Blog Archives for August 2013

Helping students with mental disabilities get the education they deserve

August 30, 2013

Equal Justice Works alum Kevin Probst dedicated his project at Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. (LSGMI) to breaking down the barriers to health care education and access for children suffering from mental disabilities in Miami-Dade County, Florida. In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, when Kevin started his Fellowship, sponsored by Greenberg Traurig and The Florida Bar Foundation, Florida’s Department of Children and Families provided services to more than 13,000 children with, or at risk of, emotional disturbance and mental disabilities.

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The New America Foundation’s Flawed Student Loan Reforms

August 29, 2013

In this recent blog post, the New America Foundation erroneously argues that Georgetown Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) is being paid for by the taxpayers.  The authors’ compound their error by broadening their argument and proposing draconian reforms that would harm not just law students, but millions of students and borrowers in programs ranging from community colleges to elite graduate and professional programs.

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nderstand Calls for Loan Repayment Reform

August 29, 2013

Millions of students and borrowers attending community colleges up through elite graduate and professional programs could be harmed by a proposal making waves among student loan experts.

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Student Loan Act Could Mean Higher Federal Profits

August 22, 2013

The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which President Barack Obama officially signed Aug. 9, is touted mostly as a retroactive fix for the July 1 doubling of the interest rates on subsidized federal direct loans. But the truth is that Congress has simply kicked the can down the road.

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Equal Justice Works alumni join forces to help New York City youth

August 16, 2013

Equal Justice Works alumna Laurie Parise started her journey towards public interest law working with a human rights organization where she saw firsthand how the law could carry out positive and systemic changes, particularly for those who are disenfranchised. After law school, Laurie applied for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship. The focus of her project was on the criminalization of youth.  New York is one of only two states where young people who are 15 years old or older are automatically charged as adults in the criminal justice system. Her project focused on employment discrimination of youth with criminal records, which at the time of Laurie’s fellowship, was not a well-known issue. Laurie shared that her fellowship allowed her to spend two years really focusing on the legal barriers that negatively affected court-involved youth, and she began to be seen as an authority in what was then a narrow field of law.

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Veterans helping Veterans

August 13, 2013

This is a guest post by L.G. Corder, a 2012 AmeriCorps Legal Fellow working in West Virginia.

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Helping children in Florida access healthcare

August 9, 2013

Equal Justice Works Fellows are often on the forefront of pivotal legal decisions that can impact hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals. Betsy Havens, Class of 2011 and co-sponsored by Greenberg Traurig and the Florida Bar Association, is one such Fellow, and last week we had the privilege of hosting her in our Washington, DC, office to give a presentation about her work.

Focused on helping disadvantaged children in Miami access vital health care at Florida Legal Services, Betsy’s fellowship has been full of successes. In September 2011, she started as co-counsel on the federal case KG v. Dudek, which challenged Medicaid’s refusal to cover any behavioral health services for children with autism. At the end of a four-day bench trial, Judge Joan Lenard of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a Permanent Injunction Order and later a Declaratory Judgment Order in favor of Betsy's clients, ruling that the state’s policy violated federal law. 

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Law School Problems, Proposed Reforms Could Affect Colleges

August 8, 2013

We've mentioned before thatlaw school might be the canary in the coal mine when it comes to broader problems with postsecondary education.

Some of the problems that law schools may face in the near future because of the massive student loan debt students are racking up and some of the reforms that have been proposed may also be coming soon to a college near you.

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Switching gears to serve indigent communities through public defense

August 2, 2013

Sara Whitaker started out on a very different career path than the one she is on now. In her “previous life” she worked in sports marketing in London, and although she enjoyed her work, she felt like something was missing. “I wanted the values I held in my private life to match the work I did in my public life,” she said. “That’s what fueled me to shift gears and enroll in law school to work in public interest.” Sara is now a member of the Public Defender Corps (PDC), a joint program between Equal Justice Works and Gideon’s Promise (formerly the Southern Public Defender Training Center). Public Defender Corps aims to support the public defense community by providing training and jobs to young lawyers like Sara who want to serve in the public interest. Today, she works for the West Virginia Public Defender Services in the 13thJudicial Circuit in Charleston.

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Promise Programs Offer Hope to Students

August 1, 2013

The cost of postsecondary education in America has risen so high it is unaffordable for many to pursue the education necessary for success in this competitive job market. Individuals who have taken out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to achieve their dreams can be left to carry the burden of student debt.

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