Pro Bono News
ABA Announces Mini-Grants for Projects Expanding Pro Bono Attorneys Representation of Unaccompanied Minor Immigrants
The American Bar Association Working Group on Unaccompanied Minor Immigrants is pleased to announce the availability of mini-grants to legal assistance providers engaging pro bono attorneys to represent unaccompanied minor immigrants. The mini-grants are intended to provide initial financial support for innovative and sustainable pro bono models of legal representation of unaccompanied minor immigrants.
Applications are due no later than September 30, 2015. Please click here to view and download the Request for Proposals and Grant Application.
Questions regarding the mini-grants should be directed to Juliet Gilbert at Juliet.Gilbert@americanbar.org.
The 2016 Equal Justice Conference will be held May 12-14, 2016 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, IL The Equal Justice Conference, held annually by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service (ABA) and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, joins all components of the civil legal aid community to discuss and address issues related to the delivery of legal services to low-income individuals in need of legal assistance.
Session proposals are now being accepted for the 2016 conference.
Conference programming will focus on the innovative and creative ways that the equal justice community has maximized and leveraged strategic and collaborative approaches, using a broad range of resources (including the private bar, staffed field programs, law schools, public service lawyers, members of the judiciary and others), to address inequities in our justice system.
Proposals should explore the most current and relevant legal needs of those struggling to achieve access to justice including consumer debt collection and bankruptcy, managing an organization with limited resources, immigration, health care, housing, and new strategies for providing service.
Attendees will have over 80 sessions from which to choose, including those focused on expanding pro bono, innovative delivery systems, resource development, substantive law, diversity, community lawyering, holistic advocacy, business and transactional pro bono, and much more.
Session Proposal are being accepted in the following categories:
- Pro Bono Programming: focuses on models utilizing volunteers to deliver legal services and all aspects of involving volunteers in access to justice, from recruitment to recognition
- Partnership Programming: focuses on ways in which elements of the legal community such as court and bar leaders, etc. can support and promote pro bono participation in conjunction with legal services and pro bono providers
- Substantive Law Programming: presents information on an area of substantive law, e.g. domestic violence
- Management and Diversity Programming: addresses issues of nonprofit management and increasing diversity among staff and volunteers
- Delivery Innovations Programming: presents advances in and inventive models of legal services delivery
- Resource Development Programming: examines issues of funding and fundraising
- Info Management and Technology Programming: discusses ways in which technology can be utilized to leverage the delivery of legal services by staff and volunteers
Detailed information on submitting proposals is contained in the Proposal Guidelines.
Proposals should be submitted online using the Session Proposal Submission Form.If you have questions about completing the online form or would like to know more about the RFP process, please contact Ashley Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Session proposals are due no later than Wednesday, October 14, 2015.
The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia is seeking volunteers for a new Americans with Disabilities Act Pro Bono Clinic operated through it's Disability Employment Discrimination Project. Pro bono law students and attorneys will work with individuals with disabilities to provide legal information on prohibited discrimination and reasonable accommodation under the ADA, and how to maintain public benefits while working.
Students and attorneys will receive a 2-3 hour training in the beginning of the semester on substantive legal areas of employment discrimination, public accommodations, and housing discrimination under the ADA. Students will also be trained on communicating with disabled and low-income clients and client interviewing skills. Attorneys may attend the training if they choose (advised for those who are new to ADA practice).
The initial training session for the fall semester will be held on Friday, September 11, 2015 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the United Way Building, 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, although remote participation is also available. Pro bono attorneys who wish to attend the training session must contact Julie Foster by Thursday, September 10, 2015. Attorneys experienced in ADA practice who do not wish to attend the training may sign up at any time. A second training will be held in the Spring semester.
Duties of attorney volunteers participating in the clinics include staffing walk-in clinics for individuals with disabilities who have questions on disability discrimination and employment; and providing supervision and guidance to students who will conduct interviews with individuals attending the clinics and identify possible cases of discrimination.
Students will provide information on ADA discrimination, provide referrals, provide information on the WIPA program and referrals for WIPA services, and provide information and best practices on how to request reasonable accommodations.
