Project Always logo - fights human trafficking and youth homelessnessA unique opportunity presents itself to attorneys this Friday and Saturday—the free chance to learn about human trafficking and perhaps to get some credit doing it.

The April 25-26 event will be staged by Project Always, a nonprofit law firm. Here is how they describe themselves:

“Project ALWAYS is a nonprofit law firm committed to providing free legal services and system reform advocacy to empower homeless children and youth and survivors of sex trafficking. Working through referrals from our social service partners, we help clients lift the legal barriers that stand in the way of opportunity, security, and self-sufficiency.”

At the site, you can read more about the Arizona firm, including its founding by attorney January Contreras and its leadership by former Judge Barbara Mundell. The Project also receives support from the Hickey Family Foundation and the Project’s fiscal sponsor, the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education.

Barbara Mundell, founding board chair of Project Always

Barbara Mundell, founding board chair of Project Always

The training is titled Human Trafficking 101, and it covers immigration, criminal and civil remedies available to survivors of trafficking.

As the organizers say, the training includes “an in-depth overview of the legal issues facing victims of human trafficking, including criminal victim witness advocacy issues, immigration benefits, and civil remedies. Participants don’t have any registration fees, but must agree to take on one trafficking pro bono caseRegister online here under “News and Events,” or contact January Contreras at january@projectalways.org.

When:

Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26th 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Where:

CopperPoint Tower

3030 N. 3rd St.

8th Floor Auditorium

Phoenix, AZ 85012

Register:

Online, by end of business Monday, April 21

 

I flew down to Nashville this week—and boy, are my arms tired.

OK, that’s a pretty tired line. But welcome to Change of Venue Friday, this week coming to you from the Music City, where I’m attending a great communications conference.

Because it’s Nashville, I point you to a few brief items with Music City roots.

First, I posted a few random photos on Tumblr. That fall into the category of my tumblog as “law-ish things.”

Second, here is a Nashville story about a unique approach to homelessness—essentially, lock ’em up.

Richard Stewart, who was arrested 47 times in 2010, recently spent 20 days in jail for trespassing and littering. Stewart, No. 4 on the Metro Police chronic offender list, has been arrested 274 times since 1998. / JOHN PARTIPILO / THE TENNESSEAN

Here’s the lede:

“A controversial police program aimed at reducing crimes by homeless people has saved taxpayers money since it was launched this year, but it also has drawn pointed criticism that it violates due process rights and does little to curb quality-of-life offenses in the downtown area.

“The program focuses on people like Richard Stewart, who last week completed a 20-day jail sentence. Stewart’s crime? He was found seeking shelter under the loading dock behind the downtown Sheraton during a thunderstorm, and arrested on charges of criminal trespassing and littering.”

Anyone who lives in a mid-sized or large city is faced with homeless people every day. What do you think of Nashville’s response? Send your thoughts to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

The last item isn’t so much a story as a website. If you’ve tracked law school news over the past year, you’ve probably heard about the Law School Transparency Project—an effort to make available more accurate information about law schools. And this Project is not shy about calling foul when they spot facts and figures that they claim the schools have fudged.

What I had never noticed about the Project is that its home is Nashville. Founded by a Vanderbilt grad, it has made quite a few waves, maybe even in a law school near you. And they have not left the ABA alone, which it has faulted for allowing the law school industry to put out questionable numbers that take applicants down a garden path.

Just today, the ABA released a response to criticism on the topic from Sen. Barbara Boxer—criticism that arose largely due to facts and figures the Project provided. Here is the ABA’s response.

In speaking with many lawyers and law students about this, it seems to me that your own law school experience—narrow though it may be in the big scheme of things—colors your response to those questions. Of course, you may have a feeling about the Project independent of your own school experience—everyone’s mileage may differ.

So how has the Project done? Go to their site and review the large amount of information they’ve gathered.

Do you think they provide a valuable service, or have their claims of widespread misrepresentation in schools gone too far?

Have a great weekend. I’ll be back in Arizona and its “unseasonably warm weather” (ha!) this weekend.