Archive for Funding

The 2017- 2018 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide is live!

Fellowship Guide word cloud

The 2017-2018 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide is now available on PSJD. The Guide is your first stop in the search for post-graduate fellowships. An exclusively online Guide allows you to search in real time for the most current information. The Guide provides a portal to the database, which features over 300 fellowship opportunities. The database is continually updated, and we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Guide. PSJD also provides tips on applying for fellowships as well as a primer you can pass directly to students, including how to search by fellowship type, geographic location, or deadline. Check it out now; many fellowship application deadlines are quickly approaching.

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Resource Round-Up: PSJD Summer Funding Resources

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

Image courtesy of The Diamond Gallery

The PSJD Resource Center has valuable information for law students, career counselors and lawyers about public service law jobs.

The PSJD Firms Allowing Split Public Interest Summer Options includes a few law firms that have programs that enable law students to work for part of the summer with the firm, and part of the summer with a public interest organization.  Some of the firms will pay all or part of the students’ salaries for the entire summer.  These programs provide an opportunity for a diverse summer experience and demonstrate a firm’s strong commitment to pro bono work.  There are a few variations of the split public interest summer.

The Summer Funding Sources Paid Internship Programs resource lists programs that are either sources of unrestricted funding for summer internships previously secured or programs that will fund students at program host sites for summer work. Some programs have specific issue areas (indicated) and/or geographic restrictions. The table is sorted by typical deadline, with the fall deadlines first followed by the spring deadlines.


*Career Counselor’s Corner*

 

Ashley Matthews, JD, Program Manager for Law School Engagement and Advocacy for Equal Justice works says “The PSJD Summer Funding Guide and Split Summer Firm Guide are both essential lists of stipends, awards, and paid internship programs for public interest law students. We share it in all of our Summer Funding webinars!”

Do you know of a great summer funding opportunity? Send it to us in an email and we’ll do our best to get it up on the website.

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2 Upcoming EJW Webinars – 2/16

Equal Justice Works has two great programs for law students serving at organizations throughout the country for the summer. Learn more about these programs during our free webinar!

Applications are also still open for our Public Interest Awards, and we will also be hosting a student debt relief webinar next week. Details below.

SUMMER FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES WITH EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS
Tuesday, February 16 at 2 p.m. ET

This webinar will introduce participants to AmeriCorps JD and the new Rural Summer Legal Corps program for law students with Equal Justice Works. Learn about the opportunity to earn up to $4,000 this summer working with legal aid organizations nationwide in underserved and rural communities. Topics discussed will include eligibility, program requirements, application process and timeline directly from Equal Justice Works staff.

RURAL SUMMER LEGAL CORPS

Rural Summer Legal Corps connects public interest law students with LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities. Participants earn a $4,000 stipend for their summer service. Applications must be submitted by February 29 for the 31 positions open nationwide.

More information can be found at www.rurallegalcorps.org and questions can be directed to ruralcorps@equaljusticeworks.org.

AMERICORPS JD

AmeriCorps JD provides a $1,212 education award to law students who deliver critically needed legal assistance in underserved communities across the country. Our spring application deadline is April 15.

Learn more about the program and application by reviewing our website and guide. Questions can be directed to americorpsjd@equaljusticeworks.org.

GETTING THE MOST OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES

Option Stipend Education Award Outside Funding
Rural Summer Legal Corps (standalone) $4,000 $0 More than $1,212
Rural Summer Legal Corps + AmeriCorps JD $4,000 $1,212 $300 or less

2016 EQUAL JUSTICE WORKS PUBLIC INTEREST AWARDS

This year, Equal Justice Works’ National Advisory Committee is presenting awards to law students at Equal Justice Works member schools in eight regions who have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and pro bono work.

The Equal Justice Works Public Interest Awards seek to identify and honor law students who have provided extraordinary service through law school clinics, volunteer work, internships, and/or extracurricular projects. Recipients will be honored during an Award Ceremony with a commemorative plaque and $250.

Applications are currently open through March 1, 2016. Please find the application here as well as a list of our member schools divided into eight regions. If you have any questions, please email us at students@equaljusticeworks.org.
ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES CAPPING PSLF – AGAIN!

For the third year in a row, the Obama Administration’s budget proposed capping Public Service Loan Forgiveness at the undergraduate loan limit (currently $57,500). We’ll discuss the implications of this and other legislative proposals on student debt in this month’s free webinar, JDs in Debt: What Law Students & Lawyers Need to Know About Managing Student Loans & Earning Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

As it does every month, the webinar will also provide the in-depth information about programs like income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness law students and lawyers need to manage their student debt. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, February 16 at 3 p.m. ET. Click here to register.

