Posted by Center for Public Interest Law at 12:34 PM in Alumni, Child & Family Law, Civil Rights, Community Service, Criminal Law, Faculty, Field Placement, Health Law, Human Rights Law, Immigration Law, Legal Clinics, Legal Education, Pro Bono, Public Interest Law, Students | Permalink | Comments (0)
Cheryl Zalenski, director of the American Bar Association Center for Pro Bono, and Kelly Tautges, director of Pro Bono & Court Advocacy at the Chicago Bar Foundation, discussed federal and state efforts to increase Access to Justice initiatives with law students at DePaul University College of Law in late October.
Over one million residents in Illinois live under the poverty level and cannot pay for legal assistance, but there are only approximately 300 attorneys who provide legal aid pro bono service in Illinois. The Access to Justice movement strives to connect all interested parties in coordinated efforts to bring legal aid to those communities in need of legal representation.
Posted by Center for Public Interest Law at 02:03 PM in Alumni, Civil Rights, Community Service, Constitutional Law, Dialogue, Faculty, Human Rights Law, Immigration Law, Legal Clinics, Legal Education, Legal Scholarship, Legal Trends, Pro Bono, Public Interest Law, Students | Permalink | Comments (0)
Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke (SNL '76, DHL '05) offered advice to students in DePaul's Criminal Appeals Clinic on October 30, 2013, at the court's temporary residence in Chicago:
“State the rule of law. If the law is with you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. You could be arguing for a change in the law,” said Justice Burke.
Justice Burke shared her insights on making oral arguments and fielded student questions. She also discussed unique aspects of the court’s work and showed some historic photos of the Supreme Court. Clinical Instructor Laura Weiler, an attorney with the Office of the State Appellate Defender, arranged for the students to hear from Justice Burke.
Third-year law student Sam Keen was selected as a finalist for the PSJD Pro Bono Publico Award, which honors one law student nationwide for his or her pro bono contributions to society. The award aims to recognize the significant contributions that law students make to underserved populations, the public interest community and legal education by performing pro bono work. Keen was nominated for the award because of his continued dedication to the Chicago community, both through his volunteer work with DePaul’s Neighborhood Legal Assistance Project (NLAP) and his public interest internships he has completed during law school.
Keen’s dedication to NLAP has gone above and beyond a typical student volunteer commitment. The first of its kind at DePaul, NLAP is a law student pro bono help desk for the homeless. NLAP takes place twice a month on Saturday mornings at a breakfast program for the homeless run by a local church. NLAP assists guests with sealing and expunging their criminal records and obtaining state IDs. NLAP also provides clients with brief advice about housing and family law, as well as public benefits and available social service resources. NLAP is staffed with a supervising attorney and four to six law student volunteers per session.
On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, the Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL), the Public Interest Law Association (PILA) and Law Career Services (LCS) hosted a lunchtime information session on how to find a summer public interest law job and secure funding. During the presentation, Elizabeth Boe, assistant director of recruiting, LCS, Shaye Loughlin, CPIL director and Robin Wagner, a third year student and PILA president offered advice to students seeking summer internships with public interest organizations.
All of the presenters advised students to begin the internship search early, as public interest internships are competitive. To help students find positions, Elizabeth Boe introduced students to the primary job posting sites: Vincent, PSJD, PILI, and the Government Honors/Internship Handbook. Upper-level students also gave their perspectives on ways to maximize the summer externship experience, including Robin Wagner’s tip of diversifying internships in order to build skills. Hannah Scruton, a 2L, discussed her internship at the Office of the Public Guardian, which she got in part through her CPIL mentor. The information session also gave first-year law students an overview of the possible funding sources available to public interest interns, and gave them a timeline for beginning to apply for summer positions.
The presentation was videotaped and can be accessed via iTunes U; look for Law Career Services under “On Campus.”
Posted by Center for Public Interest Law at 08:20 AM in Alumni, Child & Family Law, Civil Rights, Community Service, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Field Placement, Health Law, Human Rights Law, Immigration Law, Jewish Law & Judaic Studies, Legal Clinics, Legal Scholarship, Pro Bono, Public Interest Law, Students | Permalink | Comments (0)
Marie P. came to the DePaul Poverty Law Clinic in January 2013 seeking help in connection with the Chicago Housing Authority’s decision to terminate her from the Chicago Housing Choice Voucher Program (the “Section 8” program) because her landlord accused Marie of having an unauthorized person and dog living with her.
The Poverty Law Clinic interviewed Marie, Marie’s sisters and Marie’s close friend, and learned that the person who was temporarily staying with Marie was her ailing mother who had come to Chicago from Florida in order to be closer to her children and to have her children help take care of her as she had recently suffered the loss of her leg. The dog, it was learned, was her mother’s dog which stayed at Marie’s apartment for a week before Marie relocated the dog to her daughter’s home. After conducting its due diligence, the clinic accepted the case for representation and three students, Sarah Hunter, Richard Halm and Erin Grotheer, were assigned to work with Visiting Assistant Professor David Rodriguez on the case.
In light of proposed changes to immigration law, DePaul College of Law’s Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic hosted a conference focused on building the capacity of Illinois community-based organizations to provide legal information and legal representation to low-income immigrants and refugees.
The "Smart Growth/Capacity Building" conference on July 22 and 23 garnered the interest of more than 100 attendees from 21 Illinois community-based immigration service providers, along with representatives from 15 nationally recognized immigrant advocate organizations. Attendees also included representatives from the City of Chicago’s New Americans Office, Office of Governor Pat Quinn, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Mexican and Guatemalan Consulates. The conference provided participants with updates on legislation, tools and strategies for increasing capacity and improving efficiencies in providing legal services, and workshop opportunities for community-based organization staff to examine their preparedness for responding to client and caseload demands.
What makes DePaul special for Kelli Fennell is the powerful experience she has gained.
As part of classes through the College of Law’s Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic, she represented a client in a complicated immigration case and presented arguments before the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
She acquired an early interest in different cultures and in issues of community, and asylum and immigration. Fennell, who is fluent in Spanish, was raised by a family that moved often, and grew up in locales ranging from Mexico City to the Quad Cities.
As an undergraduate at Butler University, she had an opportunity to work with refugees and people seeking asylum. “That made a big impression on me,” she said. “DePaul’s location in Chicago and its active involvement in matters of human rights and immigration law is part of what drew me to the law school.”
Fresh from law school study-abroad experiences in Europe and China, he took a position in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the felony courts at 26th and California. Witnessing, firsthand, the ability to affect another’s fate put things in perspective.
"You realize how important it is to conduct the legal process with integrity and consistency and while faithfully applying rules of evidence,” Boucher said.
“Someone’s freedom is at stake.”
A graduate of Vernon Hills High School in suburban Chicago and Wittenberg University in Ohio, Boucher says he came to DePaul because its law school has a “great academic reputation, and because it balances a global perspective with a strong presence in the Chicago legal community.”