ABA poised to allow law students to get paid for externships

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Law students may be able to take home a paycheck while earning academic credit at an externship under a proposal the American Bar Association House of Delegates will consider during the ABA’s annual meeting beginning Thursday in San Francisco.

The House of Delegates is being asked to debate and vote on a range of resolutions that would address topics from legal education to professional misconduct and urging state legislatures to abolish “offender funded” probation systems. A total of 30 proposals will be reviewed at the delegate meeting which will be held Aug. 8 and 9.

Resolution 100 would implement changes to experiential learning and study outside the classroom as proposed by the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. These changes include removing the prohibition on students receiving compensation for work done in a credit-bearing externship program.  

While drafting the provision to allow paid externships, the council heard from many law school professors who opposed compensation. The professors feared offering pay would cause the law firm or legal organization to assign the law student tasks that would benefit the employer rather than adding to the student’s educational growth.

However, law students and some bar associations supported the elimination of the prohibition. They argued doing so would expand the number of placements available and reduce the level of student debt.

Ultimately the council decided the ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools contain adequate protections to ensure law students can be compensated and still receive substantial lawyering experience in field placements.

Resolution 109 would add anti-discrimination and anti-harassment language to Rule 8.4 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The new provisions bar discrimination and harassment based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and disability by a lawyer during the practice of law.

Two other resolutions urge authorities to take action to remedy problems with the criminal justice system.

Resolution 110, proposed by the Special Committee on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities and other groups, calls upon federal, state and local law enforcement to provide accurate translations of the Miranda warning into Spanish. The report accompanying the proposed resolution notes that despite law enforcement officers having to give Miranda warnings in Spanish nearly 900,000 times each year, law enforcement had made no effective effort to develop a “culturally and substantively accurate translation.”  

Also Resolution 111B, proposed by the Young Lawyers Division, asks state, local, territorial and tribal legislatures to abolish “offender funded” systems of probation. These programs are supervised by private, for-profit companies in more than a dozen states. Offenders unable to pay can be put in jail even though their underlying offenses, typically misdemeanors, quasi-criminal ordinance violations or civil infractions, do not usually lead to incarceration.

None of the resolutions will become policy until the House of Delegates adopts it. Some proposals may be withdrawn while other measures may be submitted. Any measure can be amended up until it is voted upon. The annual meeting runs Aug. 4 through 9.


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  1. How nice, on the day of my car accident on the way to work at the Indiana Supreme Court. Unlike the others, I did not steal any money or do ANYTHING unethical whatsoever. I am suing the Indiana Supreme Court and appealed the failure of the district court in SDIN to protect me. I am suing the federal judge because she failed to protect me and her abandonment of jurisdiction leaves her open to lawsuits because she stripped herself of immunity. I am a candidate for Indiana Supreme Court justice, and they imposed just enough sanction so that I am made ineligible. I am asking the 7th Circuit to remove all of them and appoint me as the new Chief Justice of Indiana. That's what they get for dishonoring my sacrifice and and violating the ADA in about 50 different ways.

  2. Can anyone please help this mother and child? We can all discuss the mother's rights, child's rights when this court only considered the father's rights. It is actually scarey to think a man like this even being a father period with custody of this child. I don't believe any of his other children would have anything good to say about him being their father! How many people are afraid to say anything or try to help because they are afraid of Carl. He's a bully and that his how he gets his way. Please someone help this mother and child. There has to be someone that has the heart and the means to help this family.

  3. I enrolled America's 1st tax-free Health Savings Account (HSA) so you can trust me. I bet 1/3 of my clients were lawyers because they love tax-free deposits, growth and withdrawals or total tax freedom. Most of the time (always) these clients are uninformed about insurance law. Employer-based health insurance is simple if you read the policy. It says, Employers (lawyers) and employees who are working 30-hours-per-week are ELIGIBLE for insurance. Then I show the lawyer the TERMINATION clause which states: When you are no longer ELIGIBLE! Then I ask a closing question (sales term) to the lawyer which is, "If you have a stroke or cancer and become too sick to work can you keep your health insurance?" If the lawyer had dependent children they needed a "Dependent Conversion Privilege" in case their child got sick or hurt which the lawyers never had. Lawyers are pretty easy sales. Save premium, eliminate taxes and build wealth!

  4. Ok, so cheap laughs made about the Christian Right. hardiharhar ... All kidding aside, it is Mohammad's followers who you should be seeking divine protection from. Allahu Akbar But progressives are in denial about that, even as Europe crumbles.

  5. Father's rights? What about a mothers rights? A child's rights? Taking a child from the custody of the mother for political reasons! A miscarriage of justice! What about the welfare of the child? Has anyone considered parent alienation, the father can't erase the mother from the child's life. This child loves the mother and the home in Wisconsin, friends, school and family. It is apparent the father hates his ex-wife more than he loves his child! I hope there will be a Guardian Ad Litem, who will spend time with and get to know the child, BEFORE being brainwashed by the father. This is not just a child! A little person with rights and real needs, a stable home and a parent that cares enough to let this child at least finish the school year, where she is happy and comfortable! Where is the justice?