Beyond the Billable was excited to see so many of its newly trained attorneys take part in the second annual Citizenship Day.
On September 21st, more than 30 BBA attorneys came to 16 Beacon to learn how to file an application for American citizenship – as well as an application fee waiver – on behalf of a client. Just five days later, they took that information with them and joined more than 200 other volunteers at the Timilty Middle School in Roxbury to assist those applying for naturalized American Citizenship.
One of the biggest challenges for those wishing to apply for American citizenship is the cost. There is a $680 processing fee for the applications, in addition to the cost of legal assistance for filing the paperwork. Applicants who had been pre-screened by Project Citizenship were able to come to the event free of charge and have their applications filled out by attorneys. With nearly 250 applicants from 29 different countries, their work was both greatly needed and greatly appreciated!
Several members of the BBA volunteered at the event, so watch for the stories of their experiences at Citizenship Day in next week’s addition of BBA week.
Are you a law student looking to volunteer or gain clinical experience? If so, you should know about the Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:03. SJC Rule 3:03 grants law students the ability to appear in civil and criminal proceedings on behalf of the Commonwealth or parties in need, under direct supervision of an Attorney who is admitted to the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Rule 3:03 Certified Students interested in assisting low income landlords and tenants can participate
Rule 3:03 eligible students can take part in a number of pro bono opportunities and projects with the BBA and its community partners. The BBA has a long standing Housing Court Lawyer of the Day Program where volunteers provide assistance to low-income pro-se litigants. The BBA is also teaming up with the Volunteer Lawyers Project and Senior Partners for Justice to train attorneys to provide pro bono assistance to debtors and creditors in court. Both projects will host trainings at the BBA this Fall – why not check out the trainings to learn more:
In preparation for these trainings, Beyond the Billable asked, “How do law students obtain Rule 3:03 certification?”
Ultimately, the applicable law school Dean must complete and provide a student practitioner form. In the form, the Dean attests to the student’s credibility, character, and legal ability. The form also verifies that the student has completed, or is enrolled in a course in evidence or trial practice. To learn more about SJC Rule 3:03 click here.
Law students who are in their second to last year are eligible to appear in civil proceedings, while those in their last year who are seeking certification at least three months prior to graduation, are eligible to appear in both civil and criminal matters. Many students need this requirement in order to participate in law school clinical placements or for self-identified internships with government agencies and legal services organizations.
If you are a law student interested in getting certified, here’s where you need to go at your law school:
If you are a recent law school graduate who was 3:03 certified at least three months before graduation, your certification remains in effect until the first bar exam following graduation. If a student took that examination, the certification remains in effect until the announcement of the examination results. For any student who passes that examination, the approval to appear under Rule 3:03 continues for six months after the date of examination or until the date of admission to the bar, whichever is sooner, unless your certification was withdrawn (which often happens following a legal clinic placement) or otherwise ordered by the Supreme Judicial Court.
For more information about SJC Rule 3:03 and how it applies to student practitioners, visit the Trial Court’s FAQ page here.
And remember – if you are looking for an opportunity to volunteer beyond your school’s clinics, 3:03 eligible students are invited to come to one of these trainings to learn how to assist litigants and to provide service: