November 30, 2008
Award-Winning Documentary on Workers' Rights and Community Organizing Available for Purchase
For law courses and clinics addressing labor and employment, human rights, immigration, public policy, civil rights, law and activism, social justice lawyering and poverty. A DAY’S WORK, A DAY’S PAY follows three welfare recipients in New York City from 1997 to 2000 as they participate in one of the largest and most aggressive workfare programs in the nation, the Work Experience Program. They face major obstacles such as laws that classify them as non-workers, a mayor and general public that is unsympathetic to their plight, and a national anti-welfare sentiment that stigmatizes them further. When faced with the injustices of workfare, these welfare recipients become leaders, demanding jobs creation, health and safety protections and a grievance procedure for workfare workers.
A DAY’S WORK, A DAY’S PAY provides law students with a concrete example of how laws impact real people. Through its up-close portrayal of political activism, the film explores the fascinating interplay of the political process, popular mobilizations and the evolution of American law. When the bills that the welfare recipients have been fighting for are passed, vetoed, veto overruled, then thrown back into the courts, viewers are left with important questions and opportunities for discussion about where real change happens and how. A DAY’S WORK, A DAY’S PAY was broadcast on PBS and won the prestigious Harry Chapin Media Award.
"This powerful film dramatically portrays the real-life impact that law has on human beings. It shows how welfare recipients can be organized to stand up for their rights, and in the process transform themselves from victims of the system to citizens who take control of their lives and futures." —Stephen Wizner, Professor of Law, Yale Law School
"This remarkable film is about mean social policy and the impressive efforts of grassroots organizations to fight back. Documentaries often fail to tell both the human and the political story. A DAY’S WORK, A DAY’S PAY tells both."—Peter Edelman, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
" *** (Three Stars) Recommended! A well-shot, nicely edited piece of documentary journalism that effectively manages to convey both the frustrations of individuals caught in the web of welfare and their growing political empowerment through grassroots activism." –Video Librarian
To purchase a copy, click here. -jl
November 26, 2008
Michigan State Seeks Clinician/Scholar
Michigan State University College of Law is interested in hiring an established scholar who would join the faculty with tenure, and whose teaching would include clinical teaching. Michigan State has strong clinical programs in tax, small business, rental housing, and child welfare. This model of a clinician/scholar is a new one for the law school. The school will consider candidates who would join an existing clinic, or start something new. To be considered as an applicant, please send a letter of interest and CV to Professor Al Storrs, Chair, Appointments Committee, 358 Law College Building, East Lansing Michigan 48824-1300. Feel free to contact Professor Michele Halloran, MSU Law Director of Clinical Programs, with questions about Michigan State’s clinical programs. -jl
November 24, 2008
Professor Barry Named 2008 Pincus Award Recipient for Outstanding Service and Commitment to Clinical Legal Education
Catholic University Law Professor Margaret M. Barry has been selected as this year's William Pincus Award recipient. The Awards Committee for the AALS Section on Clinical Legal Education will present the award at the January AALS Annual Meeting. Professor Barry will be honored for her service, scholarship, and contribution to clinical education and the advancement of justice. Congratulations Professor Barry!
November 23, 2008
Binford: Reconstructing a Clinic
Over the last 40 years, clinical legal education has undergone considerable expansion. More clinics are being offered, more students are enrolling in clinical courses, and more clinical professors are receiving tenure than ever before. However, simultaneous with these successes, some schools continue to wrestle with underperforming clinical law programs. While much has been written about how to start a law school clinic, little has been written to advise law schools on how to turn around a clinic that is struggling. This article tells the story of one such clinic. It describes the financial commitment, facilities acquisitions, programmatic improvements, and personnel changes that were necessary to reconstruct one of the oldest law school clinics in the country. The lessons told remind readers that there are no "quick fixes" to reconstructing a clinical law program. However, with commitment, collaboration, and the support of the entire law school community, it can be done. -jl
November 22, 2008
The Legal Recession: Law Students and Job Prospects
I previously blogged here, here and here about the effect the economic crisis is having on academic and nonprofit legal clinics, documenting the struggle to assist a growing number of clients in need. Last week, the ABA Journal focused on the reality law students face in today's job market:
"As the economic downturn hits big law firms, resulting in layoffs and a few dissolutions, legal job seekers— and the people who help them find jobs—are also feeling the pain. The effects extend even to Harvard Law School, ranked second-best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Mark Weber, assistant dean for career services at the law school, told the New York Times that law firms are extending fewer employment offers and hiring fewer summer associates for next year. The legal services industry lost more than 1,000 jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers are reflected in recent news reports of job losses at several law firms."
