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Stand Up for Civil Rights and Individual Liberties


Vol. 40 No. 9

By Sam Feinson

Sam Feinson a 3L at Seattle University School of Law, is the 2011–12 Law Student Division liaison to the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities.
Founded at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (IRR) is the only entity within the dedicated entirely to addressing civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights issues. The Section takes pride in its unique mission within the ABA of providing leadership to the legal profession in protecting and advancing human rights, civil liberties, and social justice. Through education and advocacy, the Section expresses the legal profession’s commitment to achieving the American ideals of justice, freedom, and equality for all through the legal system.

Throughout the year, opportunities arise for students to get involved through committee membership, Section internships, and participation in substantive programming.

Committees. IRR boasts 18 committees that drive the Section’s programming and policy efforts. The work of these committees touches upon a diverse range of legal fields including criminal, civil, administrative, family, tribal, corporate, and health law. Involvement in a committee presents an excellent opportunity for a student to meet distinguished practitioners in these areas, to learn about critical rights issues, and to assist in the development of section programs and resolutions.

Internships. Legal internships with IRR offer unique opportunities to work alongside national experts in conducting research and drafting documents for the Section’s special program initiatives. Opportunities exist throughout the year for students to become involved with the Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, the AIDS Coordinating Committee, and the Center for Human Rights. Students with a demonstrated interest in these areas are strongly encouraged to contact the Section about position availability.

Programming. IRR prides itself on presenting cutting-edge substantive programs and other materials addressing prominent current issues affecting civil rights and personal freedoms. The various ways the Section furthers its mission include CLE programming, stand-alone conferences, briefs of amicus curiae before the US Supreme Court, and the award-winning Human Rights magazine.

Students are also invited and encouraged to take an active role in the Section’s critical work. Members of the Law Student Division are able to join for free and usually receive a waiver of any program registration fees. To learn more about the Section, visit their website.

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.

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