Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Earn Pro Bono Hours
Lobbying Members of Congress

The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT), whose office is in Touro's Public Advocacy Center, is sponsoring a pro bono opportunity to lobby members of Congress regarding the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. The executive director of SALT, Hazel Weiser, and most likely one or two faculty members, will accompany a group of Touro students to Washington D.C. on Friday, March 7th, for Lobby Day with the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network (SLDN). The purpose of Lobby Day is to visit with legislators, or more likely legislative aides, to seek repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

There are two ways students can earn pro bono hours. Students who participate in this project can receive a minimum of fifteen pro bono hours if they participate in the program up until the point of actually traveling to Washington, and they can earn twenty-five hours if they participate and also travel to Washington to lobby.

This is what the project will require:

· A session with a reference law librarian showing students how to research voting records

· Researching the voting records of your own legislators

· Drafting talking points specific to your own legislators (for those of you who cannot travel to D.C., you can write letters particular to your legislators and mail them)

· Mock lobbying session

· Travel to Washington D.C. on the bus with other New York Regional law schools

· Assignment to SLDN teams and actual lobbying (although you will probably be in an observer role)

· Lunch at Georgetown University Law School

· Rally on the steps of the Capital

· Drafting and finalizing thank you letters to the legislators or their aides

The first step is to let Ms. Weiser know whether you are interested in working with SALT on this exciting project. Then contact a Touro Reference Librarian (James Durham, Leslie Wong, Christine Morton, or Roy Sturgeon) to arrange for a training session to learn how to research voting records for members of Congress, both representatives and senators.

After you have researched your own legislators, visit Ms. Weiser to continue with the project.

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