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GIDEON’S PROMISE, STEP TWO

On this week's 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, I commend to you Sunday's Opinion page of the New York Times, which contains a thought-provoking piece about the unkept promise of the Gideon decision, "Gideon's Promise, Still Unkept." I also commend to you an article from the New York Times on March 15, entitled "Right to Lawyer can be Empty Promise for Poor."

The editorial and the article commemorate the 50th anniversary of the famous Gideon decision, establishing a right to counsel in most criminal cases. But we are a long way from realizing the intentions of the Gideon decision. Underfunded and understaffed offices, lack of standards, and political pressures cause many public defender offices to be unable to provide the level of representation needed or intended. Incredibly, our Supreme Court has ruled that even when a defense lawyer fell asleep in the courtroom, this did not constitute a basis for a new trial.

. . . .

One might call the achievement of adequate levels of representation the step two of Gideon. But we also have much further go to achieve adequate levels of representation in the civil law system. I call that also to be step two. 

Webinar: Protecting Your State UI Program in 2014: Responding to Likely Challenges

National Employment Law ProjectThe National Employment Law Project (NELP) will be hosting a webinar entitled, Protecting Your State UI Program in 2014: Responding to Likely Challenges, on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm Eastern.

Despite the slow economic recovery, dozens of states have proposed or enacted laws that chip away at the basic state programs of unemployment benefits in recent years. The changes and proposals have included cuts to the duration of benefits, reductions in weekly benefit amounts, restrictions in eligibility, and even barriers to filing unemployment claims. This webinar will introduce the 2014 edition of NELP’s UI Advocates’ Toolkit and equip worker advocates with information needed to evaluate restrictive legislative proposals and protect state UI programs. 

Webinar: Encouraging Savings: How Hawaii and Illinois Eliminated Their TANF Asset Tests

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty LawThe Sargent Shiver National Center on Poverty Law will be holding a webinar entitled, Encouraging Savings: How Hawaii and Illinois Eliminated their TANF Asset Tests, on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 from 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm Eastern.

The webinar will feature advocates from Hawaii and Illinois who led successful campaigns to eliminate the TANF asset test in their respective states this past year.  

CLASP Announces Olivia Golden as New Executive Director

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) announced the appointment of Olivia Golden, Ph.D. as its next executive director. She will succeed Alan Houseman, who has served in the position since 1981. Houseman will retire at the end of 2013.

Dr. Golden has an impressive track record of delivering results for low-income children and families and joins CLASP after a career that has included roles in child and family policy in the nonprofit sector and at all levels of government.

During the eight years that she served in senior executive roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Clinton Administration, Golden was a key player in designing and implementing Early Head Start, tripling the level of funding for child care, and implementing landmark welfare reform. 

STATEMENT: FCC's Lifeline Reform Must Ensure That Eligible Low-Income Consumers Can Connect with Jobs, Housing, Medical Care and Other Essential Services

Consumer advocates urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that all eligible low-income people can continue to access the full benefits of Lifeline, the important safety net program that enables them to access affordable telecommunications service. Earlier today, FCC Chairman Genachowski said that he will circulate his draft order to the other FCC Commissioners for review. The FCC may vote on the order by the end of January.

NLADA Offers Scholarships to New Attorneys to Attend NLADA Centennial Conference

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association will award thirty scholarships for new attorneys to attend the NLADA Centennial Conference to be held at the Washington Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC on December 7-10, 2011.

The scholarships will cover the cost of registration and hotel cost. Scholarship recipients will only need to cover transportation and per diem costs. The Centennial only comes once every 100 years, so don't miss out on this chance to attend!!

Webinar: Online Intake Best Practices

The Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project and Pro Bono Net will be holding a webinar entitled Online Intake Best Practices on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 from 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Eastern.

Online intake is the process of taking applications for legal aid services via the web, and it is one of the fastest growing uses of technology in our community. An informal survey by LAWNY earlier this year found 26 programs experimenting with this service via the web. This LSNTAP/PBN Community Training Series webinar will review different online intake implementations as well as their policy and compliance implications.

NLADA Extends Deadline for Nominations for Leadership and Advisory Positions

The National Legal Aid and Defenders Association has extended the nominations period for positions on NLADA's Board of Directors, Civil, Defender and Client Policy Group. Those interested in participating in this process can nominate (or self-nominate) the candidate of your choice by August 19, 2011.

For more information about the nominations process, including the list of positions that are up for election this year, visit the NLADA website page at www.nlada.org/About/Elections2011 or contact Carol Ponce at c.ponce@nlada.org.

Vote Upcoming on Proposed Bill That Would Slash PA Unemployment Benefits

Unemployedworkers.org reports that a bill that would drastically cut Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits for large numbers of Pennsylvania's unemployed is moving in the General Assembly, and votes are expected as early as Monday, May 23.

HB 916 would make permanent, harmful reductions in benefit amounts and weeks of eligibility for many of Pennsylvania's unemployed workers, as well as disqualify many unemployed workers entirely.

Scholarships Available for New Lawyers To Attend National Health Law Training

The National Health Law Program and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association will be holding the 2011 National Health Law Training, A New Era of Health Advocacy on July 11-12, 2011 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, 202 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202.

It has been announced that ten scholarships will be awarded to pay the costs of registration and up to two nights stay at the hotel.

The National Health Law Training will provide an overview of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) their impact on low-income people and will guide participants in new advocacy challenges resulting from ACA for the legal services community. It will also highlight the serious impact of state fiscal crises on the implementation of the new law and variation of state approaches.

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