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Update on Host Organization Supporting Payments

/ Updates

The following letter was sent to 2021 Fellows in response to feedback regarding host organization supporting payments. 

Dear Fellows,

Thank you for the feedback and conversation we have had to date. I acknowledge your dissatisfaction that we cannot accommodate your request to give each of you or your host organizations an additional $7,000.

As you know, Equal Justice Works is devoted to creating opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service. We are always striving to do better. We don’t always get it right, but we are a learning organization that welcomes feedback and adapts when something can be improved, while also being thoughtful and deliberate about relationships, sustainability, fairness, and fiscal constraints in our community.

We are sympathetic to the very real challenges and concerns you have about public interest lawyer salaries. We appreciate your highlighting the significant disparity between the support we are providing to host organizations for first- and second- year Fellows beginning in September. You should know, however, that despite the $7,000 increase in supporting payments for the host organizations of the class of 2022, the median Fellow salary and distribution is very similar to what it was for the class of 2021.

Our biggest learning from our exchange is that five years is too long between adjusting host organization supporting payments, which they use to fund your salaries. Here is how we will move forward differently:

  • Beginning with the class of 2022, we will adjust our supporting payment to host organizations with each Fellowship class year. We will seek the advice of host organizations, sponsors, and our Fellowship alumni as we determine that increase.
  • We will continue to elevate public consciousness about the financial burdens and challenges public interest lawyers face and drive greater awareness of your contributions that clearly reflect the value of your work.

As always, we are grateful for your commitment to the work you do. We hope you will continue to make a positive impact for individuals, families, and communities across our country.

Thank you,
David Stern
Equal Justice Works Executive Director

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