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American Bar Association
Directory of Law School Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

University of Denver
Sturm College of Law
2255 East Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
www.law.du.edu

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Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Lindsey Webb, Esq.
Director of Public Interest
(303) 871.6585
lwebb@law.du.edu

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Category Type

Public Service Graduation Requirement Program

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Description of Programs

Students must complete a minimum of 50 hours of uncompensated public interest work during their law school career, either voluntary or for credit, as a prerequisite to graduation.

To fulfill the Public Service Requirement, every J.D. student entering the College of Law will be required to perform a minimum of 50 hours of supervised, uncompensated, law-related public service work at some point during his or her law school career as a prerequisite to graduation. The Public Service Requirement, together with all the other public service components of the College of Law environment, will ensure that DU remains in the forefront of legal public service in the Rocky Mountain region.

The goals of the Public Service Requirement are threefold: 1) Educate students about their professional responsibilities, particularly their obligation to perform pro bono work as practicing attorneys, and to encourage a lifelong commitment to public service; 2) help students develop practical lawyering skills by supervising students in real world situations, teaching them to integrate the theory of law with the practice of law; and (3) raise awareness among students of meaningful career and pro bono opportunities.

Students may satisfy their 50-hour Public Service Requirement through participation in the Student Law Office, a public interest internship, various pre-approved classes, or by doing a Public Interest Practicum under appropriate supervision. Students enrolled in the Practicum may do so either for no credit or one credit, and are enrolled in a concurrent Public Interest Seminar.

The College of Law is developing an extensive database of willing practica supervisors. Additionally, students with their own ideas for a practicum may submit a proposal to the Director of Public Interest for approval. The goal is to be as inclusive as possible, allowing students to explore and expand upon their personal interests.

Please see www.law.du.edu/publicinterest

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Location of Programs

Public Interest Office located within Career Services Office

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Staffing/Management/Oversight

Program oversight and management occurs through the full-time Director of Public Interest, faculty Public Interest Committee. Students enrolled in the Student Law Office or internships receive direct supervision from clinical faculty, internship supervisors, and internship staff. Students participating in a Public Interest Practicum receive direct supervision from their Practicum supervisor.

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Funding

Salaried positions for full-time Director of Public Interest and part-time Administrative Assistant.

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Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Amnesty International – Amnesty International is an international human rights organization that works impartially for the release of all prisoners of conscience, fair and prompt trials for political prisoners, and the end to torture, and executions. The Chapter at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law will present several speakers on these and related topics throughout the year. It also initiates campaigns by writing letters to government officials and prisoners, as well as takes on actions through the Legal Support Network Amnesty recently initiated for lawyers and law students in the United States.

Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) – The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is a nonprofit organization consisting of more than 17,000 attorneys nationwide. Its purpose is to protect the lives and interests of animals and enhance the welfare and status of animals through the enforcement of statutes, ordinances, regulations, and common law principles. Our goals include educating the University of Denver community about the forms of institutionalized animal abuse; understanding how litigation can be used to combat this abuse; and providing opportunities for students to work with attorneys on litigation projects.

Children's Legal Advocacy Group (CLAG) – The Children's Legal Advocacy Group (CLAG) is a student organization focused on the interests of children. Goals include increasing student awareness for legal issues involving children and families, and having an active influence in the community. Through community projects with schools, shelters for victims of abuse, the Denver Bar Association, various national children's foundations, the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, and the American Bar Association, CLAG provides many opportunities for members to reach out to children in need, and gain much practical experience in the field of child advocacy.

Helping Empower through Alternative Resolution (HEAR) – HEAR was established after the Columbine shootings as a way to help prevent conflicts in schools. The organization trains law students in mediation techniques and then works with high schools introducing, implementing and facilitating mediation programs to promote peaceful conflict resolution.

Public Interest Law Group (PILG) – PILG attempts to encourage law students (and the legal community) to devote time, energy, and intellect to helping disadvantaged individuals obtain access to our legal system. Public interest law addresses the political, social, and economic welfare of communities, with an emphasis on society's underrepresented issues and groups. PILG is dedicated to issues within, but not limited to, the substantive areas of constitutional law, criminal law, civil rights law, gay and lesbian law, elder law, environmental law, family law, immigration law, labor law, urban law, poverty law, Native American law, and legal ethics. The group's primary goals are to encourage law students to devote their careers to the struggle for social justice, expose students to the broad range of work being done to advance progressive legal goals, provide a forum for discussion and an information base, and inspire students to follow their hearts. PILG encourages involvement in the community through its tutoring program, educates and provides a forum for discussion by bringing in and co-sponsoring speaker panels. It raises its own funds to allow students to work for non-profit organizations during the summer through its clerkship program.

