More of This Meet “Black America’s attorney general"
Ben Crump, the Rev. Al Sharpton says, is “Black America’s attorney general.”
In less than a decade, the Florida-based attorney has become the voice for the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd -- Black people whose deaths at the hands of police and vigilantes sparked a movement.
He has won multimillion-dollar settlements in police brutality cases. He’s pushed cities to ban no-knock warrants. He has told a congressional committee that reform is needed because “it’s become painfully obvious we have two systems of justice; one for white Americans and one for Black Americans.”
And he’s stood with Black farmers taking on an agribusiness giant, and families exposed to lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan.
“He’s a real believer in what he’s doing. He has taken the attacks. He has taken the cases that others wouldn’t take,” Sharpton said, adding, “People can go to him. The reason I trust him is because he has never misled me. Good or bad, he’ll tell me the truth about a client.”
Read the story on AP
Watch This How to show up for Black Lives
This is a recording of a joint event between ChangeLawyers and For the People about how prosecutors and every day people can show up for Black Lives.
Less of This Why is it so hard for women to become Supreme Court clerks?
I’ve started getting the same phone call every couple of weeks at this time of year. It’s always from a woman at a top 10 law school. She is married, wants to have a family and plans to work in constitutional law. But there’s a problem. She’s butting up against a new trend for those competing to join the ranks of constitutional lawyers, judges and scholars: the assumption that those graduating from law school must complete multiple lower level clerkships before hoping to clerk at the Supreme Court.
In a process that already favored the wealthy and well-connected, this new hurdle may make it even harder for women who want to have children and those that take on substantial law school debt to make it into the upper echelons of the legal world.
At more than $100,000 a year, a three-year law degree at one of the nation’s top law schools will cost you more than the median home. But for the best, brightest, most dedicated—and most ambitious—law students, there has traditionally been another step after law school: the Supreme Court clerkship. Every year, each Supreme Court justice hires four law clerks to help with his or her work (retired justices can also hire a law clerk that they share with a current justice).
Read the story on Politico
Perspective He was sentenced to life at the age of 16. Now that he’s free, life outside is not what he expected.
Sometime after he had given up hope and then recovered it, Adolfo Davis began writing letters from his prison cell. Around 1999, he bought paper and pens from the commissary and wrote one letter after another, three times a week. He wrote on his bed, a squeaky metal frame with a lumpy loaf of a mattress, under the ugly glare of a fluorescent light bulb. There was nothing much to look at in his cell, just gray walls and a burnt-orange door made of steel, with tiny holes drilled through it. Muffled sounds from the hallway helped him figure out what time of day it was, when it was mealtime, which guards were working.
“My name is Adolfo Davis, and I’m trying to get home and regain my freedom,” he would write. “I didn’t shoot nobody. Please, help me get a second chance at life.” He sent a letter to nearly every law firm in Chicago, and after that, to every firm he could find in the state of Illinois. Most of the time, the letters went unanswered. Occasionally, he received a curt apology: “Sorry, we are at capacity.” Or simply: “We can’t, but good luck.”
Adolfo was in his early twenties when he started writing the letters. He had a boyish smile, a light mustache, and a disarming charisma that could fold into stillness when he felt like being alone. In 1993, at the age of 16, he’d been convicted as an accomplice to a double murder that took place when he was 14. He claimed that he was there when the killings happened, but that he didn’t pull the trigger. For that he was serving a mandatory life sentence, without the possibility of parole.
Prisons in Illinois were teeming with cases like his—Black men who’d been locked up as teenagers. Few would ever be freed. Over the years, Adolfo watched friends become optimistic and then have their hopes dashed by the courts, by politicians, by their own lawyers. He once saw someone make it to the front door of the prison after a ruling was issued in his favor, only to be sent back to his cell when a state’s attorney made a last-minute phone call to a judge.
Read the story on Atavist Magazine
How to become an administrative law judge
ALJs are a vital part of every level of government. To help attorneys learn more about the role of ALJs in the legal system and the importance of diversifying the administrative side of the bench, we have put together a wonderful panel of ALJs from a range of different agencies to discuss their careers.
Sponsored by California Asian Pacific American Judges Association (CAPAJA), Judiciary Committee, and Asian American Bar Association (AABA) of the Greater Bay Area
June 10 at 5PM PST. Register >
May 12 at 12 Noon PST. Free for all >