In addition to academic and professional opportunities, there are many ways for students to get involved in public interest. The Social Justice Institute offers other campus and community programs including the Public Interest Coalition, the Bruce E. Friedman Community Service Day, Teen Court and pro bono opportunities with the New Hampshire Bar Association. The Social Justice Institute also encourages students to attend regional public interest events and conferences.
Public Interest Coalition
The Public Interest Coalition (PIC) is a student organization that promotes awareness of public interest law and issues. PIC organizes programs, develops public interest projects, and raises funds for the summer Public Interest Fellowship Program. It sponsors events like the Equal Justice Fair in Washington, DC and the Bruce Friedman Community Service Day. Members also work with the Social Justice Institute Director, send people to national and regional public interest conferences, and generally support student involvement in social justice and public interest law. PIC also provides Summer Fellowships to qualified students.
Community Service Day
In memory of long-time Franklin Pierce Law Center professor and Clinic Director Bruce Friedman, PIC organizes and sponsors a day of service that all in the UNH School of Law Community are invited to join. Volunteers from UNH School of Law spend a Saturday morning working for Concord non-profit organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Friends Program, Goodwill, N.H. Dress for Success, the Friendly Kitchen and others.
Cell Phone Donations
PIC collects used cell phones and sends them to the Shelter Alliance, which donates to battered women shelters. In exchange for the phones, Shelter Alliance contributes funds to PIC's Public Interest Fellowship Program, allowing law students to work as unpaid interns for public interest organizations serving the vulnerable and disadvantaged in New Hampshire and throughout the nation.
The project also protects the environment by preventing phones from entering our landfills. Shelter Alliance recycles any unusable phones safely and ecologically. Any cell phone, regardless of age or condition – with or without battery, antenna or charger – can be donated.
The PIC Used Cell Phone Donation Drive is ongoing and open to the public! Anyone wishing to donate a used cell phone can drop it off at the law school, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The collection box is located at the reception desk.
Teen Court is a volunteer opportunity for all UNH School of Law students and alumni. It is a national program that provides first-time juvenile offenders a voluntary sentencing alternative that may avert the criminal justice system. The Merrimack County Juvenile Diversion Program in Concord runs this program and the hearings are presided over by an actual sitting state court judge.
The sentencing involves all teen attorneys and a teen jury, and law students act as mentors for the teen attorneys before and during the hearing. The program gives law students the opportunity to teach teenagers about the judicial process and trial advocacy and work with local judges, attorneys and community leaders.
UNH Law students serve as mentors, helping develop high-school students' basic legal skills. These skills are developed in training sessions and used in the hearings of juvenile offenders.Meetings are held every other Tuesday at the Probate Court in Concord from 4:30 p.m-5:30 p.m.