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)
In mid-November, DePaul law students and the Pro Bono Community Service Initiative (PBCSI) joined nearly 1,000 other regional volunteers to serve approximately 600 of Chicago’s homeless at the St. Vincent de Paul Center’s Homeless Outreach Luncheon in Lincoln Park. The service day was one of PBCSI’s monthly Donate-A-Day community service projects for law students. College of Law Chaplain Tom Judge and other DePaul Loop Campus students also participated.
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)
The Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative (PBCSI) started Pro Bono Week with a bang, offering students and alumni an opportunity to help low-income seniors at a Senior Center Initiative Workshop with the Center for Disability & Elder Law, one of PBCSI’s community partners. The workshop took place on Friday, October 18, 2013, at the Jacob Blake Apartments in Evanston, Ill. Students and alumni assisted seniors with advanced directives, such as powers of attorney and living wills.
Cheryl Price, director of PBCSI, says the workshop was a success: “We helped numerous seniors with an incredibly important legal service and also gave our students and young alumni an opportunity to work with two to three clients, which is fantastic for building practical legal skills. I think this workshop embodies the spirit and intent of Pro Bono Week. We are excited that we have been able to offer it to the DePaul community for several years now.”
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.
The Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative (PBCSI) recently concluded its annual school supply drive for homeless and low-income students at A.N. Pritzker Elementary School, a Chicago Public School located in Wicker Park. PBCSI Director Cheryl Price delivered the supplies to the school where they were warmly received by Pritzker staff, including Assistant Principal Mrs. Barbara Abdullah-Smith, School Counselor Amanda Szaraz, and 6-8th grade teacher Jerry Weissbuch. Although Pritzker is located in Wicker Park its students live in a variety of neighborhoods across the city. According to Ms. Szaraz, approximately 50% of Pritzker students are considered low-income, and approximately 30 of them are considered homeless. As such, the school supplies are sorely needed to ensure that these students have the supplies they need to learn and thrive in the school setting.
PBCSI was pleased with this year’s donations. According to PBCSI Director Cheryl Price: “I was so impressed with the DePaul community’s generosity and thoughtfulness, especially staff members, who contributed the lion’s share of school supplies and money for this drive.” Price was also thankful for the generous donation of pens and flash drives from Lexis/Nexis. Price explained: “All of these supplies go directly to the students to help them succeed at school. We are happy to contribute to this worthy cause and feel strongly that it is an important part of our Vincentian mission. We look forward to running the school supply drive again next fall.”
DePaul’s Pro Bono Community Service Initiative (PBCSI) hosted its first Donate-A-Day service project for the 2013-2014 academic year at A.N. Pritzker Elementary School, a pre-K through 8th grade Chicago Public School in Wicker Park, in September. Throughout the day, law student volunteers worked hard to beautify the school by painting hallways and the cafeteria, planting bulbs and flowers, and cleaning and organizing classrooms. DePaul’s Student Bar Association and Phi Alpha Delta co-sponsored the event.
Many of the volunteers developed an appreciation for gardening; other volunteers impressed the school administrators with their painting abilities. During the lunch break, the volunteers had an opportunity to meet several Pritzker parents and students, who personally thanked them for their hard work on behalf of the school. The parents talked with the students about Pritzker and distributed cookies. "Meeting a few of Pritzker's parents and students was a nice surprise. They were very happy to have us at their school and we were happy to be there," explained Desalina Williams, PBCSI’s Donate-A-Day student coordinator.
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)
DePaul law students are known for their commitment to service and public interest work so it was no surprise that the Fall Student Service Fair drew a large crowd of students who were excited and ready to start volunteering. The fair, held September 10 and organized by the Pro Bono & Community Service Initiative (PBCSI), is one example of the many ways PBCSI works to engage law students in service work.
The fair started with presentations from PBCSI’s six partner organizations, which include Cabrini Green Legal Aid, the Center for Disability & Elder Law, Croak Student Legal Services, the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, and A.N. Pritzker Elementary School. Students also learned about volunteer opportunities with Illinois Legal Aid Online, DePaul’s Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic and the Cook County Domestic Violence Courthouse Project, which is a project of DePaul’s Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center. University Ministry informed students about their winter break Service Immersion Trips to New Orleans and Washington D.C.
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.