Constitution

CONSTITUTION FOR THE PUBLIC INTEREST LAW ORGANIZATION OF TOURO (PILOT)

2010 - 2011

MISSION STATEMENT

PILOT is a student organization dedicated to the promotion of public interest law. Students work to raise awareness of the benefits of public interest law, the various types of public interest law, and ways in which students may become involved in public interest projects and other public service events.

MEMBERSHIP

In order to be recognized as an active member of PILOT, students must regularly attend monthly meetings. Additionally, students must volunteer for at least one of two annual events: (1) Wine and Cheese Event, which takes place each fall semester, or (2) Goods and Services Auction, which takes place each spring semester. Students must also participate in at least two additional activities including, but not limited to, the following: City Bar Public Service Reception, Public Service Project (to take place during summer orientation), Bake Sale/Fundraiser, Public Interest Law Retreat (takes place during the Spring semester), Public Advocacy Center Breakfast, Speaker Series, PILOT Pro Bono Project, Equal Justice Works Public Service Career Job Fair, New York University Public Interest Job Fair, and/or the Touro Law Center Job Fair. Majority membership of PILOT must consist of full and part-time Touro students. It is the policy of Touro Law Center to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation in its education programs, admissions policies, employment policies, and other school administered programs, and to refuse access to employers who refuse to sign nondiscrimination statements and/or who otherwise discriminate in violation of the nondiscrimination policy.

EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES

Each academic year, PILOT sponsors and co-sponsors several events. PILOT aims to co-sponsor events with other student organizations with similar missions, objectives and purposes. In the event that a student organization wishes to co-sponsor an event with PILOT, the entire executive board must first vote on whether or not PILOT will co-sponsor the event. If the executive board cannot come to a majority conclusion as to whether PILOT will co-sponsor an event, the executive board must then ask the general members to vote either for or against co-sponsoring the event. The contributed funds for a co-sponsored event will be determined on a case-by-case basis and will be voted on by the executive board.

Wine and Cheese Event

The Wine and Cheese Event takes place during the Fall semester of each academic year. There is some flexibility around the date that this event should take place, depending on other activities that are planned, holidays and vacation days, and the due dates of major student assignments (e.g. Legal Process I Memorandum of Law due date). The primary function of this event is to raise awareness about the Federal Loan Forgiveness Program, which is available to individuals working in the public interest field. PILOT must strive to include as many students, alumni, faculty and staff as possible in order to ensure that this event is a success. Tickets for the event shall be purchased in advance. Students are admitted free, but must RSVP in advance of the event.

Goods and Services Auction

The Goods and Services Auction takes place during the Spring semester of each academic year. The primary function of this event is to raise money for Touro's Public Interest Law Fellowship program. PILOT must aim to include as many students, alumni, faculty and staff as possible in order to ensure that this event is a success. In addition, PILOT and the Loan Forgiveness and Fellowship committee are responsible to work closely with Alumni Relations to generate donations, ensure attendance of as many people as possible, and secure volunteers for the evening of the event.

New York City Bar Public Service Reception

The City Bar Public Service Reception takes place at the beginning of the Fall Semester, typically on or about September 1, and is held at the New York City Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY, between 5th and 6th Avenue. The purpose of this event is to introduce students to and highlight the outstanding and rewarding work done in the public service. Participation in the Public Interest Career Reception will enable students to make contacts and talk with public interest practitioners about their work and experiences. Students will gain a significantly greater understanding of the range of public interest/public service work, and enable students to make better choices during their planning process and job search. Not only is this reception informative, it is also a great networking opportunity. PILOT will provide some reimbursement for students wishing to attend. Executive board members are expected to attend the reception.

Public Service Project

The Public Service Project takes place during the orientation held for incoming first year students. PILOT Executive Board members are expected to volunteer in some capacity in order to raise awareness about PILOT and engage in networking with the incoming first year students. During the Public Service Project, PILOT Executive Board members should collect e-mail addresses of interested students and follow up during the first week of classes.

Bake Sale/Fundraiser

Each semester, PILOT shall sponsor a bake sale or other fundraiser, the funds of which will be donated to a charitable or not-for-profit organization of PILOT's choosing. Each PILOT executive board member will select a charitable or not-for-profit organization that they would like to see the funds donated to. The donation will be complete upon a majority vote of general members who will decide where they prefer the proceeds be donated.

