somewhat surprisingly, I’ve been eroding my rugged individualist mentality.
I’ve come to relish my taxi time. Do you know how much of humanity can unfold before you if you stop to listen? Or how many friendships you can make by learning to trust in someone else’s ability to be responsible and on-time? Do you know that in thirty minutes, you can learn about criminal justice, technology, farming, musical instruments, families and lost and recovered dreams?
In Jamaica, I don’t have a schedule. This means I often get lost in reading or connecting with people instead of writing law review articles. During my first few months of living here, the resistance I laid down to the acceptance of this reality was monumental. I struggled so much against my own self, using chiding and biting remarks, fearing my fraudulence, not ok with slowing down and certainly not comfortable with stillness.
What I couldn’t see at the time, now makes me chuckle. In the last few months, slowly, surely and somewhat surprisingly, I’ve been eroding my long-held, entrenched views on the importance of staying busy.
I’ve come to understand that it all adds up in the end. All. Of. It. Do you know what it’s like when you finally trust yourself to self-regulate? Do you know how to relax and enjoy the gifts that life is giving you rather than fighting with them? Do you know how it feels when your mind become sharper and the web of connections fuse because you’ve allowed yourself the space for your beautiful brain to simply do its thing; the evolutionary thing that is composed of eons of innate wisdom ensuring survival?
In that trust, while relaxing, I read the following words from Sebastian Junger and suddenly I understood.
Tribe on Homecoming and Belonging: “This book is about why that sentiment is such a rare and precious thing in modern society, and how the lack of it has affected us all. It’s about what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty and belonging and the eternal human quest for meaning. It’s about why—for many people—war feels better than peace and hardship can turn out to be a great blessing and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It’s time for that to end.”
This quote brought me back to my research in some kind of startling way. I am not satisfied merely with an academic discussion of the values and challenges of restorative justice. I am here to learn about it on every level, including the theoretical but also the practical, and not for argument’s sake, but because I believe in human relationships and in our interdependence. I do this work because I deeply believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and I want us all to know that we are so much more than our bad acts and mistakes; hopefully in tumbling around teaching and learning this lesson, I will be able to internalize it myself -- “to be understood as to understand.”
And while self-reliance and time-management have served me well so too have connection and space.
The “root of the root and the bud of the bud” is learning not to overcome my Americanness but to become one with it. To realize that sometimes my individualism serves me better, as I have a penchant for wanting to rely on others perhaps more than I should, but somedays that same trait may block the very connection I need. To realize that somedays the drive to stay busy stems my laziness but that on other days, I need my experience to simmer, so I can meaning-make, stop compartmentalizing and embrace the integration that allows me to be simultaneously messy and seamless. I’m in this time, in this place, exactly where I’m supposed to be, exactly as I’m supposed to be. And you know what my friend, you are too. Every experience, the joyful, the painful, even the ugly and the mundane, brings us closer to our imperfectly, perfect selves.
*Inga is currently on sabbatical from her day job as professor and Externship Director at Gonzaga University School of Law. While away, she is living and researching in Kingston, Jamaica under a Fulbright grant, learning about the shift in Jamaican culture from retributive to restorative models of justice.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
SAVE THE DATE
The Clinical Legal Education Association's
2017 New Clinicians Conference
Saturday, May 6, 2017
This year's New Clinicians Conference, hosted by the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA), will take place at the Colorado Bar Association in downtown Denver, within walking distance from the AALS Clinical Conference hotel. The full-day program will include multiple plenary and facilitated small group sessions, as well as break-out sessions. If you are new to clinical teaching, please consider this event when making travel arrangements.
Online registration and additional details will be available in a forthcoming announcement. Registration for the New Clinicians Conference is separate from the AALS Clinical Conference.
If you have any questions, please contact: Cindy Batt (email@example.com) or Chrissy Cerniglia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Friday, January 13, 2017
Much is going to change for Americans over the next weeks and years with the new Administration. With change comes fear and in this case change looks to be formidable. It seems like every moment, we are bombarded with information reminding us of people whose needs and legal rights need to be protected now more than ever and asking us to support them. We are pressed to bring foremost to our minds many issues. People’s free speech rights may be challenged. Non-citizens may be harassed or deported. Women will not be respected. Gay and transgender people may lose gains made over the last few years. Many may lose healthcare. It is scary. These people need help and protections. The warnings we get are real and they are right. Just worrying about these things is not enough. Steps must be taken to ensure that people are protected. Sometimes, it is protecting people who may be close to or similar to us and whose problems we understand viscerally. Sometimes it is protecting people who are just people that we cannot stand to see potentially harmed by what seems like coming vast change and possible attack.
I am afraid, too, about many of these issues. My fear, however, is that in the overwhelming barrage of all of this change, the needs of the poor and of the traditionally legally underserved are forgotten. As a lawyer and teacher who has spent much of my career working on issues of the poor, one of my biggest fears is that these people who have needed our help and continue to need our help will be put on the back burner as we struggle to protect other things.
That is not to say that all of the issues described in the first paragraph are not important. They are. But what is going to happen over the next few months to the poor? My clients depend on SSI, a welfare program designed to provide minimal income benefits to poor people with disabilities, on TANF, a welfare program designed to provide much less but at least something to parents with children, and on SNAP benefits. Will those programs continue to exist? Will they be under attack? Even if they are not, my clients still need help proving they need these benefits. Won’t it still be a problem that like many states, my state has chosen long before this election to dismantle General Assistance for those who cannot qualify for other income support programs? Don’t these issues still need to be addressed?
My fear for the coming months and years is that we will help those like us more than those not like us. For well over a year now, I have been struggling to write a law review article about legal triage, a topic many have discussed before me in the clinical legal world. My continuing struggle as a former glorified pro bono coordinator, as a legal services attorney, and now as a law professor is that the people that we relate to most are really the people who get help. It is easy to see that people like us are people we have to help. We help those with disabilities when we know family or friends with disabilities. We help people with health insurance when we know those who have struggled without it or feel we know those at risk. My fear for the next few months is that those who we do not generally see who have often been the traditional clients that advocates for the legally underserved have helped will be left behind as we struggle to protect people like us or people we know on issues that are really, really important. My hope is that I and my students will remember that there are still real needs among our traditional client base. I do not argue that we necessarily need to help them the way that I try to with my students through individual work. There are likely better ways and certainly just as good ways of working for the poor that are as important or better than what we do. But my wish for MLK Day is that people do not forget this group. While we struggle to work on other issues that are really important, let's continue to focus on the needs of the poor.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
JOBS: Cal State - Chico: Undergraduate Professor of Legal Studies in its Community Legal Information Center
Via Dr. Mahalley D. Allen, a position in legal studies and Cal State - Chico's innovative, undergraduate legal clinic:
Assistant Professor of Legal Studies
Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice
California State University, Chico is committed to achieving the goals of equal opportunity and endeavors to employ faculty and staff of the highest quality reflecting the ethnic and cultural diversity of the state. We are committed to achieving excellence through diversity in the classroom and the workplace. We strive to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students, faculty, and staff
The Position: The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice invites applications for a tenure-track position in legal studies at the Assistant Professor level. The position begins August 2017.
Minimum Qualifications: The minimum requirements for appointment to this position are: a Bachelor’s degree, a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an accredited law school, current membership in the State of California Bar or membership within one year of the start of employment, ability to teach courses in clinical legal education (i.e., Community Legal Information Center) and courses in the Legal Studies program, as well as the capacity to engage in publishable academic and/or legal/professional research.
Preferred Qualifications: Preference will be given to applicants with any of the following: legal clinical experience, paralegal supervision, experience in practicing law, teaching experience, law review participation and/or additional degrees, such as a L.L.M. or Ph.D. In addition to teaching courses in clinical legal education, other primary teaching responsibilities may include courses in any one of the following areas: constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, civil litigation, introduction to legal studies, alternative dispute resolution, administrative law, and moot court.
Responsibilities: This tenure-track position carries responsibilities in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service to the Department and University. Teaching assignments are based upon qualifications of the individual and the needs of the department.