Clinics will be held at a different location in Philadelphia where people with disabilities are served. Clinic locations will be accessible by public transit. Volunteers can participate in one clinic or all of the clinics, but students must commit to at least two per semester. Clinics will be held on Friday afternoons for approximately 2-3 hours.
Fall Clinic Schedule:
- October 9 - 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm:
Mental Health Association of Southeaster PA, 2709 North Broad Street
- October 23 - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm:
Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, 601 Walnut Street, Ste 3
- November 6 - 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm:
The Sierra Group, 714 Chestnut Street
Volunteers can sign up for the clinics by submitting a resume and short statement of interest by email to Julie Foster at email@example.com You may also call 267-546-1313 with questions about this volunteer opportunity.
The Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, serving Philadelphia, is currently seeking nominations for its 2015 Pro Bono Roll of Honor.
The First Judicial District recognizes the importance of performing pro bono work in order to ensure justice for the citizens of Philadelphia and seeks to recognize the tremendous effort that many attorneys expend in providing pro bono services to litigants in the Court of Common Pleas or Municipal Court in the 2015 Pro Bono Roll of Honor.
The Court will publish the Pro Bono Roll of Honor for 2015 and honor those attorneys at a reception on October 29, 2015.
Nominations for recognition on the 2015 Pro Bono Roll of Honor should be submitted pursuant to the Court's instructions using the standard form adopted by the Court.
The criteria for eligibility are as follows:
- The attorney must practice in Philadelphia County and have provided the pro bono services to a client or client group for a case pending before the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania for the period October 1, 2014 to September 25, 2015;
- The attorney must not be employed by an organization that has, as its primary purpose, the provision of free legal services to the underprivileged;
- The attorney must have (1) provided services to a client or client group who does not have the resources to compensate another attorney for the services, or (2) organized, implemented or managed an initiative to expand pro bono legal services in the courts;
- The attorney does not receive a fee or have any expectation of receiving a fee for the services.
Nomination forms should be submitted by September 25, 2015 to Victoria Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org, by facsimile to 215-686-3748, or by mail to:
Victoria H. Johnson
Court Administrative Officer to
Charles A. Mapp, Sr.
Chief Deputy Court Administrator
First Judicial District of Pennsylvania
336 City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
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A single mother serving in the Marine Corps sought pro bono assistance to create a special needs trust for her child who was recently diagnosed with autism. The Marine was concerned that in the event of her death, a special needs trust needed to be in place to guarantee that her son would be eligible for public benefits to support him. A JAG officer drafted advance directives for the servicemember; however, because special needs trusts fell beyond the JAG’s expertise, the officer referred the Marine to the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. The Marine was then placed by the Project with a volunteer attorney who has expertise in special needs trusts. The attorney provided the Marine with a pour-over will and a special needs trust for the benefit of her and her child.
Find additional case stories on our blog to see how you, our volunteers, are successfully helping military families.
ABA Military Pro Bono Project: Pro Bono Representation
The ABA Military Pro Bono Project accepts case referrals from military legal assistance offices anywhere in the world on behalf of junior enlisted servicemembers facing civil legal issues, and it places these cases with pro bono attorneys where the legal assistance is needed in the U.S.
Are you receiving the Military Pro Bono Project’s weekly case opportunities email? If not, please sign up! You can also explore pro bono case opportunities under the website’s For Volunteer Attorneys tab, which is updated daily. Questions? Find further information on www.MilitaryProBono.org.
Through the Military Pro Bono Project’s Operation Stand-By, you may offer to provide attorney-to-attorney guidance to military attorneys so they can further assist their servicemember clients.
Sign up to join Operation Stand-By! Log onto the Project website to update your profile and join Operation Stand-By (in your profile, click on “I am registering to join the Project's Operation Stand-By”).
Already signed up with Operation Stand-By? Please log onto the Project website to review your profile to ensure that your contact information and substantive legal areas of interest are up-to-date. Also, you will soon receive a survey to help us evaluate Operation Stand-By.
