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The need for legal services is especially critical for 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) and law students (Student 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.
Student Fellows have the unique opportunity to explore their passion for public service and equal justice by working alongside Disaster Resilience Program Fellows at their host legal services organizations (virtually and/or hybrid; see host site preferences and accommodations), serving some of the most marginalized communities in California, Louisiana, or New Mexico—all while working toward a $5,000 stipend.
Interested in joining this exciting program? Here’s what you need to know about applying.
Who is eligible?
The Disaster Resilience Program is open to current law students who have completed their first year of law school by the start of the program (summer 2022).
How do I submit a strong application?
A standout application should showcase a law student’s passion for public service and access-to-justice issues. Additionally, a strong display of interest for or prior experience in legal disaster preparedness, response, and recovery work will hold significant weight in the decision process. If you have a personal connection to disaster legal aid, highlighting that connection is another way to make a positive impression.
What type of training do Student Fellows receive?
All Disaster Resilience Program Student Fellows attend a virtual orientation meeting before their service begins, with opportunities for networking. In addition, throughout the summer, Student Fellows attend monthly Disaster Resilience Program Fellow meetings, which alternate between substantive topical discussion and professional development trainings. Equal Justice Works is also available for technical support throughout the summer. Student Fellows will receive additional training and support from their host organizations.
What type of work can I expect to complete during my Student Fellowship?
Student Fellows take on a wide range of responsibilities, regardless of the specific project focus area of their host site or Fellow. These assignments can include direct client services, client intake consultations/interviewing with supervising attorneys, legal writing opportunities, and court appearances. Projects may also include non-legal assignments such as community outreach, education, and pro bono coordination. You can find a list of host organizations and their position descriptions here.
Can the Disaster Resilience Program Summer lead to long-term opportunities following law school graduation?
Yes! Several Student Fellows from Equal Justice Works Summer Law Student opportunities have been hired by their previous host sites as full-time staff attorneys after graduation. For example, Ana Laurel, a 2019 Equal Justice Works Fellow in our Disaster Recovery Legal Corps, previously served in the Rural Summer Legal Corps.
What do I need to apply?
Applicants will be asked to provide a résumé and a summary of professional qualifications and interest in the program. An applicant may apply to more than one host organization; however, a full and separate application is required for each organization.
Applications are due at 11:59 p.m. ET on February 14, 2022.
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.