Vol. 35, No. 2
Access to Justice
Q&A: Colorado’s Access to Justice Initiatives and Programs—Part II
by Prepared by the ATJ Commission Education Committee
The Access to Justice column provides information about poverty law and other areas of the law as they relate to low-income clients; reports on the Access to Justice Commission and local and national Access to Justice Committees; and testimonials from lawyers about their pro bono experience. Readers interested in contributing an article on legal services, pro bono, and Access to Justice topics should contact Kathleen Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Colorado Access to Justice Commission is an independent entity that was formed in 2003 with the support of the Colorado Supreme Court, the Colorado Bar Association, and the Statewide Legal Services Group. The Mission of the Access to Justice Commission is to develop, coordinate, and implement policy initiatives to expand access to and enhance the quality of justice in civil legal matters for persons who encounter barriers in gaining access to Colorado’s civil justice system.
The Access to Justice ("ATJ") Commission Education Committee has more questions and answers to help educate the legal community about the history of legal aid and current opportunities for free legal assistance to low-income individuals in Colorado. This Q&A provides helpful information for attorneys who are interested in learning about and getting involved in pro bono work. For more information about the Colorado ATJ Commission, its members, and its initiatives, please visit www.cobar.org/group/index.cfm?EntityID=dpwaj. Part I of this Q&A was published on page 67 of the January 2006 issue of The Colorado Lawyer.
Colorado Law Schools
Q: Which law school provides up to twelve full-tuition scholarships per year for students with superior academic and public service backgrounds, and who make a commitment to using their law degree to advance public interest?
A: For the last ten years, the University of Denver ("DU") Sturm College of Law Chancellor’s Scholarship Program has provided full-tuition scholarships for up to twelve students, using criteria such as academic accomplishment, public service background, and commitment to public interest.
Q: When did the DU Sturm College of Law first introduce a Loan Repayment Assistance Program for graduates entering public interest employment?
A: In 2003, through the deep commitment of the faculty, administration, alumni, and students, DU instituted a Loan Repayment Assistance Program for graduates entering public interest employment.
Q: How many hours of supervised, uncompensated, law-related work are J.D. students required to complete in order to satisfy the Public Service Requirement as a prerequisite to graduation at the DU Sturm College of Law?
A: A minimum of fifty hours.
Q: Where on the Internet can people go to find out more about Public Interest at the DU Sturm College of Law?
A: Information about Public Interest at DU is available at the following web address: www.law.du.edu/publicinterest.
Q: When was the University of Colorado ("CU") School of Law Indian Law Clinic established?
Q: What program represents juveniles in Broomfield County in Neglect and Dependency and Delinquency cases, and also represents three school districts in truancy cases (to help reduce truancy and increase attendance)?
A: The CU Juvenile Law Clinic.
Q: Which Director of the CU Legal Aid & Defender Program is currently U.S. Ambassador to Beliz?
A: Rob Dieter.
Q: How many children does the CU Juvenile Law Clinic typically serve?
A: During the 2005 fall semester, fifty children aged 16 and under were served in Colorado.
Q: How many years, collectively, have Pat Furman (Criminal Clinic) and Norm Aaronson (Civil Clinic) been teaching at the CU School of Law?
A: Forty-four (Pat Furman: seventeen years; Norm Aaronson: twenty-seven years).
Q: How many professors from the CU Law Clinic are currently on the bench?
A: Three. Chief Judge Roxane Bailin (Twentieth Judicial District), Judge Carol Glowinsky (Twentieth Judicial District), and Jay Breese (County Judge, Denver).
Q: Where on the Internet can people find more information about CU School of Law clinics and programs?
A: The CU School of Law website, www.colorado.edu/law, has a complete list of clinics and programs (roll over the "Centers, Clinics & Programs" menu option, and select the desired clinic or program from the drop-down menu).
Colorado Legal Services
Q: Can an attorney with a prospective client who needs a will, but who cannot afford to hire an attorney, refer that client to Colorado Legal Services ("CLS")?
A: Yes. Such wills are drawn up by the DU Wills Lab, under the supervision of Professor Lucy Marsh.
Q: How is eligibility for legal services assistance determined?
A: Financial eligibility of applicants is determined by federal poverty guidelines, as well as case acceptance procedures for each office.
Q: Are some applicants eligible for services assistance, regardless of income?
A: Yes. In certain cases, seniors aged 60 years or older served under the Older Americans Act may be eligible for assistance from CLS, regardless of income. Check with your local CLS or pro bono office. A CLS statewide office listing can be found at www.ColoradoLegalServices.org, and a listing of pro bono offices statewide can be found at www.cobar.org/group/index.cfm?category=437&EntityID=CALS.
Q: How many clients were represented by CLS in 2004?
A: During 2004, the CLS staff represented clients in 1,892 cases. An additional 4,377 individuals received legal advice or brief legal service.
Pro Bono Programs
Q: What organization teaches middle school students about Colorado’s Ethnic Intimidation Statute (n/k/a/ Bias Motivated Crimes) through a mock trial that offers lawyers the opportunity to practice trial skills in front of an audience?
A: The Colorado Lawyers Committee has been offering mock trials on hate crimes since 1992. The trial usually takes about 2.5 hours to present, and a suggested script is available. The students act as jurors, and the lawyers conduct voir dire and make closing arguments. The students are divided into small groups for jury deliberations with the assistance of a lawyer or paralegal facilitator, and then compare their verdicts. Volunteers are always welcome.
Q: What pro bono organization has a Business Task Force where real estate and transactional lawyers can provide pro bono assistance to community development organizations and disadvantaged neighborhood organizations?
A: The Colorado Lawyers Committee started its Business Task Force several years ago. The lawyers on this task force have offered legal seminars to small businesses and consulted with community development organizations on a variety of issues.
Q: What pro bono organization received more than $2 million in donated services from lawyers in 2004?
A: Lawyers donated more than $2 million in legal services to Colorado Lawyers Committee projects. At least three attorneys donated more than 500 hours each to Lawyers Committee matters.
Q: What types of pro se clinics does Metro Volunteer Lawyers offer?
A: The Family Law Court Program assists pro se litigants with dissolution and allocation of parental responsibility cases in Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, and Jefferson Counties. The Post-Decree Clinic helps pro se litigants with post-decree parenting time, child support, removal, and maintenance enforcement cases in Denver and Jefferson Counties.
Q: True or False: Metro Volunteer Lawyers refers clients for no-fee representation only.
A: False. Metro Volunteer Lawyers refers clients with gross monthly incomes below 125 percent of the Federal Poverty Level for no-fee representation. Clients whose monthly gross income does not exceed the limit for no-fee representation for a household with one more member are referred on a low-fee basis: $250 for bankruptcy cases, $100 for wills, and $55 per hour for all other types of cases.
Q: How can attorneys sign up to take referrals from Metro Volunteer Lawyers or participate in the Family Law Court Program?
A: Volunteer attorneys can call Metro Volunteer Lawyers at (303) 830-8210, or go to the Metro Volunteer Lawyers website, www.metrovolunteerlawyers.org.
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