Overseeing the delivery of criminal defense services to indigent people in Boston area courts since 2001


SLJ's LAW STUDENT NETWORK and VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

Information for Students

Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, Inc. (SLJ) invites Boston-area law students to participate in its Law Student Network and Volunteer Program (LSNVP), which offers a valuable opportunity to work one on one with criminal defense attorneys.

Suffolk Lawyers for Justice is a Massachusetts non-profit organization responsible for administrating the delivery of criminal defense services to poor people accused of crimes in Suffolk County. SLJ manages over 350 private attorneys who handle the majority of indigent criminal defense cases in 14 Boston area courts, including the Boston Juvenile Courts and Suffolk Superior Court.

WHAT CAN I DO?

The LSNVP enables law students to learn, in conjunction with a SLJ panel attorney, the nuts and bolts of handling criminal cases. The intention is to allow Students that ability to learn through a more practical approach. Students may sit in on attorney-client meetings, participate in the client interview process, interview witnesses, conduct legal research, draft memos, or prepare cross-examination and jury instructions. Students learn about zealous representation and the importance of providing high quality criminal defense services to the indigent population of Suffolk County.

WHAT'S THE COMMITMENT?

SLJ requires students commit to working a minimum of six hours per week for at least one semester, or the entirety of the summer. SLJ attorneys who participate in the program do so voluntarily and recognize that students will learn while working, but a minimum time commitment by students is necessary to justify the attorney's time investment. Student applicants should understand that, if accepted, they will be expected to work responsibly and professionally, fully adhering to the confidentiality obligations that accompany legal representation. Students who apply should understand that they cannot simultaneously be working, as paid employees, clinic students, interns or volunteers, for a prosecutor's office or law enforcement agency. Also, students who are 3:03 certified students are not allowed to give bail arguments, oral arguments, nor answer as counsel present on a case which was assigned through the Bar Advocate program the Attorney is a current member of. Work days and times are arranged directly with your panel attorney. This is volunteer, pro bono work; theres no academic credit offered by SLJ and no compensation.

SOUNDS GOOD. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Complete the application along with an agreement form and timesheet. Please send the completed forms to director@sljinc.org. After the semester, you'll be asked to complete a brief survey of your experiences so we can improve the program.

Information for Attorneys

Suffolk Lawyers for Justice (SLJ) is reviving the Law School Network, in which interested law students apply for the opportunity to work with panel attorneys. The new program is similar and will be termed the Law Student Network and Volunteer Program (LSNVP). SLJ will require that students commit to work at least six hours per week for a semester. The students are also required to understand they are bound by confidentiality obligations, and are prohibited from working or doing any internship or volunteer activity with a prosecutor's office during the duration of their SLJ commitment. The students receive no pay or academic credit for their work, but they do get experience in the practice of indigent defense. Interested attorneys should bear in mind that the students require supervision and instruction, and that as the attorney supervising a non-lawyer, you are obligated to ensure their compliance with the ethics rules. Lawyers may not bill for the time law students accrue on a case. Also, recent CPCS Performance Guidelines state that Bar Advocates are not allowed to have a 3:03 student make any oral arguments, bail arguments, or stand in for the Attorney in any way.

If you are interested in having a LSN student work with you this fall, the fall of 2013, please email John Barry at director@sljinc.org. All that are interested should respond immediately.