AJMLS Honored at the U.S. Attorney’s Office with Community Outreach Award

This week, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was recognized at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Community Outreach Awards Ceremony for the work done by the law school’s Office Pro Bono and Experiential Learning. The department attended the event where they received the Community Outreach Award from Loranzo Fleming, Assistant U.S. Attorney & Community Outreach Coordinator and Sally Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

The Community Outreach Awards are intended to recognize individuals and community partners who have been exceptionally supportive of the office’s community outreach programs over the past two years. Yates acknowledged the important role Renata Turner, Bridgett Ortega, and Natasha Berry have played in the areas of reentry and crime prevention.The Pro Bono and Experiential Learning department was also recognized for their Street Law program at Booker T. Washington High School which teaches practical law to high school students using interactive teaching methodologies. The department was further acknowledged for their Home for Good Reentry Forum which assists citizens returning from prison in overcoming legal barriers to reentry.

Congratulations to the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning for making such a noticeable impact in the community.

AJMLS Shines at Atlanta Bar Association’s Celebrating Service Luncheon

The Atlanta Bar Association recently held its annual Celebrating Service Luncheon and Pro Bono Fair at the Piedmont Driving Club where Professor Jonathan Rapping was the keynote speaker. The occasion celebrated the best volunteer work and programs from Atlanta’s three largest pro bono legal service organizations: the Atlanta Bar Association, Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. Founded by Hunton & Williams partner and past Atlanta Bar president Rita Sheffey, the event was designed to publicly recognize individuals in the legal community who dedicate themselves to serving others.

John Marshall alumni Nilufar Abdi-Tabari was one of many award recipients at the Celebrating Service Luncheon. She received the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation Safe Families Champion of the Year award. Also, the law school is proud to mention that AJMLS was recognized for being the only law school with 100 percent faculty membership in the Atlanta Bar Association. A full list of award recipients can be found on the Daily Report’s website.

AJMLS Ranked No. 24 of Top Law Schools for Externships by PreLaw Magazine

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was ranked one of the nation’s top law schools for externships by PreLaw Magazine in their most recent issue. The Back to School edition includes a two-page spread of the top law schools for externship opportunities. AJMLS ranked 24th amongst schools like Brigham Young University (5th) and Drexel University (21st).

According to PreLaw Magazine, “Externship programs continue to expand each year as law school strive to teach more real-life skills and students seek the experience employers’ desire.” The article goes on to say, “Legal educators have been calling for more experiential opportunities since the early 1990s. Now, fueled by the need to better prepare graduates, law school are responding.”

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School would like to recognize Renata Turner and Bridgett Ortega in our Pro Bono and Experiential Learning Department for their hard work and commitment to maximizing opportunities for students through experiential learning.

For the full article from PreLaw Magazine, click here.

AJMLS Students Make a Difference Within the First Semester of the Immigration Law Clinic

Thanks to Jacky Clements and Crystal Tran, two interns from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, the U.S. Asylum Office has approved an asylum claim in a unique legal case. The Client was a severally physically and mentally disabled twenty-two year old citizen of an Asian country. Jacky Clements is an intern at the AJMLS/CCA Immigration Law Clinic. Crystal Tran is an extern at AJMLS Adjunct Professor Joseph Rosen’s Immigration Law Group.

Asylum generally requires persecution based upon religion, political activities, race, or nationality. Asylum or refugee status can also be granted if it is determined that an individual has or is likely to be persecuted based on their membership in a particular social group. The physically and mentally disabled are usually not deemed to be in such a group. For a grant of asylum, it must also be shown that the persecution of the group was by the government or that the government did nothing to deter it.

The asylum applicant, although twenty-two years old, functioned at a behavioral level of an eight year old. Through countless hours spent with him and his family, Ms. Clements and Ms. Tran were able to document a childhood spent continually drugged while attending school, a childhood continually abused by his caretakers,  a child banned from public parks and libraries, and a lifetime filled with harassment and abuse by the public. Through extensive research, Ms. Clements and Ms. Tran documented the extreme exploitation, human trafficking, and abuse of the disabled in his home country, despite that country’s assertions of support for the disabled.

