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A mutual understanding of the importance of providing help to America’s communities in need brings Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps together in a partnership that spans decades, states, and issue areas. With the critical funding provided by AmeriCorps, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows and law student Summer Corps members are able to provide legal solutions to the issues that affect underserved communities nationwide.

What is AmeriCorps and how does it partner with Equal Justice Works?

AmeriCorps is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, an independent federal agency whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members address critical needs in communities all across America.

Equal Justice Works began its partnership with AmeriCorps in 1993, establishing the AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship program in order to expand legal resources in low-income and underserved communities. Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps have worked together since this time to address our nation’s most critical needs, including:

  • Domestic violence
  • Veterans' assistance
  • Disaster relief
  • Foreclosure crisis
  • Medical-legal partnerships


Why Equal Justice Works?

From its inception, the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships program has proudly directed and adapted its orientation and goals in order to align itself with the most pressing needs of our nation as assessed by AmeriCorps. Equal Justice Works’ ability to quickly adapt and redirect, along with an excellent record of service, dedication, and passion for public service, makes it an ideal candidate to partner with AmeriCorps as a first responder for America’s crises.


Recent Developments

In 2010, Equal Justice Works created AmeriCorps Legal Fellowships specifically to address the needs of veterans.  These Fellows provide services for veterans and their families that include direct representation and community education programs in addition to recruiting pro bono volunteers to increase the availability of much-needed legal services. 

Equal Justice Works intends to expand its Veterans Initiative.  Our Fellows take a holistic approach to assisting veterans and their families by helping to stabilize living situations, securing VA, Supplemental Security Income, and medical benefits, and providing legal representation to overcome the barriers they face in securing employment, housing, medical care and support services.  The Fellows assist with mobilizing and training volunteers, with the goal of providing services to veterans, including veterans with disabilities, veterans who are unemployed, older veterans, and veterans in rural communities.


The Impact of Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows

Equal Justice Works engages lawyers and law students as AmeriCorps members.  Created in 1993, the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellowship program provides legal services to 45,000 people each year.  AmeriCorps Legal Fellows prevent foreclosures, eliminate legal barriers to housing, and protect victims of abuse, eviction, and wrongful termination.

In 2011-2012, 81 AmeriCorps Legal Fellows and 695 Summer Corps members provided legal services to 72,499 individuals and families in 48 states, including victims of the BP oil spill, the Joplin, Missouri tornado, and the growing national veterans’ crisis. Most recently, three Equal Justice AmeriCorps Legal Fellows and disaster relief experts temporarily redeployed to New York City to assist residents with legal issues that arose in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

From 2010-2011, Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows served 1,933 veterans, helping to secure benefits or providing home foreclosure assistance.  The Fellows were able to secure more than $1.9 million in economic benefits for low-income and homeless veterans, returning $13 to every $1 in federal government investment.  From Washington, DC to Indiana to California, AmeriCorps Fellows are having an impact.


Notable Recent Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows

Zach Tusinger and Jamie Rodriguez

  • Recognized by the Missouri House of Representatives for their recovery efforts following the Joplin tornado, 2012

Lan Diep

  • Huffington Post Impact’s Greatest Person of the Day, 2011
  • White House Champion of Change, 2011

Jennifer Ngai

  • Huffington Post Impact’s Greatest Person of the Day, 2011


For more information on the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows Program, Fellows, and project, please visit our AmeriCorps page.