Public Interest Law Retreat

The Public Interest Law Retreat takes place early during the Spring semester of each academic year and is geared toward building working relationships in and among the members of various organizations dedicated to public interest law in various law schools in the region. Each year, the Retreat has been coordinated by students from a different law school, providing them the opportunity to learn how to organize such an event, to plan the program, and to select and invite public interest practitioners to be speakers and mentors. The retreat takes place during an entire weekend and the location changes each year. PILOT will pay for a minimum of two students to attend the Public Interest Law Retreat, not including transportation and other costs. Depending on the number of students interested in attending the retreat, however, PILOT may only be able to pay only a portion of the cost of each student's attendance.

Public Advocacy Center Breakfast

Toward the end of the Fall semester, but before final examinations, PILOT shall sponsor an informal breakfast with members of the Public Advocacy Center (PAC). The purpose of this breakfast is to inform students about the work that the PAC does, start to get students thinking about the possibility of completing their pro bono requirement, working at the PAC during the school year as a work study employee, or interning over the summer at the PAC.

Speaker Series

PILOT must sponsor or co-sponsor at least one event each semester where a professional in the public interest legal field speaks on behalf of their experience. Typically each speaker-related event shall take place over the course of a 50-minute luncheon, but other arrangements may be made depending on the expected volume of the event and popularity of the speaker.

PILOT Pro Bono Project

The Juvenile Justice Project is PILOT's pro-bono project this year. We are working in conjunction with the Center for Restorative Practices at the PAC.  The program is aimed at breaking the school to prison pipeline where youth have engaged in minor criminal activities and find themselves under probation or conditional restraints, which make it more likely than not that they will be imprisoned for mild infractions.  For instance, if a 13 year old is caught shop lifting and is on probation with the condition that he or she does not engage in any misconduct in school, if that 13 year old then finds him or herself in a fight in school, they not only risk suspension or expulsion, but imprisonment based on violating probationary conditions.  The concern with this arrangement is that the Juvenile Justice System is taking youth who have committed relatively mild infractions and sending them to prison where rehabilitative efforts are minimized.  The forecast in this scenario is that we are producing hardened criminals at a young age rather than restoring youth to more law abiding members of the community.  

Equal Justice Works Job Fair

The Equal Justice Works Public Service Career Fair is typically held during one weekend in October in Washington, D.C. The Fair (and associated conference) provides a remarkable opportunity for students (first-year students may not interview) and alums to interview and network with scores of public service legal employers. PILOT will allocate a portion of its budget toward sending students to this Career Fair and divide the funds among students who express interest.

New York University Job Fair

The Public Interest Law Center (PILC) at New York University School of Law holds an annual Public Interest Legal Career Fair in the beginning of February; it is the largest Fair of its kind in the country.

The Fair gives employers the opportunity to meet with students and allows students to interview with employers for internships and permanent jobs, as well as to talk with employers at information tables.

The Fair is located at Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, between MacDougal and Sullivan Streets.  Employer and Student Registration open at 8 AM.  Interviews and Table Talk run from 9:20 AM to 5 PM each day. 

For general travel information, including a campus map and directions, please go to http://www.nyu.edu/community/visitors.html. Please contact NYU in advance at law.pilcfair@nyu.edu or 212-998-6686 to arrange special accommodations.

Touro Law Center Job Fair

Touro Law Center hosts an annual public interest job fair with public interest employers, primarily those located in and around Long Island, New York. Touro's job fair is typically held around the same time as the NYU Job Fair. In anticipation of the annual Touro Law Center Job Fair, PILOT co-sponsors several informative sessions with the Career Services Office ("CSO"), in which students who attend can learn about what to expect and ask any questions that they might have.   

AWARDS, HONORS AND FUNDING

Touro Law Center is well-known for providing students with various sources of funding, particularly for those students dedicated to public interest work. For each of the following awards, honors, and other sources of funding, PILOT must make students aware of application deadlines, where applications can be found and submitted, and all other pertinent information. This includes sending e-mail reminders of approaching deadlines to general members, posting applications on PILOT's TWEN site, and discussing the various awards and sources of funding and meetings preceding application deadlines.  Public Interest Law Fellowship Awards, Charles H. Revson Fellowship Awards, and Work Study funds are generally taxed.

