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

University of Alabama School of Law

University of Alabama
University of Alabama School of Law
P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
www.law.ua.edu

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Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Glory McLaughlin
Assistant Dean for Public Interest Law
The University of Alabama School of Law
Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Phone: 205-348-8302
Fax: 205-348-3874
Email: gmclaughlin@law.ua.edu

Felecia Linton
The University of Alabama School of Law
Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Phone: 205-348-1592
Fax: 205-348-3874
Email: flinton@law.ua.edu

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Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by Administrative Support for Student Group Projects

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Description of Program

The Public Interest Institute promotes pro bono service primarily through its recognition programs: The Order of the Samaritan, The Volunteer Lawyers Program Student Award, The Dean's Community Service Award, and Certificate in Public Interest Law. The faculty and staff of the Institute, with assistance of students, coordinate student placements in law and non-law related volunteer placements. A majority of student organizations participate in volunteer projects through the Institute.

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Location of Program

Public Interest Institute

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Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Public Interest Institute is overseen by the Associate Dean for Special Programs and a Program Assistant. The Associate Dean for Special Programs is advised by the Public Interest Committee and the Public Interest Student Board.

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Funding

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Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Public Interest Student Board - The Public Interest Student Board (PISB) is a student organization dedicated and committed to the idea that the privilege of being an attorney includes service to one’s community. PISB members provide guidance to the Public Interest Institute and help implement public service programs. PISB members are leaders within the Law School, and the community. Each spring semester, members are inducted onto the Board at a reception in their honor.

SaveFirst -students provide free tax preparation services and opportunities for savings and economic improvement to low-income, working families – especially targeting those eligible for an Earned Income Tax Credit refund.

Class Action Project – a high school alcohol use prevention program.

Volunteer Ombudsman – law students are advocates for residents of nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and specialty care facilities who work to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of Alabama’s senior citizens.

Mentoring - Students are able to make a huge impact in the lives of children who are needy. There are multiple opportunities available to students to accommodate their schedule.

Soup Bowl - Law students prepare and serve food to about 500 homeless persons at a facility operated by First United Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa.

Alternative Break - Alternative Break gives UA students the opportunity to participate in volunteer projects in communities outside the Tuscaloosa area. The program, held during UA’s spring break week helps the community with tangible work and service while giving students the life-changing experience of serving others and getting a broader understanding of the world around them.

Public Interest Institutehttp://www.law.ua.edu/pubinterest/

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Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

In addition to teaching and research, all faculty are expected to engage in service to the Law School.

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Awards/Recognition

Students volunteering at least 50 hours in a Legal Services office during their law school experience receive the Volunteer Lawyers Program Student Award from the Alabama Bar. These awardees are honored at the swearing-in ceremonies for new members of the Alabama Bar, and receive recognition in The Alabama Lawyer.

The Dean's Community Service Award was created in 1999 “to encourage law students to become involved in public interest activities in their communities, and to continue their involvement throughout their lives.” To earn this award, law students must perform at least 40 hours of non-legal community service while in law school.

To be inducted into the Order of the Samaritan, a student must qualify for both the Law School’s Dean’s Community Service Award and the Alabama State Bar’s VLP Student Award OR the Public Interest Institute’s Independent Legal Public Service Program.

Students earning the Dean’s Service Award wear a special cord at graduation and are recognized during the ceremony. Students earning the Order of Samaritan are recognized at graduation with presentation of a special service medallion.

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Community Service

Soup Bowl, Tutoring Project, Habitat for Humanity, the Alabama/Auburn Fight Against Hunger, Renew Our Rivers Cleanup, Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter, FocusFirst, and Hydrocephalus Awareness.

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Law School Public Interest Programs

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Contact Information

Glory McLaughlin
Assistant Dean for Public Interest Law
The University of Alabama School of Law
Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Phone: 205-348-8302
Fax: 205-348-3874
Email: gmclaughlin@law.ua.edu

Felecia Linton
The University of Alabama School of Law
Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Phone: 205-348-1592
Fax: 205-348-3874
Email: flinton@law.ua.edu

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Certificate/Curriculum Programs

The Certificate in Public Interest Law is awarded to graduates who have completed the Public Interest Lawyering and Poverty Law courses; completed at least 12 hours from a list of approved courses; completed a clinical course through the Law School Clinic; and participated in at least 50 hours of approved community service activities.

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Public Interest Centers

Public Interest Institute- www.law.ua.edu/pubinterest/

Contact: Bryan K. Fair, Associate Dean for Special Programs, bfair@law.ua.edu, 205-348-7494 or Felecia Linton, Program Assistant, flinton@law.ua.edu, 205-348-1592.

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Public Interest Clinics

Capital Defense Clinic
Students in this clinic assist counsel representing individuals who are facing capital charges or have been sentenced to death.

Civil Law Clinic
Students provide free legal advice and representation to university students in civil cases and to members of the community unable to secure legal services, through referral or by application on case by case basis.

Community Development Clinic
Students provide legal assistance to individuals and non-profit or community organizations seeking to improve the economic, cultural, social, or environmental well-being of disadvantaged or underserved communities.

Criminal Defense Clinic
Students represent indigent clients through the Tuscaloosa County Public Defender’s Office in all phases of the criminal justice system.

Domestic Violence Clinic
Students provide free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in a seven county area of West Alabama.

Elder Law Clinic
Students represent individuals aged 60 and over in matters such as Medicare, Medicaid and other public benefits; protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation; advance directives and durable powers of attorney; the drafting of wills; consumer fraud; and a broad array of other civil matters.

Mediation Law Clinic
Students provide individuals with free mediation services who have cases in family courts in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.

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Externships/Internships

The University of Alabama's externship program offers second and third-year students experience in client advocacy, litigation, and the judicial process in a structured, supervised learning environment. Externship supervisors, who are practicing attorneys and judges, are carefully selected by the full-time faculty member in charge of the program. The externships provide students with an opportunity for a deeper understanding of professional responsibility issues, analysis of procedural and substantive law, and appreciation of the legal process.

During the summer, placements (5 credits) are available with offices specializing in criminal law (e.g., United States Attorneys, District Attorneys, Public Defenders, and Alabama's Attorney General) and civil law (e.g., U.S. Attorneys' Offices, Alabama Supreme Court Library's Research Assistance Division, Governor's Legal Counsel's office, Legal Services, National Labor Relations Board, and University of Alabama Counsel's office). Students work full time during a 6-week session under the direct supervision of attorneys in the offices to which they are assigned. They also attend externship classes at the Law School and submit papers during and at the conclusion of the externship.

During the academic year, placements (2 credits) are available in the chambers of state and federal judges and magistrates. Students work a minimum of 120 hours per semester in the office where they are placed. Duties include hearing and pretrial preparation and assistance on trials and appeals.

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Classes with a Public Service Component

None.

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Public Interest Journals

Alabama Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Law Review

Alabama Law Review

Journal of the Legal Profession

Law & Psychology Review

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Public Interest Career Assistance

The Director of the Public Interest Institute is responsible for finding employment opportunities and helping students with career placements in public interest jobs, including government, judicial and non-traditional/alternative (i.e. - public policy and social justice) jobs. In addition, the Director is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with various public-interest groups and organizations throughout the country.

The Director oversees all non-private employment opportunities for students, including all governmental, judicial, and public interest law jobs. The Director gathers information about job opportunities, meets with prospective employers and hiring managers, meets with and advises students, organizes and presents programs to students about such employment opportunities, and serves as the resource person for such employment opportunities to Law School alumni.

Co-sponsor of jobfair in Atlanta, Georgia - www.law.uga.edu/career/employers/alhc.html

Interviews, notices of jobs and fellowships. See opportunities www.law.ua.edu/pubinterest/info.php?re=projects

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Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

None.

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Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

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Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Public Interest Summer Grants

Public Interest Scholarships

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

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Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Since 1992, when Public Interest Summer Fellowships were first awarded at the University of Alabama School of Law, approximately $175,285.00 has been awarded to approximately 190 students employed in public interest legal work during their summers of law school. Placements have included Legal Aid, Legal Services Corporation, Public Defender offices, U.S. Attorney's offices, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the Southern Environmental Law Center in Washington, the Georgia Center for Law in the Public Interest, the Alabama office of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Nature Conservancy, the University of Berkeley Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, National Labor Relations Board, Equal Justice Center's Poultry Workers Project, and the office of a U.S. Senator. Eligible UA students are offered such fellowships each summer.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

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Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Public Interest Speaker Series – www.law.ua.edu/pubinterest/

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Student Public Interest Groups

Public Interest Student Board

Black Law Student Association

Civil Rights Law Students Association

International Law Society

Phi Alpha Delta

Student Bar Association

Student Farrah

Dorbin Society

Updated: 9/7/2012

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