News

Equal Justice Works and Legal Services Corporation Select Class of 2020 Rural Summer Legal Corps Student Fellows

/ Press Release

Thirty-five law students will spend their summer helping to address the effects of COVID-19 in rural communities across the nation. 

WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 27, 2020—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 35 law students for its Rural Summer Legal Corps (RSLC).

“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 community,” 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 are spiking.”

Launched in 2016, RSLC places law students at LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities across the United States and its territories. Program participants, called Student Fellows, spend eight to ten weeks during the summer exploring a career in civil legal aid by providing direct legal services, engaging in community outreach and education, and building capacity at the organizations where they serve.

Selected from 446 applications, the 2020 class of Rural Summer Legal Corps Fellows includes 35 students from 30 law schools who will work at 31 LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations across the country, providing legal assistance to people in rural areas affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This year, Student Fellows will work remotely to support the efforts of their host organizations, helping clients virtually through video conferencing, online intakes, and over phone and email.

“The Rural Summer Legal Corps is a perfect opportunity for service-minded law students to get a preview of what it’s like to be a legal aid attorney, all while making a positive impact on individuals and families living in rural areas,” said David Stern, executive director at Equal Justice Works. “Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that people in all parts of our country have access to the legal services they need to put them on a path to recovery from the COVID-19 health crisis.”

The Class of 2020 RSLC Student Fellows will take on challenging projects that address a range of legal issues. Examples of these projects include:

  • Ally Hicks will work on reducing homelessness by connecting individuals facing or at risk of eviction with civil legal services. Ally, a law student at Belmont University College of Law, will be hosted by Kentucky Legal Aid.
  • Lora Church will support her host organization, New Mexico Legal Aid, in expanding its community presence in strategically selected Native American Nations, by performing outreach, conducting client intake, and providing legal services. Lora is a law student at the University of New Mexico School of Law.
  • Miguel Cardenas De Avila will help older farmworkers in rural areas of Oregon gain equitable access to justice and employment opportunities. Miguel, a law student at the University of Oregon School of Law, will be hosted by the Legal Aid Services of Oregon.

RSLC Student Fellows have helped hundreds of rural communities. In 2019, law students in the program served in 25 states, providing direct legal services to more than 2,000 individuals and creating more than 300 community partnerships. Click here to learn about the 2020 Student Fellows and their projects.

###

About Equal Justice Works
Equal Justice Works is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. We bring together an extensive network of law students, lawyers, legal services organizations, and supporters to promote a lifelong commitment to public service and equal justice. Following their Fellowships, more than 85% of our Fellows remain in public service positions, continuing to pursue equal justice for underserved communities across the country.

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 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Visit www.lsc.gov for more information.

Contact:
Heena Patel
Communications Manager
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-466-3686
www.equaljusticeworks.org

Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that people in all parts of our country have access to the legal services they need to put them on a path to recovery from the COVID-19 health crisis.

David Stern /
Executive Director
Equal Justice Works

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow