Members of the Section give back to their communities and to the profession in many ways. Find out how you can help ensure fair access to justice for all through the Section’s special projects and initiatives.
The Children’s Rights Litigation Committee exists to assist in the formation of children’s law programs and to train both full time and pro bono children’s law attorneys. The Committee can provide technical assistance to lawyers starting or expanding non-profit children’s law centers and to law firms starting internal pro bono programs.
This program was offered at Cardozo Law School in April, 2010. Our expert panel focuses on providing lawyers with advocacy tools to successfully represent Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth in a variety of settings.
Diversity & Pipeline
The Judicial Intern Opportunity Program is a full-time, six-week minimum, summer internship open to all first- or second-year minority or economically disadvantaged law students who want to do legal research and writing for state or federal judges in participating cities. The program seeks to provide internship opportunities for minority or economically disadvantaged law students, those who are members of traditionally underrepresented groups in the legal profession.
The Section of Litigation will partner with the National Center of State Courts (“NCSC”) to address the issue of implicit bias in the judicial system. The NCSC has initiated its own Campaign to ensure the Racial and Ethnic Fairness in State Courts. Through the NCSC, we will edit and use a documentary film on the topic of implicit bias that was produced by the Judicial Council of California and partially funded by the NCSC.
International Human Rights
The American Bar Association Section of Litigation conducted advocacy training sessions for 30 lawyers from the Sudan to help build a strong case against those who are responsible for genocide in Darfur.
Human trafficking is an increasingly complex and insidious problem in post-conflict Kosovo and throughout the war-torn Balkan region. The ABA Section of Litigation Human Trafficking and Organized Crime Task Force, through training and technical assistance, equips Balkan law enforcement, prosecutors, members of the judiciary, and victim advocates with the technical skills and motivation necessary to tackle this growing threat to their democracies.
Rule of Law
Hurricane Katrina and the September 11th Attacks impacted the United States and the Rule of Law in ways we had not experienced in a number of years. In response to these disasters the Section of Litigation formed a task force to consider how to protect the rule of law in times of disaster. The thought leadership provided by the Section resulted in the development of principles to guide government and lawyers during such times.
In response to the massive earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, which left over 200,000 dead, over 300,000 injured, and at least one million Haitian citizens homeless the Section has responded to help restore the rule of law. The capacity of the court system was substantially diminished; at the same time, demand for legal services dramatically increased, the Section will address that need by training attorneys in legal advocacy skills.
Legal Services Delivery Programs
The ABA Section of Litigation Legal Services Delivery Committee developed the Intensive Private Bar Training Program to improve the fundraising skills of legal services managers and staff, and at the same time, build relationships between the private bar and legal services staff to move such fundraising efforts forward.
The mission of the Legal Services Training Committee is to improve the quality of trial advocacy among lawyers who provide legal services to the poor and disadvantaged throughout the nation. Each year the committee organizes two trial skills training workshops for legal services attorneys across the country in hopes they can further develop and enhance their advocacy skills to better serve their clients.
In 2006, the American Bar Association resolved to urge "federal, state and territorial governments to provide legal counsel as a matter of right at public expense to low income persons in those categories of adversarial proceedings where basic human needs are at stake, such as those involving shelter, sustenance, safety, health or child custody, as determined by each jurisdiction." The ABA thereby firmly placed the issue of access to counsel in civil cases on both the bar's and nation's agendas.
The Section of Litigation proudly supports a number of good works projects created by the ABA. Through the years we have happily supplied funding and volunteer support to the following projects.
The American Bar Association created the Death Penalty Representation Project to raise awareness about the lack of representation available to death row inmates, to address this urgent need by recruiting competent volunteer attorneys and to offer these volunteers training and assistance.
The ABA Military Pro Bono Project, launched in 2008, is one-of-a-kind, webbased venture that improves access to pro bono civil legal assistance for activity duty military personnel (LAMP), including active-duty members of the National Guard and Reserves, while expanding opportunities for firms and attorneys to provide pro bono services.
The American Bar Association (ABA) launched an innovative pro bono immigration pilot project in San Diego, California pursuant to a seed grant from the ABA Enterprise Fund. The mission of the IJP is to promote due process and access to justice at all levels of the immigration and appellate court system, through the provision of high-quality pro bono legal services for those in immigration proceedings in San Diego.