In the Spotlight: Equal Justice Works Board Member Michael J. Harding Discusses How Law Schools Can Better Support Black and Brown Students

Photo of Michael J. Harding

Michael J. Harding, a rising third-year law student at Villanova University and a member of both the Equal Justice Works Board of Directors and the National Advisory Committee (NAC), recently chatted with Equal Justice Works about serving on his campus and in the community and how these experiences have helped to set the foundation for his legal career.

You have a clear passion for public interest law as shown by your work on campus at Villanova University and in the community. What inspired you to become a public interest leader?

I always believed that the true reflection of our character is how we treat people living on society’s margins. Bryan Stevenson, my role model and the founder and executive director of Equal Justice Initiative exemplifies this foundational principle through his work. In my view, lawyers like Bryan advance justice by harnessing the law’s immense potential for good. As an aspiring public interest lawyer, I aim to leverage diverse voices to challenge existing power structures and legal frameworks that perpetuate systemic injustices.

One of the ways you serve on your campus is through the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee. What are some of your responsibilities as a member?

The primary responsibility of a National Advisory Committee (NAC) member is to serve as a link between Equal Justice Works’ Law School Engagement and Advocacy team (LSEA) and our law school communities. In part, this includes sharing the resources and opportunities that Equal Justice Works has to offer with my peers and career service professionals. Further, NAC members report back to Equal Justice Works staff on public interest legal issues, trends, and events happening in our regions. Additionally, we assist Equal Justice Works in planning the annual Conference and Career Fair and select recipients of the Regional Public Interest Awards.

What are some projects and/or initiatives you are working on at your law school? 

I’m launching a new public interest law blog at Villanova University School of Law, where I will serve as its Editor-in-Chief. This blog will function as a student-run online publication where law student writers will concisely analyze and discuss current public interest legal issues and trends. Additionally, it will help promote and coordinate the Anti-Poverty Symposium held at Villanova Law. While the website for the blog is currently being built, it will be up soon so that the incoming staff writers will have a platform to publish their work.

As a public interest leader, you have served as a role model to young Black and brown students. Why is it important to provide law students access to mentors who have experienced similar challenges and difficulties? 

We’ve all seen the disappointing statistics showing how few Black and brown lawyers and law students there are in our profession. The legal profession, including law school, reflects an essential, yet often difficult to attain, vocation. Many Black and brown law students struggle with imposter syndrome while trying to navigate the highly competitive, established, and white-dominated arena in their pursuit of a career in law. As one such student, I have made a concerted effort to connect with mentors who look like me while also reflecting a world full of endless possibilities in the profession.

It’s important for law students, especially those who are first-generation, to have access to mentors who relate to them for several reasons. First, these mentors understand the unique struggles of students and see us for more than grades or rankings. Such a mentorship reminds students why we entered law school and whom we aim to serve once we graduate. Second, these mentors expand the scope of what students believe we can achieve despite the explicit and tacit forces suggesting that we don’t belong. Finally, connecting Black and brown law students to mentors who can relate helps students remember that we can transform our feelings of fear or self-doubt into fuel to persist, overcome, and achieve.

What are some steps law schools can take to better provide career and academic support for Black and brown students? 

Law schools should fund opportunities and programs that recruit, retain, support, and graduate Black and brown law students. It would be helpful for them to publicly advertise and financially support existing programs like The Appellate Project that are designed to provide support for Black and brown students. Law schools should also ask their Black and brown students what specific support they need, collaborate with them to provide it, and then ensure those students’ needs are met on a regular basis. These are just a few examples of many, but I believe they will help Black and brown students thrive in any law school environment.

Last year, you became a member of the Equal Justice Works Board of Directors. How has the experience been so far?

My experience on the Board has been surreal. Go look at the list of members and you’ll see why I feel this way. The list includes general counsels of major companies, chairpersons of Am Law 100 firms, federal circuit court judges, law school deans, President Obama’s former Solicitor General, public interest leaders, and more. It’s been an incredible opportunity to work with and learn from some of the brightest legal minds in the country. As a Board member, I’ve been fortunate to learn the inner workings of a national nonprofit organization, and to assist its mission to mobilize future public service leaders. In short, I’m eternally grateful for this experience and look forward to helping Equal Justice Works thrive in the years ahead.

In what ways have these opportunities—from the National Advisory Committee to the Equal Justice Works Board of Directors—helped to set the foundation for your legal career?

These experiences have reaffirmed my commitment to pursue a career serving those on society’s margins through justice-oriented lawyering and policy making. Moreover, the extraordinary network I’ve cultivated within the NAC and Board will allow me to access opportunities to advance my public interest legal career. Serving in these two groups has been an honor, and I’ll take the lessons I’ve learned with me wherever my career leads me.

Lastly, what advice would you give to law students interested in becoming public interest leaders at their schools but unsure of where to start?

My three pieces of advice are to serve as an Equal Justice Works student representative on your law school campus, to become an Equal Justice Works ambassador and join its National Advisory Committee, and to sign up to volunteer at events hosted by your school’s pro bono society. Whatever you decide to do, get involved. You won’t regret it!

