Student News

Careers in Community Organizing for Social Justice

The Direct Action & Research Training (DART) Center will be on the U of L law campus on Monday, February 7 at 6:00pm in W303A in the Student Activities Center to discuss careers in the field of community organizing with students interested in empowering their communities and working for social change.

Please RSVP if you are interested by contacting Hannah Wittmer by calling 785.841.2680 with your name, phone #, email address and school.

After years of research into best practices, experimentation, evaluation, and refinement, the Organizers Institute has become THE elite field school in the training of grassroots community organizers in the country.

DART is now accepting applications for the 2011 DART Organizers Institute, the paid, four-month field school for people interested in launching a career in community organizing. Participants will undergo a combined classroom and field training covering such topics as:
  • Entering a community
  • Identifying and training local leaders
  • Strategic planning and issue cutting
  • Relationship and community building
  • Direct Action on community issues
  • Fundraising
The DART Center, has built coalitions throughout the country that have won important victories on a broad set of justice issues including:
  • Education reform in low-performing public schools
  • Job Training
  • Drugs and Violence
  • Criminal Recidivism
  • Living Wage
  • Neighborhood Revitalization
  • Predatory Lending
  • Affordable Housing, etc.
The DART Organizers Institute combines a 7-day classroom orientation with 15 weeks of infield training at a local grassroots organization and in-field training site.  Organizer Trainees are provided with a cost of living stipend and travel.  Room, board, and tuition will also be paid by DART during the seven-day classroom training.  After successful completion of the program, DART will place graduates into permanent full-time salaried positions earning $30,000-$35,000/year + benefits.  DART is a 501(c)(3) organization, therefore, employees of the DART Network are eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness under the recently enacted College Cost Reduction and Access Act.

The 7-day classroom orientation and 15-week infield training start in July 2011. Training locations will include placements in several states around the country.

Although it may be helpful, no direct experience is necessary. Organizer Trainees (OTs) hired to participate in the DART Organizers Institute must demonstrate a desire to pursue community organizing as a long-term professional career. A master's degree, JD, or similar life experience is preferred though not necessary. Candidates must have a college degree or be graduating prior to July 2011. Also, candidates must display a workmanlike diligence, be driven to produce sustained results, have proven capacity to build relationships of trust, create and execute a plan, act professionally, feel comfortable working with religious institutions, be accountable and willing to hold others accountable, demonstrate disciplined thought and action, and work in a team setting.  OTs must also have access to a car during their training and be flexible regarding relocation. Fluency in Spanish/English is a plus and people of color are encouraged to apply.

Low-moderate income communities across the country are feeling the bite of the recession that began in December 2007. Cutbacks in human services and education, layoffs and persistent unemployment, home foreclosures, increased youth violence, predatory lending, and other serious issues are day-to-day realities for many. Now is the time for a new generation of community organizers to step up, unite people, and transform our communities. DART is recruiting and training that new generation.

To find out more about DART or to apply, we encourage you to contact Hannah Wittmer at  (785) 841-2680. You can download applications or view profiles from previous OTs at the DART website.  

SBA January Student of the Month

Congratulations to Seth Slone, January's Student of the Month.  Seth was
nominated by his peers and selected by the Student Bar Association to be
recognized for his contributions as a proactive member of the Law
School. 

 If you would like to nominate a student for Student of the
Month, you can submit a nomination at
http://www.law.louisville.edu/students/sba/forms/student-of-the-month.

Congratulations again to Seth. You will find gifts from the Student Bar
Association in your student mailbox and you will be featured on the
Student Bar Association's board in the lower level of the Law School.

Witnesses Needed ASAP

The National Mock Trial team is in need of three witnesses for this Thursday, January 27 at 6pm in Room 071.  If you are already a witness for the National Trial Competition, then you cannot also be a witness for the team.  Please contact Stephanie Loper ASAP at stephanie.loper@yahoo.com if you are available.

Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy

Professor Judith Welch Wegner of the University of North Carolina Law School will present the Boehl Distinguished Lecture in Land Use Policy on "Annexation, Urban Boundaries and Land Use Dilemmas: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future" Thursday, January 27 at 6PM in Room 275.

