Friday Wrap 5.29.09

All the week’s “atj” newsworthy items wrapped up

Friday Wrap Friday Wrap

Texas – Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation Recognize Major Contributors to Texas Legal Aid

Chicago, Illinois – ABA Invites Obama to it Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C. – 2nd ABA National Conference on Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities (Hurry for the EARLY BIRD special because after June 1st the registration increases)

United States Supreme Court – President Obama nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court (For more news links, click here. For blog coverage, click here.)

Brooklyn, New York – A Call for Pro Bono at Boro Hall

Lexington, Kentucky – Interview with a True Change Agent

Nashville, Tennessee – New Legal Advice Clinic to Help with Debt Issues

Richmond, Virginia – LINC Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

Public Justice Center – Donor Inspires Us with $10,000 Gift 

Ventura County, California – New County Program Helping Low-Income Families Adopt

 Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Practical Paralegalism: Paying it Forward

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Credit Card Reforms Could Help Statements

Fairfield, Connecticut – Hard Times Force People Into Family Court “Solo”

Honolulu, Hawaii – Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher Supports Access to Justice Commission

Australia – Pro Bono Work Good for Law Students

New York, New York – Pro Bono Recruitment Drive

San Diego, California – Law Made Public: Legal Research Class for the Self-Represented Litigant


Technology for History Buffs and Law Students


I just found the link to the National Technical Information Service Library of Commerce this morning and already have found the 33 minute Marbury v. Madison film. All constitutional and judicial scholars will be familiar with this historic case. There are other short films available explaining the court system as well as other governmental entities.

If you have a few minutes, well worth exploring. If you want to go back to the general resource page, then click here.



Last week I participated in the USC School of Law Career Week. I was a panelist for the non-traditional legal careers lunch session on Wednesday, January 28th, then on Thursday evening I attended the reception and met with students.

Now, it was during the lunch hour and free pizza was offered, but I was delighted to see the number of students who actually STAYED throughout the session and listened to not only me, but Ken Driggers, Cheryl McMurray and JoBeth Stephens Hite.

And I have to say, all of the other panelists were great. They offered fantastic insight into what they’re doing and it was obvious that they enjoyed what they’re doing. If you know me at all, whether you’ve heard me speak, read the blog, watched The Big Picture or otherwise, you KNOW how much I LOVE MY JOB! This position was created for me – or at least that’s how I feel. Well, speaking with others, whether attorneys or other careers, I realized how rare this is.






So you can imagine how shocked, surprised, stunned and staggered I was when I heard the other panelists. Each of us had an interesting story about how we got where we are and how happy we are. Our messages were more philosophical than structured, but our messages were generally ENJOY YOUR JOB, DON’T BOX YOURSELF INTO THE EXPECTED, AND YOU ARE LIMITED SOLELY BY YOUR INABILITY TO TRY.

Afterwards some of the students gathered around for additional information and all had really neat ideas to share. One student, a 1L, asked me whether the Commission was interested in the issue that people living in poverty are much more likely to live on “polluted” or “poisonous” sites. I had another 1L ask me about volunteer opportunities. I referred her to the law school’s Pro Bono office and told her that Pam Robinson would be able to work with her.

Thursday evening was just as good. Students (1-3Ls) were interested and inquiring. The experience comforted and inspired me. If these students indicate the caliber of new attorneys, then we are going to see some fine attorneys.


Views of the Recession paints a colorful canvas with its national portrait of 3Ls who speak out about job prospects in this market.  The article, The View From 3L: Law students set for graduation face the future with eyes wide open by Karen Sloan of The National Law Journal was published here on January 27, 2009.

I recommend it for law students as well as practicing attorneys or prospective employers.


Law Students CAN Make a Difference

If you think differently, check out Rutgers Law Student Pro Bono

Some of us enter law school with a direction, others find the direction throughout the law school experience, and others of us clarify our direction once we’ve been in practice a few years. But all of us who have graced the halls of our favorite law school have had an experience to engage in pro bono work.

During my law school experience, I was able to participate in several pro bono opportunities, although there was no way I would have been able to participate in ALL opportunities.

And maybe my law school pro bono experiences are what charged me to continue to my public service work. And maybe that’s why I am so excited to read about the variety of pro bono programs offered for law students around the nation, in this case at Rutgers School of Law Camden as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Keep up the good work, one client at a time!


SC ATJ New Year’s Wishes or Resolutions?



As the New Year’s wishes and resolutions are starting to pour in, I’ve had a few moments to ponder Access to Justice resolutions for 2009. Before I lose count of the many goals for 2009, I thought I’d share a few.

12. South Carolina Access to Justice will develop a working relationship with legal paraprofessionals throughout the state.

11. Technology advances such as instant messaging, podcasts, YouTube videos, and email allow greater communication to and for people in need of low-cost legal services, especially when transportation imposes a barrier.

10. The Commission and partner organizations reach solutions to the need for interpreters for individuals who are Deaf and with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

9.  South Carolina law students, both USC School of Law and Charleston School of Law students, become engaged in access to justice and collaborate with the Commission for creative solutions.

8. South Carolina attorneys recognize the opportunity that unbundled or limited scope legal services can provide to South Carolinians with low income or of modest means, especially during this financial climate while sustaining the attorney’s practice at the same time.

7. SC Access to Justice establishes a library workgroup to assist self-represented litigants (SRLs) with access to approved, free legal forms ( and to establish a long-lasting partnership with libraries.

6. All South Carolinians who are unable to afford an attorney can reach one access point for all South Carolina legal service organizations.

5. Every County Courthouse will house or have access to a nearby self-help center for self-represented litigants.

4. Every county self-help center will be staffed for a minimum of 5 hours per week by pro bono attorneys.

3. Every South Carolina licensed attorney completes at least 50 hours of pro bono service as per ABA Model Rule 6.1 VOLUNTARY PRO BONO SERVICE.

2. The Second Pilot Lawyer Mentor Program incorporates the aspirational Pro Bono expectation and that it becomes a “shall” instead of a “should.”

1. That ALL South Carolinians have equal access to the law and its remedies without regard to their economic status.

Happy New Year!


Out of the Jungle and onto my Blogroll

There’s a great blog out there called Out of the Jungle that I happened upon this morning. It is written by law librarians and features current information about legal research, legal education and legal information. This morning I was drawn to their remarks about an article by Charles R. Dyer. Mr. Dyer has been featured as a speaker and somewhat of an authority concerning services to self-represented litigants. His article in Spectrum speaks to this expertise.

And if you’re wondering about Spectrum, it’s a publication of the American Association of Law Libraries aka AALL. If you have an extra moment, please surf their site. Law Librarians are a great asset to the legal community, not just self-represented litigants or law students, but also fledging and experienced attorneys.

Thanks Out of the Jungle, Mr. Dyer and AALL.


Hey South Carolina Law Students – Check out Rule 401!

On Friday October 10, 2008, the South Carolina Supreme Court amended Rule 401 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules to allow students from both South Carolina law schools to represent and assist indigent defendants and State agencies under the supervision of the Clinical Legal Education programs at each respective school.

This is good news for access to justice in SC!


UVA Law Students Take Pro Bono Seriously. Seriously.

On Friday, October 3rd, Rebecca Vallas, the PILA President, wrote an article in the Virginia Law Weekly encouraging law students to engage in pro bono services. She offered humorous, yet practical reasons for student involvement.

It’s always encouraging to hear what’s happening with the next generation of attorneys and this time, we’re thrilled!

For information about the USC School of Law’s PILS program, visit  For information about the Charleston School of Law and its goals, visit