Student of the Semester Public Service Award

Each semester, PILOT will accept nominations for students who have performed exemplary public service. A call for nominations shall be solicited via the Touro Times, the weekly SBA e-mails to students, to faculty and staff and during general meetings. Nominations must include the name of the student and a brief description of the basis for the nomination, which should include the organization or professor for whom the services were performed, the dates of the service, and why this student's services were noteworthy.  Self-nominations are permitted. The executive board must approve a nominee to receive the award by a majority vote. The recipient will be presented with a Certificate of Appreciation and a $25 gift card to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore located at Touro Law Center.

Public Interest Law Fellowship Awards

Summer funding for admitted applicants is available through Public Interest Law Fellowship ("PILF") Awards. PILF Awards come in the form of a $4,000 stipend, distributed every two weeks after the commencement of the summer internship.

Charles H. Revson Fellowship Award

Summer funding for public interest legal internships is available through New York University Law School, Charles H. Revson Fellowship Award ("Revson Fellowship"). Applications for this fellowship must be submitted early in the Fall semester (typically there is an October deadline). Revson Awards come in the form of a $4,500 stipend, two-thirds of which is distributed at the commencement of the summer internship and the remaining third to be distributed upon completion.

Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Awards

Students who will have a summer internship in the public interest field are encouraged to apply for an Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Award ("Summer Corps Award").  Applications for this award must be submitted late in the Spring semester. Students are encouraged to apply well before the deadline, as this award has often been awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The Summer Corps Award is not distributed as a cash stipend; it is a $1,000 education award voucher to be put towards qualifying education expenses.

Work Study Funds

Work study is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. As such, it is very important that students apply for work study in a timely manner, well in advance of the application deadline. Work study funds typically come in the form of a $3,500 stipend, but may be less depending on the number of student applicants and the amount distributed to Touro Law Center. Funds are distributed every two weeks after the student has commenced his or her summer internship.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Officers for the following academic year shall be elected in the beginning of the preceding spring semester. Students elected into positions must "shadow" current officers in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Students running opposed for a position on PILOT's Executive Board shall submit a position paper, not to exceed one page, double spaced, 12 point font. The position paper must include (but is not limited to): The position that the student is running for, the role that the student has had in PILOT in the past, and any anticipated changes and/or improvements that the student plans to incorporate if elected onto the Executive Board. Students who are running unopposed for a position are not mandated to submit a position paper. Elections must take place via PILOT's TWEN site, to take place over the course of at least 24 hours, but no more than 72 hours. Voting shall take place only by current members of PILOT.

In the event that an executive board member resigns from his or her position, the availability of the position shall be posted and advertised. In the event that more than one student expresses interest in the open seat, an election shall take place in accordance with the election rules outlined above.

In only drastic situations may an executive board member be removed from his or her office position. Before removal procedures are to be considered, however, the entire executive board must meet and discuss any and all problems that have been reported, and place the executive board member on "warning" that he or she is at risk of being removed. In the event that the conditions do not improve, or worsen, the executive board will meet again and, by a majority vote only, may remove the executive board member from his or her position. Removal is appropriate if an executive board member engages in conduct unbecoming. The removed member will have the opportunity to either resign or bring the Removal to the Student Bar Association's Judicial Review Board. The elected member is not removed until either he or she resigns or the Executive Board's decision is upheld by the Judicial Review Board.

 

PILOT shall typically refrain from engaging in the endorsement of students seeking to run for a Student Bar Association ("SBA") Executive Board or other, similar position in a student organization or otherwise. In the event that a student seeks PILOT's endorsement, they must submit a position paper to PILOT's Executive Board (pilot-board@tourolaw.edu). The position paper must indicate the candidate's reason for seeking PILOT's endorsement. After receiving the candidate's position paper, the executive board will vote on whether or not to endorse the candidate. By majority vote only, the endorsement will be raised at the next general member meeting and a vote by the majority of members present at that general meeting. In the event that a tie vote occurs, PILOT will abstain from endorsing the candidate.

 

EXECUTIVE BOARD POSITIONS AND DUTIES

PILOT shall consist of the following officer positions: President, Vice President, Liaison of Loan Forgiveness and Fellowship Awards, Secretary and Treasurer. Officers must be currently enrolled as either full or part-time Touro Students. The roles and responsibilities of each officer are outlined below:

President:

  1. Oversight of PILOT in its entirety. This includes:
    • Schedule, organize and present at monthly Executive Board and General meetings;
    • Approval of the budget for the upcoming academic year (after it has been developed by the treasurer);
    • Direct involvement with the planning and development of all activities and events, including the creation of new activities and events as well as connecting with other Touro Organizations to facilitate events;
    • Participate in fundraising and networking opportunities; and
    • Coordinate Executive Board elections for the following academic year.