Project Update! ABA Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network
In the summer of 2014, the ABA launched a new pilot program, the ABA Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network (VCAN), on www.ABAVCAN.org, through which attorneys volunteered to help veterans with the preparation and completion of disability benefits claims pending with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Recognizing the success and efficiency of the Military Pro Bono Project’s structure and management, VCAN was integrated into the Project’s online system and overseen by its staff. VCAN was operated as a demonstration pilot that completed in the summer of 2015. A post-pilot relaunch is anticipated. Thanks to everyone who participated!
From the Chair…
Visit the ABA Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) Chair’s latest article in the Dialogue—the magazine of the ABA Division for Legal Services.
News and Events
Visit the LAMP CLE webpage for information about upcoming CLE programs, along with materials from previous CLE courses.
Useful Books in the ABA Web Store:
The Military Divorce Handbook: Resource for representing servicemembers and spouses.
A Judge’s Benchbook for the Sevicemembers Civil Relief Act: Information for judges of the provisions that protect servicemembers while on active duty.
American Bar Association Legal Guide for Military Families: Legal resource for servicemembers, veterans, and their families.
Ripped Off!: Guide for military personnel about certain types of sales, scams and abusive commercial practices.
Did you know that the ABA Military Pro Bono Project has an online library filled with resources that focus on legal issues faced by servicemembers, veterans, and military family members? Log onto the website and visit the Library.
ABA Supports Preserving Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness for Military Service: Student loan forgiveness for military service is at risk for elimination by Congress. Learn about the American Bar Association’s effort to urge Congress to preserve the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and how you can get involved.
Georgia Hosts National Symposium on Military Legal Assistance Programs: On pages 40-45 of the Georgia Bar Journal, this article highlights representatives from 13 states, along with Linda Klein, the ABA president-elect nominee, and ABA staff who attended to discuss various state bar and legal assistance programs that help servicemembers and veterans.
Alabama State Bar Highlights ABA Military Pro Bono Project: The Alabama State Bar’s newsletter published an article about the ABA Military Pro Bono Project and how attorneys can get involved.
How the Military Pro Bono Project Saved My Family: A client, Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis, wrote about the help she received from the ABA Military Pro Bono Project for the Grand Forks Air Force Base news.
Book Review: Ripped Off! A Servicemember’s Guide to Common Scams, Frauds, and Bad Deals: This is the latest article in Dialogue, the magazine of the ABA Division for Legal Services.
Financial Support to the Military Pro Bono Project
The ABA Military Pro Bono Project depends on financial contributions from Project partners, law firms, corporations, and individuals to further its mission to connect active-duty servicemembers and their families to attorneys willing to donate their time to deliver high quality, free legal services. Financial support of the Project, through the ABA Fund for Justice and Education, a 501(c)(3) entity, helps to ensure that our servicemembers receive the legal help that they need.
$10,000 to 24,999
ABA Section of Litigation
$5,000 to 9,999
ABA Business Law Section
ABA Section of Public Contract Law
And thank you to all of our other Star Ranking Supporters!
You received this email because you have registered as a member of the ABA Military Pro Bono Project. To edit or cancel your profile, log onto www.militaryprobono.org. If you have questions, contact the Project Director, Mary C. Meixner, at email@example.com.
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The Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators adopted three resolutions in support of legal aid and access to justice at their joint conference at the end of July. The resolutions adopted were:
- Resolution 4 – In Support of the Statement of Best Practices for State Funding of Civil Legal Aid Prepared by the ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiatives
- Resolution 5 – Reaffirming the Commitment to Meaningful Access to Justice for All
- Resolution 7 – Reaffirming the Critical Importance of Adequate Funding of the Legal Services Corporation
This trio of resolutions clearly demonstrates the very strong commitment of CCJ and COSCA to access to justice and legal aid.
Resolution 4 came out of the Government Affairs Committee, chaired by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of New York. The Best Practices referred to was created by the ABA Resource Center for Access to Justice Initiative and is entitled Supreme Court Leadership on State Legislative Funding for Civil Legal Aid.
