Blog Archives for May 2013

Fellow Friday: Public Defender Corps Member Felipe Alexandre

May 31, 2013

A Public Defender Corps Member defending immigrants in Rochester, NY

When Felipe Alexandre began law school, he intended to become a corporate attorney at an American law firm in China. After his first year of law school, he landed a dream summer internship at an American firm in Beijing, but after just a week on the job his excitement began to fade. He felt he was missing a few key ingredients for job satisfaction as a lawyer: interacting with people and helping them. He decided to head down the path of becoming a public defender. Upon graduating, he applied for a Fellowship with Public Defender Corps and headed to Alabama for an intensive training at Gideon's Promise (formerly the Southern Public Defender Training Center). As a member of the Public Defender Corps class of 2011, Felipe was one of the first lawyers to enter into this joint program between Equal Justice Works and Gideon's Promise. He is stationed in Rochester, New York, and has worked extensively with the immigrant population there.

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Service Members Battle Student Loan Debt at Home

May 30, 2013

Many of our service members return home to combat other adversaries, from suffering post-traumatic stress to struggling to find employment. Many also shoulder a heavy burden of student loan debt.

With Memorial Day having just passed while the country honored its military veterans, the Student Loan Ranger wanted to draw attention to these debt challenges by examining the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's October 2012 report, "The Next Front?"

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Fellow Friday: Champion of Change Lan Diep

May 24, 2013

On April 20, 2010 at approximately 9:45 p.m. local time, 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana, an explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused crude oil to begin leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.  For three-months the well continued to spew oil into the ocean, causing an environmental disaster and impacting the lives of millions along the Gulf who rely on the waterway for their livelihood.  Acting as a first-responder to this legal crisis, Equal Justice Works quickly worked to help those affected by the spill.  Through the work of our Summer Corps members and Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow Lan Diep, assistance was provided for those in need and many received the legal services necessary to survive the worst oil spill in U.S. history.    

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NJ supreme court moves forward with recommendation to adopt 50 hour pro bono bar admission requirement

May 20, 2013

This entry is re-posted from the National Center for Access to Justice at Cordozo Law School. It was originally posted by David Udell on May 17, 2013. See the original post here

A working group appointed by the NJ Supreme Court released on May 16, 2013 a report and recommendations dated April 30,2013 in which it urges adoption of a 50 hour law-related pro bono service requirement as a condition of admission to the NJ Bar.  The proposed rule is modeled on New York’s rule, but differs in various respects, as described below.  NJ is the third state, after California and Connecticut in which a recommendation to adopt a pro bono service requirement inspired by the NY model is now awaiting final approval.  The  NJ Court has invited submission of comments on the proposed rule by June 21, 2013.

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The Student Loan Ranger: Ways Congress Can Simplify Federal Student Loans

May 16, 2013

Too complex, poorly targeted, too arbitrary: These are some of the criticisms The Institute for College Access and Success levels against the federal student loan program in a comprehensive white paper, "Aligning the Means and the Ends: How to Improve Federal Student Aid and Increase College Access and Success."

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Fellow Friday: Equal Justice Works Alum Danny Kirchoff Continues to be an Advocate for Transgender Californians

May 10, 2013

As a 2009 Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Transgender Law Center (TLC) in San Francisco, Danny Kirchoff implemented Project Access, a program to provide legal services to low-income transgender Californians.  Working with social service providers, Danny sought to decrease the barriers to economic self-sufficiency of the transgender community, and increase the legal community's capacity to represent low-income transgender clients by providing trainings and formalizing TLC's network of cooperating attorneys.

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How Student Debt Affects Women, Minorities

May 9, 2013

The estimated $1 trillion in student loan debt affects individuals from all walks of life. However, according to two studies, women and minorities are two groups experiencing some of the greatest repercussions of student debt. So, how deep is the disparate impact on these groups, why does it exist and what can be done?

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Fellow Friday: Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow Kevin Robert de Liban

May 3, 2013

Medical Legal Partnerships continue to thrive in Arkansas

Kevin Robert de Liban is an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow at Legal Aid of Arkansas. To address the legal needs of people living in the more rural parts of the state, Kevin and his host site have developed Medical Legal Partnerships with community health clinics throughout the state, including Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, and rural health clinics in the Mississippi River Delta region. Attorneys from Legal Aid of Arkansas travel all across the region to bring legal assistance to patients of the medical clinics. One of the clinics, Lee County Cooperative Clinic in Marianna, AR, has a history itself rooted in the service of AmeriCorps VISTA workers during the late 1960s. Today, the clinic is a trusted community institution dedicated to serving all the residents of the surrounding areas. The community network required to sustain Medical Legal Partnerships is thriving thanks to the great work of Kevin and Legal Aid of Arkansas.

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New Report Suggests Ways to Fix Legal Education

May 2, 2013

A combination of rising law school tuition, underemployment and the work done by policy organization Law School Transparency, authors and educators Paul Campos and Brian Tamanaha and many others – coupled with a marked decline in law school applications – is slowly forcing legal education to change.

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Equal Justice Works Fellows Involved in Historic Decision Recognizing Right to Counsel for Group of Immigration Detainees

May 1, 2013

This blog is republished with permission from Equal Justice Works Fellows Esha Bhandari and Carmen Iguina. It originally appeared on the ACLU blog on April 24, 2013. In two weeks, our May newsletter will feature Carmen and Esha, and more about this case, so stay tuned! 

In a landmark ruling yesterday, Federal District Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered the federal government to provide legal representation for immigrant detainees in California, Arizona and Washington who have serious mental disabilities and are unable to represent themselves in immigration court. This is a historic decision — it is the first ever to recognize a right to appointed counsel in immigration proceedings for a group of immigrants. Unlike the criminal justice system, where judges are generally required to appoint counsel for defendants who cannot afford a lawyer, there are no safeguards in the immigration enforcement system to ensure the basic fairness of having legal representation for immigrants. As a result, over half of all individuals in immigration court — including 84% of detained individuals — must face the complex legal proceedings alone and unrepresented, while the government is always represented by a lawyer.

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