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Drinan and Rhode Award Winners

On behalf of the AALS Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities, I am delighted to announce the winners of the Deborah L. Rhode and Father Robert Drinan Awards, selected from an impressive slate of nominees.


Deborah L. Rhode Award

Awarded to a full-time faculty member or dean who has made an outstanding contribution to increasing pro bono and public service in the law school setting through scholarship, leadership, or service, was presented to Aviam “Avi” Soifer, Dean of the University of Hawaii, William S. Richardson School of Law.

Dean Soifer received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1972. He also holds B.A. cum laude and Masters of Urban Studies degrees from Yale.
While in law school, he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal, a director of the Law School Film Society, and a director of the Legal Services Organization. He helped to found the C.V.H. Project, representing people in Connecticut’s largest mental hospital. He clerked for then- Federal District Judge Jon O. Newman in 1972-73.

Soifer began his law teaching career at the University of Connecticut in 1973, received a Law and Humanities Fellowship at Harvard University in 1976-77, and taught at Boston University from 1979-1993. He served as Dean of Boston College Law School from 1993-1998, and continued to teach until 2003, when he became Dean of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii.

Soifer received Boston College’s Distinguished Senior Research Award and he was appointed as a Distinguished Scholar at the University of Wisconsin’s Legal Studies Institute. His book, Law and the Company We Keep was awarded the Alpha Sigma Nu Triennial National Jesuit Book Prize in professional studies.

He has an extensive record of scholarly publications, presentations, and public service activities and he continues to teach primarily in the areas of constitutional law, legal history, legal writing, and law and humanities.

The award was accepted by Ronette Kawakami, Hawaii’s Associate Dean for Student Services, on Dean Soifer’s behalf.


The Father Robert Drinan Award

The Father Robert Drinan Award, which was presented to Laurie Barron, Roger Williams University School of Law, recognizes a professional faculty or staff member at a law school who has forwarded the ethic of pro bono service through personal service, program design or management.

Laurie Barron is the Director Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education. She received a B.A. from Yale University, a J.D. from New York University School of Law, and an M.S.W. from New York University School of Social Work.

Laurie was selected in recognition of her good work starting a public interest/pro bono center and building it with amazing staff, programming, and the relationships she has built with students and alums in supporting them as they embark on their public interest and other types of legal careers. 

Her previous work includes representing children at the Juvenile Rights Division of the Legal Aid Society in New York City; working as a public defender and team leader at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem; and clinical teaching in an interdisciplinary Prisoners and Families Clinic at Columbia Law School, in a School-Based Legal Services Clinic at Rutgers-Camden School of Law, and in a Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project at Boston College Law School.

Barron directs the Feinstein Center and the Externship Program and teaches the Public Interest Lawyering seminar.

It was lovely having Laurie and her immediate and not so immediate family and friends there to honor and celebrate her – go Laurie!

Additional photos from the event are available, here: https://baylor.box.com/s/rgw63qz1uagfga8q6t962p4ocpdedf1w

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Pop Up Survey Results – #1

Question #1: What is your favorite time of year? Why?


-Tara Casey, Associate Clinical Professor, University of Richmond School of Law

Late March/early April: it is right before course registration for the following year, so talking with students about the future and seeing their excitement and feeling that so much is so open to them and they are the captains of it is so wonderful. Also during that time, the 3Ls are seeing the finish line and allowing themselves to relax and bathe in the enthusiasm. As graduation approaches, anxiety about the future and the bar exam starts to creep in, but late March/early April they allow themselves (whether knowingly or not) to feel pride for what they have accomplished.


-Liz Ryan Cole, Professor Emerita, Vermont Law School

Love it all!


-Anna Davis, Director of Pro Bono Programs, UC Irvine School of Law

October or February. The semesters are in full swing, students are busy on pro bono projects and the insanity of the semester has calmed down.


-Ted De Barbieri, Associate Professor, Albany Law School

Fall, when the students get back to campus.