Resolution 5 states that that the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators support the aspirational goal of 100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs and urge their members to provide leadership in achieving that goal and to work with their Access to Justice Commission or other such entities to develop a strategic plan with realistic and measurable outcomes.
Resolutions 7 resolved that the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators reaffirm their support for civil legal aid and again call upon all members of Congress to provide funding to the Legal Services Corporation at the level necessary to enable legal services providers to furnish critically-needed legal assistance and advice to low-income and vulnerable Americans.
The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service will recognize two individual lawyers, one law firm, one law school and one business legal department with its 2015 Pro Bono Publico Awards on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago. In addition, two national organizations will receive special pro bono awards for their contributions in expanding pro bono legal services.
ABA President William C. Hubbard will host the 33rd annual Pro Bono Publico Awards luncheon. “The recipients of the 2015 Pro Bono Publico Awards demonstrate exceptional commitment to volunteer legal services for our most vulnerable citizens,” Hubbard said. “They have invested in their communities in a powerful way and have made access to justice a reality for those who are most in need.”
The 2015 honorees are:
Daniel L. Brown is a partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in the Business Trial Practice Group in New York. He does extensive pro bono work. Brown represented a class of more than 900,000 persons with disabilities in New York City in the case, Brooklyn Center for the Disabled, et al. v. Bloomberg, et al. The case was considered a landmark victory for thousands with disabilities and resulted in the most comprehensive disaster plan aimed at improving the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities.
Leslie S. Silverstein is a solo practitioner in Portland, Maine, where she focuses on Social Security disability cases. Since opening her firm in 2001, Silverstein has donated thousands of hours representing low income people without access to civil legal representation. She has represented more than 200 clients over the past seven years through the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project on the Domestic Violence Panel. She has also volunteered as a trainer for the MVLP program. In this role, she encourages new lawyers to join the Domestic Violence Panel, where she serves as a mentor.
Baylor University School of Law was established in 1857 and was the first law school in Texas. The school has developed several pro bono clinical opportunities for students. Recently, they established a Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals Immigration Clinic to assist undocumented young people with deportation relief. The school’s People’s Law School offers a half-day program with volunteer lawyers designed to assist the community about their legal rights. The school has a broad pro bono/public service program, which has received recognition for its commitment to providing legal services to the underserved community.
Jones Day is a global legal institution with more than 2,400 lawyers spanning five continents. The firm took up the cause to help in the immigration crisis of unaccompanied children and women fleeing violence in Central America to U.S. borders. Jones Day sent teams of lawyers to military bases where immigrants were held and conducted “Know your Rights” presentations to help screen cases. They also sent teams to detention facilities in New Mexico and Texas. The firm has dedicated nearly 10,000 hours, which is valued at $5 million in fees, and has incurred significant costs for travel, experts and incidentals.
United Airlines Legal Department is headquartered in Chicago and its lawyers have worked diligently to help advance justice for immigrants, especially youth and children. Its pro bono program provides a range of legal services for indigent individuals as well as financial support for legal services. Last year, United lawyers took on an asylum case in response to the Central American crisis of unaccompanied children and women fleeing Central America to the U.S. borders. They helped one teenage girl obtain asylum after she fled Honduras to escape brutal abuse by an older man, and they are seeking asylum for another teenage girl who escaped from domestic violence and a forced marriage in Mali. That case is pending the court’s decision.
The Association of Pro Bono Counsel, which supports the professional development of law firm pro bono managers, and the National Association of Pro Bono Professionals, which provides training and support to the directors of bar association, legal services and independent pro bono programs nationwide, will receive special recognition from the ABA.
The ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service provides national leadership in policy, outreach, implementation and technical assistance activities designed to encourage, expand and improve pro bono activities and programs.
- Non-profit organizations that provide free legal assistance to low-income individuals or the provision of free services to veterans; or
- Private attorneys or law firms that seek to establish such a non-profit for these purposes.
More information about grant eligibility and the application process is available in LSC’s Federal Register notice.
