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MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR – NOVEMBER, 2022

Where we have come from and where we are going…

With January around the corner, we approach the opportunity to gather with each other in San Diego at the AALS Annual Meeting. Whether you will be there or not, I hope you enjoy some highlights in this newsletter about the upcoming Annual Meeting, the worthy recipients of our Section awards, the service project we have planned, and details about our exciting annual meeting session.

A few virtual gatherings are also planned. Mark your calendars and save the zoom links for two upcoming education enrichment sessions detailed in this newsletter. Also included in the newsletter here is a link to join an online community conversation focused on what’s bringing you (us) hope for the new year. If you have colleagues who would enjoy any of these activities, please feel free to pass along the information and invite them to join. 

Even with so many challenges in our world, we have much to be grateful for, including the service our section members and our students provide. Pro bono legal service is a key part of health, safety, and security for our communities. Evictions are avoided. Consumer debt is mitigated. Domestic violence may be prevented. Child support is paid. People find answers and sometimes find closure through pro bono service. Some of the people engaging in pro bono service through our law schools are being celebrated in the inaugural AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll. Enjoy perusing the list and consider who you will highlight for their service next year.

If you will be in San Diego, I hope you’ll come and say hello. On Thursday, find me at 11 a.m. “I Love a Clean San Diego” service project, or later in our Section’s 3 p.m. session, “Incorporating Access to Justice & Pro Bono Across the Law School Curriculum.” On Friday, find me at our Section’s 12 p.m. Awards gathering, where we’ll honor three outstanding members of our community: Russel Engler, New England Law; Stephen Rispoli, Baylor University School of Law; and Deborah Schlosberg, Berkeley School of Law.

May our whole community enjoy a safe and healthy conclusion to 2022 and a safer and healthier year ahead. 

Angela F. Schultz
Chair, Section on Pro Bono & Access to Justice
Assistant Dean for Public Service
Marquette Law School
Assistant Dean for Public Service 

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Community Conversation on Zoom:
An Informal Discussion on What’s Bringing You Hope for the New Year?

Gather with members of the Section on Pro Bono & Access to Justice for a conversation facilitated by Michelle Takagishi-Almeida, Director of the Public Service Program at Southwestern Law School. The discussion will build on our March 17th gathering in “Overcoming Isolation” as well as AALS President Chemerinsky’s theme on Law Schools Making a Difference, the 2023 AALS Clinical Conference theme on Hope as a Discipline, end-of-year holidays, and New Year Resolutions. Join us! And invite a colleague to join in, too.

Date: Thursday, December 8, 2022

Time: 12:30 pm PT / 2:30 pm CT / 3:30 pm ET

Zoom Details: https://swlaw-edu.zoom.us/j/91316082987?pwd=Mkx4VGs3d1d3L2FSNWlpNyt4RFI0UT09
Meeting ID: 913 1608 2987  Passcode: 144441 

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AALS Section on Pro Bono & Access to Justice Award Recipients

We are inspired by the AALS Section on Pro Bono & Access to Justice Award Recipients.

Join us to acknowledge and celebrate this year’s award recipients on Friday, January 6, 12:00-1:00 p.m. in San Diego at the 2023 AALS Annual Meeting.


Lifetime Achievement Award

Russell Engler

Professor of Law & Director of Clinical Programs
New England Law, Boston


Access to Justice Award

Stephen Rispoli

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Strategic Initiatives,
Director of Innovation and Scholarship
Baylor University School of Law


Emerging Leader Award

Deborah Schlosberg

Director of Pro Bono Programs
University of California, Berkeley School of Law

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AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll Members

The AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll acknowledges and highlights the exceptional work of individuals engaging in, expanding, and/or supporting their law school community in providing pro bono legal services.

In its inaugural year, 58 law schools submitted nearly 140 individuals for inclusion on the AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll. Congratulations and thank you for your service. The complete list of honorees is available, here: https://www.aals.org/awards/pro-bono/.

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Annual Meeting Session

Please mark your calendar for our section’s AALS conference session, Thursday, January 5th at 3 pm, entitled: Incorporating Access to Justice & Pro Bono Across the Law School Curriculum.

Critical to the professional development of future lawyers are instilling an ethic of service and understanding how the growing justice gap impacts legal services. Access to justice and pro bono service can be effective lenses through which to explore any law school subject, and yet most law professors do not include them in their syllabi. This session features faculty whose courses provide students with insight into how lower-income people navigate the legal system and the ways in which that may differ from what we learn in casebooks. Attendees will leave with practical and replicable tools to integrate access to justice and pro bono service into courses across the law school curriculum.

