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Detroit Mercy Law clinic honored with public service award

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law’s Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic has been awarded the 2020 Ilene and Michael Shaw Public Service Award from the National Federal Bar Association (FBA).

The award recognizes the work that recipients do in and for their community.

The honor was presented via Zoom during the meeting of the U.S. Eastern District of Michigan judges.

Local FBA President Fred Hermann presented the plaque commemorating the award. 

Chief Judge Denise Page Hood invited Dean Phyllis Crocker; Nicholas Schroeck, associate dean of experiential education; Barb Patek, clinic director; and Rebecca Simkins Nowak, director of clinical operations and outreach, to each remark about the receipt of this award.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious national award in recognition of the service that the Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Clinic provides for our community,” said Schroeck.

He said Patek and the students “work hard to provide the best legal assistance possible to litigants in need of help and guidance.”

The clinic began operations in 2018 and operates out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division.

A part-time staff attorney and up to eight students provide limited scope legal assistance to indigent and low-income non-prisoner pro se litigants at no cost.


ABA joins initiative to mobilize lawyers on Election Day

The American Bar Association is partnering with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) to issue a “Rally Cry” aimed at mobilizing lawyers to assist as poll workers for the upcoming election.

The Poll Worker, Esq. Initiative encourages lawyers, law students and other legal professionals to safely assist in the November election by serving as poll workers.

“Serving as a poll worker is integral to assuring a free and fair election this November, and lawyers are especially suited to help,” said Patricia Lee Refo, president of the ABA. “With the added obstacle of a pandemic this year, finding people who are at lower risk to assist as poll workers is even more important.

This is an opportunity for lawyers, and soon-to-be lawyers, to step up and serve.”

The initiative kicked off recently with release of a video that encourages lawyers and law students to become poll workers. It will be posted at ambar.org/vote.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the fact that many experienced poll workers fall into high-risk health categories, states are predicting a shortage of workers to serve for the Nov. 3 general election.

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