Applicants must submit a Notice of Intent to Compete and respond to a Request for Proposals to participate. The NIC must be submitted by email by Friday, August 28, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
The RFP containing the grant application, guidelines, proposal content requirements, and specific selection criteria will be available the week of September 14, 2015, at www.lsc.gov under “Meetings & Events.”
Funds for the Veterans Pro Bono Program are authorized by and subject to Public Law 102-229 as an appropriation to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court). That law requires the Court to provide funds to LSC to award grants or contracts for the provision of pro bono representation for veterans before the Court. The Court hears veterans’ appeals of adverse decisions of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Board of Veterans Appeals.
For questions about the application process, please contact Meredith Horton, Office of Program Performance, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the current grantee, The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, please visit www.vetsprobono.org.
The National Legal Aid & Defender Association has extended the deadline for submission of proposals for workshop sessions at the NLADA Annual Conference to July 31, 2015.
NLADA's 2015 Annual Conference "Advancing Justice Together" is the leading national training event of the year for the civil legal aid, public defense, and public interest law communities. The conference will take place November 4-7, 2015 at the Sheraton New Orleans and will offer advocates substantive information and professional skills training, recognition of excellence among peers, and a unique networking opportunity for all in attendance.
All session proposals should be submitted online through the presenter portal at www.mynlada.net. On the presenter portal homepage, you will find a link at the top of the page for "Guidelines." Clicking on it will give you access to detailed information about selection criteria, deadlines, and this year's programming areas:
- Board Workshops & Training Topics
- Civil Legal Aid Workshops & Training Topics
- Client Workshops & Training Topics
- Defender Legal Services Workshops & Training Topics
- Fundraising Workshops & Training Topics
Your session proposal should describe its topic, its format, and the names of proposed presenters. Proposals are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 31, 2015. If your proposal is chosen, as session leader you will be responsible for submitting additional workshop information, including a final title, description, and presenter bios by August 28, 2015.
If you have any questions about using the presenter portal, please contact Brian Peterkin-Vertanesian at email@example.com
The Allegheny County Bar Association Pro Bono Achievement Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to pro bono service in Allegheny county communities. The Allegheny County Bar Foundation and the Public Service Committee are currently accepting nominations for the 2015 Pro Bono Achievement awards.
The awards will be presented at the Fellows Reception on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at Hotel Monaco. The award winners will also be honored at the Public Service Committee’s annual volunteer recognition event which will be held during Pro Bono Week, October 25-31, 2015.
The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 31, 2015, 5:00 p.m.
Nominations may be made in the following categories:
Jane F. Hepting Individual Attorney Award: This award is given to an attorney who has shown exemplary commitment to or made substantial achievements in pro bono legal services. The ACBF Board of Trustees adopted a resolution in 2002 to name this award in recognition of Jane Hepting’s dedication to the delivery of pro bono legal services through her 26 years as an NLSA attorney, the many and varied pro bono programs that she helped create and implement, her recruitment initiatives and exceptional training programs to attract and prepare volunteer attorneys, her exceptional expenditures of time and energy on behalf of pro bono legal services, and her outstanding commitment and dedication to public service, the legal profession, and the community.
Lorraine M. Bittner Public Interest Attorney Award: This award is given to an outstanding and dedicated attorney who is employed by an entity or program whose primary function is the delivery of civil legal services to low-income individuals or organizations that serve the poor or disadvantaged. The award is named in honor of the first attorney to receive it when it was established in 2005, in honor of her exceptional and career-long commitment to the needs of the poor and disadvantage through her work at Neighborhood Legal Services Association and the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.
Organization Award (law firm, corporate legal department, government legal department, or other entity or group): This award recognizes groups of individuals who collectively or as an institution have shown exemplary commitment to or made substantial achievements in the delivery of pro bono legal services.
Special Service Awards: Individuals or organizations who do not fall into another category and who have made substantial contributions to the delivery of free legal services may be nominated and recognized in this category. Such nominees might include attorneys, judges, paralegals, law students, and others.
CLICK HERE to access the online nomination form. The deadline for nominations is Friday, July 31, 2015, 5:00 p.m.
CLICK HERE to see a list of past award winners.