Social Justice Action Group (S-JAG) – S-JAG is a student-run organization dedicated to furthering social justice in Colorado and the nation through research, writing, and strategic planning. S-JAG utilizes the resources of law students and faculty to produce quality work used in litigation and other efforts to effect social change. S-JAG serves a wide range of organizations committed to and passionate about social justice, including large national nonprofits, law firms, and grassroots organizations.

The Ralph Timothy Potter Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)– This is the Denver University Law Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Membership is open to all in the University of Denver law school community who support our mission of promoting and protecting civil rights. Activities include intake, case investigation, and research at the Colorado Affiliate Office, presentations on civil liberties issues, publication of a civil liberties newsletter and internet update, participation on ACLU legal panel and board, and promotion of civil liberties on campus and in the community.

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Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

The College of Law's Personnel Policies and Procedures, which govern the granting of tenure and promotion, require assessment of faculty members' contributions to public service. Faculty members' performance is measured, in part, by their contributions to such activity, including pro bono legal representation.

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Awards/Recognition

Students who participate in pro bono and community service projects are eligible for several different Student Leadership Awards, including a number of awards offered by the Social Justice Action Group (S-JAG). The Social Justice Action Group gives out annual awards for outstanding contributions in advocacy and pro bono work and for outstanding organizational contributions.

The Dean sends out email acknowledgments to the students and faculty when both students and faculty are involved in significant pro bono accomplishments.

Students have also been nominated for, and won, outside awards such as the Martindale-Hubbell Exemplary Public Service Award.

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Community Service

Students organize an annual volunteer day (The DULaw Partnership with Community Day (DPCD)) as part of the new student orientation that partners both incoming law students and continuing law students with community organizations for an entire day of volunteer work. Past DPCD placements have included working with the Special Olympics, gardening and repairing trails at the Chatfield Reservoir, and working with Habitat for Humanity.

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Law School Public Interest Programs

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Contact Information

Lindsey Webb, Esq.
Director of Public Interest
(303) 871.6585
lwebb@law.du.edu

Samantha Johnston
Coordinator of Public Interest
sjohnston@law.du.edu
303-871-6045
Career Services

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Certificate/Curriculum Programs

While the College of Law does not presently have a public interest certificate program, it does embrace public interest law as one of the areas of emphasis for students to pursue and have developed a sequence of recommended courses for students who wish to specialize in particular types of public interest law. For more information, visit http://www.law.du.edu/ad/.

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Public Interest Centers

The Public Interest Office – Administers the Public Service Requirement and provides career, pro bono, and volunteer counseling and opportunities for students and alumni. See www.law.du.edu/publicinterest

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institue – A forum for research, discussion and debate of critical land use and environmental issues in the Rocky Mountain West. www.law.du.edu/rmlui

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Public Interest Clinics

Center for Biological Diversity Environmental Law Clinic – The Clinic handles environmental impact litigation.

Child Advocacy Law Clinic – The Clinic provides representation to children in child abuse, domestic violence, guardianship, custody, and adoption proceedings.

Civil Litigation Clinic – Students represent clients facing a variety of civil litigation issues, including landlord/tenant, family, fair housing and asylum law. In addition to individual representation, students work with community organizations and on policy matters.

Civil Rights and Disability Law Clinic – Students have the opportunity to represent individuals and groups who have been discriminated against in settings such as employment, education, public entities and privately owned places of public accommodation.

Criminal Defense Clinic – Students represent clients charges with misdemeanors and city ordinance violations in almost every municipal and county court in the metropolitan area. Students also work on a variety of special projects, including the Parole, Interpreter and Innocence projects.

Low Income Tax Payers Clinic – Students represent low-income clients in controversies with the IRS and provide education and assistance in tax filing. This project is funded by a grant from the Internal Revenue Service.

Mediation/Arbitration Clinic – In this one semester course, students learn mediation skills, perform mediation simulations and mediate actual cases in the county court and in the SLO. Students learn lawyering skills such as communication, negotiation, problem-solving, and drafting documents.