Visit here to learn more about ways that you can serve on your law school campus.

Photo of Rochelle McCain

Rochelle McCain, executive director of the professional development office and co-director of the externship program at University of Pittsburgh School of Law, recently chatted with Equal Justice Works about becoming a member of the National Advisory Committee, and her work helping law students cultivate their public service passions. 

Earlier this year, you were selected to serve on the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee (NAC). What motivated you to apply to join the NAC? How does your work as a law school professional inform your role on the committee?

In my life, I have always sought to do everything with intentionality to positively impact, and for the benefit of, others, not solely myself. To that end, I try to identify opportunities to advance and facilitate support of the public good, committing fully and actively. After years of working in my law school community, I resolved that the timing was right to give back to Equal Justice Works—an organization whose mission I share and that does so much nationally to support generations of public interest leaders.

I hope that my skills and experiences, coupled with the relationships I have developed as a law school professional, can support the organization’s efforts in serving the law school community and law students more broadly. In representing the Mid-Atlantic region, my work as a law school professional deeply informs my role on the NAC. I readily draw upon my expertise and experiences with colleagues, students, and alumni, to provide a perspective that is uniquely attuned to the challenges and opportunities the region encounters within the public interest space.

In your role at University of Pittsburgh School of Law (PittLaw), you counsel students and alumni on all aspects of job searching and career development. What are some of the biggest concerns that your students have expressed about pursuing their public service passions?

Some of the most pressing concerns raised by students stem from the job search process itself. Many often share concerns/uneasiness regarding the process itself of finding a public interest position. In particular, the constraints found inherent in the public interest hiring process versus that of the private sector’s recruiting process are often raised. What further complicates the job search process is that some may be geographically limited or focused on niche interest areas that may be challenging to break into at the onset of their careers, which many perceive as limiting their options. For some, pursuing a public interest career path may be one less taken among their peer group, so they express feelings of isolation, and some even question their ambitions.

In addition, students regularly worry about sustaining meaningful careers while navigating external financial pressures/considerations they face. Recognizing that public interest sector salaries are substantially lower than many private-sector options, many students are conflicted by their very real financial constraints, whether due to familial obligations or student loan debt. While many public interest employers can provide great substantive experiences, some contend with financial constraints that bear out in their ability to offer paid summer opportunities and competitive entry-level attorney salaries. This environment can often make those interested in pursuing the path restricted from doing so. In the wake of continued uncertainty surrounding the future public service loan forgiveness and economic challenges of our times, some contemplate whether their passions are enough to make the pathway a viable option.

What steps can law schools take to remedy those concerns?

Law schools are well-positioned to think creatively about how they can mitigate some of the “pain points” in the public interest job search process for law students. For many, it may simply start with identifying the public interest students and creating a support system/cohort to ensure they are supported to face the unique challenges of a public interest search. In my experience, I have found my students respond well to having information so they can make informed decisions and put a plan in place. To accomplish this, it may require law schools to create resources, seek innovative regional collaborations with other law schools and/or public interest employers, and broader amplification of existing public interest career resources (including PSJD.org and especially Equal Justice Works).

But, not every law school has the financial wherewithal to significantly reduce or eliminate the financial barriers its students face due to a broader operational budgetary concerns. So, law schools may want to think resourcefully about their fundraising strategies and how to include public interest giving, the establishment of summer funding resources, sponsorship of a post-graduate fellowship program, development of a loan repayment assistance program, etc.

Many law schools already strive to support their public interest students but some concerns and challenges may not be easily addressed by individual institutions and may require a concerted effort by the broader profession and industry.

You also manage the judicial clerkship program at Pitt Law. What advice do you share with students who are interested in securing judicial clerkships or exploring government (federal, state, and local) opportunities?

One of the biggest nuggets of advice I share with my students interested in pursuing clerkships and government opportunities is not to self-select out of the process. While students should think intentionally about whether a particular pathway is for them, due to the competitive nature of the process of both, coupled with the extensive applications, some students may be inclined to opt-out despite being highly credentialed and competitive for the role.  Along the same lines, those that overcome the initial desire to opt-out may be discouraged by the process, especially if they experience rejection early on.

While law school is certainly competitive and grades are one of the objective factors by which employers evaluate candidates, many do not base their decisions solely on this factor. I urge students to try to do as well as they can during law school, but that is not limited to academic success. Students can also benefit as well by taking time to build relationships with others in the profession, take advantage of opportunities for experiential learning (clinics, externships, practicums, work experiences in the field, extracurricular activities such as student organizations and trial teams/competitions, pro bono) to round out applications and reflect practice readiness, and communicate with our office and faculty members as we may be in a position to support their aspirations and provide additional guidance.

I can attest to watching students shatter the “glass ceilings” placed upon them and their potential by themselves and others. With some savvy, support, hard work, connections, guidance, and understanding of their expectations and the profession, quite a bit is possible. The search can be a marathon with twists and turns so patience and perseverance is key along with a great support system.

