On October 13th, RWU Law students, staff, and faculty participated in an on-line conversation among law schools, public service lawyers, and Attorney General Eric Holder about the need to secure access to justice for all Americans. Sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the U.S. Department of Justice, the program honored 16 exemplar public service “Champions of Change” at the White House while law students from across the nation watched through a live-feed from the White House website. The program was geared toward getting thousands of “future agents of legal change talking about what lawyers can do to close the justice gap.” The “Champions” represented law schools, civil legal aid and public defender offices, and pro bono programs at major corporations in their efforts to defend basic legal rights for those who would otherwise go without legal counsel.
Students watched as Attorney General Holder discussed with a panel of diverse public interest lawyers how to secure equal access to the justice system, posing questions submitted electronically by law students, faculty and staff. One question came from our own Feinstein Institute Executive Director, Laurie Barron, who asked how law students committed to public interest law careers can find work in the current legal job market. 1L Marie Vedder, who participated in the watch party, had this say:
It was very enlightening to see some of the professional options available to lawyers with a passion for public service and very gratifying to witness that service being nationally recognized. However, I felt the event also highlighted how much room and need there is for genuine innovation in the law and in public policy in order to effect real and
As Chair-Elect of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities, Liz Tobin Tyler, our Director of Public Service and Community Partnerships, attended the event and rubbed elbows with top lawyers from around the country.
RWU School of Law is once again participating in the ABA’s annual Pro Bono Celebration October 23 through 29, 2011. Activities include several legal rights workshops and clinics sponsored by our Pro Bono Collaborative, a CLE on domestic violence sponsored by the Feinstein Institute and the RI Women’s Bar Association, the Mediation Clinic’s all day divorce mediation program through the RI Bar Association, and a display of student pro bono work here at the law school. You can see all of the week’s pro bono events at the National Pro Bono Celebration website.