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Regional Summer Funding Opportunity: Virginia State Bar (VSB) Local Government Fellowship

Money Bag

Attention students! The Virginia State Bar (VSB) Local Government Fellowship seeks to attract promising future attorneys to the practice of local government law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To this end, the Board of Governors of the VSB Local Government Section will award a $4,000 fellowship to an outstanding first or second-year law student who has committed to working full-time for a minimum of 10 weeks at a Virginia local government attorney’s office during the summer of 2016, or divide the fellowship between two students working full-time for a minimum of 5 weeks each. The Fellow will also have the opportunity to submit an article on a local government topic or an interview for potential publication in the VSB’s quarterly Journal of Local Government Law.

Sound like you? Then check out their website for more information.

For additional funding opportunities, head on over the PSJD for national and regional funding opportunities.

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Exciting New Announcement from our Friends at EJW

Equal Justice Works is excited to announce the Rural Summer Legal Corps program which connects public interest law students with LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities.

Applications must be submitted by February 29 for the 31 positions open nationwide. Participants must complete 300 hours of service by August 31, 2016 to receive the $4,000 stipend.

More information can be found below and at www.rurallegalcorps.org. Please share this opportunity with any students who may be interested! Questions can be directed to ruralcorps@equaljusticeworks.org.

SERVICE

The Rural Summer Legal Corps program will operate between May-August 2016. Participants will begin the summer with intensive training from poverty law experts on housing, domestic violence, public benefits, migrant farmworkers, Native American, and family law. After the training, the law students will travel directly to their host site to begin their 8-10 week placement.

Participants will build their legal skills in various areas, such as direct legal services, outreach and education, and capacity building.

OPEN POSITIONS

Position descriptions and more information on the Legal Aid Providers can be found on our website. Applications must be submitted here by February 29.

HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION

It is the participant’s responsibility to obtain housing and ensure adequate transportation throughout the summer placement. Legal Aid Providers (host organizations) will provide general information, however it is not the responsibility of the legal aid provider (host organization) to provide direct housing or transportation assistance.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Attend an Equal Justice Works member school.
  • Complete their first or second year of law school by the start of their summer placement.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident (e.g., green card).
  • Pass a criminal background check. Applicants are not disqualified for most criminal records.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license and access to adequate transportation during summer placement.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING

There are two funding options for Rural Summer Legal Corps members. As shown in the table below, the standalone option is favorable for applicants who have significant outside funding from their law school or another source.

Option Stipend Education Award Outside Funding
Rural Summer Legal Corps (standalone) $4,000 $0 More than $1,212
Rural Summer Legal Corps + AmeriCorps JD $4,000 $1,212 $300 or less

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A message from the ABA Division for Public Services regarding the Curtin Justice Fund Legal Internship Program.

The Curtin Justice Fund Legal Internship Program is seeking motivated law student interns to apply for stipends available for summer 2016. The Program will pay a $2,500 stipend to three law school students who spend the summer months working for a bar association or legal services program designed to prevent homelessness or assist homeless or indigent clients or their advocates. The ideal intern will have a demonstrated interest in public interest law and experience working with poor people or on issues affecting them. All law students are eligible, and first year law students are encouraged to apply. The application deadline for Summer 2016 is Monday, March 28, 2016. For more information and the application package, please visit http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_services/homelessness_poverty/john_j_curtin_jr_fellowship1.html.

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Introducing a new blog series: Regional Highlights

NALP Regions Map - Final Version

We are excited to introduce a new blog series: Regional Highlights. Every first Tuesday of the month, we will be posting regional highlights from each of our six NALP member regions. (Click image to enlarge map). These posts will mainly highlight job opportunities, but may also include upcoming public interest events, summer funding deadlines, and other career resources.

Subscribe to keep up to date on opportunities in your region.

