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Online Exclusives – Interview with Greg Coleman, Florida Bar President

coleman_gregGreg Coleman, partner at Critton, Luttier, and Coleman, a law firm in West Palm Beach, Florida, and current President of the Florida Bar was interviewed by WMU-Cooley Law Review member Jerrod Simpson.

President Coleman talks about technology, the bar exam, diversity, access to justice, and ethics.

“Technology has invaded our lives both personally and professionally, and it’s drastically affected the way we practice law. ” – Greg Coleman

Download the condensed text of the interview.

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New York Requires Pro Bono Efforts By Law Students Before Bar Admission

Thomas M. Cooley Law Review

Members of the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review have been writing on a broad range of topics.  This post summarizes an article by Brittany Mills about New York’s new requirement that bar applicants have pro bono experience.

New York has adopted a novel approach in motivating aspiring attorneys to provide pro bono legal services—mandating fifty hours of pro bono legal services prior to granting a license to practice law in New York State.  New York is the first state to implement such a requirement as a prerequisite to gaining a law license.  Pro bono work must be legal related.  For for example, the founder of the mandate, New York Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, stated that building houses for Habitat for Humanity would not fulfill the requirement, but that doing legal work for Habitat for Humanity would.  Moreover, the work can be performed in any state, not just in New York.

The new mandate is intended to serve two purposes. First, it is meant to increase the accessibility of legal services to low-income individuals who traditionally have had very little access to legal assistance.  Second, the mandate is designed to instill in lawyers the desire to serve the public throughout their careers.  Although some controversy surrounds the mandate, the move has been hailed as “potentially revolutionary.”  This is because of the sheer number of pro bono hours that will now be provided to the public, and because of the mandate’s potential to create a ripple effect of similar mandates, nationwide.

Read Ms. Mills’ article in full

See the new Cooley Law Review On-Line Edition

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When Science Fails Us and We Fail Justice

Thomas M. Cooley Law Review

Members of the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review have been writing on a broad range of topics.  This post summarizes an article by Colin Maguire about junk science.

The legal system is far from perfect. Sometimes, the system can even create gross injustices.

That was the case with David Gavitt – a man who served over two decades in prison after he was wrongly convicted of killing his wife and young children. At the time of his conviction, the scientific consensus was that someone set a fire that engulfed David’s house, injured him, and killed his family. With no other suspects, a jury convicted David of setting the fatal fire.

Years later, it was revealed that the “science” used to convict David was junk science . . . and David was not the only person affected as a result of bad arson science. The Thomas M. Cooley Law Review’s Publicity Editor, Colin W. Maguire, visited Imran Syed, Staff Attorney at the University of Michigan Law School’s Innocence Clinic. Mr. Syed started working on David’s case as a law student and was there to accompany David out of prison after he was exonerated. You can read the interview on the Review‘s website in a piece entitled “When Science Fails Us & We Fail Justice: A Conversation About the Tragic Case of David Gavitt.” In this in-depth interview, Maguire and Syed explore the details of this injustice. The interview also looks at remedies that attorneys and lawmakers should consider when dealing with a clear case of bad science leading to bad convictions.

Read Mr. Maguire’s article in full.

See the Cooley Law Review on line

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The Digital Citizens’ Bill of Rights

Thomas M. Cooley Law Review

Members of the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review have been writing on a broad range of topics.  This post summarizes a piece by Anna Zagari that can be read in full on the Review‘s website.

The Internet, which is most regarded for its open and convenient access to countless types of information, is often celebrated by the masses, but there are some, especially owners of intellectual property rights, who have reasons to detract from the celebration.  Recent efforts by the government to stop online piracy on an international level have caused a stir, with opponents claiming the proposed legislation is too vague and would take away the freedom of the Internet.  After what was dubbed an “Internet Blackout” earlier this year, where thousands of websites literally blacked-out all their content, the bills lost major support and were withdrawn.

In reaction to the controversy, Congressman Darrell Issa, who opposed both of the bills, made an open invitation over the summer to help him draft the Digital Citizen’s Bill of Rights with the goal of keeping the Internet open and free.  Issa hopes to establish fundamental rights for citizens within the digital world to ensure “they are free to innovate, collaborate and participate in building a stronger America and better world.”  See the details on the Law Review‘s website.

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