Service Project Opportunities
The placement and support services of the Law-Related Service Program are available to all 2L and 3L students who are interested in serving others while improving their professional skills.
Mock Trial Coaches
Assistant coaching positions are available for students interested in working with Professor Belmont and the undergraduate mock trial team. Undergraduate mock trial is a complex and competitive experience requiring that student participants master the Federal Rules of Evidence and the entire range of trial skills. Assistant coaches will work with the students as they develop case theories, prepare direct- and cross- examinations, formulate opening statements and closing arguments, and develop their objection colloquy. Mock trial tryouts are scheduled for the third week of September and the season runs through the spring. For more information contact Professor Belmont at email@example.com.
Citizenship and Immigration Clinic Translators
The Citizenship and Immigration Clinic as part of the Oliver Hill Fellowship is looking for students to serve as translators. Students must be fluent in Spanish and willing to coordinate schedules with client interviews.
SW Innocence Project
The Southwest Virginia Innocence Project provides post-conviction legal assistance to criminal defendants seeking to prove their innocence. Our clients are inmates in prisons throughout southwestern Virginia who have no other sources of legal representation available to them. We provide the legal expertise and investigatory work necessary to file a claim under Virginia's actual innocence statute.
SWIP allows students to participate in ongoing cases involving possible innocence, from reviewing cases to filing motions for DNA testing within the Virginia court system.
Project Horizon Advocates
Project Horizon Office
Project Horizon is dedicated to reducing domestic, dating, and sexual violence in the Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County area through crisis intervention services and prevention programs. Through its direct services to clients and outreach programs, Project Horizon offers survivors a 24-hour hotline (463-2594), emergency shelter, crisis intervention, counseling, applicable referrals, and court advocacy.
As part of the service requirement students must complete the Project Horizon training. Training typically happens once a semester. This fall training begins September 18 and ends September 25th. For more information visit http://organizations.rockbridge.net/projecthorizon/volunteer.htm
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Tammi M. Hellwig
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is an organization of highly trained adult volunteers that advocate for children in the foster care and child welfare system. CASA fights for childrens' rights and needs until they are in a safe, loving, permanent home. Each volunteer advocate works with a CASA staff supervisor who provides guidance throughout the court process. Volunteers must be 21 or older, undergo a background check and take part in a personal interview. Volunteer advocates are patient, open-minded people who have good communication skills, a history of following through on commitments and a willingness to accept guidance. Above all, they care about children.
CASA volunteers undergo 36 hours of initial training and 12 hours of continuing education each year. Training for the 2012 year will occur in Lexington at the Law School on Thursdays from 5:30pm – 9:00pm for 6 weeks beginning September 13th. For an application or for more information contact the CASA office at 540-213-2272 or visit CASA at www.casa4children.com. You may also contact Tammi M. Hellwig, Director of Externships and Third-Year Program Administration, if you would like more information on the program.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Each Spring, the School of Law sponsors a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA provides free current year income tax return preparation assistance for low-to-moderate income families in the Rockbridge county area. The program begins with an intensive training and testing component in late January. After this certification process is complete, students will prepare returns by appointment during February and March. Volunteers spaces are limited; contact Professor Michelle Drumbl (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a statement of interest to apply. Preference will be given to students with a demonstrated interest in tax.
PEER Internship Program
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is a national, nonprofit service organization dedicated to assisting federal, state and local resource professionals who fight to uphold environmental laws and ethics within their organizations. PEER protects public employees who protect our environment. PEER's headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. and PEER has field offices in ten states.
As an intern, students will help support PEER's legal program by assisting PEER's General Counsel, Executive Director and staff attorneys in all aspects of litigation, primarily through legal research and writing. Interns will also assist PEER with investigating and documenting potential environmental laws and ethics violations. Such investigation may involve taking witness affidavits, filing FOIA requests, reviewing documents, conducting internet research, making telephone inquiries and attending public meetings.
To learn more about PEER, please visit their website at peer.org.
Protecting the Right to Vote
ACS - Zinelle October
There are many ways for you to help protect the right to vote & below are a few suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions at email@example.com.
Conduct on-campus education for students about how to exercise their right to vote and avoid getting stopped at the polls on Election Day. Get information for your specific state here, here and here.
Volunteer as a poll worker. Contact your local or state election administrator.
Become a leader in the Election Protection efforts. Sign up here.
Host an event regarding voting. See the program guide here for topic and speaker suggestions, including National Popular Vote.
Rappahannock Legal Services
Rappahannock Legal Services has three offices in Fredericksburg, Culpeper, and Tappahannock. We offer free civil legal services to the low income population. We deal with various civil matters from domestic relations, contracts, landlord and tenant, unemployment, social security disability, and immigration. The students would play a major in litigation preparation and support. For students with a third-year certificate, we train and give them an opportunity to try a case in the court. But most importantly, those students get to handle the case from the cradle to the grave, where they start by doing the client interview, attending the pretrial, dealing with pretrial matters, and actual trial itself. As for students without the third year certificate, they would basically have the same experience without the trial part but they would be sitting-in and observing the trials. We had some great summer interns from W&L before and we would welcome any volunteers, who are eager to obtain practical experience.
Virginia Defense Force
An opportunity exists to assist the legal support team of the Virginia Defense Force. Typical activities consist of providing legal advice and counsel regarding emergency services of Commonwealth agencies to the citizens of Virginia. Legal issues effecting such agencies include legislation authorizing service, appropriations, inter-governmental operations,Homeland Security, criminal law, military law(VDF and it's sister service- the National Guard are subject to
both state and federal laws and regulations during emergency operations) and municipal law issues. Please contact Professor J. Holmes Armstead US Naval War College (ret) 540 784 4771.
