Advance Human Rights, Civil Liberties, and Social Justice

Vol. 39 No. 9

By

Sam Feinson, a second-year student at Seattle University School of Law, is the 2010–11 liaison to the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities.

Founded at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (IRR) has been the leading voice in the ABA for the protection and enhancement of human rights, civil rights, civil liberties, and social justice. Over the past 45 years, the Section’s membership and staff have performed critical work in developing ABA policy, filing amicus curiae briefs, and developing critical service initiatives. Throughout the year, opportunities arise for students to get involved through committee involvement, Section internships, and participation in substantive programs.

Committees. IRR boasts 18 committees that drive the Section’s programming and policy efforts. These committees address a range of substantive issues including minority rights, Constitutional rights, and social justice topics. As a result, the work of these committees includes a diverse range of legal areas, touching upon matters in criminal, civil, administrative, family, tribal, corporate, and health law. Involvement in a committee presents an excellent opportunity for a student to meet distinguished practitioners in these areas, as well as to learn about critical rights issues in assorted legal areas.

Internships. Legal internships with IRR offer unique opportunities to work alongside national experts in conducting research and drafting documents for the Section’s special program initiatives. Opportunities exist throughout the year for students to become involved with the Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, the AIDS Coordinating Committee, and the Center for Human Rights. Students with a demonstrated interest in these areas are strongly encouraged to contact the Section about position availability.

Section programming. Meetings provide excellent opportunities to learn more about substantive areas of law and to interact with leaders across the country. The Annual and Midyear Meetings typically feature a series of CLE and other panel programs covering new developments in a range of individual rights areas. Additionally, the Spring and Fall Meetings often include programs focusing on a particular theme related to the Section’s work. The Fall 2010 Meeting, for example, showcased the history of civil rights in the United States and kicked off a panel series on civil rights in the twenty-first century.

Students are invited and encouraged to take an active role in the Section’s critical work. Members of the Law Student Division are able to join for free and usually receive a waiver of any program registration fees. To learn more about the Section, visit www.americanbar.org/groups/individual_rights.html.

Sam Feinson, a second-year student at Seattle University School of Law, is the 2010–11 liaison to the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities.

 

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