Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fellowships and Legal Honors Programs

by Hampton Jackson
LCD Intern

Have you considered applying for a public interest fellowship? Are you planning to apply for a government job through one of the Federal Honors Programs? Fellowships and Federal Honors Programs offer excellent legal opportunities for 3L students and recent graduates. The trick, however, is applying early. Most fellowships require applications to be submitted 9 to 12 months in advance of placement. Similarly, all Federal Honors Programs have application deadlines months in advance, and only hire entry-level attorneys from these programs.

For any student considering applying for a public interest fellowship or a government job through the various Federal Honors Programs, this post is for YOU. Below you will find helpful information regarding application tips for fellowships, application deadlines, and resources for finding government jobs.

Also, Law Career Development will be hosting the following agencies on campus this fall.
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Tuesday, August 19, Noon to 1 p.m.
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Wednesday, August 20, Noon to 1 p.m. 
  • Navy, Marine, & Air Force JAG, Wednesday, September 30. 
 *Dates and times are tentative. Please check the hallway posters for updates.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Apps to Organize Your Life

by Hampton Jackson
LCS Intern

Do you feel overwhelmed by your to-do list? If your list looks something like mine, it may seem daunting. Email professors for recommendation letters. Finalize resume and cover letter for Summer Job Fair 2015. Schedule meeting with LCD counselor. Attend an upcoming networking event. Submit applications for summer 2016 internships. Talk to mentor about clerkship in the fall. Determine final fall class schedule. Review syllabi and buy books. Register for certified student clerkship with the bar. Decide on bar associations to join. Without the help of a personal assistance, it is challenging to remember 50 things to do for school, and to remember everything else in life.

For those searching for a legal job, you have just as many things to remember. Things like: tracking jobs on LCDonline, Indeed, Monster, Idealist, and LinkedIn; scheduling informational interviews; keeping track of application deadlines; and attending networking events. So how do you make sure you send the right cover letter to the correct employer, avoid traffic and arrive 15 minutes before an interview, and remember to wish your college buddy a happy birthday?      

The answer is simple. Download one of these 4 free personal assistant mobile apps to help you organize your life.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Update on Current Legal Issues

Writing on Current Legal Issues

by Hampton Jackson
LCS Intern

Staying current on legal issues is a great way to enhance your professional development. And one great way to do this is by following critical judicial opinions and publishing your own decision analysis. For students who came to law school to work in developing areas of law, now is a great time to schedule a meeting with your LCS counselor to discuss how you can contribute to jurisprudence.

To inspire your creative legal minds, below are brief summaries of important, recent decisions from the US Supreme Court's last term. To access full copies of the decisions, visit here. Another great resource to check out on current Constitutional trends is the American Constitutional Society's "What's Next?" Conference Call.

Same-Sex Marriage
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, found that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all states to license same-sex unions, and to recognize a same-sex marriage lawfully licensed in another state. Same-sex marriages were already legal in 36 states; the Court's decision expanded the recognition of same-sex marriages to all states, and resolved the dispute between federal appeals courts over states' recognition of interstate marriages.

In his dissent, Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas, argued that the issue of same-sex marriage should have been left to the states because the issue did not have Constitutional foundation. Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito also wrote dissents citing various objections to the Constitutional protection of same-sex marriage.  

Lethal Injection
Three people on death row challenged the constitutionality of the use of the drug midazolam in Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol. Writing for the majority, Justice Alito stated that the people on death-row failed to establish a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim. First, the Court held that all Eighth Amendment method-of-executions claims require petitioners to identify an alternative method of execution that provides a lesser risk of pain, which the petitioners did not. Second, the petitioners failed to establish that Oklahoma's use of the sedative involved a substantial risk of severe pain.

Justice Sotomayor, in her dissenting opinion, argued that the Eighth Amendment should bar the use of the drug because it was unreliable and possibly exposed inmates to excruciating pain. Justice Breyer also wrote a dissenting opinion in which he discussed the constitutionality of the death penalty in general. He cited the lack of reliability, the arbitrary nature of the punishment, and the lack of penological purpose as reasons why the punishment is unfair, cruel, and unusual.

Health Care Subsidies
The Court held the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may provide tax credits to help poor and middle-class individuals purchase health insurance. The six justice majority concluded the disputed phrase in the Affordable Care Act does not have to be interpreted literally, as meaning subsidies are unavailable in states that have not set up healthcare exchanges. Dissenting Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas argued that the phrase should be interpreted literally, and that Congress should determine the problem.        

If the court had ruled against the Affordable Care Act, roughly 6.4 million people in 34 states would have lost their subsidies. In addition, people who purchased health insurance without government subsidies would likely have experienced increased insurance costs. The New York Times published an interesting article on the possible effects of the Court's decision. 