In fact, the ABA Journal publishes a running tally of large firms that have recently laid off employees. The Journal is also conducting a survey about the legal recession, with results to be published in January.
November 20, 2008
Registration Now Open for ABA Tax Section Midyear Meeting in New Orleans
The Midyear Meeting will be held January 8-10, 2009 at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans. Full time law students, including LL.M. students, may attend free of charge. First time section members may also attend free. Law profs and full time LITC employees pay the reduced (early bird) rate of $140.00. The early bird discount is only available through December 11, 2008. CLE credit is available. Registration and more information is available online. -jl
November 18, 2008
CLINICIANS AT INDIANA-BLOOMINGTON GRANTED VOTING RIGHTS
Congratulations go out to the clinical law profs at Indiana Law-Bloomington on the recent faculty decision to grant clinicians voting rights. Professor Amy Applegate delivered the good news:
I am so pleased to let everyone know that our tenured and tenure track colleagues significantly expanded voting rights here at the Indiana University School of Law -- Bloomington. Yesterday evening, they approved voting rights for full-time clinical faculty and lecturers (both with and without long-term contracts) for all issues except personnel issues, which are covered by existing University and Law School policies. (Clinical faculty already had the vote on the appointment and promotion of clinical and lecturer faculty.)
Bottom line: Thirteen (13) clinical and lecturer faculty members now have voting rights. There are approximately 35 tenured and tenure track faculty members, so this is a major expansion of the voting faculty.
My colleagues and I are very grateful to David Santacroce and CSALE, because it was the CSALE data and analyses of that data, that really turned the tide for us. The data were persuasive to the committee that was examining the voting rights issue over the past 2 academic years, and then to the tenured and tenure track faculty, that it was time to seriously tackle the issue of voting rights. I am also proud to say that once we established the trend in voting rights, faculty discussion moved from external factors (that we were not competitive, and recruitment and retention issues) to internal factors, especially collegiality, egalitarianism, and "the right thing to do."
This is a wonderful day for my colleagues and me, and the faculty's action is consistent with the law school's significant expansion over the past five years of our clinics, and clinical and externship programs.
I wanted to share this wonderful news with my friends in the clinical community. I also wanted to urge clinical faculty who do not have voting rights to use the CSALE data with their non-clinical colleagues. -jl
Columbia Seeks Visiting Clinician for Nonprofit/Small Business Clinic
Columbia Law School seeks a Visiting Clinical Professor to teach its Non-Profit Organizations/Small Business Clinic for one or both semesters of 2009-2010. Begun in 1985 as the Community Development Clinic, the Clinic is one of the oldest clinics in the country devoted to neighborhood revitalization through transactional work on behalf of non-profit organizations and small businesses. The Clinic serves clients located primarily in underserved communities by helping them to structure their enterprises, develop effective governance policies, enter into contracts, leases and other transactions and meet regulatory requirements. Most of the Clinic’s clients address needs in New York City; some work on human rights and economic development matters abroad.
Starting from a well-developed curriculum and well-established sources of clients (particularly in the non-profit area), the Visiting Professor will be responsible for all aspects of running the Clinic: including course planning and teaching, client selection, supervision and mentoring of law students in representing clients, Clinic administration, and community education and outreach. Visitors are invited to participate in all colloquia and other aspects of academic life at the Law School, including the monthly meetings of a diverse and supportive clinical faculty.