The event is free and open to the public, as well as all members of the Law School and University communities.  No RSVP is required.  A reception will follow.

 

SELS Meeting

The Sports and Entertainment Law Society will conduct its next meeting on Wednesday, February 2 at 12:00 Noon in Room 275.

They will discuss the Super Bowl party, public service, and upcoming speakers.

Spotlight on Louisville Law Clinic

In the midst of a court fight with his landlord over an eviction notice, Tom Rankin asked
Jefferson District Court Judge Donald Armstrong if he needed a lawyer.

“It wouldn't hurt,” the judge responded, and on heir way out of the courtroom, Rankin was
approached by a representative of Legal Aid, which provides free legal help to people of
limited income, who said she could refer them to an attorney.

Well, he wasn't actually an “attorney,” officially speaking.

The Rankins were referred to the University of Louisville Law Clinic, where they met with Blake Nolan, a third-year law student, one of eight allowed to practice law last semester at the clinic on Muhammad Ali Boulevard, gaining experience while reaching out to an underserved population.

Nolan had never handled an eviction case, “But he was good,” Rankin said, and worked out an agreement with the landlord that led to the case being dismissed.

“He knew what he was doing,” Rankin said. “I was really impressed with the way he handled everything. … I really don't think I could have done it without him.”

Nolan was participating in a program launched in July 2009 that so far has allowed 25 U of L law students to help nearly 300 clients at no charge in Jefferson County Family and District courts — including 187 victims of domestic violence and their children seeking protective orders.

And the clinic is growing, with a record 15 students enrolled for the semester that began this month.

The clinic is primarily funded by gifts to the university and if the students take the clinic as a course, it is part of their law school tuition and fees. They must have at least 60 credit hours to sign up for the clinic, and receive four credits for their participation. They are able to work as practicing student attorneys through a limited license granted by the Kentucky Supreme Court, and only with supervision. In October, the Center for Women and Families, the Legal Aid Society and Law Clinic received a combined $438,000 in grant money to represent victims of domestic violence, allowing, in part, the funding of four more student attorneys and an additional part-time attorney to supervise them.

Shelley Santry, a U of L law professor and former prosecutor who heads the clinic, said the student attorneys funded by the new grant –— the clinic's share is $110,000 — will focus on custody cases for unmarried, low-income victims of domestic violence.

Many of those victims are unable to afford an attorney, and “No one does those kind of cases pro bono now,” she said. “Custody disputes are difficult, time consuming and often emotional.”

Santry said many schools across the country have long had similar clinics, which allow students who have had two years of learning through courses to “apply what they have learned to real people with real problems.”

“Our nurses,doctors and teachers all practice before they go into the real world,” she said. “Our lawyers don't. They graduate and they're like, ‘Where's the courthouse?' You just can't beat learning by doing in my opinion.”

Nolan, who has handled about 10 cases and will be back this semester at the clinic, agreed. “There's nothing better than getting some real world experience in a courtroom and in front of a judge,” he said.

It's also nice to be able to help people in need, said Julie Purcell, a 25-year-old rdthird-year student from Louisville who in December helped an elderly woman who was being evicted because the rent money she had given to a family member never made it to her landlord.

“It's just awesome,” said Purcell, who has handled about 20 cases, and was able to have the case dismissed, got Adult Protective Services involved and saw the woman moved into new housing.“We're able to learn so much, but at the same time provide a service to people that otherwise wouldn't get it.”

Chief Family Court Judge Patricia Walker FitzGerald said she regularly sees the student attorneys in her courtroom, usually in domestic-violence cases, and has found them to be well-prepared, asking good questions and “doing an excellent job” in often difficult cases.

“They've really stepped up to the plate to do a much needed service,” she said.

And alumni of the program are turning up as prosecutors and public defenders, and several have opened their own firms.

“Most people will graduate without ever having been in a real courtroom in front of a judge,” said Heend Sheth, who graduated in May and is a prosecutor with the Jefferson County Attorney's Office. “… And at the end of the day, you are helping people. You really do get to see your skills manifest in someone else's changed circumstances.”

Reporter Jason Riley can be reached at (502) 584-2197.

Reprinted with permission.

