Election Protection (EP):
Following the 2000 election, which highlighted the shortcomings and failures of administering U.S. elections, the non-partisan Election Protection (“EP”) coalition was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. Since 2004, the Lawyers’ Committee has led Election Protection in coordination and partnership with non-partisan efforts across the country to educate voters on their rights and provide real-time and on-the-ground support to voters as they head to the polls. Key components of Election Protection include the 1-866-OUR-VOTE hotline and voter protection field programs across the country, which provide Americans with comprehensive voter information and guidance on how they can make sure their vote is counted.
In partnership with the Voting Rights Project, the Legal Mobilization Project works to develop and implement the infrastructure needed to deploy thousands of Election Protection legal volunteers to help voters on the phones and at the polls. LMP also revamped the Our Vote Live online database, which is critical to documenting and capturing the American voting experience. In addition, LMP attorneys and organizers not only provide support during the election cycle, they work throughout the year with state partners, election administrators and advocates to address problems that arise and recommend improvements to the electoral process.
Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP):
The Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program (“PREP”) seeks to improve K-12 student performance, retention, and access to equal educational opportunities. The program serves low-income and minority children in targeted communities by increasing parental engagement in education and ensuring that parents become successful advocates for their children. A program of the Educational Opportunities Project, PREP seeks to ensure that every child has meaningful access to a quality education. Key to that success is parental involvement and empowerment. Research clearly demonstrates that parental involvement is one of the pillars of educational achievement.
Working with the Legal Mobilization Project, PREP utilizes its extensive connections with law firms and in-house counsel to provide mobilized legal support. Multiple pro bono lawyers provide free advice for parents helping them to create a detailed action plan and follow-up to ensure that parents continue their self-advocacy efforts. Currently, PREP, with LMP’s assistance to develop an extensive infrastructure and web-based platform, is working to nationally expand the services it provides to parents and families through a number of online services including an e-clinic and educational webinars.
Clemency Project 2014:
Beginning in January 2014, President Obama and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a sweeping clemency initiative aimed at addressing the large number of federal inmates who are serving unjust and disproportionately long sentences. U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole solicited the assistance of the nation’s bar to help DOJ identify nonviolent prisoners, who, if sentenced today under current sentencing laws and policies, would likely have received a substantially lower sentence.
Clemency Project 2014 (“CP14”) is a historic effort to mobilize the private bar to represent thousands of individuals for this special clemency initiative. In response, a number of organizations, including the Federal Defenders, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) formed Clemency Project 2014. To date, Clemency Project 2014 has received more than 30,000 requests for pro bono assistance from individuals in federal prison. Volunteers from large and small law firms, public defenders, law schools and solo practitioners, represent these individuals in order to determine their eligibility under the Administration’s clemency criteria and in the case when they do, represent them in preparing and submitting a clemency petition.
The Lawyers’ Committee, through the Legal Mobilization Project, plays a major supporting role to Clemency Project 2014. LMP provides technical expertise in program development and infrastructure, as well as in volunteer management systems and training. In addition, LMP also spearheaded the recruitment of over 1,000 attorney volunteers from over 60 of the nation’s top law firms to represent federal inmates who have applied to be considered for clemency. LMP assists Clemency Project 2014 in managing these volunteers, developing training materials, and providing volunteer support.
Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (LMSPN):
As a result of the subprime mortgage crisis and the economic turmoil and foreclosures that ensued, millions of distressed homeowners became vulnerable targets to unscrupulous and sometimes criminal third-party scammers, con-artists, and thieves. These homeowners, desperate to keep their homes, were at risk from individuals and companies posing as “loan modification specialists,” some of whom were the very people who previously peddled subprime loans. Often, while waiting for the promised relief, homeowners not only lost their money but often fell deeper into default. To respond to this crisis, the Lawyers’ Committee through the Legal Mobilization Project, Fair Housing and Community Development Project, and partners helped create a coordinated national campaign. The resulting Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (“LMSPN”) strengthened the fight against these scammers and supported efforts at the national, state, and local levels.
LMP played a critical role in the design and implementation of the dynamic LMSPN Database, available to our partners as a web-based platform that consolidates homeowner complaints against alleged loan modification scammers. Since its inception in early 2010, the database has captured over 40,000 homeowner complaints representing reported homeowner losses totaling over $90 million. In addition, LMP was primarily responsible for the creation of the LMSPN website, which utilizes state-by-state information for homeowners. Working with the Fair Housing and Community Development Project, LMP attorneys also spearheaded case development and litigation components to bring lawsuits against scammers, engage federal and state law enforcement officials, and conduct legal research.