The successful applicant will be a licensed attorney who has 4+ years of experience and demonstrated skill in representing non-profits and/or small businesses in the areas identified above and a record of strong academic achievement and commitment to public interest work. Clinical teaching experience and demonstrated ability to work with culturally and economically diverse communities are highly desirable. Review of candidates will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.
Please refer questions to the Clinic Director, Barbara Schatz.
Columbia Law School
435 West 116th Street–Box B-6
New York, NY 10027
November 14, 2008
ABA Urges Unlimited FDIC Insurance for IOLTA
One part of the financial package announced by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to bolster confidence in the banking industry increased FDIC coverage on interest-bearing deposit accounts to $250,000. The increased insurance may not be sufficient for funds in lawyer trust accounts for individual clients whose deposits in a single bank might exceed that level. American Bar Association leadership and the ABA's Governmental Affairs Office staff have met with FDIC officials and congressional staff and members to convince them that a change in the new regulation will benefit both those served by non profit legal aid programs and the banking industry itself. GAO and other ABA entities have been working with state bars, state IOLTA programs, Access to Justice commissions and others to help deliver that message. They are urging the FDIC either to treat IOLTA accounts like payment processing accounts, which they resemble, or expressly include IOLTAs among bank accounts that will qualify for unlimited FDIC insurance.
The FDIC has already announced that unlimited insurance will be available to non-interest bearing accounts. The ABA is requesting the FDIC recognize that because neither lawyers nor their clients receive interest from funds in IOLTA accounts, it is appropriate to extend the unlimited insurance to them. IOLTA accounts contain only those short-term or nominal client funds that cannot earn net interest for individual clients. Deposited with other similarly nominal or short term client funds in an IOLTA account, those pooled sums do earn net interest which is only paid to nonprofit entities for charitable purposes, primarily civil legal aid for the poor. The ABA is also emphasizing the important public policy of supporting legal aid for the poor—a policy that could be undermined should lawyers be driven to remove client funds from IOLTA accounts by an indifferent FDIC policy. On Nov. 13, the ABA sent a comment letter to the FDIC encouraging inclusion of IOLTA in full insurance coverage.
November 13, 2008
AALS - CLEA GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING
CLEA President, Prof. Michael Pinard has announced that a CLEA general membership meeting will be held during the January AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego. The CLEA meeting will be held on Thursday, January 8, 2009, from 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. at the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina. -jl
November 12, 2008
Boalt Hall's East Bay Community Law Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Congratulations go out to Professor Jeffrey Selbin and the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC). Prof. Selbin is the faculty director of EBCLC which just celebrated its 20th Anniversary. A 17-minute video describing EBCLC's work and mission was produced especially for the occasion and is available here. -jl
ABA Business Law Section - 2009 Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest
The ABA Section of Business Law is sponsoring its 23rd Annual Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest to encourage and reward law student writings on a business law subject of general and current interest.
- First Place: $2,500
- Second Place: $1,000
- Third Place: $500
All winners will be invited and subsidized to attend the Section Spring Meeting, April 16-18, 2009, in Vancouver, BC to receive their award. Papers will be judged on research and analysis, choice of topic, writing style, originality, and contribution to the literature available on the topic. Papers submitted are normally 20-30 pages long, but should not exceed 100 pages of double-spaced typed text, including footnotes. Students need not be members of the Section of Business Law to participate.
ABA Section of Business Law Seeks Applicants for Diversity Clerkship
The Business Law Diversity Clerkship Program encourages students to pursue business court clerkship opportunities and to consider careers in the practice of business law. In considering a student's diversity, the Section will give special consideration to individuals who have overcome social or economic disadvantages such as physical disability, financial constraints, or cultural impediments to becoming a law student.
The objectives of the program include:
• To encourage more diverse law students to apply for clerkship positions
• To foster relationships between business court judges and diverse law students
• To provide students with a foundation in various aspects of business law
Up to nine interns will be given a summer stipend of $6,000 and placed in business court clerkships in the Philadelphia Commerce Court or the Delaware Court of Chancery. Other possible internship locations include New York and Florida.