Source: "Louisville law students gain experience, help underserved through free clinic", by Jason Riley (Courier-Journal, January 23, 2011)

 

Mandatory Bar Program for Students Graduating in December 2011, May 2012, or August 2012

On Tuesday, February 8, at 12:15 p.m, the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, with a member of the Character and Fitness Committee, will present a mandatory bar program for second year law students.  The Board of Bar Examiners’ Character and Fitness Committee must certify graduating law students before they are allowed to sit for the bar.  One fact the committee members look at closely is the applicant’s record of financial responsibility. 

Judge Gary Payne, Character and Fitness Committee member, and Bonnie Kittinger, Director and General Counsel, will discuss financial responsibility in the context of professionalism and a lawyer’s obligation to uphold the values of the profession.  Judge Payne will discuss how financial debt can evidence a lack of responsibility and further, how debt can lead to financial pressures and interfere with a lawyer’s duties to his or her clients. 

ABA Standard 302(a)(5) requires that each student receive substantial instruction in “the history, goals, structure, values, rules and responsibilities of the legal profession and its members.”  In addition, Interpretation 302-6 requires that the School of Law “involve members of the bench and bar in the instruction required by Standard 302(a)(5).”  This program is designed to provide instruction on professionalism issues concerning law students and lawyers and also to satisfy the ABA’s requirement in Standard 302(a)(5).

Attendance at the February 8 program is required for all students graduating at the times noted (primarily this is 2Ls).  Please mark your calendars now and plan to attend.  If you have an absolute conflict that will prohibit you from attending the February 8 program, you must notify Dean Bean, kathybean@louisville.edu, and provide documentation concerning your conflict. 

Please contact Dean Bean if you have questions.

 

U.S. Army JAG Interviews

The U.S. Army JAG will be conducting interviews on campus for interested first- and third-year students.  First-year students may apply for summer intern positions and third-year students may apply for active duty positions.  If you are interested in interviewing with Captain Schlueter, please submit your resume by e-mail to:  dkreh@louisville.edu ASAP. 

 

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLELOUIS D. BRANDEIS SCHOOL OF LAWMILITARY NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY All On-Campus Interviewers are requested to read and agree to a non-discriminationpolicy.  This non-discrimination policy is for military recruiters. In order to conduct job interviews in the law school or to obtain assistance from the Career Services Office, prospective employers must sign a statement of nondiscrimination based on race, color, religion, nationality, gender, disability or sexual orientation.  Federal laws relating to military service preclude representatives of the Armed Forces from signing the nondiscrimination statement in its entirety.  Congress also has enacted a statute, known as the Solomon Amendment, requiring that federal funding  -- including several categories of student loans  -- be terminated at any educational institution that refuses access to military recruiters.  Therefore, the law school grants access to military recruiters who sign the nondiscrimination statement to the extent consistent with federal law.

The University of Louisville is an equal opportunity institution.  Pursuant to regulations of the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools and the National Association for Law Placement, the School of Law is committed to providing our students and alumni/ae with the opportunity to obtain employment without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation.  Our facilities and resources are available only to prospective employers who adhere to this policy.  

Interested in publishing a short article?

Professor Levinson is seeking students who have written on alternative dispute resolution (such as negotiation, mediation, and arbitration) or are interested in writing a short piece regarding alternative dispute resolution for the LBA’s Bar Briefs.  Ideally the piece will involve one of the following substantive subject areas:  Technology/IP, Litigation, Family Law (including Trusts and Estates), Law Schools, Elder Law, Ethics, Healthcare Law (including FMLA) or Tax, but any piece on ADR will be considered.  Please contact Professor Levinson if you are interested.

Respecting our Community and our Student Organizations

A message from Deans Arnold and Bean:  Recently, several Lambda Law Caucus meeting signs were removed prior to the organization’s meeting date.  The law school administration requests that all students, staff, and faculty respect the members of our law school community, including our organizations.  Active student organizations enrich the law school and the educational, intellectual and social experiences of our students, staff, and faculty.  To this end, student organizations are permitted and encouraged to post signs in traditional posting areas, to provide information about their meetings and programs.  Please support our student organizations and let us know if you witness any behavior calculated to interfere with an organization’s postings, whether by a member of the law school community or by anyone else.