Student Law Office – For further information on all clinics, see http://www.law.du.edu/clinics/

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Externships/Internships

The University of Denver has an extensive externship program that has included substantial numbers of students placed with organizations and some government agencies performing public interest work. For further information see http://www.law.du.edu/internships

In addition, Professor Rock Pring supervises the Environmental/Natural Resources Law Internship Program (ENRLIP). The great majority of these placements for academic credit are public government (federal, state, and local) or public interest (national, state, and local) entities. For a list of placements, please see http://www.law.du.edu/enrlip/employer_list.htm

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Classes with a Public Service Component

Poverty Law – In Professor Julie Nice's Poverty Law class, students have undertaken a wide variety of legislative, litigation, and public policy projects relating to the needs of low income people.

Street Law 1 and 2 – Law students work in two-person teams to teach law to students in urban high schools.

Wills Lab (following Trusts and Estates) – In Professor Lucy Marsh's Wills Lab (following Trusts and Estates course) up to 30 students draft wills and related documents for Legal Aid clients under Professor Marsh's close supervision.

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Public Interest Journals

The College of Law is currently in the process of developing a public interest website at: http://www.law.du.edu/publicinterest

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Public Interest Career Support Center

The Public Interest Office, in cooperation with Career Services, presents a number of informational events for students interested in public interest, including a Fellowship Information Session that presents the nuts and bolts of applying for fellowships. The Public Interest Office distributes a “Fellowship Information Packet” with a listing of fellowship opportunities. A large number of fellowship opportunities are also posted on "DULawCareers.net" (the College of Law's web-based job bulletin) and made available for students/alumni in the career resource library. The Career Services Office has a collection of public interest-related informational resources and employer/organization directories in the school's career resource library accessible by students and alumni.

The College of Law is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Public Interest/Government Consortium, hosting its Career Fair in 2002. Other participating institutions include: University of Colorado-Boulder; University of Utah; Brigham Young University; Arizona State University; University of Arizona; University of New Mexico; and University of Wyoming. During this Fair, public interest and government employers recruit candidates for full-time, intern, clerkship, and/or part-time positions.

There is also a Spring Public Interest/Government Mock Interview Program

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Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

See: www.law.du.edu/lrap

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Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

The University of Denver College of Law has established a post-graduate judicial and public interest fellowship in support of its graduates, Colorado Legal Services, and the state district courts. The Fellowship Program provides the opportunity for graduates to familiarize themselves with the structure and functioning of Colorado Legal Services or the state court system, hone their legal research, analytical, writing, and client counseling skills, develop hands-on experience, and gain an appreciation for public service.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

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Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Chancellor's Scholarship - The Chancellor's Scholarship program has for the last ten years provided up to 12 full tuition scholarships/year for students with superior academic and public service backgrounds, who make a commitment to using their law degree to advance public interest. Chancellor's Scholars are some of our most active students, and they provide public service as part of their scholarships.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Federal Work Study Public Interest Jobs

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Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded:

The Paterson Internship Fund provides assistance for students completing overseas internships. Grants average around $1,000.

Other Funding Sources:

The Public Interest Law Group (PILG) sponsors an annual auction to raise money to fund an average of six summer fellowships for students to work in public interest law.

Bugdanowitz Fund - $10,000

Colorado Bar Association Public Interest Fund - $4000

Additional funds from other sources contribute about 25% of the funds for summer fellowship stipends. In previous years, the stipend offered was $3,000 to $3,500 per student.

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Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Both the Association for Public Interest student group and the Center for Governmental Responsibility Public Service Law Fellows hold Public Interest Programs open to all students.

Public Interest Environmental Law Conference - Sponsored by the Environmental and Land Use Planning Law Society

Public Interest Law Group Events - PILG encourages involvement in the community through its tutoring program, educates and provides a forum for discussion by bringing in and co-sponsoring speaker panels, raised its own funds to allow students to work for non-profit organizations during the

Rocky Mountain Government/Public Interest Career Fair - Every spring, the Career Services office and the Public Interest Office help to coordinate a career fair that has both government and non-profit organizations in attendance.

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Student Public Interest Groups

Amnesty International

Disability Law Club

Diversity Advocates

DULaw Partnership with Community Day (DPCD)

Helping Empower Through Alternative Resolution

National Lawyers Guild

Native American Law Students' Association

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)

The Asian Pacific American Law Students' Association

The Black Law Students' Association

The Child Legal Advocacy Group

The DU Outlaws

The Elder Law Society (ELS)

The Immigration Law Student Association

The Jewish Law Students' Association

The Latino Law Students' Association

The National Resources & Environmental Law Society

The Public Interest Law Group

The Ralph Timothy Potter Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The Social Justice Action Group

Updated: 7/19/2007

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