Appleseed – A Network of Public Interest Justice Centers

(In recognition that interest in Progressive Lawyer has been steadily increasing, we felt it to be a good time to periodically reintroduce you to the organizations and people we have featured as well to update the post with any changes relevant to the subject we are covering. This week I am re-posting our very first feature on the Appleseed Network from October 6th, 2014. Since this was published Betsy Cavendish has moved on to become general counsel for Washington. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. The Appleseed Network interim presidency is currently in the very capable hands of Annette LoVoi.)

Welcome to the launch of Progressive Lawyer! Every Monday over the next few months we will be spotlighting some of the most innovative progressive law organizations around the world and we could think of no better way to kick off the site and this feature than by starting with the Appleseed Network. As our mission (and yes we have chosen to accept it!) is to connect law students and lawyers with progressive, public interest organizations and firms from around the world, the first step is to become aware of who those organizations are. Please check in regularly on the site, follow us on Twitter, friend us on Facebook and join our LinkedIn group as this is just the beginning of what we hope will be a true, progressive legal community that leads with its values and makes a real difference in our world.

Welcome to Progressive Lawyer!

Progressive Lawyer:       Thank you for taking the time to speak to us! Please introduce yourself and describe your role in the Appleseed Network

Betsy headshot.2014
Betsy Cavendish

Betsy Cavendish: I’m Betsy Cavendish, President of Appleseed.  Appleseed has seventeen Centers in the U.S. and Mexico; I lead the headquarters office.  We’re a network of public interest justice centers. Each Center and the national office tackle a diverse portfolio of issues.  We address problems at their root causes and aim for systematic, structural solutions.  The national office incubates and supports local Centers.  We help connect our network of pro bono supporters to Centers to advance their work and we connect Centers to each other, so that they build on each others’ successes and learn from their efforts.

My role:  you’ve heard the phrase “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer?”  My roles span the range from social justice entrepreneur, to public interest organization medic, chief cheerleader, fundraiser, and connector.

PL:       Why was Appleseed started?

BC: Appleseed’s founders thought that the agenda for justice was ever changing and that communities across the country needed local justice centers that could tackle local needs and problems. They wanted to break out of the model of lawyers handling one case at a time to fix injustices once and for all.

Appleseed’s founders were at their 35th law school reunion and they wanted to make a lasting difference with their talents.  They ran big transactions, huge litigations, they were trusted advisors to major companies and government agencies.  They thought that their talents would be best spent creating institutions for change across the country.

They wanted to switch the paradigm from charity to justice.

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The Progressive Lawyer Spotlight is on Lawyers Without Borders Canada

Pour une version française de cet article s’il vous plaît cliquez ici

asf_utilisation webLawyers Without Borders Canada (“LWBC”) is a non-governmental international development organization whose mission is to support the defense of human rights for the most vulnerable groups and individuals, through the reinforcement of access to justice and legal representation.

LWBC is modeled on Avocats Sans Frontières, the international NGO that specializes in defending human rights and supporting justice. ASF intervenes in countries where human rights are not respected, where political violence and armed conflict reign, and where legal rules are flouted.

LWBC is supported by different organizations and corporate members including the Bar of the Province of Quebec, the Montreal Bar, the Quebec City Bar and the Quebec Minister of Justice. Its projects are financed among others by CIDA and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs.

LWBC’s work is entirely voluntary and jurists who participate in its missions abroad do not receive any kind of remuneration. However, carrying out international cooperation projects entails significant costs. LWBC is always in need of funds to continue and develop its mission and you may contribute to further their work here.

Progressive Lawyer contributor Marjorie Langlois recently interviewed Pascal Paradis, the Executive Director of LWBC. The interview was conducted in French and this is a translation. The French version can be found here.

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Pascal Paradis d’Avocats Sans Frontières Canada

An English version of this article can be found here.

asf_utilisation webAvocats Sans Frontières Canada (« ASFC ») est une organisation non gouvernementale de coopération internationale dont la mission est de soutenir la défense des droits humains des groupes ou des personnes les plus vulnérables par le renforcement de l’accès à la justice et à la représentation légale.

J’ai toujours été très fan de l’organisme, surtout depuis que j’ai débuté mes études en droit. Pour partager avec vous l’existence de cet organisme et les opportunités qu’il offre aux juristes, j’ai rencontré le Directeur Général d’ASFC, Pascal Paradis. Voici ce qu’il m’a dit à propos de l’organisme.

Progressive Lawyer: Pourquoi ASFC a-t-il été créé? À quels problèmes l’organisme répond-il?

Pascal Paradis: Il s’agit de l’initiative commune de 3 membres fondateurs : Me Dominique-Anne Roy, Me Pierre Brun et moi-même. L’idée vient de Dominique-Anne, qui en a été inspirée après avoir rencontré le président d’Avocats Sans Frontières France.

ASFC est une organisation de défense de droits humains qui gère des programmes de coopération internationale. Nous offrons donc du soutien à des organismes ou avocats partenaires à l’étranger, dans le cadre de causes locales dans le pays de nos partenaires.

La mission d’ASFC est de contribuer à la défense et la promotion des droits humains et de la primauté du droit, à la lutte contre l’impunité, au renforcement de la sécurité et de l’indépendance des avocats défenseurs des droits humains, à la tenue de procès équitables et à la formation continue des intervenants de la justice et des membres de la société civile.

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Shining the Pro Bono Spotlight on The Pro Bono Project of New Orleans

Pro Bono ProjectAccording to Wikipedia, pro bono publico (English: for the public good; usually shortened to pro bono) is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. While this may serve as a workable definition of what pro bono is, it does not begin to describe the impact of what pro bono does. Pro Bono done well is more than just a professional obligation to give back, it is a genuine desire to use one’s legal skills to make a difference, something that lies at the very essence of what Progressive Lawyer is all about.

This week we shine the Pro Bono spotlight on The Pro Bono Project of New Orleans, Louisiana. We spoke with executive director Rachel Piercey about what the Project does and how it does it in this very unique city that is still working on picking up the pieces from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. It is important to understand that at the height of The Pro Bono Project’s success, Hurricane Katrina badly damaged its infrastructure.  Determined as ever, Ms Piercey rebuilt and expanded The Project to better serve the varied needs of a growing and diverse population.  She re-shaped the organization so that local and out of- state volunteer attorneys and law students are now vital elements of The Pro Bono Project’s infrastructure providing services to the community. It is this resilience and determination that make both the Pro Bono Project and Ms Piercey herself such a wonderful way to kick off our Pro Bono spotlight feature.

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