 

Here are November’s Regional Highlights:

West/Rocky MountainHonors Attorney Fellowship 2016-2017 (Seattle, WA);  Staff Attorney (San Francisco, CA); Staff Attorney (Los Angeles, CA); Summer Law Clerk (Denver, CO); Americorps Lawyer (Phoenix, AZ); Staff Attorney – Tech Projects (Anchorage, AK)

MidwestTrial Attorney/Assistant Public Defender (Columbia, MO); Staff Attorney (Springfield, IL); The Simon Karas Fellowship 2016-2017 (Columbus, OH) Legal and Policy Program Manager (Detroit, MI); Assistant Attorney General – Civil Appeals (Chicago, IL)

SoutheastEntry-Level Staff Attorney (New Orleans, LA); Staff Attorney (Plantation, FL); Immigrant Justice Project: Two Year Fellowship (Atlanta, GA); Summer Internship (Jackson, MS); Staff Attorney (Memphis, TN); Attorney-Adviser (General) (Fort Knox, KY); Veterans’ Rights Attorney (Alamo, TX); Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney (Houston, TX)

Mid-Atlantic: Staff Attorney (Philadelphia, PA); State and Local Immigration Advocate (Silver Spring, MD); Spring 2016 Legal Research Intern (Alexandria, VA); Summer Law Clerks (Washington, DC); Direct Representation Attorney (Baltimore, MD); Elections Counsel (Washington, DC); Attorney (Washington, DC)

NortheastVermont Poverty Law Fellowship (Burlington, VT); Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney (Boston, MA); Military Records Corrections Staff Attorney (West Haven, CT); Internship Opportunities (Trenton, NJ); Attorney-In-Charge, Brooklyn Neighborhood Office (New York, New York); Workers’ Rights Attorney (Yonkers, NY); Tort Attorney (New York, New York); Government Misconduct/Racial Justice Legal Intern (New York, New York); New York Bar Foundation (Summer funding/Scholarships)

CanadaPSJD Articling Resource

 

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Developing an Elder Law Project Proposal for the Borchard Foundation Fellowship

Adrienne Lyon Buenavista, 2013 Borchard Fellow; Staff Attorney, AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly

As the population of seniors in the United States continues to grow, there is an increasing need for lawyers to practice Elder Law—a field encompassing a wide array of practice areas, including Medicare/Medicaid planning, guardianship proceedings, elder abuse, and other issues affecting elderly individuals. Unfortunately, the most well-known fellowship programs (Equal Justice Works and Skadden) do not fund project proposals focused on Elder Law with the same frequency as project addressing other populations, despite an increasing number of law students pursing Elder Law careers.

Luckily, students interested in pursuing an Elder Law fellowship project can apply to a separate fellowship program specifically devoted to their interest: the Borchard Fellowship in Law and Aging. The Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging funds three fellows per year for a one-year fellowship term.

The Borchard Fellowship application is due on April 15, 2015.  When reviewing applications, the Borchard Foundation looks for three things—an innovative project aimed at assisting elders, a sponsoring organization that is engaged and eager to supervise the fellow, and an applicant with a deep interest in policy that affects the aging and a deep desire to advocate for their interests. 

Proposing an Innovative Project

Although it helps to begin early, there is no uniform process or timeline for developing a project proposal.  Applicants rarely conceive of their ideas in a linear fashion, first defining the legal problem (the “need”), then defining the tasks to address the problem, and finally describing the anticipated impacts of the tasks.  More typically, an applicant will have an idea of one aspect of the project proposal.  For example, one applicant might begin by envisioning what his or her dream job would be like, then define the tasks or activities he or she wants to pursue during the course of the fellowship, and finally backtrack to identify a genuine (and timely) problem he or she will address by performing these desired tasks. A second applicant might begin by brainstorming what legal issues need to be addressed—new legislation to be enforced, or an increase in certain case types (e.g., elder abuse). This second applicant can then work from these legal issues to define the problem his or her project might address, and consider what discrete tasks or actions will meaningfully (yet feasibly) address this problem.

Regardless of how any applicant devises his or her project, a successful project proposal will identify a genuine legal problem, propose tasks to alleviate that problem, and describe anticipated impacts.  As applicants work from one area of their applications outwards to the others, they must continue to assess whether their defined problem, tasks, and impacts correspond.  For instance, if an applicant identifies an increase in senior homelessness as a problem, then his or her proposal’s tasks should include legal strategies for alleviating senior homelessness, and its expected impacts should describe how senior homelessness will be alleviated if these strategies work.  If a proposed project’s impacts are ill-defined or not clearly linked to its tasks, the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging (or any other funding organization) will be unlikely to support the plan, no matter how important the underlying need.

When an applicant is structuring his or her project, the following diagram may be useful (click to enlarge):

Developing a Fellowship Project

Choosing a Sponsor Organization:

While the applicant needs to think through his or her own interest areas, the process of coming up with a project idea is not done in a vacuum. Choosing a sponsor organization that has credibility and experience in Elder Law is critical—this organization should have practitioners in a position to identify the service gaps for their elderly clients.