- Professor Robin Wilson is working on a family law treatise entitled Understanding Family Law. Chapters range from "soft" issues like abortion and contraception to monetary issues like child support, alimony, and splitting property. The manuscript is due December 1, and she would like to speak with interested students. Professor Wilson's email address is WilsonRF@wlu.edu.
- Prof. Fraley is currently working on multiple projects involving the early history of property and colonization. She would be happy to have assistance from those who enjoy reading historical materials. Professor Fraley's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Professor Timothy MacDonnell, director of the Black Lung Clinic, is seeking a research assistant. If interested, please contact Professor MacDonnell at email@example.com.
- Professor Erik Luna is seeking assistants to help on one (or more) projects, including: (1) a casebook on terrorism; (2) an article on airport security; (3) an article on "rotten social background" in criminal law; and (4) an article on overcriminalization and the prosecution function. The work will involve database research (i.e., Westlaw/ Lexis), editing texts, perfecting citations, etc. Interested students should email Professor Luna at firstname.lastname@example.org, preferably with a resume attached.
- Professor James Moliterno is seeking an assistant to research on three international projects. One involves work in former Soviet Georgia where he is assisting their bar association in establishing a system of rendering advisory lawyer ethics opinions. One involves a skills course he will be offering at a Madrid law school. And one involves the development of a prosecutorial ethics code for Indonesia. Other such projects may arrise. If interested, please contact Professor Moliterno at email@example.com.
- Dean Mary Natkin is seeking an assistant to investigate full semester externship offerings at other law schools. If interested, please contact l Dean Natkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Rights Restoration Project Training for People Assisting Others with Re-enfranchisement Applications
Richael Faithful (202) 728-9557 ext. 339
Advancement Project, a national policy, communications, and legal "action tank," has worked with local partners on the issue of the restoration of civil rights for people convicted of felonies in Virginia since 2002. Virginia is one of four states which disenfranchise people convicted of felonies forever. Currently, there is only one way to restore your civil rights (which include your ability to vote, run for public office, serve on a jury, and serve as a notary public)—applying or petitioning for individual clemency to the Governor. The Governor has sole discretion whether to approve or deny each application. Although the state's felon disenfranchisement law has existed since the 1770s, the clemency system has only existed since 1971. It is a difficult process, arguably the worst in the country, which few successfully navigate. This is why it is so important to have volunteers help disenfranchised people with the application process, until it is reformed or eliminated.
Purpose: The purpose of the training is to provide adequate background information about the restoration of rights process to volunteers who wish to assist disenfranchised people complete applications for individual clemency. Many community leaders and family members, as well as direct-service agencies, currently assist disenfranchised people, yet the need is so significant that many people still have unanswered questions, have their applications rejected due to mistakes, or simply abandon the process altogether because of its difficulty. This training program is intended to expand the capacity of community members who can serve the role of assisting disenfranchised people, further support community members already doing this work, and build a sustainable impact beyond Advancement Project's Virginia Rights Restoration clinics offered in 2012. Please be aware that this training is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Any decision to obtain legal advice or an attorney should not be based solely on information provided by this training.
Format & Curriculum: The training format will depend on the community partner's needs, but can take place in-person or via webinar. It will be approximately 1 and ½ hours in length, divided into a six-part curriculum. The curriculum will include: 1) detailed description of felony disenfranchisement and re-enfranchisement systems; 2) review of how to complete the short and long applications and court petition (if necessary); 3) review of how to complete the supplementary materials required by the applications; 4) important reminders for people assisting disenfranchised people with applications; 5) overview of commonly-faced barriers to completing the applications; and 6) question and answer period. Approximately 30 minutes will be dedicated to the question-and-answer period.
Resources: Training participants will be given two resources: a Power-point slide handout featuring the main points from the training, and Advancement Project's Virginia Rights Restoration Guide (2011-2012). The Virginia Rights Restoration Guide is an approximately 40-page resource upon which much of the training will be based. Advancement Project is happy to provide additional resources depending on community partner needs.
Training Setup: Trainings will begin in January 2012. Advancement Project is interested in setting up trainings with a range of community partners, from groups of concerned community members to law school organizations, throughout the state, provided that there is an expectation that at least ten people will take part in the training. To schedule trainings or receive further information, please contact Richael Faithful, Equal Justice Works Fellow for the Virginia Rights Restoration Project.
City of Lexington Ordinance Review and Rewrite
Click here for additional information on this project. Please contact Elly Grady at email@example.com or 540-462-3704 to register and submit a resume.
Human Rights Violations
Work with James Armstead, Of Counsel to the ABA Center for Human Rights to investigate the misuse of anti-terrorism laws regarding severe procedural irregularities towards lawyers, journalists and defendants in several countries in sub-Sahara Africa. This program is at the behest of the Department of State and has been designated a high priority within their human rights agenda. This effort will involve research and potentially developing courses and teaching at the US Foreign Service Institute and overseas at various locations. We are in the early stages of planning the project and the program is developing in several possible directions.
At this point we envision:
1) a white paper for State responding to the award that will delineate the scope and breath of the problem, including case studies, analyses of violations of due process, irregularities in trial procedures, misuse of the security and policing apparatus and possible legislative impositions to correct the foregoing,
2) develop short course(s) to prepare serving US diplomats in, and those deploying for certain African states to address these issues during their respective assignments, and finally,
3) create a program that will initiate discussions among and develop implementation strategies with African parliamentarians as to how we might create cooperate efforts that will serve to remedy the existing situation and alleviate such violations in the future.
For more information contact Mr. Armstead at firstname.lastname@example.org.