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The Role of Law Schools in Fostering Commitment to Pro Bono Publico October 5, 2007 THE ___________________________________________________________________________________________.

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Presentation on theme: "The Role of Law Schools in Fostering Commitment to Pro Bono Publico October 5, 2007 THE ___________________________________________________________________________________________."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Role of Law Schools in Fostering Commitment to Pro Bono Publico October 5, 2007 THE ___________________________________________________________________________________________ PRO BONO __________________________________________________________________________________________ COLLABORATIVE Mobilizing Rhode Island Law Firms, Law Students, and the Community in Legal Service

2 The Pro Bono Collaborative’s primary goal is to increase the provision of pro bono legal services in Rhode Island by establishing an additional and innovative model for pro bono service that makes pro bono easy, efficient, and rewarding. Our Purpose THE ___________________________________________________________________________________________ PRO BONO __________________________________________________________________________________________ COLLABORATIVE Mobilizing Rhode Island Law Firms, Law Students, and the Community in Legal Service

3 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ T HE G AP IN S ERVICE ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Need for Legal Assistance (citing the 2007 CLASP study) For every client who receives service from an LSC grantee, one applicant is turned away due to the program’s lack of resources At least 80 percent of the civil legal needs of low- income Americans are not being met There is, at best, one legal aid attorney for every 6,861 low-income persons

4 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ RWU S CHOOL OF L AW ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Public Service Roger Williams University School of Law is one of only 18 law schools in the country with a mandatory pro bono requirement (as defined by the ABA). Prior to graduation, all students must complete at least 20 hours of law related public service prior to graduation that is uncompensated and not for academic credit.

5 Our History __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ P RO B ONO C OLLABORATIVE __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Overview Racial Justice Colloquium Racial Justice Task Force Survey: “Addressing Unmet Legal Need in Rhode Island: Barriers and Incentives to Pro Bono Participation” Pilot Project Pro Bono Collaborative

6 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ R ACIAL J USTICE C OLLOQUIUM ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ May, 2004 Funded by The Rhode Island Foundation Convened by the Feinstein Institute for Legal Service at Roger Williams University School of Law Community representatives and attorneys discussed Rhode Island’s most pressing racial justice issues Determination: low-income communities – particularly communities of color – need more pro bono legal assistance than is currently available

7 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ R ACIAL J USTICE T ASK F ORCE ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ June, Present Four subcommittees, formed as a direct result of the Racial Justice Colloquium, have been addressing the following issues: Housing Education Immigration Criminal Justice The work around these issues has greatly informed the development of Pro Bono Collaborative projects.

8 Spring, 2005 With a mini-grant from The RI Foundation, the Feinstein Institute conducted a voluntary survey of Rhode Island lawyers to assess pro bono engagement and to identify incentives and obstacles to participation. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ S URVEY : “ A DDRESSING U NMET L EGAL N EED IN R HODE I SLAND : B ARRIERS AND I NCENTIVES TO P RO B ONO P ARTICIPATION ” ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9 _____________________________________________________________________________________________ S URVEY R ESULTS ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Highlights Lawyers identified incentives to pro bono participation: 1.Assistance from law students 2.Access to subject area experts 3.Training on specific legal issues 4.Referrals confined to discrete area of law

10 _____________________________________________________________________________________________ S URVEY R ESULTS ______________________________________________________________________________________________ June, 2005 RI Bar Annual Meeting: Creative Ways to Incorporate Pro Bono Work into Your Practice Feinstein Institute presented survey results Brought attorneys from the Pro Bono Initiative in Chicago to talk about the success of their program, which was designed to increase the availability of pro bono legal service in that state

11 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ PBC P ILOT P ROJECT _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2006 Launched in January, with support from the RWU School of Law and a generous grant from The RI Foundation Eliza Vorenberg, J.D., hired to launch and direct Three projects: 1.Special Education Advocacy: Partridge Snow & Hahn, Casey Family Services, 3 Students 2.Affordable Housing: Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels, Community Housing Land Trust, Housing Network of RI, Church Community Housing Corp., 6 Students 3.Street Law: Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge, RI Children’s Crusade, 2 Students In October, Leslie Gifford hired to help facilitate

12 January, 2007 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ P RO B ONO C OLLABORATIVE __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Project continued with additional support from The RI Foundation and Roger Williams University School of Law.

