MINORITY AND FINANCIALLY DISADVANTAGED LAW STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN SUMMER LAW CLERK PROGRAM
Contact: Deborah Weixl
CHICAGO, – The American Bar Association Section of Litigation announced that nearly 200 financially disadvantaged and minority law students are participating in this summer’s Judicial Intern Opportunity Program. The students are working with 160 judges in courts in Illinois (Chicago and Illinois Circuit Courts); Texas (Dallas, Houston, the U.S. Courts in the Eastern and Southern Districts); Washington, D.C.; and Los Angeles; San Francisco; Phoenix; and Miami.
JIOP serves the public and profession by providing an opportunity for students who traditionally have not participated in judicial internships. Through JIOP they gain first-hand knowledge of the courts, and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to have a well-rounded and real world experience in the court system. The project demonstrates the section’s commitment to increase diversity in the courts, and the profession, and opens a door for members of traditionally underrepresented groups in the legal profession.
“The JIOP program underscores our deep and continuing commitment to provide a meaningful opportunity to law students by exposing them to the workings of the courts. It is a step towards making diversity in our profession a reality. We applaud the many hours given by our members and the judges who have volunteered to work with us and who have made this program a success in so many ways. In these difficult economic times many opportunities are limited, but this program is a bright ray of hope for students who face an uncertain future,” said Robert L. Rothman, Atlanta, section chair. “We see great enthusiasm among law students and in law schools around the country. JIOP is a very unique approach to providing summer opportunities for law students.”
The JIOP program was initially developed by the ABA Section of Antitrust Law in response to a survey showing underrepresentation of minorities in judicial clerkships compared to the number of minority law students, and for the last eight years it has been operated by the Section of Litigation. From an initial class of 14 interns in the summer of 2000, the program has grown and expanded its horizons, accepting more than 650 applications from around the country for the 2009 slots.
The program provides a full-time, six-week minimum, internship for first and second year minority and/or financially disadvantaged law students. As interns, they work on legal research and writing for state and federal judges. Interns receive an award of $1,500 for their internship.
Volunteer lawyers from Litigation and other sections of the ABA review the applications, interview and meet with the students and make recommendations to hiring judges. Students who were accepted into the program attend program orientations where they are given information and tips from practicing lawyers and others in the legal field. The section is conducting ongoing research on the careers of past interns, and will be celebrating the program’s 10th anniversary in 2010.
For more information on JIOP, including a list of the students and the judges and background on the program, please contact Debbie Weixl in ABA Media Relations. Additional information can be obtained at the section Web site at: http://www.abanet.org/litigation/jiop/. You can also contact the program director, Gail Howard, at 312/988-6348 or email@example.com A list of the class of 2009 and the participating judges will be posted shortly. Applications for summer 2010 will be posted in the fall.
With more than 70,000 members, the ABA Section of Litigation includes trial lawyers, judges and others involved in all aspects of litigation and the dispute resolution process. The Section of Litigation is dedicated to promoting justice both domestically and internationally, as well as enhancing public understanding of and respect for the legal profession.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, theABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.