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AmeriCorps JD Frequently Asked Questions

Please review our AmeriCorps JD Application Guide and Program Manuals prior to contacting Equal Justice Works.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

APPLYING TO AMERICORPS JD

When does the 2017 AmeriCorps JD program start and end?

The current priority deadline for law students completing their service during summer 2017 is May 19, 2017. Additionally, AmeriCorps JD Members may choose a spring (Jan. 1-April 30), or summer (May 1-June 30) start date. Regardless of start date, priority is given to applicants completing their project and the required hours no later than August 31, 2017. Applicants must provide a start and end date for their term of service in their application materials. The student must inform Equal Justice Works immediately if these dates change.

What is the application deadline?

The most up-to-date application deadlines can be found here.

When will the applications be evaluated?

Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis. The application for qualifying public interest law projects is now open; priority deadline to apply is May 19, 2017.

What if I applied several weeks ago and still have not heard from Equal Justice Works?

You will be notified of your application status within three weeks from the application deadline date for summer term dates, or three weeks from submission for spring term applications. Please refrain from inquiring about the status of your application until the three weeks have passed. All inquiries should be directed to americorpsjd@equaljusticeworks.org.

What are the eligibility requirements to serve as an AmeriCorps JD Member?

Please visit I want to apply to AmeriCorps JD and, for more detailed information, review our AmeriCorps JD Application Guide.

What is the deadline for the member's signing authority to sign their contract?

The member's signing authority, who must be a host organization staff member, will receive a link via email to sign the member's contract. We suggest that the host organization sign the contract as soon as they receive the email, since their signature is necessary for the member to begin counting hours towards service.

What background checks are required for AmeriCorps JD Members?

Background checks are one of the most important steps to becoming an AmeriCorps JD Member. Members must initiate a state background check and a FBI background check (through Fieldprint) before they begin counting hours served towards the 300 needed (450 for justice AmeriCorps JD members) for the program. Failure to begin the checks before starting service will result in a reduction of allowable hours. Applicants will receive information regarding these checks via email once they are accepted. 

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AMERICORPS SERVICE REQUIREMENTS

Will I be paid for my AmeriCorps JD service?

The student will not receive a cash stipend for service as an AmeriCorps JD Member. However, students can receive a $1,222 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for their service. The Education Award is an electronic disbursement  from AmeriCorps to a member's My AmeriCorps account that can be applied toward qualifying student loans or current tuition within seven years of completion of service.

Can I receive outside compensation as an AmeriCorps JD member?

Yes. You may receive funding in the form of a grant, stipend, or living allowance of up to $4,422 for your term of service, but it may not be earned as an hourly wage unless through Federal Work Study. Please note that there is no restriction on work outside of your term of service (i.e. part-time job) or outside funds you receive for activities outside of your service (i.e. general scholarship for law school).

If you are receiving funds through a Federal Work Study Award, you can receive an hourly wage. You must disclose this amount to Equal Justice Works and, if applicable, ensure that the host organization reduces any additional payments so that the total amount you receive remains under this $4,422 cap. If you are not sure if your additional source of funding will affect your eligibility for AmeriCorps JD, please contact us at americorpsjd@equaljusticeworks.org.

Can I split my required hours between two or more host organizations?

No. The service must be completed at one organization.  

Where can I serve?

You may serve at qualifying host organizations (non-profits providing civil legal aid to low-income persons in the United States, U.S. territories, and tribal reservations), on a project that falls within one of the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps programs. Qualifying organizations include those that host Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows or privately-funded Equal Justice Works Fellows (click here for a list of current Fellows and host organizations), those that are funded by the Legal Services Corporation, and Veterans Treatment Courts. A list of qualifying organizations that interested in hosting AmeriCorps JD members is provided here; it is meant as a starting place, not an exhaustive list. 

What if I have previously served in an AmeriCorps program, including AmeriCorps JD or its predecessor, Summer Corps?

Under current AmeriCorps regulations, individuals can serve a maximum of four terms of service, no matter the length of each term. However, an individual is limited to earning up to the aggregate sum in dollar value of two full-time (1,700-hour) education awards totaling about $11,630. A previous term of service will not necessarily cause you to reach the limit on education awards or terms of service. To find out how many terms of service or education awards you have received in the past, please contact AmeriCorps at 1-800-942-2677 or log into your My AmeriCorps Portal account.

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RESPONSIBILITIES OF AMERICORPS JD MEMBERS AND THEIR HOSTS

Do I have to track my hours in the Student Application Manager (SAM) if I am already tracking my hours at the host organization?

Yes, you must track your daily hours in SAM and sign the time logs monthly. You will receive notices from Equal Justice Works if we discover that you are not entering hours regularly. This is an AmeriCorps requirement and we will assume that you have unsuccessfully left the program if you fail to enter your daily hours and do not respond to our reminders.

Can my supervisor be an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow?

No. If you are located at an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship Host Site, you can work with the AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, but they cannot be your supervisor or sign your time logs in SAM.

Can my supervisor be a non-attorney staff member?

Yes. However, members must abide by their relevant state rules of professional conduct with regard to being supervised by a licensed attorney when doing specific legal work.

What are the host site's main responsibilities?

The host organization, by participating in AmeriCorps JD and hosting a member, certifies that it is a qualifying organization for the program. Click here to learn more about qualifying organizations.

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SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETING AMERICORPS JD 

Can I work beyond the end of my AmeriCorps JD service term if I still have hours to complete?  

AmeriCorps members have 364 days from their official start date to complete the required hours of service. However, priority is given to AmeriCorps JD applicants who will complete their minimum hours of service (300 or 450, depending on the program) by close of business on August 31, 2017.

What are the exit procedures for AmeriCorps JD?

When the AmeriCorps JD Member reaches the last day of their term of service, they will receive an email from Equal Justice Works with instructions regarding the exit procedures, which include certifying their time log and completing their final report. Upon doing so, their supervisor will receive an email instructing them to certify the time log, a satisfactory evaluation, and the member's non-participation in prohibited activities. The student will receive the Education Award in their My AmeriCorps portal after completely exiting the program. 

How do I receive my education award?

Within 30 days after you and your supervisor have completed and signed all portions of the exit materials, including the final time log certification and final report, Equal Justice Works will notify AmeriCorps of your successful completion of service. After these 30 days, AmeriCorps is responsible for disbursing the education award to your My AmeriCorps Portal account, where you will be able to send the award directly to an accredited institution or qualifying loan provider. Equal Justice Works does not disburse your education award and you will not receive a check.

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