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. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review:

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: