Pro Bono Project Spotlight: Winneshiek County Frac Sand Research Project

celebrate-pro-bono-lgIowa Law students are conducting research on the regulation of frac sand mining as part of a new CLP Pro Bono Project for Fall 2014 . Currently frac sand is not mined in northeast Iowa’s Winneshiek County, but silica sand deposits in the county are believed to be suitable for use in hydraulic fracturing. Under the supervision of the County Attorney, students are conducting research on the scope of the county’s regulatory authority under Iowa law.

The student volunteers traveled to Decorah to learn about the potential implications of frac sand mining on the community . One student said she chose to participate in the project because of the chance to work in environmental law in her home state. She also stated that it is exciting to a be part of a greater team of scientists, lawyers, and community activists investigating how frac sand mining would impact the community.

Another volunteer said, “I wanted to participate in the Winneshiek County Frac Sand Research Project because it would give me a chance to learn more about municipal, environmental, and administrative law in the best way possible – through actual application to a real world scenario. It Lansing_MississippiBendis a unique opportunity to work on a cutting edge issue, and help a County make the most informed decision as possible for the benefit of its citizens. I chose this project because I appreciated the chance to make a meaningful impact while using the skills that we learned in law school, as well as learn new skills in the process.”

 

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Pro Bono Project Spotlight: ILA Divorce Clinic

Six Iowa Law students are volunteering this semester with the Iowa Legal Aid (ILA) Self-Represented Divorce Clinic, one of the Citizen Lawyer Program’s Pro Bono Projects. The students assist divorce litigants who cannot afford to hire a lawyer but do not qualify 3for full representation by ILA. Instead, the litigants represent themselves and receive limited-scope representation via ILA at these monthly clinics held at the Johnson County Courthouse. The law students, under the supervision of ILA staff and attorney volunteers, help litigants complete self-represented dissolution forms prescribed by the Iowa Supreme Court, provide general information on the process, and refer questions to supervising attorneys.

celebrate-pro-bono-logo-lgThe student volunteers, five of whom are in their first semester at Iowa Law, are delighted to have the opportunity to get practical experience outside of the classroom with practicing attorneys. “It was fun! It’s great to help some local Iowans, and I can’t wait for next month’s clinic,” said Matthew Cubin, a 1L assisting with the clinics.

The students will spend 12-15 hours assisting ILA during four clinics this semester. The project continues in the spring semester. Nearly seventy Iowa Law students are providing law-related volunteer service through fifteen distinct pro bono projects organized by the Citizen Lawyer Program this semester.

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National Pro Bono Celebration Week

celebrate-pro-bono-logo-lgOctober 19-25, 2014 is National Pro Bono Celebration week, which serves to celebrate the countless hours that attorneys have donated to underserved populations in their communities. It also serves as reminder that as professionals, we have a responsibility to ensure that legal services are not just available for the elite. According to ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, “It is essential that the entire legal community engage in conversation and action that results in equal access to justice for all.” The committee further emphasizes that while the celebration is national in nature, the overall intention is to impact the marginalized populations within one’s own community.

As a part of the celebration, the Citizen Lawyer Program has invited attorney, Brian Peters, winner of the Iowa State Bar Association’s 2014 Rolland Grefe Pro Bono Publico Award, to speak about the importance of pro bono work and the impact it has had on his life. Peters will speak as part of CLP’s Lawyers and Leaders series on November 7th at 12:40 p.m. in Room 235 of Boyd Law Building.

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Pro Bono Society

Congratulations to the students who satisfied the requirements for full membership in the Pro Bono Society for last semester, Spring 2014.  A list of their names has been posted on the bulletin board in the main hall outside the Dean’s Office, and letters of congratulations have been placed in their mailboxes.

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Lawyers and Leaders: The Iowa Latino Conference-Professional Development

The Iowa Latino Conference-Professional Development takes place on Friday, October 3 from 8:30 AM-5:00 PM at the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU). Part of the 16th Annual “Strengthening and Valuing Latino/a Communities in Iowa” conference, the program supports Latino and Non-Latino professionals working with Latino youth, families and communities in Iowa. A schedule and registration information can be found here. Law students who register and attend may count this as a Lawyers & Leaders event for the Fall semester.LandLlogo

Attendance at one Lawyers & Leaders program is required to qualify for membership in Iowa Law’s Pro Bono Society for a given semester. While CLP plans a number of Lawyers & Leaders events at the law school each semester, occasionally outside events such as this symposium are designated to qualify for credit. Law students who wish to count this symposium as a Lawyer & Leaders event should register for the symposium and then e-mail law-clp@uiowa.edu to indicate they’ve attended this qualifying event.

- See more at: http://blogs.law.uiowa.edu/clp/#sthash.wrhxGr7P.dpuf

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Lawyers & Leaders: Incarcerated in Iowa on Sept. 6

The University of Iowa Prison Projects Symposium “Incarcerated in Iowa” takes place on Saturday, September 6. The symposium seeks to foster connections between prisons and the surrounding communities. A schedule and registration information can be found here. L and LLaw students who register and attend may count this as a Lawyers & Leaders event for the Fall semester.

Attendance at one Lawyers & Leaders program is required to qualify for membership in Iowa Law’s Pro Bono Society for a given semester. While CLP plans a number of Lawyers & Leaders events at the law school each semester, occasionally outside events such as this symposium are designated to qualify for credit. Law students who wish to count this symposium as a Lawyer & Leaders event should register for the symposium and then e-mail law-clp@uiowa.edu to indicate they’ve attended this qualifying event.

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Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters

BBBS

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County will be tabling in the law school lobby on Sept. 2 and Sept. 9 to talk with law students interested in volunteering as a school mentor who meets with the same student for one hour each week during the semester. More information on BBBSJC can be found here.

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Volunteers Sought for Cedar Rapids Mock Trial Program

Wilson Middle School in Cedar Rapids is looking for volunteers to assist with Mock Trial.  Volunteers will work with three small classes that meet in the mornings between 8:00 AM and 9:30 AM. Please contact Wilson MS PACT Program Manager Melissa Davis if interested at mdavis@cr.k12.ia.us.

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