Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Applying to AmeriCorps JD
- AmeriCorps Service Requirements
- Responsibilities of AmeriCorps JD Members and their Hosts
- Successfully Completing AmeriCorps JD
When does the 2016 AmeriCorps JD program start and end?
The current priority deadline for summer 2016 is April 15, 2016. Addtiontally, AmeriCorps JD Members may choose a fall (Sept. 1-Dec. 31), winter (Jan. 1-April 30), or summer (May 1-June 30) start date. Regardless of start date, members must complete their project and at least 300 service hours no later than August 31, 2016. 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 fall and winter application deadlines are only for priority area projects during the fall and spring terms. The application for summer public interest law projects opened February 2016; priority deadline to apply is April 15, 2016.
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, or three weeks from submission for fall term applications. Please refrain from inquiring about the status of your application until the three weeks have passed. For winter term, applicants may inquire about their status starting Feb. 7, 2016. For summer term, applicants may inquire about their status starting May 7, 2016. All inquiries should be directed to email@example.com.
What are the eligibility requirements to serve as an AmeriCorps JD Member?
Why do I have to sign the AmeriCorps contract before I have been accepted?
Acceptance of the terms of the contract is a prerequisite for being considered for the program. If the applicant is not selected to participate in the AmeriCorps JD program, the contract will be void. If the applicant is selected to participate in the program, Equal Justice Works will enroll you in the AmeriCorps database as an AmeriCorps JD Member based on the information provided in the application and contract.
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. The contract must be signed by the above application deadlines. We suggest that the host organization sign the contract as soon as they receive the email, since their signature is necessary for the member's application to be considered complete.
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 for students who begin service after Mar. 21, 2016, an FBI background check) before they begin counting hours served towards the 300 needed 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.
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 will receive a $1,222 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for their service. The Education Award is a voucher that can be applied toward student loans or current tuition within seven years of completion of service.
Yes. You may receive funding in the form of a grant, stipend or living allowance of up to $4,300 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 $4,300 cap. If you are not sure if your additional source of funding will affect your eligibility for AmeriCorps JD, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I receive academic credit for my service in AmeriCorps JD?
Currently, no. The American Bar Association (ABA), the entity that sets standards for law school accreditation, has stated that a student cannot receive academic credit and compensation for the same service. The ABA is currently reviewing this determination with regards to the Segal Education Award, but at the moment students cannot participate in the AmeriCorps JD program if they are receiving academic credit.
Can I split my 300 hours between two or more host organizations?
If the two supervisors are willing to collaborate with each other, yes. Students will list one of the offices and one of their two supervisors as the primary contact in the application (being sure to consult with both of the people who will be your supervisors about who this should be, as the person listed will be responsible for signing off on the contract, approving timesheets, and certifying satisfactory performance the end of the term of service). As such, the supervisor who you list in your application will need to check in with your other supervisor to confirm the hours that you worked during the week, etc.
You may serve at qualifying host organizations (non-profits and some state/local governmenal departments) in the United States, U.S. territories, and tribal reservations. 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 partial list of organizations that have hosted AmeriCorps JD students in past and may be interested in hosting more this year is provided here; it is meant as a starting place, not an exclusive list.
What if I have previously served in an AmeriCorps program, including AmeriCorps JD or its predecessor, Summer Corps?
Under current AmeriCorps rules, 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 $10,000. AmeriCorps JD is a minimum-time (300-hour) program. Therefore, 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.
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.
Can I work beyond the end of my AmeriCorps JD service term if I still have hours to complete?
No. The minimum 300 service hours must be completed by close of business on August 31, 2016 in order for the member to receive their Education Award.
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. One of the steps they must complete is to certify their time log. When they do so, the supervisor will receive an email to certify the time log, member's final report, 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 from 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.