Many thanks to the sections on Debtor and Credit’s Rights, Clinical Law, and Leadership for co-sponsoring this panel, which will be moderated by Darcy Meals, Director of Public Interest Programs and Deputy Director of the Center for Access to Justice at Georgia State University College of Law. Panelists include: 

  • Stacy Butler, Director of the Innovation for Justice Program, University of Arizona School of Law; 
  • Jim Sandman, President Emeritus of the Legal Services Corporation and Distinguished Lecturer and Senior Consultant to the Future of the Profession Initiative, University of Pennsylvania Law; 
  • Lauren Sudeall, Faculty Director of the Center for Access to Justice, Georgia State University College of Law; and 
  • Julia I. Vázquez, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Community Lawyering Clinic and the Public Interest concentration, Southwestern Law School

We hope you’ll join us!

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Joint Service Project at Annual Meeting

The Sections on Clinical Law, Poverty, and Pro Bono & Access to Justice are partnering to offer a service opportunity for conference attendees. We’ll be gathering to do some cleanup in the marina (right by the conference hotels) through I Love A Clean San Diego from 11 am-1 pm on Thursday, January 5th. They’ll provide gloves and trash bags and a brief overview of the importance of protecting the bay, and then we’ll help with clean up. Dress in closed-toed shoes and comfortable attire and meet at the concierge desk in the Marriott lobby at 10:50 am to walk over as a group. Please add this event to your conference registration, so we have a record of who plans to participate.

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Section Leadership Opportunities

Many of us are often advising students to grow their resumes, engage in opportunities to network, and gain leadership experience. Let’s take a piece of our own advice! Get to know your colleagues working in the Pro Bono & Access to Justice law school spaces across the country while taking on the leadership role. The AALS Section on Pro Bono & Access to Justice is seeking members of the Section join the Executive Committee with opportunities to work on a variety of initiatives. If you are interested in, please reach out to [email protected]

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AALS Pro Bono and Public Service Survey

The Association of American Law Schools has distributed its fifth Law Student Pro Bono and Legal Services Hours Survey. The survey captures information about law student hours that contribute to the delivery of legal services to individuals or communities in need. In this survey, AALS is seeking information beyond law student pro bono service, including student engagement in for-credit legal aid, clinical, internship/externship programs. 

Please submit your school’s information using this form no later than December 6, 2022. The total number of hours will be calculated and presented in a report to be released in advance of the AALS Annual Meeting in January. 

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Save the Date and Join Us at Two Upcoming Education Enrichment Programs

The Law Professor and the Therapist:  Beyond Belonging There’s a Place (and Need) for Group Solidarity among First Generation and Low-Income Students in the Law School Setting

Monday, December 5, 2022, 12:00-1:00 EST

On Zoom: https://rwu.zoom.us/j/94443107446

Meeting ID: 944 4310 7446

Presented by:
Monica Teixeira de Sousa
Professor of Law
Roger Williams University School of Law

“Lawyers belong to the people by birth and interest, and to the aristocracy by habit and taste; they may be looked upon as the connecting link of the two great classes of society.” 

– Alexis de Tocqueville

America relies on the legal profession for resolution of society’s most pressing challenges.  As such, basic principles of equity demand that the bench and bar include representation from all corners of American life, particularly from communities disconnected from traditional loci of power due to economic insecurity and poverty.  A logical starting point, therefore, is legal education; the training ground and required prerequisite to the practice of law.  The extent to which low-income and first-generation law students not only secure access to a legal education, but then experience a feeling of inclusion and belonging on campus and in the classroom, sets the stage for their development as a political class committed to advancing a set of common interests.  The innovative law professor and therapist intervention advocated in Monica’s program provides a low-cost way to support and build solidarity among first-generation and low-income students in the law school setting.  


Maximizing Law Student and Organization Benefits During Experiential Learning Placements

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 12:00-1:00 p.m. EST

On Zoom: https://rwu.zoom.us/j/95248699437

Meeting ID: 952 4869 9437

Presented by:
Leah M. Nicholls
Co-Director of the Access to Justice Project at Public Justice

Leah litigates high-impact civil public interest cases at the trial and appellate levels, including cases involving access to courts, court secrecy, consumer protection, and Public Justice’s Food Project. She has briefed, argued, and won cases in state and federal appellate courts across the country and spoken at numerous national and state conferences on topics such as arbitration, class certification, standing, court secrecy, consumer protection, and ag-gag laws.

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Did you know about this resource for law school pro bono directors?

The Holloran Center Milestones are rubrics that describe the stages of development associated with numerous learning outcomes for law students. One of these is pro bono. Visit the Holloran Center’s website at https://www.stthomas.edu/hollorancenter/hollorancompetencymilestones/ to read the rubric and the treasure trove of associated pro bono resources.