Foreign Affairs
In an important separation-of-powers case, the Court held that the President has the exclusive power to recognize foreign states. The decision struck down Section 214(d) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2003, which allowed the State Department to record "Israel" as the place of birth for American children born in Jerusalem. Justice Kennedy, writing for the six justice majority, argued the Constitution gives the president exclusive authority to determine the United States' recognition of a foreign state.         

Friday, July 10, 2015

Wearable Device Data as Evidence

by Hampton Jackson
LCS Intern

Data from wearable technology is expected to come to U.S. courtrooms soon. But how reliable is this data? And how should it be used?

Almost all of us carry electronic devices that track personal data. Some devices can be conveniently wrapped around our wrists, while others remain tucked away in our pockets. These devices help us track important health information, stay organized, and keep us in sync with our schedules. 

Increasingly, police and attorneys have been using data stored on personal electronic devices to disprove false claims, or to corroborate other evidence. A woman in Pennsylvania is being charged with filing a false police report. The woman told police she was sleeping, before waking up to a man on top of her. She claimed that the man assaulted and raped her. Her Fitbit, however, told a different story. Data collected from the device showed she was awake and active during the time she stated she was asleep. The ABA Journal published an article about the legal developments of wearable device data. The article describes attorney Simon J. Muller's attempts to use data from a client's wearable device in a personal injury case. He plans to use the data to show significantly reduced activity levels as a result of an accident. Muller stated, "the data has not yet been tested in court reliability, but I think there is great probative value."

Reliability of wearable technology remains a concern. While it is generally accepted that electronic devices accurately track GPS location, it is much harder to prove the accuracy of other data. For instance, a Fitbit tracks activity based on body motion. However, a Fitbit is unable to differentiate between motion from walking and motion from arm movements while seated. Because of reliability concerns, data from wearable technology will likely be used to corroborate other evidence, and will not be used as stand alone evidence.

Click here to read the entire article.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

FREE Summer Activities in the Bay Area

by Hampton Jackson, LCS Intern

Have you scheduled time for fun recently? While our job here at LCS is to provide networking opportunities for you, we also want you to have a fun, relaxing summer. Check out these fun activities that will give you an opportunity to meet new people, and develop your connection with the San Francisco community.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

LOAN FORGIVENESS OPTIONS: YOU CAN’T HAVE TOO MANY

by Hampton Jackson 
LCS Intern

Are you pursuing a legal career in public service or at a government agency? Did you know that you may be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and/or GGU Law’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program?

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) helps provide quality legal representation for low-income clients across the country. Under the Program, a borrower’s remaining federal student loan balance is forgiven, after 120 qualifying payments. To qualify, a borrower must be employed full-time in a public service job for at least 10 years. Federal Direct Loans are automatically eligible for forgiveness, but Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, and private student loans must be consolidated to qualify. Once repayment begins, an income-driven repayment plan is the best way to maximize the Program’s benefits by lowering monthly payments. For more information about the Program click here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

WRITING SAMPLE: It’s More Than a Copy of Your Research Assignment

by Michelle Queirolo 
Grad Fellow 
Law Career Services

Did you know there is a particular standard to follow when submitting your writing sample? Generally, it’s not enough to merely submit your writing sample as is. Follow these tips and you will have a professional writing sample ready to send to employers.

Friday, June 12, 2015

PSJD: Take Advantage Of This Invaluable Resource

by Michelle Queirolo 
Grad Fellow 
Law Career Services

Have you heard of the Public Service Job Directory (PSJD)? It’s an amazing resource that helps students, recent graduates, and attorneys with their public interest career needs. PSJD not only posts job listings across the United States, but it also provides valuable resources that address a number of career-related issues and topics. Best of all it’s free to GGU students and alumni!

Friday, June 5, 2015

JOB SEARCH: Tips For Success

by Michelle Queirolo 
Grad Fellow 
Law Career Services 
 
Are you currently searching for a job? In this legal market, it is important to stay current on hiring trends and etiquette. Kari Petrasek, of The Young Lawyer, has provided a number of tips that she recommends when searching for a job. As you will see, they are simple yet effective.

Friday, May 29, 2015

INTERNATIONAL LAW: A World Of Opportunity

by Michelle Queirolo 
Grad Fellow 
Law Career Services

When someone says they practice international law, it sounds so intriguing. But what is international law exactly? The term sounds as if it stands for one area of law. Yet it is actually a term that covers a number of legal fields governing actions between nations. Traditionally, international law has been divided into two main sectors: (1) Public International Law, and (2) Private International Law. Public International Law includes practice areas such as immigration law, criminal law, environmental law, health law, security law, human rights law, and diplomatic law. On the other hand, Private International Law includes transnational business law/litigation/arbitration, intellectual property law, economic law, and sales and contract law. These lists are not exhaustive either, since international law is so expansive.