Directory

Widener University Delaware Law School

Widener University
Delaware Law School
4601 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE 19803
delawarelaw.widener.edu

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Nicole C. Barkley, Esq.
Assistant Dean and Multicultural Affairs Officer
Director, Public Interest Resource Center
Director, Jurist Academy
E-mail
P: (302) 477-2702

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with a Coordinator

Description of Programs

The Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC) is dedicated to connecting students with public interest information and volunteer opportunities. PIRC locates volunteer placements throughout PA, DE, and NJ. PIRC also monitors student and placement satisfaction, and track hours of service in order to administer the pro bono distinction graduation recognition program. Information regarding our our pro bono programs may be found at http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/jd-academics/signature-programs/public-interest-resource-center/.

Location of Programs

The Public Interest Resource Center is a stand-alone program. It works cooperatively with other offices and departments such as career development, the clinics, and the externship program, but it is an independent entity with its own director.

Staffing/Management/Oversight

Nicole C. Barkley, Esq.
Assistant Dean and Multicultural Affairs Officer
Director, Public Interest Resource Center
Director, Jurist Academy
E-mail
P: (302) 477-2702

Funding

The Public Interest Resource Center is funded both by the school and by private donations. The school pays most salaries and operating expenses. Private donations fund stipends for public interest student work, as well as costs associated with a few specific projects.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Chadwick Fellows - Each year, several students are selected to teach principles of constitutional law to area high school students.

Youth Court - Youth courts provide an alternative intervention to the regular school disciplinary system through which respondents be heard and judged by their peers. Working in 4 schools in Chester, PA and in Wilmington, DE, the Delaware Law School students train middle school students to serve as jurors, youth advocates, judge, bailiff, or other officers of the court. After the 7-week training, the Youth Court hears real cases referred by the school’s disciplinary officer.

Public Interest Law Alliance (PILA) – PILA is a student organization dedicated to promoting interest and participation in the field of public interest law. PILA provides summer grants to law students working in public interest positions which offer little or no pay. An auction is held annually to raise funds for the for the summer grants.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Similar to our student policy, rather than require faculty pro bono service, we encourage and reward it. Our school has adopted a formal voluntary recognition policy for faculty pro bono service. Faculty members who report at least 30 hours of pro bono service for the academic year are distinguished with a red cord at graduation. In its first year, the 2005-2006 academic year, 18 faculty members received this distinction for performing a total of over 2500 hours of pro bono service.

Awards/Recognition

In the spring of each semester, there is a student awards ceremony that serves to recognize students for service and academic achievement. At this ceremony, students who have earned pro bono distinction receive certificates. In addition, students who have won summer public interest fellowships are recognized. Several awards/scholarships for a demonstrated commitment to public interest are also given.

At graduation, students who have earned pro bono distinction are noted in the graduation program and wear an honorary red cord.

Community Service

The Student Bar Association requires that each and every student organization engage in at least one community service project per semester. Therefore, each year our student groups perform a wide-range of community services activities such as collecting food, clothing, and/or school supplies for the needy; fundraising for local charities; collecting text books for law schools in Africa; and providing service to groups that advocate for children and victims of domestic violence.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Nicole C. Barkley, Esq.
Assistant Dean and Multicultural Affairs Officer
Director, Public Interest Resource Center
Director, Jurist Academy
E-mail
P: (302) 477-2702

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Although no formal certificate is offered, a sequence of courses are recommended for students interested in public interest law. These courses include: Disability Law; Employment Discrimination; Equal Protection Law; HIV, AIDS & the Law; and Immigration and Naturalization.

Public Interest Centers

The Public Interest Resource Center - The Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC) serves as a centralized source of public interest information for students. PIRC keeps all students informed of public interest volunteer opportunities, offers information regarding the financing of public interest internships and careers, advises students regarding public interest coursework, and counsels students and alumni who seek public interest legal careers. PIRC also administers the pro bono recognition program for students on the Delaware campus, and for faculty on both campuses.

Public Interest Clinics

Delaware Civil Clinic - The Delaware Civil Clinic provides free legal services to indigent clients with civil legal problems and operates in conjunction with Delaware Volunteer Legal Services(DVLS), the pro bono arm of the Delaware State Bar Association. Third year students are admitted to the limited practice of law pursuant to Delaware Supreme Court Rule 56 and represent clients in Family Court.

More information may be found at:

http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/jd-academics/clinics/delaware-civil-law-clinic/

Environmental & Natural Resources Law Clinic - Widener students work with a regional public interest law firm in litigating violations of environmental laws. They interview clients and witnesses, investigate polluters, and research the applicable laws. They discuss and prepare case strategies with professors and other attorneys; draft pleadings, motions and agreements; and appear in courts throughout the Mid-Atlantic region on behalf of Clinic clients.

More information may be found at:

http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/jd-academics/clinics/environmental-law-and-natural-resources-clinic/

Pennsylvania Civil Clinic - Students represent clients in family law matters often arising from financial problems leading to bankruptcy proceedings. Students practicing family law regularly appear before hearing masters and judges. Students handle matters such as custody, increase or reduction of child support orders, contempt petitions, and name change petitions.

