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Equal Justice Works and Legal Services Corporation Announce Class of 2022 Rural Summer Legal Corps Student Fellows

/ Press Release

Forty law students will spend their summer helping improve access to justice for people living in rural communities.

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 25, 2022—Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the nation’s single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans, today announced the selection of 40 law students for the Rural Summer Legal Corps (RSLC).

“It is inspiring to see the number of law students who wish to make a meaningful difference in rural communities where civil legal aid is difficult to find,” said David Stern, executive director at Equal Justice Works. “We look forward to seeing the collective impact this talented group of students will have during their summer of service.”

It is inspiring to see the number of law students who wish to make a meaningful difference in rural communities where civil legal aid is difficult to find.

David Stern /
Equal Justice Works Executive Director

RSLC is a partnership between Equal Justice Works and LSC that supports law students serving rural communities each summer. Program participants, called Student Fellows, spend eight to ten weeks hosted by LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations, where they help address challenges facing rural communities.

The 2022 class of Rural Summer Legal Corps Fellows includes 40 students from 36 law schools who will work at 37 LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations across the United States and its territories, providing critical legal assistance to people in rural areas. Through the program, Student Fellows have the opportunity to provide direct legal services, engage in community outreach and education, and build capacity at the organizations where they are hosted.

“The Rural Summer Legal Corps offers law students direct exposure to a potential career and supports civil legal aid organizations working tirelessly to meet the needs of their communities,” said LSC President Ron Flagg. “The shortage of lawyers in rural areas is well documented, and Fellows’ service this summer during the COVID-19 health crisis is particularly important as the numbers of people eligible for LSC-funded services and the legal needs of Americans living in poverty have been surging.”

The Rural Summer Legal Corps offers law students direct exposure to a potential career and supports civil legal aid organizations working tirelessly to meet the needs of their communities.

Ron Flagg /
LSC President

This year’s class of RSLC Student Fellows will take on projects that address a range of access-to-justice issues. Some of these projects include:

  • Dayleen Chery and Matthew Gulick will support their host organization, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., in the areas of farmworkers rights and environmental justice. Dayleen, a student at Southern University Law Center, will work on a variety of employment law matters affecting migrant and seasonal agricultural workers; and Matthew, a student at Lewis & Clark Law School, will help ensure rural communities are not overburdened by air and water pollution and have access to safe drinking water.
  • Elise Baroni will join “Beyond Opioids—Breaking Legal Barriers for Families in Recovery,” a collaborative project among legal aid programs in Arkansas that supports people impacted by the opioid crisis and other substance use disorders. Elise, a student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Leflar Law Center, will be hosted by Legal Aid of Arkansas.
  • Christopher Irsfeld will support his host organization, California Rural Legal Assistance, in addressing legal issues affecting rural transgender and gender-non-conforming Californians, as well as investigating potential harassment and discrimination claims. Christopher is a law student at New York University School of Law.

Launched in 2016, RSLC Student Fellows have helped increase access to justice for thousands of individuals living in rural communities. In 2021, law students in the program collectively contributed 10,746 hours to help rural communities, with 4,492 hours spent on direct legal services. These Student Fellows also participated in 154 outreach events, created or expanded more than 170 collaborations with community partners, and provided legal information to more than 900 individuals.

To learn more about the Rural Summer Legal Corps, visit here.

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About Equal Justice Works

Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. As the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, Equal Justice Works brings together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, nonprofit legal aid organizations, and supporters to promote public service and inspire a lifelong commitment to equal justice.

About Legal Services Corporation
Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid organizations in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Visit www.lsc.gov for more information.

Contact:
Heena Patel
Marketing & Communications Director
Email: [email protected]

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow