Although this is National Pro Bono Week, you still may be stymied as you consider the widespread need for legal services all over Arizona. Where could you even begin to make a difference?

One suggestion would allow you to create positive change in the lives of youngsters and their families. You could be part of that change by collaborating with the Juvenile Legal Assistance Partnership.

The JLAP, as it’s called, is an initiative at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. It’s housed within the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice Programs. (You can see the list of Center programs here.) The Center is headed by Sarah Buel, a nationally recognized expert on “legal advocacy on behalf of family violence victims.”

This week, I heard more about the program from Soo Chang, an ASU law student, who explained the unfilled need faced by those confronted by juvenile justice issues. That need would be better met by the involvement of more lawyers offering some pro bono hours.

JLAP meets clients at three locations, and they aim for weekly visits—three to four hours of volunteered time meeting with three to four different clients.

With JLAP, the lawyer meets with clients along with up to two law students. According to information from the Program, “Appointments are made by the clients directly to the Juvenile Court at Durango (each appointment is about an hour). The more common issues that we see are: dependency, custody, termination of parental rights, adoption, divorce, and child support. Attorneys normally help fill out paperwork with the clients.”

Sarah Buel

Like many legal assistance groups, JLAP has a core of hard-working volunteer lawyers, but the court receives more calls than the volunteers can handle. Having more attorneys participate would have a profound impact on the lives of youngsters and their families.

What follows is additional information about the program. But you’re busy, so I’ll repeat that most important last line here:

To get involved as a pro bono attorney please contact Erin Biencourt, or (602) 561-9080.

Juvenile Legal Assistance Program

The goal of the Juvenile Legal Assistance Program (JLAP) at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is to acknowledge the continuous legal conflicts surrounding children and juveniles; to recognize the need for volunteers concerning issues governed by juvenile law; to provide legal services to those involved in various conflicts; and to provide law students opportunities to further their interest for public service and juvenile law alike.

JLAP provides law students and pro bono attorneys to work with the Maricopa County Juvenile Court to provide free legal advice and information clinics regarding matters involving children and their families. Other projects that JLAP participates in include National Adoption Day and Baby Court with Judge Eddward Ballinger.

The clinics are offered several times a month at the Juvenile Court at Durango and the Tempe YMCA. Additionally JLAP partners with Homeward Bound, a transitional housing program for homeless and domestic violence families with children, to provide monthly clinics as well. The matters most commonly seen include guardianship, dependency, termination, and adoption issues. At Homeward Bound, clients frequently present custody, child support, domestic violence, and other family law related issues.

Law students work alongside attorneys to satisfy client inquiries. Students are encouraged to actively engage in counseling clients and conduct legal research regarding juvenile law matters. All students have Westlaw and Lexis access and all sites have computer access. Attorneys provide clients with advice, information, and ideas. They do not advocate for or represent clients in court and they do not prepare documents for the clients, although they often explain how the documents are to be filled out.

Attorney volunteers are required to sign up with the Volunteer Lawyers Program, as they provide malpractice coverage. JLAP provides training twice a year for our new volunteers. Attorneys with juvenile law exposure may be able to waive this requirement by doing on-site training with Peggy Tinsley or by a showing of sufficient juvenile and/or family law experience.

To refer potential clients to JLAP, have them call (602) 506-4533 (West Valley clients) or (602) 506-2544 (East Valley clients). When calling they should ask to schedule a JLAP appointment.

To get involved as a pro bono attorney please contact Erin Biencourt, or (602) 561-9080.

From the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law:

Daniel Rothenberg

A lack of awareness, communication and understanding of the multiple levels of law related to human trafficking, the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, have stymied efforts to combat it by law enforcement, the judiciary, policy-makers, academics and social service and community groups.

The need for improved integration of these laws is the focus of a national conference, to be held on Friday, March 11, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. “Combating Human Trafficking: How Coordinating International, Federal and State Law can Prevent and Punish Exploitation While Protecting Victims,” will be from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Armstrong Hall on ASU’s Tempe campus.

For a conference schedule and list of speakers, and to register, visit here.

The interdisciplinary conference is presented by the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs and the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, and by the American Society of International Law. The event is being convened by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.), and Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor (ret.), Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence at the College of Law. It will mark the debut of the College of Law’s Project on Federalism and Separation of Powers in a Global Era.

“It is clear that the same old paradigms won’t work to combat the complex, global problem of human trafficking,” said Paul Schiff Berman, Dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “This conference is therefore a pioneering effort that seeks new models for cooperation and coordination among local, national, and international actors.”

Sarah Buel

“Combating Human Trafficking” will bring together scholars and practitioners from around the world to address the need for enhanced coordination of laws in defining the crime of trafficking, prosecuting perpetrators, developing promising interventions and preventing trafficking.

“There’s a lot of interest in this, and we’re trying to coalesce that interest, and focus our efforts and energy so that Arizona becomes a case study for how to properly address human trafficking,” said Daniel Rothenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs. “We want to become the national example of how to bring together diverse interests and players, even though not everyone agrees on the elements – the research, law enforcement and the assistance to victims — of this problem, for a serious, thoughtful discussion,”

Sarah Buel, Faculty Director of the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, said the issue of human trafficking is especially crucial in Arizona because the state is a hub for trafficking crimes. But the state also is home to concerned faculty, scholars, students and alumni at ASU, community partners, law enforcement and interested parties determined to eradicate trafficking through strategic regional, national and international planning.

“We have tenacious, passionate, multidisciplinary advocates seeking to strengthen, reinvigorate and broaden existing networks,” Buel said. “And we are confident that this conference will dramatically increase victim safety by developing more effective law, policy and practice.

“For the 13-year-old girl now forced into sex trafficking on the streets of Phoenix, this conference can engender new hope.”

In addition to Justices O’Connor and McGregor, the program features an impressive list of participants, anchored by Roxana Bacon, former Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, delivering the morning keynote, “Why Trafficking Matters,” and Alice Chamberlayne Hill, Senior Counselor to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who will give the afternoon keynote address.

The panels are:

  • Overview of Trafficking
  • Trafficking Prosecution at Different Levels of Governance and Jurisdiction
  • Trafficking Prevention and Protection at Different Levels of Governance and Jurisdiction
    Successful Programs
  • What Can be Done to Confront Trafficking in a More Coordinated Fashion?

Rothenberg said the conference is aimed at a broad audience, both individuals who work to prevent human trafficking, punish exploiters and protect victims, and people who are interested in human trafficking as a social issue.

“We hope this conference will help educate people about the fundamental problems of trafficking,” he said, “but also suggest there’s an array of complex, serious programs at multiple levels of jurisdictions, to compare them, and to suggest that one of the ways these programs are likely to be even more successful is through greater integration of these different levels of law.”

Read more about the conference here.

Register here.