To apply, students must be Section of Business Law members. For membership information and to join the Section, click here. Applications for the 2009 program are available here. All application materials must be received on or before Friday, January 30, 2009. For more information about the Business Law Diversity Clerkship Program click here.
November 11, 2008
Law School Professor Steven Bender Wins Oregon Book Award
The University of Oregon School of Law has announced Professor Steven Bender has won the 2008 Oregon Book Award:
Professor Bender's book, One Night in America: Robert Kennedy, Cesar Chavez, and the Dream of Dignity (Paradigm Publishers 2008), was among five nominees for the Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction. This is the second year in a row that an Oregon Law professor has garnered top honors in this category. The award was presented by Literary Arts, an organization that supports and celebrates Oregon writers and publishers. One Night in America chronicles the warm, and unlikely, friendship between Robert Kennedy and Cesar Chavez and embraces their bold political vision for making the American dream a reality for all.
Steven Bender is the James and Ilene Hershner Professor of Law and Director of Portland Programs. He is the coauthor of a casebook on real estate transactions, a national treatise on real estate financing, and a book on Latino stereotypes titled Greasers and Gringos: Latinos, Law, and the American Imagination (NYU Press 2003). He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He most recently was named co-president elect of the Society of American Law Teachers.
November 10, 2008
Council for Children’s Rights Seeks Managing Attorney/Director of Program Operations
The Council for Children’s Rights, a holistic child advocacy and legal nonprofit is seeking applicants for the position of Managing Attorney/Director of Operations. This nonprofit based in Charlotte NC has 33 staff (including 14 attorneys) and represents over 2500 children a year. CFCR specializes in education, mental health, juvenile delinquency, dependency and civil custody cases. Applicants should meet all of the following criteria:
- Extensive knowledge of children’s rights and experience representing children
- A passion for children’s rights and the protection of children
- Proven leadership abilities, including mentoring and supervising attorneys
- Demonstrated skill in facilitating collaborations and community partnerships
- Excellent written and oral litigation skills
- Flexibility and creativity to lead in a fast paced environment
- Human resources and talent development skills
- Ability to lead in a diverse environment with diverse client populations
- NC Bar Licensure or eligible for reciprocity
Competitive salary and benefits depending on experience. All interested persons should send a cover letter and resume to Brett A. Loftis via email or at 601 E. 5th Street, Suite 510 Charlotte, NC 28202.
November 9, 2008
Fordham Law Seeks Experienced Clinician
Fordham University School of Law seeks an experienced clinical legal educator for a faculty position to commence no later than August 2009. Fordham has a vibrant clinical program, with a clinical faculty of more than 20 offering an extensive simulation program and live client/real matter clinics in more than a dozen practice areas. This appointment may be to a tenured or tenure-track position, to a presumptively renewable long term contract, or to a visiting position, depending on the record and interests of the successful applicant.
We invite applications from candidates who have a distinguished academic background, five or more years of teaching experience, a record of excellence in academic scholarship, and a commitment to service in the law school and the community. The successful candidate will have primary responsibility to develop and teach a new live-client clinic or to further develop and teach in an existing live-client clinic. S/he will also have the opportunity to teach simulation and non-clinical courses depending on his or her interests and the needs of our students.
Candidates must be admitted to, eligible for admission to, or willing to sit for the New York Bar. Fordham University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and particularly encourages applicants of diverse backgrounds to apply.
Resumes and letters of application describing the applicant’s research interests and teaching fields should be forwarded to the Fordham Law School Experienced Clinician Selection Committee no later than December 15, 2008, or to:
Ms. Diana Marin
Fordham University School of Law
33 W. 60th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10023
November 7, 2008
ABA Journal: "Who Isn't a Lawyer on Obama's Transition Team?"