13 How It Happens __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ P RO B ONO C OLLABORATIVE __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ We meet with CBO representatives and conduct client surveys and focus groups to determine the most pressing need for assistance that will reach the greatest majority. We develop discrete projects. We present possible projects to attorneys. We recruit law students. We arrange for targeted legal training and provide expert consultants. We oversee all projects.

14 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ P RO B ONO C OLLABORATIVE __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Current Partnerships Overview: 8 projects 6 firms 9 community-based organizations More than 20 law students 7 RWU law professors

15 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ S PECIAL E DUCATION A DVOCACY P ROJECT _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Partners: Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP Casey Family Services Meeting Street School 4 Students Special education rights workshops Direct representation as needed Legal Assistance Provided:

16 _______________________________________________________________________________ L EGAL R IGHTS _______________________________________________________________________________ Partners: Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP Children’s Friend & Service RI 5 students Legal rights education workshops for parents Individual assistance as needed Legal Assistance Provided:

17 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ A FFORDABLE H OUSING ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Partners: Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels LLP Housing Network of RI Church Community Housing Corp. Community Housing Land Trust 6 Students Extensive legal and practice research Legal and legislative drafting to ensure RI’s existing affordable condominiums remain affordable in perpetuity Legal Assistance Provided:

18 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ U TILITY S HUT - O FF P REVENTION A DVOCACY _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Partners: Motley Rice LLC George Wiley Center 2 Students Research and draft utility shut-off legislation Legislative advocacy Legal Assistance Provided:

19 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I NCOME T AX A MNESTY ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Partners: Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc. 2 Students Research, administrative and legislative advocacy Enable income tax amnesty for low-income, elderly Rhode Islanders Legal Assistance Provided:

20 ______________________________________________________________________ F AMILY L AW _______________________________________________________________________ The Partners: Hinckley Allen Snyder LLP Women’s Center of RI 3 Students Legal Assistance Provided: Direct representation of Women’s Center clients in family law matters Research and draft a proposal to introduce a CourtWatch program Present rights education workshops

21 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ R IGHTS E DUCATION FOR S TREETWORKERS _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The Partners Hinckley Allen Snyder LLP Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence 2 Students Rights education workshops for Streetworkers, individuals mobilized to reduce gang-related violence in Providence Legal Assistance Provided:

22 The Partners Hinckley Allen Snyder LLP Mariposa Center 1 Student _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ M ARIPOSA C ENTER ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Legal Assistance Provided: We have incorporated this new early-childhood education provider as a non-profit, and will provide ongoing assistance as needed

23 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ H OW W E A RE D IFFERENT __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ PBC Flexibility Because the Pro Bono Collaborative is not funded by the Legal Services Corporation, it can: Serve both indigent individuals and the working poor Provide legal assistance to undocumented individuals Provide certain services to prisoners Conduct administrative or legislative advocacy Engage in class action litigation

24 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ N OT J UST L ITIGATION _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Needed services 2006 LSC funded services: 57% counsel & advice 18% brief

25 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ U TILIZING L AW F IRM E XPERTISE _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Types of Service the PBC can provide: - Administrative Advocacy- Advice and Counsel - Direct Representation - Legislative Advocacy - Non-profit Incorporation- Rights Education - Transactional Services- and more

26 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ T APPING L AW S TUDENT P ASSION & S KILLS _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Types of Service Law Students Can Provide: - Legal Research - Rights Education Preparation - Case Preparation- Legislative Advocacy - Client Interviewing- and more

27 __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ F OSTERING C OLLABORATION __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Attorneys Predictable and limited pro bono work to fit within their practice Support through training, student assistance and administrative help Chance for face to face interaction with community struggles Unthreatening and easy introduction for lawyers into the community Connection to other firms, facilitating development of pro bono policies

28 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ F OSTERING C OLLABORATION _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Law Students Structured, supervised, legal experience in fulfillment of their public service requirement Opportunity to provide pro bono in a law firm setting Experience with real legal needs and the power to make a difference Unique opportunity to collaborate with other law students

29 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ F OSTERING C OLLABORATION ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Community Legal service added to their other social services Help with deciphering legal from other social issues facing their clients Better understanding of their clients' legal rights Administrative support through PBC transactional projects Increased impact through legislative or administrative advocacy

30 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ P ROJECTS U NDER C ONSTRUCTION ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Legal Rights Education Projects Guardianship Truancy Court Advocacy Veterans’ Advocacy Teen Pregnancy Potential Projects


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