More information may be found at:

http://www.law.widener.edu/academics/clinics_externships/de_pa_civil.shtml

Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Clinic - Students represent indigent persons accused of crimes in the Pennsylvania state courts of Chester County (West Chester). Widener student attorneys also regularly join Professor Judith Ritter in the post-conviction representation of defendants on death row, crafting briefs to be filed with the Supreme Court of the United States.

http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/jd-academics/clinics/pennsylvania-criminal-law-clinic/

Veterans Law Clinic - Students represent disabled veterans and/or their dependents before the Department of Veterans Affairs and Article I and Article III Federal Courts that handle veteran matters.

More information can be found at:

http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/jd-academics/clinics/veterans-law-clinic/

Externships/Internships

CLINICAL EXTERNSHIPS: Every year Delaware Law sends as many as 30 students who are enrolled in the Clinical Externship Program to government and public service law offices, where they spend the full year receiving academic credit while learning and working alongside attorneys carefully chosen for their skill, dedication and qualities as mentors. Student attorneys meet regularly in small groups with professors to discuss issues of legal doctrine and skills; of professional and personal ethics; and of the culture of a modern law office.

In Wilmington, students have been placed with a variety of offices/agencies that include the following:

Camden County (NJ)Prosecutor

Chester County (PA) District Attorney's Office

Delaware County (PA) Domestic Abuse Project

Delaware County (PA) District Attorney's Office

Delaware County (PA) Public Defender's Office

Federal Public Defender (Wilmington)

Internal Revenue Service - Office of Chief Counsel (Philadelphia)

Mercer County (NJ) Prosecutor

Montgomery County (PA) District Attorney's Office

New Castle County (DE)(various offices/civil law)

Office of Senator Joseph R. Biden (Delaware)

Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General - Consumer Protection

Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General - Torts Litigation

Philadelphia Municipal Court Mediation Program

Philadelphia Regional Port Authority

South Jersey Legal Services (Camden)

State of Delaware, Department of Justice

State of Delaware, Public Defender's Office

Supreme Court of Delaware, Office of Disciplinary Counsel

U.S. Department of Justice - Office of U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee

U.S. Department of the Navy - Counsel for the Naval Inventory Control Point (Phila.)

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Administration Offices

Pennsylvania Department of State - Office of Chief Counsel

Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General

Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General

Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

JUDICIAL EXTERNSHIPS: Delaware students receive academic credit while spending a full year serving as law clerks, working closely with judges who have graciously agreed to serve as mentors. The judges help the externs with objectives for their placements and for their careers, provide challenging research assignments, help externs hone their legal writing, and offer a unique perspective on the work of the courts. These placements often result in contacts and references for future employment. Widener Students have been placed with state and federal courts throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Through the prestigious Wolcott Fellowship, four students are annually placed with the Justices of the Delaware Supreme Court.

Classes with a Public Service Component

None listed

Public Interest Journals

None listed

PI Career Support Center

The Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC) work with the Career Development Office (CDO) to provide specialized counseling to students seeking public interest careers. Our offices collectively offer the following services:

  • resume review
  • mock interviews
  • fellowship/scholarship information
  • assistance with the competitive fellowship application process
  • information regarding opportunities for public interest work
  • preparation for public interest job fairs
  • workshops regarding interviewing, resume-writing, and networking.

Each office maintains active communication with students via email in order to keep students informed about public interest opportunities. In addition, PIRC engages in continuous outreach with public interest agencies throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey in order to promote the Delaware Law student workforce and to develop new opportunities for students to engage in public interest work.

In collaboration with our five neighboring law schools, Delaware Law coordinates a Public Interest Public Service Job Fair each February. Approximately 40-50 employers from our tri-state area and beyond participate.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

For a description, see:


http://www.law.widener.edu/financial_aid/aid_lrap.shtml

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

Several public interest awards are given to graduating students who demonstrate a commitment to public interest law. These are funded by private donors, including area corporations, law firms, and alumni

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Students who qualify for work study may be paid throughout the school year for working in public interest externships, as long as they are not receiving academic credit.

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

The Public Interest Law Alliance, a student group, raises funds for summer public interest stipends through an annual silent auction.

DuPont Public Interest Summer Fellowships, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin Public Service Summer Fellowship, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP Public Service Summer Fellowship, MBNA Financial Literacy Education Fellowships

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

PILA Auction - Each year in the spring semester the Public Interest Law Alliance holds a silent auction to raise funds to pay students who will work in the public interest during the summer.

Annual Public Interest Reception - Each year, the Public Interest Resource Center hosts a public interest reception. This reception is held near the time that first year students are permitted to begin their summer job search. It features a public interest speaker, and typically launches an innovative public interest program for the academic year. Students and public interest professionals are invited. The event enables PIRC to thank the attorneys who work with student interns. It also serves as a networking opportunity for students to meet and mingle with public interest attorneys who may be hiring interns for the summer.

Martin Luther King Jr. Semester of Service - A keynote address from a prominent speaker honors the memory and commitment to service of Dr. King and kicks off the semester of semester of service program.

Diversity in the Profession Week - The Student Bar Association and several student groups co-sponsor a week-long series of events dedicated to promoting diversity in the legal profession. Throughout the week, speakers participate in panel discussions, debates, and social events.

Student Public Interest Groups

Public Interest Law Alliance

Youth Court

Women's Law Caucus

August 7, 2018