The ABA Journal article Better Question: Who Isn’t a Lawyer on Obama’s Transition Team? notes "President-elect Barack Obama and his VP-elect Joe Biden wasted no time assembling their transition team, which features a number of attorneys." The article goes on to list the impressive array of attorneys on Team Obama Biden. -jl
CLEPR 40th Anniversary Tickets On Sale Now
Some 40 years ago the Council on Legal Education and Professional Responsibility (CLEPR) began making nearly 11 million dollars in grants to law schools across the country to establish live-client clinics, effectively starting modern clinical legal education. A committee composed of delegates from the AALS Clinical Section, CLEA and the ABA Section on Legal Education will host a dinner celebrating CLEPR’S 40th anniversary on Wednesday January 7, 2009, during the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego. At the Celebration William Pincus, CLEPR's President, will be honored, along with early CLEPR pioneer, the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The evening’s program will include a keynote address from Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of University of California Irvine School of Law, and a short film on CLEPR by Prof. Sandy Ogilvy. The Celebration is made possible by the financial support of over 30 law schools and is tied to that afternoon’s Annual Meeting session by the AALS Clinical Legal Education and Professional Responsibility Sections entitled Celebrating and Reflecting on CLEPR: What Have We Learned About Legal Education and Where are We Headed.
The Celebration is being held just a short walk away from the Annual Meeting in the heart of San Diego’s Gaslamp District. Admission is $27.50 for a multi-course dinner, a complimentary drink, and dancing in downtown San Diego. Seating is limited and seats are expected to sell out quickly. Click here for more details on CLEPR, the Celebration, and how to purchase your tickets.
Director Position - ACLU of New Mexico
ACLU of New Mexico seeks a Director of the Regional Center for Border Rights. Located in Las Cruces, the Center promotes change in border policies by documenting and analyzing patterns of civil rights abuse and communicating its findings to influence policy makers and public opinion. It also supports general civil liberties advocacy in southern New Mexico. The position requires excellent communication and leadership skills, managerial experience and bilingual skills (Spanish/English). Legal or journalism background is a plus. Salary is commensurate with experience. The position offers generous health, dental benefits and pension plan. A complete job description is available online.
Send letter of interest, resume, writing sample, three references and salary requirements to:
Executive Director, ACLU-NM
PO Box 566
Albuquerque, NM 87103, or
ACLU of New Mexico is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are encouraged to apply.
November 5, 2008
ABA Tax Section Teleconference on New Sec. 7702 IRS Correction Procedures
The ABA Tax Section is holding a teleconference/audio webcast on Wednesday, December 3, 2008, from 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST to discuss the new process for correcting compliance failures under section 7702:
On June 30, 2008, the IRS issued five revenue procedures that significantly changed the process for correcting compliance failures under section 7702 (defining “life insurance contract” for tax purposes), section 7702 (defining “modified endowment contract” for tax purposes), and under section 817(h) (imposing diversification requirements for variable life insurance and variable annuity contracts)
The five revenue procedures (Rev. Proc. 2008-38 through Rev. Proc. 2008-42) were developed as the need for improved procedures became more and more evident, particularly with respect to the formal cost of correction, i.e., the “toll-charge,” and in response to the Service and Treasury’s request for comments that was made in Notice 2007-15. The updated procedures make significant changes to the requirements for correction.
Online registration is available and the program confers 1.5 hours of CLE credit for 60-minute states and 1.8 hours in 50-minute states.
November 4, 2008
Montana: Lessons from the Carnegie and Best Practices Reports
Patricia Grande Montana (St. John's) has published Lessons from the Carnegie and Best Practices Reports: A Look at the Street Law Program as a Model for Teaching Professional Skills, Journal of Practical and Clinical Law, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2009. Here is the abstract:
There has been much discussion over the impact the Carnegie Report and Best Practices Report has had and will continue to have on legal education. This article offers a unique way that law schools can meet some of the challenges of the reports.
The reports focused, in part, on the academy's role in preparing students for practice. They concluded that law schools must devote more attention and resources to helping students develop the professional skills they will need in practice. The consensus was that the traditional case method of teaching is insufficient on its own to train students for practice. Thus, they recommended that law schools broaden the ways in which they teach their students to become lawyers by, for example, incorporating "settings and pedagogies different from those used in the teaching of legal analysis." (Carnegie Report at 14). They suggested that law schools can unite "formal knowledge" and "the experience of practice" by also offering non-traditional curricular offerings, such as clinics, externships, simulations, and other like opportunities. (Carnegie Report at 12).
