Are you a recent graduate or rising 3L looking for public interest career opportunities? Equal Justice Works (“EJW”) might be right for you.
EJW has helped launch the public interest careers of more than a thousand attorneys through its paid postgraduate public interest fellowship programs. These fellowship programs fund hundreds of public interest attorneys each year to close the justice gap on issues such as unemployment, foreclosure, community economic development, immigration, civil rights, homelessness, access to healthcare, and domestic violence.
Read on for details regarding the EJW AmeriCorps Fellowship Program for recent graduates and the EJW Fellowship Program for recent graduates and rising 3Ls.
EJW AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships – Recent Graduates Only
EJW currently has funding for AmeriCorps Fellowship positions under three grants – the Veterans Legal Corps (VLC), the Employment Opportunity Legal Corps (EOLC), and the Disaster Legal Corps (DLC). VLC Fellows will provide legal assistance to low-income and homeless veterans by providing critical legal services that help individuals achieve higher incomes, improve access to healthcare, secure housing, and improve family stability. The EOLC seeks lawyers with an interest in removing barriers to employment for unemployed or underemployed people who are actively seeking to join the labor market by expunging minor criminal records, correcting errors in criminal records, and restoring driver’s licenses and occupational licenses, in addition to other available legal remedies. DLC Fellows provide legal services to victims of disaster in areas destroyed by tornadoes, storms, and other natural disasters. They focus on helping disaster victims access FEMA benefits, secure stable housing, follow up on disputed insurance claims, and litigate cases involving predatory contractors.
Fellowships begin between August 15 and September 15, 2015 and run for an 11-12 month term (with possible renewals for a second year). For a complete list of current openings under the VLC, the EOLC, and the DLC, visit Equal Justice Works. EJW will continue to post these fellowship positions from now through the end of July as they become open, so interested applicants should check the website regularly. All AmeriCorps Fellowship positions will be posted on the EJW website, but applicants must apply directly to the host site and should contact host sites directly for further information on position availability.
EJW Fellowships – Recent Graduates and Rising 3Ls
EJW Fellowships provide the opportunity for lawyers to positively affect vulnerable communities around the country through new and innovative legal projects that can impact lives and serve communities in desperate need of legal assistance. Together with a host organization, Fellows design a unique project which focuses on legal advocacy on behalf of disenfranchised individuals, groups or issues not adequately represented in our legal system. The host organization must be willing to be the Fellow’s employer during the term of the two-year fellowship, meet salary requirements, and provide supervision, a work space, employee health and fringe benefits, and the materials (computer, internet access, phone, etc.) necessary to successfully complete the project. EJW reviews the applications and selects projects that can be matched with potential sponsors. Sponsors determine whom they would like to interview and ultimately choose the Fellow.
Depending on funding, EJW typically provides between 45-55 two-year fellowships annually supported by the sponsorships of major law firms and Fortune 500 companies. Fellows receive a competitive salary, generous loan repayment assistance, connections to their prominent sponsors, participation in trainings, and additional support during their two-year tenure. Click here to learn more about current Fellows and their projects!
The application is available now on the EJW website and must be submitted online by 4 p.m. CST on September 18, 2015. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to create a profile and draft an application well in advance of the September deadline to get a sense for how the online application form works. Online drafts can be saved and updated on an ongoing basis until the deadline. Becoming an EJW Fellow is highly competitive, and decisions are made on a rolling basis, so it is best to submit applications as soon as possible. Note that bar passage is not required at the time the application is due; however, bar passage within the first fellowship year is required if determined necessary by the host organization and by the nature of the project.
Anyone interested in applying for an EJW fellowships should contact Shannon O’Bryan in The Center as soon as possible. Prospective applicants should also register for EJW’s free webinar to be held on August 11 or September 1 titled “How to Create a Successful Application for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship.”