Application to the State Bar of Michigan, submitted

February 26, 2011 4 comments

Over the past month, I have been completing my application to the State Bar of Michigan for the July 2011 exam. Let’s just say that the process is a little tedious—compiling an accurate list of all residences since high school, determining periods of un/employment dating back almost as far, and obtaining criminal history and driving records from locales outside of Michigan.

One of my adventures in completing the application had to do with the State of New York. New York requires that all out-of-state criminal record lookups be done with ink (as opposed to digital fingerprinting). I contacted Public Safety at Wayne State University and asked to be fingerprinted. WSU does not have the equipment. I then contacted the Michigan State Police. The State Police have been digital for over four years and no longer had the equipment either. I then contacted my local police department and asked if it still had the ink pad equipment. Yes. The next day, I got fingerprinted and sent in the form to New York’s fingerprinting vendor. A few days later, I received an envelope in the mail that I hoped would be the results, but no, my fingerprints were too light and smudged. I went back to the local police station, handed it the letter, and was re-fingerprinted. Luckily, round two worked out well because I received a letter from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services indicating that I had no criminal record. That was the hope all along.

Let’s not get started with my record requests from the Province of Ontario.

Above, you will find a postcard I submitted with my completed application. The State Bar mails back the postcard when it receives your application. My writing is in blue. It seems that the State Bar has a good sense of humor when it comes to these applications, too.

Categories: Funny, Law School, Michigan

Remembering R. Sargent Shriver

January 19, 2011 1 comment

Yesterday, R. Sargent Shriver, brother-in-law to President John F. Kennedy and the original director of the Peace Corps, died in Bethesda, MD. He was 95. Shriver was so much more than just the original director of the Peace Corps, the U.S. State Department’s primary, global, and widely successful anti-poverty program with over 200,000 Peace Corps Volunteers (PCV) since 1961. In just over four years, there were over 6,500 PCVs in 50 countries around the world. Shriver once wrote, of the PCV, “working with the Peace Corps should not be like working with another government agency.  We have a special mission which can only be accomplished if everyone believes in it and works for it in a manner consistent with the ideals of service and volunteerism.”

Shriver took that vision with him when he left the Peace Corps to lead the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty as the director of the federal Office of Economic Opportunity. In that capacity, he created and administered programs in the same spirit that still exist today, particularly Head Start and Volunteers in Service to America (now a core component of the AmeriCorps program ,which I participated in 2006 and 2007).

Later, he served as U.S. Ambassador to France and was the vice-presidential running mate for George McGovern in the 1972 election. After his political career, Shriver remained involved with many causes, the Special Olympics in particular.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton awarded Shriver with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and remarked of Shriver, “America has never had a stronger warrior for peace and against poverty.”

We thank Shriver for the legacy of service, voluntarism, and idealism that he and his programs have helped instill in the lives of millions of Americans around the world. He will be missed, but his legacy will continue.

To learn more about Shriver, I recommend Sarge: The Life and Times of Sargent Shriver by Scott Stossel.

Categories: General, Poverty

Why grammar matters for school buses

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve learned a lot about the law over the past two and a half years, both substantively and procedurally. Particularly, when I describe what law school and the practice of law is like (based on my experience) to someone unfamiliar, I often say that grammar and definitions are very important in this field. Sometimes, a semicolon, comma,  em dash, or a two or three letter word (usually “and” for conjunctive lists and “or” for disjunctive lists) differentiates legal from illegal conduct.

Here is a great example from Virginia where there is (or was) a law against passing stopped school buses. For 40 years, the following was pretty clear:

“A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children.”

via the Washington Post

Continue reading the article here unless you’re a grammar snob and have already located the error/omission.

Categories: General, Law, Law School

Compassion in the courtroom

November 21, 2010 2 comments

As final exams approach and we become slightly more nervous/anxious than the rest of the year, I wanted to share something that will make you smile. Enjoy.

(via Jeffrey Goldberg’s blog for The Atlantic, available here)

Categories: Funny, Law

Finalized I-589 asylum application

November 11, 2010 1 comment

619 pages!


8 copies, not including an original sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


An asylum interview in Chicago in the next few weeks


Hopefully, asylum in the United States for our client(s)

Categories: Law School

Submitting an asylum application

November 10, 2010 1 comment

I am one of seven students in the law school’s Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic. (The law school also has disability, environmental law, and small business clinics.) The Clinic experience has been fantastic and I will describe it more in detail in a later post. I say this because it is 6:00 PM and I am currently  sitting in a conference room inside the clinic suite finalizing an asylum application. Since Monday, I have devoted over 24 hours to finalizing the application with my partners, clients, interpreters, and Clinic supervisor. And that does not include today’s hours, which are significant or the 300 hours that I’ve already devoted this semester to the Clinic.

I anticipate the application and supporting materials to be around 400 pages. Then we have to make eight additional copies of all of the materials. That’s a lot of paper, copying, collating, numbering, tabbing, and double-checking ahead of me and my team. But the reward will be asylum for our client(s), so it is definitely worth it.

Break is over. The team is calling. Back to the mattresses

Categories: Law School

A Michigan Charity: Forgotten Harvest

November 7, 2010 3 comments

There are some fantastic nonprofit charitable organizations in Michigan and I would like to share some of them with you as a regular feature on this blog.

Americans let billions of pounds of food go to waste every year at home, in restaurants, catering halls, institutions, grocery stores, and in large, commercial kitchens. And with food insecurity on the rise, thankfully, there are a number of nonprofits who have stepped up to rescue this food and deliver it to food pantries, homeless shelters, and other emergency feeding operations.

Oak Park-based Forgotten Harvest, Metro Detroit’s largest food rescue service, has vowed to collect and distribute 36 million pounds of food, per year, by 2013! That is nearly doubling its current capacity. Last year, the organization rescued over 19 million pounds of surplus, prepared, and perishable food from caterers, grocery stores, restaurants, farmers’ markets, and other commercial establishments in Metro Detroit AND delivered it to 158 emergency feeding operations here. With the United Way predicting one in four Michiganders experiencing food insecurity by 2013, Forgotten Harvest leaped into action.

“We need to grow, and we need to grow fast”, said Susan Goodell, the agency’s executive director.


The agency has doubled its food rescue volume in recent years to meet growing need. While previous food deliveries were sent to Detroit and Pontiac,  trucks now drop off food to places in Southfield, Plymouth and Royal Oak as well. To increase operations, Forgotten Harvest will expand its fleet by at least 14 more trucks, Goodell said. The agency will renovate its kitchen space and expand its refrigeration facilities at the Oak Park location.

From The Detroit News

Last year, the Jewish Law Student Association and Environmental Law Society  held a joint bake sale at the law school and raised over $200 for Forgotten Harvest. You too can donate to Forgotten Harvest and find more information at its website:

Categories: Hunger, Michigan, Poverty