Jennifer Siewertsen, 2L, shares her experience as the 2010 Ellen B. Ewing Fellow.
As a first year law student the law seemed like an intangible idea, an abstract thought presented in casebooks and lectures. The cases and the discussions have names and titles, but not faces or stories. For someone propelled into law with a background in social justice and advocacy, this pursuit of a faceless justice left a lot to be desired. I never imagined that in ten short weeks, my purpose and interest in the law would be renewed and redirected towards family law.
As the 2010 Ellen Ewing Fellow I was thrust headfirst into Legal Aid’s Family Law Unit. Working with a small and dedicated group of people, I worked with a variety of complex family and legal issues. I immediately began meeting clients and sifting through cases. What I found wasn’t a question presented or an issue, but individual people struggling to find safety for themselves and their children from domestic abuse. What may have been another day at the office for me was often a life-changing moment in the life of a client.
I spent the summer doing many of the same duties as any other law clerk, researching, writing, and observing in court. However, what I got out of the experience was wholly unique. The opportunity to interact with clients on a personal level and see legal issues through a human lens has given me a renewed sense of purpose for this upcoming school year. Though my time spent with the Legal Aid Society as the Ellen Ewing fellow was brief, the impact of that experience will be life-long.
Ms. Siewertsen is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and a 2008 Graduate of Centre College with a Bachelor’s in Religion as well as Government. She's active on the 2010 National Moot Court Team and the Moot Court Board as well as a candidate for membership in the Journal of Law and Education. She was a runner-up in the 2010 First Year Appellate Advocacy Competition (pictured above).
Jennifer and her classmate, Alex White, will emcee Lawalapalooza on September 30 at Phoenix Hill Tavern.
The School of Law received a thank you note this week from the Masonic Home, one of our locations for community service during the 1L Orientation.
Dama Maynard wrote:
"Thank you so much for coming to Masonic Home of Louisville and assisting our residents with scrapbooking. They really enjoyed spending time with each of you. They treasure moments with our greater community. Good luck to each of you and thanks again."
The International Ombudsman Association is again sponsoring a contest to reward scholarship relevant to Organizational Ombuds. In the second IOA-sponsored writing competition, graduate and law students are invited to submit articles on the issue of how organizational ombudsmen can avoid being deemed as agents for notice.
The author of the winning article will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and an invitation to the IOA Annual Conference in April 2011 in Portland, OR to receive the award. IOA will provide registration, airfare and lodging for the conference. The winning article may also be published in the Journal of IOA. Submissions are due November 19, 2010.
- Second Annual IOA Student Writing Competition
- Journal of the International Ombudsman Association
- The Ombuds Blog
Are you planning to take the Kentucky Bar Exam in February 2011? The regular filing deadline is October 1, 2010. For information on completing the application, visit the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions' website at www.kyoba.org. An application checklist for the February 2011 exam is also attached for your convenience.
If you are planning to take the July 2011 Kentucky Bar Exam, applications will not be accepted before November 1, 2010. Applications received more than 90 days before the regular filing deadline will be returned. A Kentucky Bar Exam presentation with Ms. Bonnie Kittinger, Director and General Counsel of the Kentucky Office of Bar Admissions, will be scheduled in November. Details will be posted later this month.
Catch up on your sleep this long weekend. Remember to get no less than 7 hours of sleep per night every week. If your body is sleep deprived from the last three weeks because you have been sleeping less than 7 hours per night, now is the time to re-charge. Then, make sure you get proper sleep hours for the remainder of the semester.
Assessing the Indigent Defense System
An Issue Brief by:
Erica J. Hashimoto
ACS is pleased to distribute "Assessing the Indigent Defense System,"an Issue Brief by Erica J. Hashimoto, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law. Professor Hashimoto's Issue Brief is the third in a series that ACS will be publishing focused on ideas for a role that the federal government can play in helping improve the indigent defense system around the country. Attorney General Eric Holder, Congress, and other federal policymakers have taken notice of the crisis in indigent defense that has existed since 1963 when the U.S. Supreme Court held in Gideon v. Wainwright that each state has an obligation under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to provide a criminal defendant with an attorney when he or she cannot afford one, and they have specifically identified reform of the system as a priority. Professor Hashimoto examines the significant gaps that exist in the data available to evaluate the operation of the system and offers specific recommendations as to what the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), through its Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), can do to help improve the state of the data and assist with reform.
Professor Hashimoto observes that, "in spite of the fact that we live in an era that is preoccupied with data, we still lack data on the most basic questions related to the indigent defense system." She points out that we do not have the data to tell us "how many defendants are represented by the indigent defense systems" or "how many misdemeanor defendants have a right to counsel." As a result, we cannot determine "what percentage of defendants who are entitled to court-appointed representation go unrepresented." Professor Hashimoto asserts that the limited available data point to regular violations of the Constitution, but that "[w]ithout more complete data, it is impossible to adequately assess this fundamental constitutional right and know the extent of any violations around the country." She discusses several sets of data that are needed and ways in which DOJ and BJS could make significant improvements by collecting and analyzing these data. Professor Hashimoto recognizes that this will not be an easy or costless process, and that data cannot solve all of the problems with the indigent defense system, but concludes that "until we have data establishing the nature and magnitude of the problems and the most effective mechanisms for addressing those problems, we cannot begin the process of systematically solving them."
All of the Issue Briefs that ACS has published as part of this series, as well as other materials related to indigent defense, can be found by clicking here. For more information and to download the issue brief, click here.
Law librarian, Robin Harris, wrote an article for the Fall 2010 issue of The Women's Center News, entitled "Spotlight: Professor Kathleen Bean" (p. 3). Click here for the full story.