Contact: Ken Theisen, Bay Area Legal Aid
415.354.6335  .  ktheisen@baylegal.org

 Contact: Eric Miller, Bingham McCutchen
213.680.6583  .   eric.miller@bingham.com

Bingham Launches Bicoastal Public Interest Fellowships: West Coast Fellowship Hosted by Bay Area Legal Aid

SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 25, 2012) – Bingham announced today that it will be funding two three-year public interest fellowships with two of the nation’s most prominent and respected legal service organizations — Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) and the New York Lawyers for Public Interest (NYLPI).

“This program enables Bingham to support two very deserving organizations that have a profound impact in the communities they serve,” said Bingham Chairman Jay Zimmerman.

“We have long-established relationships with BayLegal and NYLPI,” said Edward Maluf, a partner in Bingham’s New York office, co-chair of the firm’s national Pro Bono Committee and a member of NYLPI’s executive board. “Both organizations advocate on behalf of two core areas of interest for Bingham’s pro-bono practice — children and education.”

The recipient of the BayLegal fellowship will lead its Youth Justice Project (YJP). The YJP provides full scope civil legal representation for youth in foster care or delinquency , transitional aged youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and educational advocacy for youth referred from BayLegal’s Medical-Legal Collaborative. The Fellow will also continue to serve as the civil legal aid attorney to the Alameda County Collaborative Court — a specialty court created in 2007 for youth whose connection to the delinquency system is directly related to their mental illness. The Bingham Fellow will work with youth to address their civil legal needs in key areas including accessing health insurance for mental health treatment, unmet educational needs and housing instability. BayLegal has awarded the fellowship to Brian Blalock Esq. Blalock, a recognized leader in the youth justice movement, is an attorney at BayLegal and a graduate of Stanford Law School.

“Thanks to the Bingham fellowship, we will expand the efforts and impact of our Youth Justice Project and the vital legal aid needed to help these children stabilize their lives,” said Ramon Arias, Executive Director of BayLegal.

The recipient of the NYLPI fellowship will work directly with leadership of NYLPI’s Education Program to protect and promote the educational rights of students with disabilities in New York City. NYLPI is currently conducting a search to fill this position and anticipates doing so in the first quarter of 2012.

“The Bingham fellowship will be a tremendous help in our efforts to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to education in the New York City school system,” said Shelley J. Dropkin, chair of the board of directors of NYLPI. “We are incredibly grateful for the firm’s support.”

The funding for each fellowship is derived from attorneys’ fees awarded to Bingham for its work on various pro bono matters.

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Bingham offers a broad range of market-leading practices focused on global financial services firms and Fortune 100 companies. The firm has more than 1,000 lawyers in 14 locations in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Follow the firm on Twitter @Binghamlaw.

Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal) is the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest poverty law firm. BayLegal provides high quality legal counsel, advice and representation designed to help families achieve economic security and escape domestic violence. It reaches more than 70,000 people annually through its legal advice hotline, the only one of its kind in Northern California, direct representation, and its pro bono panel.

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) advances equality and civil rights, with a focus on health justice, disability rights and environmental justice, through the power of community lawyering and partnerships with the private bar. Through community lawyering, NYLPI puts its legal, policy and community organizing expertise at the service of New York City communities and individuals. NYLPI’s partnership with the private bar strengthens its advocacy and connects community groups and non-profits with critical legal assistance. NYLPI is the recipient of the 2010 New York Times Awards for Nonprofit Excellence.

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