Salary: Salary commensurate with education and experience.
The Department: The Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice offers undergraduate degrees in political science (including an option in legal studies), criminal justice, international relations, and public administration, as well as Masters degrees in political science and public administration. We have an exciting curriculum, with numerous options to meet a host of academic interests, and an active and productive faculty committed to excellence in teaching and scholarship. Over 1,000 students major in our department’s programs. Additional information about our Department is available at http://www.csuchico.edu/pols/. Additional information about the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences is available at http://www.csuchico.edu/bss/index.shtml.
The Legal Studies Program: The Legal Studies Program within the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice includes an active moot court program, a paralegal certificate program, and the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC). Founded in 1969, CLIC is an extensive undergraduate law clinic designed to benefit participating students by providing hands-on legal training and active learning experiences. CLIC also provides a unique civic engagement program that helps serve the legal service needs of Northern California. Additional information about the Legal Studies Program is available at:
Closing Date: Review of applications will begin on February 6, 2017, and continue until the position is filled.
How to Apply: All applicants must apply online at: http://jobs.csuchico.edu/postings/4054
Complete online applications must include: curriculum vitae or resume, cover letter, complete set of undergraduate and law school transcripts, and teaching evaluations if available. Three letters of recommendation are also required and should be submitted to the Search Committee Chair.
Job-related questions and letters of recommendation should be directed to:
Dr. Mahalley Allen, Search Committee Chair
Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0455
email@example.com , 530-898-6506
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Supervising Attorney in Pepperdine's new Startup Law Clinic in the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship & the Law
The Supervising Attorney will teach and supervise students practicing in the Pepperdine Startup Law Clinic (the "SLC"). In the SLC, law students learn and train through law practice under the supervision of the Supervising Attorney. The SLC provides legal services to entrepreneurs and startup businesses in corporate organization and financing transactions. The Supervising Attorney will teach the seminar component of the SLC course with an adjunct faculty appointment. The SLC contributes to the University's mission by increasing the School of Law's capacity to teach, train and form professionals as well as serving the local entrepreneurial community. The SLC serves the School of Law's strategic plan by increasing the profile of the School of Law within the vibrant Southern California entrepreneurial community.
- The Supervising Attorney will supervise law students in practice with professional responsibility for all client services. The SLC's primary focus is in startup financing. The specific legal questions any given client may present may range from issues of corporate law to IP and licensing, to tax and employment, as well as finance. Matters could include entity formation, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, negotiating investment or loan agreements, advising on how to structure internal compensation structures for founders, drafting vendor or services agreements, and many other basic legal needs for startup companies.
- Uphold University mission through work performed.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
The above information has been designed to indicate the general level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job.
Skills and Qualifications
Required: The Supervising Attorney must hold a JD degree from an ABA accredited law school and must be a licensed attorney in good standing in California. The Supervising Attorney must have substantial transactional legal experience in startup and entrepreneurial law practice, especially in financing transactions. The Supervising Attorney must have broad and deep relationships in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Southern California and the ability to secure strategic partnerships for the SLC.
Preferred: Preferred candidates will have expertise in other relevant fields such as intellectual property, tax, or mergers & acquisitions.
Qualified individuals should be able to articulate a strong commitment to diversity, and have the ability to work effectively with individuals from different backgrounds.
Offers of employment are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal, education and employment screening.
This is a restricted, exempt, 40 hour per week position.
Salary: Commensurate with experience
Sunday, January 8, 2017
Everyone in our work encounters students who are in crisis about their callings, opportunities, and direction. Most of us are sympathetic because we have all passed through those years, bedraggled and anxious about what we should do and how we should get there. Some of us still are.
Students seek counsel and advice as they try to choose between their several options or as they despair at having too few. Many students (and professors and people) suffer profound questions about their lives and purpose as they finally achieve admission to law school with great dreams of how they imagine it to be, only to be utterly confused and depressed at the reality. Many students (and professors and people) are paralyzed by the fear of missing out, worried into stasis because choosing one path will necessarily eliminate others. They cannot square their reality with their expectations, and they are terrified of making an early step that will lead them into the wilderness instead of their home. In my experience, I meet many students who are people of faith, praying desperately and waiting to learn what God wills for their lives.
Today, I listened to a very wise episode of The Hidden Brain with Shankar Vedantam, applying design thinking to the problem of people feeling stuck in lives that do not reflect who they see themselves to be. I recommend it for teachers and students looking for a useful framework for thinking about work, vocation, purpose, and decision-making.
Many of his students come to him saying they don't know what to do with their lives. They want to find the "right" answer. He tells them, 'There is more than one you in there.'
"So the problem with the current approach that lots of people are taking," he says, "is it starts with the wrong question. And the wrong question is, how do I figure out that one, best solution to my life?"
Design thinking is about recognizing your constraints, realizing there isn't just one answer, and then trying something: "Building a prototype," getting information from it, and then trying something else.
This reflects some of the advice I often give students, hard won as the wisdom of my own failures and struggles.
It’s important to understand the difference between a problem and a circumstance, the “gravity problem” in the podcast, that can help us set more realistic expectations as a basis for our decisions.
Rather than slogging through anguish trying to decide what to do in their work, students should imagine what kind of life they want to live. Making decisions consistent with values and preferences can be more liberating than pining for the perfect job. This also addresses the fear of missing out, because many options might be consistent with values and preferences along an evolving path. As the podcast suggests, there are many different potential versions of our lives, so we experiment with prototypes to refine the best possible options in a moment within our circumstances.
The episode suggests design thinking, not as self-help or mystical psychology, but as a framework to guide decisions and reflection for students stuck at the end of education and the beginning of a career. This is a critical moment, but it is only one more step in a long journey.
Friday, January 6, 2017
This term I try something new.
The students in my clinic will write a letter to themselves. The letter will be them speaking to themselves 14-15 weeks from now when clinic is over. They will tell themselves what they accomplished, what they did, and how they did it. It is the student setting goals for themselves before the experience begins.
The clinical students will set goals in this letter it is hoped. By stating their accomplishments, they will set a path of achievement and work. The clinical faculty and the law school they attend is there for them to set goals and outcomes, but they can set goals as well and seek outcomes. The letter is a means to set them on that personal course.
The letter gets them to consider what they are now. Are they fearful of speaking in court or in front of people? Are they comfortable conducting site investigations? Are they comfortable with their interviewing skills? Do they negotiate well ? Or maybe, they have bigger goals such as they really want to learn how to infuse social justice into their work and learn it because it is what they want to do as a legal professional? The letter can be very different for all of the students.
The most important thing is the student should be identifying their own concerns, the areas of legal practice skills that they know they can work on to improve, or the type of learning and development they want out of the clinical experience. It could be anything. Maybe they just want to get along better with their co-students. Or, maybe they want to not be late once for any appointment related to the clinic. Regardless, the idea is to have the student embrace their goals and pursue them.
This idea of a letter to oneself came from a writing retreat I attended years ago. It lasted for 10 days. When the retreat was over, we were told to write letters to ourselves. The letters would be mailed to us (or handed back to us) in a year. We were charged in the letter with talking to ourselves and saying what we accomplished in that year. Some goals were ambitious, some were basic, but we set the course of our development and work.
What I noticed from this experience is because I wrote specific things in the letter I pursued these goals strongly. I focused on them. If I had some challenges in achieving the goals, I sought help or I slowed down and refocused. Regardless, the letter became part of a path for me because I knew what I wanted to achieve and I made the effort. It was as if the letter made me push harder. Reading my letter a year later was quite interesting too and something I welcomed.
Imagine a letter written before a basketball camp that lasted a month. An excerpt of the letter might read like this:
You have worked hard on your left hand dribbling now. You have gotten much better at dribbling left handed and you feel good about that. You also needed to work on your free throws and you now almost never miss. You put in the time.
The clinical experience is increasingly important and is as always focused upon the actual skills of legal practice, among other things. This letter is just another tool to push that goal. With so much focus upon the all important practical skills of legal education, this letter to oneself is just something else to use.