Grantee: Equal-Justice Works
Ranking: 9th highest grantee, 2005 — 2009
Type: Academic Endowment
Issue: Creating Progressive Lawyers
About: Equal-Justice Works started as a student organization in 1986. It has grown into a national left-of-center nonprofit corporation with a nearly $8 million annual budget and a presence far beyond academia in the legal world. Membership includes virtually all (98%) of ABA accredited schools; bar associations in several states; hundreds of the nation’s largest and most prestigeous law firms; legal aid, and legal advocacy organizations; hundreds more law faculty, lawyers and judges, and dozens of non-legal foundations and individual donors. E-JW solicits funds from its membership and private donors, but it also receives taxpayer support: the Federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provided more than a million dollars in aid in 2010 adminstering its E-JW’s AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships Program.
“Serving the historically underserved,” is the rationale by which law schools justify offering facilities and funding to leftist organizations, as well as course credit and other forms of advancement to the students who staff them. Students subscribing to these causes also serve their own careers, as recipients of the highly competitive Equal-Justice Works Fellows know. More than 80% of fellows continue in public interest work after their fellowship ends. Even in a collapsing job market, Equal-Justice Fellowships are still the pipeline to prestigious federal and academic legal positions.
Taxpayer-funded Equal-Justice fellowship programs have expanded rapidly under Obama. In 2010, there were 144 Equal-Justice Works fellows, 66 E-JW AmeriCorps Legal fellows and 541 Summer Corps Fellows. Taxpayers contributed more than a million dollars to these programs through the CNCS. An additional $1.2 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act subsidized thirty more fellows, and a public defender program is being developed. The fellows worked at more than 100 nonprofits, “addressing critical issues such as access to services for disabled children, predatory lending in immigrant communities and domestic violence.”1
Public money from several sources; dues from public and private law schools, and professional fees collected from practicing attorneys through bar associations therefore subsidizes the mentoring and training of new generations of leftist “public interest lawyers.”
Equal-Justice Works is also ensuring that lawyers choosing “public service” receive other benefits. In the face of “staggering educational debt loads,” Equal Justice Works has taken a leadership role in successfully advocating for loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs) and federal legislation that enable graduates to pay back their loans as a percentage of income and to get loan forgiveness after 10 years, so long as they work in “public service” positions. E-JW “educates thousands of law students and law school advisors about these programs that enable lawyers to take public interest jobs without regard to their educational debt.”
Mission Statement: The mission of Equal Justice Works is to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. We provide leadership to ensure a sustainable pipeline of talented and trained lawyers are involved in public service. Equal Justice Works provides a continuum of programs that begin with incoming law school students and extend into later careers in the profession. We provide the nation’s leading public interest law fellowship program and offer more postgraduate, full-time legal positions in public service than any other organization.
Soros Funding: Soros has donated $6.5 million to Equal-Justice Works since 2005.
25th Anniversary Gala: Honored guests at E-JW’s 25th Anniversary Gala:
Board of Directors:
Fellows Host Organizations: organizations where E-JW fellows are assigned to work, essentially granting these organizations taxpayer funding to support their agendas:
The Equal Justice Works Board of Directors features several nationally prominent law firms and investment companies, as well as some activists such as Sabrina Andrus, Law Students for Reproductive Justice; Barbara R. Arnwine, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Judith Lichtman, National Partnership for Women and Families and the George Soros funded Center for American Progress.
The Equal Justice Works 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner was held Thursday, October 20, 2011 at the JW Marriott Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC. Speakers were:
The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr. Attorney General of the United States
The Honorable Deval Patrick , Governor of Massachusetts
Addendum: Throughout the legal profession, Equal-Justice Works has achieved the sort of cross-institutional saturation and ideological conformity Soros seeks to implement in other realms. And it has done so with virtually no resistance, indicating the extremity of self-selecting ideological biases already present in legal education.
When the Koch Brothers attempt to fund an endowment in one department at a single school, academics and editors explode across the nation in outrage and indignation. But when 200 law schools, public and private, join a left-wing advocacy organization, nobody blinked an eye. Equal-Justice Works brags publicly about expanding the delivery of its “just society” message into law schools:
The mission of Equal Justice Works is to create a just society by mobilizing the next generation of lawyers committed to equal justice. For nearly 25 years, Equal Justice Works has collaborated with the nation’s leading law firms, corporate legal departments, bar foundations, law schools and nonprofit organizations to provide the training and opportunities that enable attorneys to provide effective representation to vulnerable populations. We help law schools establish and strengthen public interest programs. [emphasis added]2
City Journal writer Heather Mac Donald (JD Stanford University) has written about the spread of liberal politics on law school campuses, and in the classrooms, through inevitably leftist “clinic” programs programs:
To understand how politically one-sided law schools are, look no further than the law school “clinic.” These campus law firms, faculty-supervised and student-staffed, have been engaging in left-wing litigation and political advocacy for 30 years. Though law schools claim that the clinics teach students the nuts and bolts of law practice, while providing crucial legal representation to poor people, in fact they routinely neither inculcate lawyering skills nor serve the poor. They do, however, offer the legal professoriate a way to engage in political activism€”almost never of a conservative cast.3
She adds, “If you wonder why law school profs invariably deem conservative jurists ‘out of the mainstream,’ a survey of the clinical universe makes clear what the academy’s legal ‘mainstream’ really means.”