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Giving a Voice to Tribal Communities

/ Blog Post

The Rural Summer Legal Corps (RSLC) places public interest law students at civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities across the United States and its territories.

The program, a partnership between the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and Equal Justice Works, supports 35 dedicated law students who want to spend eight to ten weeks during the summer exploring a career in civil legal aid. Program participants, called Student Fellows, have the opportunity to provide direct legal services, engage in community outreach, and build capacity at the LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations where they are hosted—all while working toward a $5,000 stipend!

Devin Sorkin, a third-year law student at the University of Maine Law School, served as an RSLC Student Fellow in 2019. At his host organization, Legal Aid of Wyoming, Devin collaborated with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapho tribal councils to expand legal support and services on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation.

I received an experience like no other—the opportunity to represent clients and be inserted in the community to a full extent was incomparable.

Devin Sorkin /
Rural Summer Legal Corps Student Fellow

During his Student Fellowship, Devin worked with his supervising attorney to represent parents, guardians, and custodians in child and abuse 72-hour hearings in the local tribal court. He would gather relevant case documents to help his clients with their hearings and counsel them so that they better understood their rights.

“While many legal skills were developed [during the program], the greater education I received was the patience and ability to learn from and listen to the individuals in the community who feel their voices are not fully heard,” reflected Devin.

If you are interested in exploring a career in civil legal aid, apply to the Rural Summer Legal Corps by 11:59 p.m. EST on February 10, 2020. For more information about program eligibility and requirements, please visit here.

Learn more about becoming an Equal Justice Works Fellow