Disaster Resilience Program

Explore your passion for equal justice by providing legal support to underserved communities in Texas and Florida as they work to rebuild their lives and prepare for the next disaster.

Disasters, including the COVID-19 pandemic, devastate lower-income communities, creating new poverty and further entrenching inequality. As a law student, you have an opportunity this summer to play a critical role in improving disaster preparedness and recovery by working alongside an Equal Justice Works Fellow in our Disaster Resilience Program.

The need for legal services is especially critical for the parts of the country hard hit by the pandemic and prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires. Our Disaster Resilience Program mobilizes full-time lawyers (Equal Justice Works Fellows) to provide free civil legal aid in disaster-prone areas to ensure vital legal services are accessible to rebuild lives, stabilize communities, and create resilience. As a current law student, you have an opportunity to support an Equal Justice Works Fellow as a Student Fellow.

If you are a 1L or 2L law student, apply to the Equal Justice Works Disaster Resilience Program to be a Student Fellow this summer and work alongside a current Equal Justice Works Fellow at their host organization (virtually and/or hybrid; see host site preferences and accommodations) to help communities navigate legal issues before, during, and after disasters. This is an eight- to ten-week position available to six law students during the summer of 2021. Upon completion, Student Fellows will receive a $5,000 stipend. 

Through the program, Student Fellows will have the opportunity to:

  • Provide civil legal services
  • Engage in community education and advocacy efforts to increase disaster preparedness and awareness of legal rights
  • Build capacity at the the legal services organization where you work
  • Participate in trainings in disaster law prior to the start of the program in May
  • Join networking opportunities with other Equal Justice Works Fellows and Student Fellows

Host Organizations:

  • Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida – Daytona Beach
    • Preferences: Remote. Applicant located in Florida; Orlando is a plus
    • Fellow: Brianna M. Williams
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
    • Preferences: Remote. Applicant does not need to be in Texas; open to nation-wide applicants
    • Fellow: Maria Vazquez
  • Disability Rights Texas
    • Preferences: Remote. Applicant Texas-resident
    • Fellow: Stephanie Duke
  • Lone Star Legal Aid
    • Preferences: Hybrid remote/in-person (to allow for flexibility). Applicant Texas-resident
    • Fellow: Meghan Smolensky
  • Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
    • Preferences: Remote. Applicant Texas-resident; near Corpus Christi, but will accept other Texas applications
    • Fellow: Hannah Dyal
  • YMCA International Services of Houston
    • Preferences: Remote. Potential for hybrid: in-person/remote; Applicant does not need to be in Texas; open to nation-wide applicants. Spanish speaking strongly preferred.
    • Fellow: Robert Flores

Applications for 2021 have now closed. Thank you for applying!

The Disaster Resilience Program is currently funded by the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, California Community Foundation Wildfire Relief Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and individual contributions. 

Important Dates:

  • January 6, 2021: Application Opens
  • February 16, 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET: Application Closes
  • Mid-February – March, 2021: Interviews occur on a rolling basis with Host Organizations
  • March 20, 2021: Students Notified of Acceptance

Frequently Asked Questions may be found here. Still need help? Contact [email protected].

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RSLC allowed me to return to my community and provide vital legal services after Hurricane Harvey.

Ana Laurel /
2018 Rural Summer Legal Corps Student Fellow