Vice President:

  1. Communicate and work closely with the Student Bar     Association (via the student American Bar Association Representative) to develop and integrate public interest projects and secure funding for various projects;
  2. Assist the President with developing activities, programs and events;
  3. Lead meetings, activities and events when the President is unavailable; and
  4. Recruit new members.

Liaison of Loan Forgiveness and Fellowship Awards:

  1. Work closely with the Office of Alumni Relations in order to coordinate the Wine and Cheese Event, which takes place each Fall semester, as well as the Goods and Services Auction, which takes place each Spring semester;
  2. Be available for conferences and/or teleconferences with the Alumni Office during the planning stages of the Wine and Cheese Event and the Goods and Services Auction; and
  3. Create and maintain a "Loan Forgiveness and Fellowship Committee," to assist in the day-to-day tasks associated with coordination of the aforementioned events.
    • This Committee shall consist of at least five general members (Loan Forgiveness and Fellowship Officers) who are responsible, dedicated to public interest work, and have regularly attended PILOT meetings.
    • It is the sole responsibility of the Liaison to delegate various duties to the Officers. 

Secretary:

  1. Maintain records of each and every Executive Board and General meeting. Notes of meetings shall be posted on PILOT's TWEN site within 24 hours, shall be labeled "(General or E-Board) Meeting Minutes for (date of meeting);"
  2. Reserve rooms for Executive Board and General meetings at least two weeks in advance of the meeting and, if necessary, order refreshments. (Must be done through Marie Koch in the Office of Student Services);
  3. Create posters and flyers for upcoming events and meetings;
  4. Send announcements of upcoming events to the Touro Times;
  5. E-Mail Dean Rosenblum in advance of at least one week, including the date, time, and room number of any General Meeting that is scheduled to take place. This e-mail should also include a brief agenda of the meeting;
  6. E-mail all general members of PILOT in advance of at least 24 hours, including the date, time and room number of all General Meetings that are scheduled to take place. This e-mail should also include a brief agenda of the meeting;
  7. Update TWEN with scholarship, event, and writing competition information. Ensure that information for upcoming job fairs is posted; and
  8. Take attendance at meetings.

Treasurer:

  1. Develop and maintain a budget for the fall and spring    semesters. This budget should be distributed to other executive board members, and should also be posted on PILOT's TWEN site for the general members to see;
  2. Maintain the budget, which involves keeping an up-to-date balance sheet of all expenditures. This includes keeping receipts of all purchases;
  3. Solicit local businesses to donate food for general meetings and/or sponsor our events and programs; and
  4. Make purchases on behalf of PILOT. In the event that an executive board member other than the treasurer makes a purchase, the treasurer must be sure to deduct the appropriate amount of funds from the allotted budget.

Executive board members must attend monthly executive board and general meetings, as well as many events and programs as possible. In the event that a board member is unable to attend an executive board or general meeting, he/she is expected to notify the other members of the executive board in advance.

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

PILOT is largely funded by the Student Activity Fee. All funds that are obtained from the Student Activity Fee are utilized in strict observance with the Student Activity financial responsibility statement as stated in the Student Bar Association's Constitution.

Those funds that PILOT receives not from the Student Activity Fee, but from independent fundraising are typically used to supplement PILOT's budget when the Student Activity Fee or other discretionary funds are unavailable. 

DUTIES OF OFFICIAL ADVISOR

The official faculty advisor to PILOT is Thomas Maligno, Executive Director of the Public Advocacy Center. Duties include: attendance of meetings when available; general oversight of the organization; input and suggestions as to how to improve the organization; and assistance in the development of PILOT's Pro Bono Project.  

AMENDMENT PROCEDURE

Amendments to this Constitution may be presented to the Executive Board by any General Member at a regularly scheduled meeting. The Executive Board and general members will have two weeks to consider the Amendment. The Amendment will be ratified into the Constitution upon a majority vote. Upon approval of the Amendment by the Executive Board, the proposed amendment will be distributed to the General Members and a new copy of the Constitution will be made readily available on TWEN.