-Jill Friedman, Associate Dean, Pro Bono and Public Interest, Rutgers Law School

The start of the second semester is exciting. The 1Ls feel much more a part of things, the summer internship season comes to life, our thoughts turn to fellowships, our pro bono projects are in overdrive, and school is warm and cozy while “the weather outside is frightful.”


-Joan Heminway, Rick Rose Distinguished Professor of Law, The University of Tennessee College of Law

In August, just as the school year begins. I am pretty sure it has something to do with it nabbing a time of renewal and hope. Perhaps it even relates back to my excitement about the new year as a student.


-David Johnson, Assistant Dean for Pro Bono & Advocacy Programs, GW Law

Summer; I can go on vacation!


-Virgie Mouton, Asst. Dean for Student Development, Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Tie (2) 1L Orientation and Graduation. Students are so happy and full of energy when they start law school as well as when they graduate from law school


-Pamela Robinson, Director, Pro Bono Program, University of South Carolina

Beginning of the Spring semester. The 1L’s have enough law school under their belt that they realize that they can fit pro bono into their schedule. The 2l’s are just going to be busy all year! 3L’s are facing some serious job hunting and often need to spruce up their resume’s. The combination makes for a busy, energetic and engaging time of the year.


-Angela Schultz, Assistant Dean for Public Service, Marquette Law School

Fall because everyone is new and fresh and excited to get going.


-Anne Sexton, Assistant Director of Public Interest; University of Minnesota Law School

Fall – it’s exciting to start a new year!


-Michelle Takagishi-Almeida, Director – Public Service Program, Southwestern Law School

May: offers the most availability for reflection, program assessment and (re)designing. Also, is a reenergizing time as students head into full-time summer clerk programs, trainings, and community events scheduled from May – August. Wonderful opporunities to be information sharing/exchanging.


-Jen Tschirch, Associate Director of Pro Bono Programs, Georgetown Law

I really enjoy the time leading up to graduation. We hold an annual reception called Public Interest Proud, which recognizes students’ efforts in the pro bono/public interest realm. It’s a fun, inspirational event and a nice opportunity to celebrate their hard work. It’s also gratifying to see how excited students are at Commencement to proudly wear the honor cords they earned for completing our Pro Bono Pledge!


-Eliza Vorenberg, Director of Pro Bono & Community Partnerships, Director Pro Bono Collaborative Roger Williams University School of Law

Beginning. New group of students in the building, a sense of excitement and renewal.


-Kiva Zytnick, Pro Bono Coordinator, CUA Law

The beginning of fall semester. Lots of enthusiasm and fresh energy!



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Pop Up Survey Results – #2

Question #2: How, and to whom, do you market your end of year data? Infographic, press release, online-only, internal or external, etc.?


-Tara Casey, Associate Clinical Professor, University of Richmond School of Law

I share the information with our Dean and communications office, as well as share on social media. Usually just the numbers, and then they may choose to distribute the information more widely in different formats.


-Anna Davis, Director of Pro Bono Programs, UC Irvine School of Law

I have a PowerPoint that I show at the awards event at the end of the year. The following day I email it to faculty and students that were not at the event.


-Ted De Barbieri, Associate Professor, Albany Law School

We push out our end of year data on social media, infographic, and have been using it in our ongoing capital campaign too.


-Jill Friedman, Associate Dean, Pro Bono and Public Interest, Rutgers Law School

Internally, mostly.


-Joan Heminway, Rick Rose Distinguished Professor of Law, The University of Tennessee College of Law

Our full pro bono report is exclusive internal, as far as I know. But selected outtakes are shared with external and quasi-external audiences via website articles, letters to alumni/donors, etc.


-David Johnson, Assistant Dean for Pro Bono & Advocacy Programs, GW Law

Internal, but Communications may use externally.


-Virgie Mouton, Asst. Dean for Student Development, Thurgood Marshall School of Law

Electronic Memo to the Dean of the law school.


-Pamela Robinson, Director, Pro Bono Program, University of South Carolina

Infographic, social media and internal publications.