Through extensive time spent with the client, Ms. Tran and Ms. Clements developed a rapport with him. They developed evidence and small illuminating anecdotes. They discovered that after being in school in his home country for twenty years, he could not count to 10 nor identify the days of the week. After only 6 months in the U.S., he showed off to the two interns one afternoon by counting to 10 in English and naming the days of the week.  Skills that no one took time to teach him in twenty years of life in his home country. The client would greet Ms. Tran and Ms. Clements with hugs and smiles each time he saw them.

On occasion, there were tears of frustration from the advocates over the lack of legal support for their arguments and the paucity of supporting research documentation.  Hours of work resulted in a moving brief written by the interns and three-hundred pages of supporting documents.  The Asylum Office interviewed the client over a three-hour period and then was presented with the developed arguments. After a month of consideration, the client’s asylum application was approved. Thanks to the work of Crystal Tran and Jacky Clements, a young man has been saved from a life of desperation, abuse, and exploitation. He will now have an opportunity to live a free and independent life in the U.S.  A job well done by two of AJMLS’ students.

AJMLS Professor and Staff Member Elected to the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Georgia

Michael Oeser, Associate Professor and Bridgett Ortega, Assistant Director of the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning were elected to the ACLU of Georgia’s Board of Directors at the November 10th Annual Meeting.

Professor Oeser and Mrs. Ortega join Professor Kathleen Burch who has served on the ACLU Board for the past two years and is Co-Chair of the Legal Committee. The law school also partners with the ACLU of Georgia in the Civil Liberties Seminar where students work on ACLU cases.

Founded in 1920 as a response to the Palmer Raids, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that seeks to defend the principles and freedoms embodied in the Bill of Rights. To accomplish this goal, the ACLU advocates for civil liberties in courts, legislatures, and communities all over the United States at both the federal and state level. As a result of its dedication, there is no non-governmental organization that has more frequently argued in front of the Supreme Court of the United States than the ACLU.

AJMLS is extremely proud of Professor Oeser and Mrs. Ortega and thank them for their continuous commitment to impacting the lives of others through service.

AJMLS Professor Appointed Magistrate Judge in Fulton County

Last week, AJMLS professor Renata Turner was appointed as a part-time magistrate judge of the Fulton County State Court.  Professor Turner teaches Domestic Violence and is the Director of the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning.

Magistrate judges conduct first appearances and preliminary examinations of felony charges and hear felony arraignments. They also can authorize search warrants, set bond on criminal defendants and handle criminal misdemeanors, traffic infractions, traffic misdemeanors, cigarette and tobacco infractions, and fish and game violations.

On the civil side, they are authorized to handle limited actions seeking judgment for some unsecured debt; evictions; replevin; small claims; all probate proceedings, including treatment of the mentally ill, substance abusers, guardianships and conservatorships; protection from abuse and stalking; making temporary orders in domestic relations cases; performing marriages; and child support enforcement.

They also may handle any juvenile proceedings, including children in need of care, juvenile offenders and adoptions. As a rotating part-time magistrate Judge Turner will more than likely handle a variety of matters.

Professor Turner has a wealth of experience serving the people of Atlanta and will make an excellent magistrate judge for the Fulton County State Court.

The Daily Report Highlights AJMLS Externship Program

Recently The Daily Report highlighted Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s students for their work with DeKalb County child support cases. Through John Marshall’s Externships Program, students are going to help pro se plaintiffs in contested child support cases through a program started by a DeKalb County judge and family lawyer.The students will assist divorcing parents with a lengthy worksheet reporting income and expenses.

DeKalb Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott and Rebecca Crumrine, a partner at family law firm Hedgepeth, Heredia, Crumrine & Morrison, have organized an externship with AJMLS, where Crumrine is an adjunct professor, training third-year law students to help pro se litigants in Scott’s courtroom fill out the worksheet. They hope the pilot program will spread to other courtrooms.

AJMLS is extremely proud of our students and our phenomenal Externship Program, which allows students to gain real-world experience while in school.

For the full article, click here.