Perspectives: Fighting to End Unpaid Internships in the Private Sector

By Maurice Pianko. Maurice is the founder of Intern Justice and Pianko Law Group PLLC. A graduate of Fordham Law School, his practice concentrates on wage and hour litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Two years ago, I came up with the concept of Intern Justice. Intern Justice is comprised of private lawyers specialized in unpaid internship lawsuits. When I started, there were very few cases filed, and many…

August 25, 2014
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Perspectives: Shifa, from Prayers to Plexiglass

By S. Sadequee My family’s connection with my brother dates back to the time when my parents, grandmother, two siblings and I were stationed among the masses of people dressed in two-piece seamless white linen. We were meditating in the Arabian desert of Arafat under the scorching heat at the holy pilgrimage in 1985. We joined thousands of pilgrims sweltering in the blazing sand under white tents thirsty for cool…

April 5, 2014
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Perspectives: No Access to Justice When Employers Use Police Force to Control Farmworkers

By  Lori Johnson, an attorney with the Farmworker Unit of Legal Aid of North Carolina As a farmworker attorney in North Carolina, simply meeting with my clients poses an ongoing challenge.  This reality became clear to me several years ago while meeting with a client outside his home. A squad car pulled into the yard, and fear washed over my client’s face. My client’s employer sought trespass charges against me,…

January 29, 2014
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Perspectives: The First Immigration Public Defender System: New York City 2013

Professor Mark Noferi teaches a Civil Rights and Immigration Seminar at Brooklyn Law School, as well as legal writing. http://www.brooklaw.edu/faculty/directory/facultymember/biography.aspx?id=mark.noferi On Friday, July 19, the New York City Council allocated $500,000 towards the “nation’s first public defender system for immigrants facing deportation,” as the New York Times described it.  $500,000 may seem small.  But New York’s pilot project shows that immigration appointed counsel is achievable, politically, financially, and logistically.  More importantly, the New…

August 1, 2013
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Florida’s Strange Fruit

I hear you when you say don’t be surprised by the acquittal of George Zimmerman. With the lingering stench of racism, even the enlightened of us can begin to forget that our criminal legal system is rotten at its core.   Desmond Meade, President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition reminds us of the pungency of Florida’s Jim Crow atmosphere. We are all lulled by the sweet scent that a trial…

July 14, 2013
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Monsanto – A Legal Bully

A basic tenet of our American democracy is that where there is an injury there is a remedy as articulated in Marbury v. Madison, a landmark Supreme Court decision which established judicial review of executive decisions.  There, the court wrote: The very essence of civil liberty certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury. That basic principle is…

May 24, 2013
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New York’s Pro Bono Requirement: Impetus to Incorporating a Social Justice Curriculum in the First Year of Law School

— Martin Luther King, Jr. , 18th April, 1959 Last year, in 2012, Chief Judge Lippman announced a new pro bono requirement for all applicants seeking admission to the New York State Bar to perform 50 hours of legal services under the supervision of an attorney.  Pro bono service is defined generally as any law-related activity performed for low income or disadvantaged individuals.  This new requirement was intended to address…

May 15, 2013
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Perspectives: Civil Rights as Labor Rights

On this May Day, an internationally recognized workers’ day, we are reminded that thousands of American workers continue to face discrimination on the job each year based on a protected status, such as race, gender or religion, despite a patchwork of existing state and federal anti-discrimination laws. In recent years, for example, nearly 100,000 workers have filed discrimination claims annually with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), and about…

May 1, 2013
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Gideon’s Promise Includes Right to Fair Trial

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court decided in Gideon v. Wainwright that a criminal indigent client has a right to counsel in state criminal proceedings.  The underlying basis for the counsel is to prepare a proper defense. The court reasons: From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which…

April 8, 2013
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Perpetual Trespasser

To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside of the main body.       We looked both from the outside in and from the inside out.                                    We understood both.  This mode of seeing reminded us of the existence of a whole universe, a main body made up…

February 26, 2013
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