-Angela Schultz, Assistant Dean for Public Service, Marquette Law School

Internally to the Dean by written report. Externally to volunteers by newsletter. Data is also shared at the end-of-year pro bono event.


-Anne Sexton, Assistant Director of Public Interest; University of Minnesota Law School

Infographics and on-line; internal and external (prospective students, alumni, etc.)


-Michelle Takagishi-Almeida, Director – Public Service Program, Southwestern Law School

Both internal and external reporting with data being recycled for institutional marketing and communication purposes (public relations, admissions recruitment, volunteer recruitment needs, etc.).


-Jen Tschirch, Associate Director of Pro Bono Programs, Georgetown Law

I aspire to share it far and wide! In actuality, that remains a work in progress. Plans include an annual report, social media posts, and any other brilliant ideas I get from my colleagues here.


-Eliza Vorenberg, Director of Pro Bono & Community Partnerships, Director Pro Bono Collaborative Roger Williams University School of Law

The local legal community, our donors, our students, and our alums. All mentioned except we don’t use press releases.


-Kiva Zytnick, Pro Bono Coordinator, CUA Law

Lots of ways– class contest visual, list of students pro bono honor roll, details in marketing materials. Mostly internal.

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Pop Up Survey Results – #3

Question #3: If you’re managing a pro bono program virtually, what are you doing?


-Laura Burstein, Director of Public Service & Academic Services, SMU Dedman School of Law

Basically, tracking student hours and referring students needing hours (we have a mandatory pro bono grad requirement) to a few remote projects that we know can accommodate them. Basically living on the computer sending tons of emails and tracking data. I am also reaching out to our nonprofits to see how they are doing and if they anticipate having summer internship programs this year….


-Tara Casey, Associate Clinical Professor, University of Richmond School of Law

Connecting with legal aid partners to identify needs; providing information to students on ways to engage within existing structures for volunteerism; create remote opportunities for students to assist with client intake of legal aids assisting individuals on issues ranging from eviction to uncontested divorces; thinking about how to expand participation and partnership with pro bono attorneys through Virginia Free Legal Answers.


-Allison Standard Constance, Director of Pro Bono Initiatives, UNC School of Law

We regularly recruit research projects from attorneys and have students sign up for them on a bulletin board. We’ve moved our bulletin board online, and since we’ve just announced pass/fail grades for the semester, students are enthusiastically signing up for projects.


-Anna Davis, Director of Pro Bono Programs, UC Irvine School of Law

Reaching out to alums and local legal service organizations to develop, remote projects (research, document delivery, and an online clinic).


-Ted De Barbieri, Associate Professor, Albany Law School

Remote brief advice clinics over Zoom (using breakout rooms), starting with small businesses/ commercial tenants, considering doing seniors (maybe over telephone) and others vulnerable during this time.


-Jill Friedman, Associate Dean, Pro Bono and Public Interest, Rutgers Law School

We are soliciting and exploring student pro bono opportunities, circulating them to students, supervising some of them directly. Examples include tenant advocacy, various pro bono research projects for returning citizens and people with disabilities, help for small businesses, and many others.


-David Johnson, Assistant Dean for Pro Bono & Advocacy Programs, GW Law

GW would begin to do that in May. It is our policy not to promote pro bono activities during December and April out of deference to exams.


-Darcy Meals, Assistant Director, Center for Access to Justice, Georgia State Law

Only two of our regular organizational partners currently have remote opportunities to help with short research questions and intake. Even those have been shifted in some cases to students who were enrolled in externships and can’t complete their positions remotely. (Totally fair). Would love to hear what others are doing to promote remote volunteer opportunities.


-Jennifer Mencarini, Director of Career Development, Elon University School of Law

Videoconferences with student leaders of pro bono projects (e.g. Lawyer on the Line), regular email contact.


-Vivian Neptune, Dean, University of Puerto Rico School of Law

Webinars, zoom workshops, compilation of legislation and regulations in webpage, online courses in projects of access to legal education.