Demonstrating a Deep Interest in Elder Law:

When applying for a Borchard Fellowship, it is important to demonstrate a sincere interest in Elder Law.  An applicant should ensure his or her resume, cover letter, and personal statement address all experiences providing evidence of this interest: family law and estate planning coursework, Elder Law clinic work, relevant pro bono work or internships, and relevant law review articles or other research.  Additionally, if an applicant has a compelling personal experience that explains why he or she is dedicated to Elder Law, this should be incorporated into the application as well. Stories about specific client experiences that left a particular impact on the applicant are also helpful.

 Conclusion:

 Landing a postgraduate fellowship, especially one in Elder Law, is a highly competitive process.  Applicants need to start early and take the time to cultivate a relationship with a sponsor organization and draft a compelling project proposal.  Applicants should also spend time assessing their resumes and cover letters to ensure their commitment to Elder Law reads through every sentence.

Finally, remember that the process of developing a fellowship proposal is useful even for unsuccessful applicants: Fellowships are an excellent opportunity for recent graduates to envision their dream jobs.  The process of developing a proposal, even if it does not result in funding, forces applicants to define their own goals and to build professional relationships which will prove useful when embarking on their Elder Law careers.   

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Class of 2015 Skadden Fellows from some familiar places.

The Skadden Foundation has announced its Class of 2015 Fellows.  Twenty-eight Fellows, hailing from 16 law schools will begin their projects next year.  Five schools had multiple fellowship awardees; Harvard (6); NYU (2); Stanford (2); Yale (4); and U Penn (3).  Fellows come from the other following schools:  Michigan State, Vanderbilt, University of Chicago, Chicago-Kent, Georgetown, Columbia, UC Irvine, Villanova, Loyola (LA), American University, and Suffolk.  The Fellows will work in 11 states, focusing on issues ranging from the wrongful denial of Medicaid claims for poor, disabled children in Texas to the barriers to housing, employment and education for low-income LGBTQ youth with criminal records in Illinois.

For comparison’s sake, here’s how previous Skadden Fellowship classes have looked:

  • 2014:  28 Fellows from 16 law schools;
  • 2013:  28 Fellows from 16 law schools;
  • 2012: 28 Fellows from 16 law schools;
  • 2011:  29 Fellows from 21 law schools;
  • 2010:  27 Fellows from 20 law schools;
  • 2009:  28 Fellows from 14 law schools.

Congratulations to the Class of 2015!  We look forward to the amazing work you will do!

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Are You Missing Out on Loan Assistance Money? State-Based Loan Repayment Assistance Programs

by Sam Halpert, PSJD Fellow (2014 – 2015)

Law school is expensive (no citation needed). For many legal jobs, including public interest and government sector ones, annual salaries often fail to measure up to the cost of a law degree. This isn’t a new problem, though. Future public interest lawyers have had to worry about their loans for a long time, and one of the key tools we have for dealing with our loan burdens is the LRAP.

LRAP is short for Loan Repayment Assistance Program. (Mercifully, everyone that offers one seems to use the same acronym.) The terms and conditions vary widely, but they all aim to provide some sort of relief to lawyers in low-salaried, public-interest-oriented positions struggling to pay off the “Esq.” at the end of their names. Many, many pixels burn throughout the blogosphere advising prospective law students on the wisdom of inquiring into schools’ LRAP programs (see, e.g., MsJD’s 2013 piece on the subject).  If you’re interested in finding out more about these academic LRAPs, check out Equal Justice Works’ comprehensive list. However, odds are that if you’re lucky enough to have attended a school offering an LRAP you’re already aware of these programs.

What you may not know is that another category of LRAPs exist, based not on where you studied but on where you practice. If you work in one of twenty-three states (or the District of Columbia) you may be eligible to take part in these programs. The time to find out is now. For example, the DC Bar Foundation’s 2015 LRAP is holding two mandatory information sessions next month (the first is October 7th). To find out whether an LRAP is available in your state, check out the ABA’s catalog of all 24 state-based programs.

If you don’t find your state on the ABA’s list, consider asking why. There were only 8 such statewide LRAPs in 2003, when the ABA Commission on Loan Repayment and Forgiveness published its Resource Guide for Creating State LRAPs for Public Service Lawyers. If your state isn’t currently offering assistance to its public interest lawyers, the ABA’s resources and the existing practices of half the states in the country might help you and your colleagues start a conversation and answer difficult questions about drafting, funding and implementing a program wherever you practice and pay your loans.

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