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Justice for All: VT Law School Supports Poverty Law Coalition, Fellowships

December 2, 2011

Continuing its tradition of supporting access to justice for all, Vermont Law School and VLS's South Royalton Legal Clinic recently helped host a reception for the Vermont Poverty Law Fellowships program and Vermont Access to Justice Coalition.

 The Nov. 28 event in Montpelier included U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, who said the Vermont legal community's ongoing support for the Fellowships has enabled the program to attract candidates nationally to fill a position that contributes to the well being of Vermont's residents, legal community and courts.

Vermont Poverty Law Fellows Grace Pazdan (2008-2010) and Jessica Radbord (2010-2012) told moving stories about clients they have helped--Pazdan as foreclosure crisis fellow and Radbord as safe housing fellow.

Representing VLS at the event were Professor James May, director of the SRLC, and Professor Kinvin Wroth.

The Vermont Access to Justice Coalition includes the Vermont Supreme Court, Vermont Bar Association, Vermont Bar Foundation, Vermont Law School, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Law Line of Vermont, and Vermont Legal Aid. Coalitions similar to Vermont's exist in most states and all are focused on increasing access to justice.

The Vermont Access to Justice Coalition meets monthly at the Vermont Supreme Court. Members share their expertise to craft solutions designed to improve legal representation for low-income Vermonters in civil cases. Two major current efforts are the Access to Justice Campaign, which funds the Vermont Poverty Law Fellow, and a new civil legal needs canvassing effort being conducted in counties across the state. The coalition also works to create new pro bono and low bono (moderate fee for service) opportunities for legal representation of Vermont's indigent citizens.

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