-Pamela Robinson, Director, Pro Bono Program, University of South Carolina

Virtual VITA; responding to questions posted on SC.FreeLegalAnswers.org; recording and assembling them into a movie, announcements as to new Pro Bono Board members and Pro Bono award recipients Continuing the creation of flyers for our public defenders; research and updating of a manual for Root and Rebound; translation of public information into Spanish; and trying to keep spirits high and anxiety low.


-Angela Schultz, Assistant Dean for Public Service, Marquette Law School

Using a Google Doc to act as the intermediary between the ABA Free Legal Answers site and law student involvement. See it here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18nW6cXUKYNeabNRsQgTSYaTHLhDo-ZRYj8oAWojFSQk/edit#gid=0

Also managing appointments with clients with our self-help center. We have scheduled nearly 100 online appointments with law students, lawyers, and clients meeting to complete divorce paperwork. I just did my first round this morning with success.


-Leslie Wilson, Director of Legal Career Services, UMass Law

I reached out to our ‘go-to’ placements to inquire if they had opportunities for students to perform pro bono hours, under attorney supervision, remotely.


-Mike Winn, Director of Pro Bono & Externship Programs, Stanford Law School

I’m working with our nonprofit partners to determine if students can provide service remotely. In some cases, we’ve been able to move work online. In other cases, we’ve been able to adjust the type of assistance students provide.


-Gregory Zlotnick, Director, Pro Bono Programs, St. Mary’s University School of Law

Zoom advocacy trainings; promoting and developing remote opportunities with new and existing partners; transitioning certain in-person projects to hotlines or virtual clinics; developing alternate award ceremony/recognition for excellence in public service.


-Kiva Zytnick, Pro Bono Coordinator, CUA Law

Being in touch with legal service providers. Sharing remote pro bono opportunities via email and GroupMe. Remaining available via email and video chat (google hangouts). Thinking about ways to celebrate pro bono virtually. Being flexible and trying to evolve with changing circumstances.



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Book Review: Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive

By Stephanie Land – Reviewed by Eve Ross*

New York: Hachette, 2019. 288p. $27.00, hardcover. Also available as e-book or e-audiobook. Find it at a local library through worldcat.org. If purchased through bookshop.org, sales support independent bookstores.

Stephanie Land, a talented writer, was not much older than the average law student when an unplanned pregnancy and insufficient support derailed her plans for college. She relied on housekeeping work, food stamps, and WIC to provide for herself and her daughter.

Land’s story is reminiscent of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, in the sense that she is writing about her housekeeping work while believing that she would not always be doing that work. The major difference that Ehrenreich took housekeeping jobs entirely by choice. Ehrenreich wrote the foreword for Maid.

Law students might see themselves reflected as much in Land as in her clear-eyed descriptions of the government workers who process her benefits, and of her housekeeping clients whose lives she comes to know in intimate detail.

*Eve Ross, 2020. Reference Librarian, Law Library, University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, South Carolina.

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Announcements

Upcoming conferences:

The ABA/NLADA Equal Justice Conference

Equal Justice Conference Law School Pro Bono Advisors Pre-Conference

Please join us for our 4 Part Equal Justice Conference Law School Pro Bono Advisors Pre-Conference! Each Thursday in July at 1pm ET, we will be focusing on a different aspect of law school pro bono. Register for our Week 1 Session, “Engaging Law Students in Pro Bonohere.  During later weeks, we will focus on project ideas and collaboration, addressing challenges and strengthening your pro bono program, and connecting with your pro bono colleagues. We hope you will join us for this free series. Contact Marissa.lavette@americanbar.org with questions!

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AALS Section on Pro Bono – Newsletter Archive

Newletters

AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (Fall 2019) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (Summer 2019) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (Spring 2019) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (Fall 2018) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (Summer 2018) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (March 2018) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (December 2017) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (July 2017) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (April 2017) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (December 2016) (PDF)
AALS Pro Bono Section Newsletter (August 2016) (PDF)