The Street Law program, a course that allows students to teach a law-related education course to high school students in the community, uniquely incorporates many of the recommendations of the reports. Through their teaching, law students learn the practical applications of legal concepts and practice important lawyering skills. Using the Street Law program as an illustration, this article demonstrates how non-traditional course offerings can provide powerful professional development opportunities for students. Thus, the program serves as an excellent model for how law schools can integrate the teaching of knowledge, skills, and values into their curricula.
25th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud - December 4-5, 2008
The American Bar Association Section of Taxation, Criminal Justice Section, and the ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education will hold the 25th Annual National Institute on Criminal Tax Fraud on December 4-5, 2008 in San Francisco, CA. Attendees may register and access the program online. Those unable to attend but interested in ordering audio CDs and course materials may do so via the registration and order form in the program, or through the online ABA catalog. Mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) accreditation includes 9.00 - 10:80 hours of CLE credit (depending on individual state recognition of a 50 or 60 minute credit hour). -jl
Dean Search - University of Montana School of Law
The University of Montana School of Law, located in Missoula, Montana, has begun a dean search with the dean’s position commencing July, 2009. It will be an exciting time for a new dean as he/she will arrive to a newly remodeled building with a brand new three story wing including new clinic facilities. The law school has long been recognized for its innovative curriculum and its commitment to required clinical education. Anyone interested can access the full posting online and Clinic Director Peggy Tonon is available to address any questions about the position. -jl
November 2, 2008
The Economic Crisis and Legal Clinics: Stories from the Field, Part 4
It is too early to predict whether the economic crisis will have a protracted impact on the U.S. legal system, but there are signs. University of Montana Professor Eduardo Capulong advised of a New York Times article, Financial Crisis Provides Fertile Ground for Boom in Lawsuits, which centers around lawsuits by investors, including individual shareholders and large companies, noting "Events have moved quickly enough that some lawyers have found that their lawsuits may have been filed too early, before the biggest losses and consequently before the biggest damage claims were possible."
Law schools with bankruptcy, tax, consumer credit and other finance-related clinics have already seen a huge influx of cases and demand, which even in good times is always greater than available services. For other law school clinics, it may be some time before they find out just how the crisis will impact their communities and clients. Syracuse Professor and Director of Clinical Legal Education Mary Helen McNeal advises, "It does feel as though our intake requests have increased from prior years. We have done more outreach this year for some of our clinics, so that may be the cause, but I suspect the economy has something to do with it as well."
Law schools with investor protection and securities law clinics may in fact be waiting for the smoke to clear before accepting cases that are sure to be pedagogical gold mines. As the NY Times piece notes, claims cannot be assessed until the market determines the worth of these financial instruments.
Meanwhile, nonprofit legal clinics, which generally see more clients than academic legal clinics, report from the field that the situation is indeed dire. Attorney Bruce D. Strom Executive Director of Administer Justice writes:
Not surprisingly we see what the others see. We are located in the county west of Chicago and have seen a sharp increase in need. In addition to running the LITC [low income taxpayer clinic] program our primary service is low-income legal. Our foreclosure cases are up 400% and many of these families are middle class families who lived too close to the edge and did not have enough savings to sustain them and now find themselves in poverty. The poverty population in our county has increased 221% and now represents 28% of our total population. We see resultant strains on families which has increased the number of divorces, bankruptcies, and consumer debt matters. Every day our clinic sees walk-ins, our appointments have gone from a one week wait to an eight week wait and we are at full capacity. We would normally serve around 1,200 clients and this year that number will exceed 3,000. Unfortunately with funding cuts we cannot sustain that and are being forced to turn people away to homeless and domestic abuse shelters that are already operating at strained capacities. I fear it is not going to get better and like the others we will continue to do all we can within our limited resources.