Name: Judith Maute
Title: William J. Alley Professor of Law
School: University of Oklahoma Coll. of Law
University of Oklahoma College of Law
300 Timberdell Road
Norman, OK 73019
Phone: (405) 325-4747
William J. Alley Professor of Law, Judith Maute, is the founding faculty sponsor for Students for Access to Justice, or “SATJ.” Setting forth SATJ’s strong foundation, Professor Maute envisioned using law students as a way to meet the legal needs of the community. Accordingly, she appointed law students to serve as the immediate facilitators of the program. SATJ is run by a third-year law student who serves as the primary coordinator along with a second-year law student who assists with SATJ’s functions. This setup ensures that a knowledgeable student remains in charge of SATJ and is always familiar with SATJ’s matching process between law students and the pro bono projects. As a result, SATJ has been able to connect law students with various pro bono projects that have made an impact on the community. Participating entities include, but are not limited to: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Oklahoma CASA Program, Oklahoma Bar Association: Access to Justice Committee, Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, Oklahoma County Public Defender’s Office, Catholic Charities Immigration Service, Grady County District Attorney’s Office, Oklahoma Appleseed Foundation, ACLU of Oklahoma, Cleveland County Courts, and more.
An example of this impact is Ashley Martzen, a second year law student, who wrote a paper for the Oklahoma Bar Association Access to Justice Committee on the topic of unbundled legal services (also known as discrete task of limiting representation to pro se litigants). Ms. Martzen’s paper was written under Professor Maute’s supervision as directed legal research, and it was subsequently enthusiastically adopted by the committee. Her recommendations formed the basis of a 2006 legislative agenda, which was approved by the OBA House of Delegates at their annual meeting in November of 2005. Another notable example of the impact that SATJ volunteers have in the community are the ten law students who are currently serving as Court Appointed Special Advocates in Cleveland County. These law students completed 30 hours of training before appointed by the Juvenile Court to act as an advocate for an abused or neglected child. The Court Appointed Special Advocate devotes time to ensure that the individual child is not lost within the judicial system.
In addition to the good work that SATJ law students are doing, SATJ has also been recognized nationally as an innovative law school pro bono program at this year’s Equal Justice Works Conference held in Washington, D.C. At the request of the ABA Center for Pro Bono, Paola Alvarez, a third year law student and current SATJ Senior Coordinator, served as a conference speaker and shared SATJ materials with law schools interested in implementing similar law school pro bono programs. This conference invitation and national recognition confirms that SATJ is heading in the right direction and is making an impact on the legal community with the help of its law student volunteers. The program grows each semester, and will continue to impact many in a positive way.
In April 2004, the OU College of Law held the official kickoff of its Pro Bono Referral Program in order to promote a spirit of service within the law school. Nearly a year and half later the Pro Bono Referral Program, now known as Students for Access to Justice (SATJ), has connected over 90 law students with area organizations, professors, government agencies and the courts at all levels to assist on pro bono projects. Many such connections are initiated at SATJ’s annual Pro Bono Fair, held each spring. The Pro Bono Fair, held at the law school, offers organizations a chance to distribute informational material and make contacts, and it provides students with the opportunity to learn about many different agencies and opportunities.
Since April of 2004, these law student volunteers have learned the art of balancing school along with providing an average of 50 volunteer hours to answer the legal needs of the community. SATJ law students have volunteered an excess of 3,500 total hours since the program’s inception, and the number of students involved grows each semester. Although there are student volunteers participating in the program throughout the year, summer is often the time when the most valuable experience can be gained through a full-time or part-time internship.
There were 24 students placed in volunteer positions for the summer of 2005. They served in courts and agencies throughout Oklahoma. Several students clerked for judges and worked in various District Attorneys’ offices, while others worked for organizations like the ACLU, Legal Aid, EEOC, OICA, Oklahoma Lawyers for Children, Oklahoma Appleseed, and CASA. Feedback from students and attorneys involved in the summer program has been excellent, and it is certain that even more students will become involved in the summer of 2006.
In October of 2005, Paola Alvarez, the SATJ senior student coordinator, was asked to speak about SATJ at the Equal Justice Works conference in Washington D.C. This national recognition of the program reflects its success and its potential for growth. In the future, Professor Maute and the student coordinators of SATJ will begin implementing additional components to the program. For instance, the first annual awards luncheon will be held for participating students this spring, and students completing a certain number of pro bono hours will be eligible to wear a special cord at graduation. The official recognition policy, which was adopted by the OU College of Law faculty, attached.
SATJ has recently joined on as a stakeholder for the newly-formed probono.net/ok, and Professor Maute has been extremely involved in making policy decisions regarding this program. Additionally, plans being made for special student projects with probono.net/ok, so that students can participate in preparing and posting brochures, research memoranda and forms to assist Oklahoma attorneys in providing cost-effective pro bono representation to persons of limited means. Under Professor Maute’s direction, SATJ will soon be growing to involve even more students and impacting more people in need of pro bono services.
The following supporting materials will be submitted as part of Judith Maute’s application.
-Professor Maute’s resume
-Letter of support from Dean Andrew Coats (pdf)
-Sample meeting agenda for introductory SATJ meeting (pdf)
-2004 Pro Bono Fair info (pdf)
-2005 Pro Bono Fair letter to potential participating organizations
-Proposal to faculty for school to officially recognize pro bono service (written by Professor Maute) (pdf)