Pitt Law has a pro bono recognition program for law students who engage in significant amounts of public service work, without academic credit or financial compensation. Why is it important for law students to take part in public service activities? What are some ways students can become involved in pro bono work on campus and in the community?

As members of the legal profession, we possess unique skills to advance and benefit the greater good. Pro bono is an obligation of our profession, as stewards of law. The duty is not just one solely owned by students and attorneys within the public interest sector to bear but for us all to share in regardless of our chosen practice pathways. By understanding and leaning into this duty early on, many reduce any apprehension around pro bono engagement and may increase the likelihood of continued pro bono engagement throughout practice.

Pro bono can also provide broader benefits to law students personally. Beyond fulfilling this call, many law students are able dabble and explore a variety of practice areas, gain practical experience and put the skills learned in law school to the test, and work collaboratively with practitioners. Students can see and be involved with “lawyering in action” with real problems, challenges, and consequences.

Students can find various ways to get involved in pro bono work on campus and in the community. Interested students should think about starting small by just committing to the idea. Once they have done so, they can often begin within their law school community. Many law school staff and faculty members are involved directly with pro bono efforts and welcome having students involved, especially if there is no dedicated office or point of contact at the institution to support pro bono. At Pitt Law, one of my colleagues works closely with students and the community to identify service opportunities. Students can also engage in pro bono by galvanizing around issues important to them and addressing areas of direct and immediate need. Organizations like Equal Justice Works can serve as a platform to engage. Additionally, law students can work within law student organizations to engage in established service projects. And broadly, some bar associations have pro bono coordinators or centers that support legal pro bono that may be willing to partner and serve as a nexus between community organizations and students.

To learn more about our National Advisory Committee, visit here.

Pro bono is an obligation of our profession, as stewards of law. The duty is not just one solely owned by students and attorneys within the public interest sector to bear but for us all to share in regardless of our chosen practice pathways.

Designing an Equal Justice Works Fellowship allows lawyers new to public interest a way to channel their passions into real-world impact. Throughout the application process, candidates lean on the community—law school advisors, prospective supervisors, Equal Justice Works staff, and Fellows past and present—to craft an application that is thoughtful, compelling, and sustainable.

Equal Justice Works Brand Manager Lauren Wright spoke with a panel of experts throughout the community for their best advice, from application and beyond.

  • Krissy Colvin, Fellowships Program Manager, Equal Justice Works
  • Vallen Solomon, 2020 Fellow, King County Bar Association’s Housing Justice Project
  • Alexi Freeman, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, University of Denver Sturm College of Law
  • Diego Cartagena, 2003 Fellow, current Bet Tzedek Legal Services President and CEO

Interested in designing an Equal Justice Works Fellowship? Check out the full discussion below, then learn more here.

The following letter was recently sent from Deans Garry W. Jenkins and William M. Treanor as members of the Equal Justice Works Board of Directors, notifying law schools about an increase in annual membership dues.

Deans –

We are writing as members of the Equal Justice Works Board of Directors to share with you that in a little more than one year (the 2022-2023 academic year), the organization is increasing its annual membership dues from $2,000 to $3,000. This will be the first increase in more than 10 years. The value Equal Justice Works provides for law schools and public interest-minded students we believe is a worthwhile investment.

As Law School Deans, we are all committed to guiding and supporting the next generation of attorneys who will shape the future of justice in our nation. The mission of Equal Justice Works is to create opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for equal justice into a lifelong commitment to public service.

Approximately 90% of ABA-accredited law schools are members of Equal Justice Works, which provides students with access to valuable public interest resources and programs, including:

  • The largest annual national public interest law conference and career fair
  • Eligibility to apply to our flagship postgraduate fellowship programs
  • Summer job opportunities including paid student fellowship positions
  • Student debt and Public Service Loan Forgiveness webinars, trainings, and resources
  • Personalized virtual and in-person school presentations about how to pursue an Equal Justice Works Fellowship and public interest law career
  • Eligibility for our Regional Public Interest Awards, our Student Representative Program, and to serve on our National Advisory Committee

Through the generous support of member law schools, Equal Justice Works is able to offer these unique member benefits. While law school membership is a vital revenue source, Equal Justice Works also independently raises millions of dollars for summer and postgraduate fellowships for your students and graduates as well as to preserve Public Service Loan Forgiveness. As law school deans, we believe membership dues, even at its increased level, is a very good deal with a high return on investment.

From conversations within our community, we recognize that providing notice of this increase as early as possible is important and why we are announcing this increase a year in advance. This decision was made with careful consideration for member law schools and the value that we wish to continue to offer to you.

The value of your support can be seen in just a few examples of our shared impact:

  • At the 2020 Conference and Career Fair, more than 2,600 law students attended virtually, participating in over 3,700 prescheduled interviews with over 170 public interest employers.
  • Last year, 450 law students designed a fellowship project in partnership with a legal services organization, resulting in the selection of 85 Equal Justice Works Fellows.
  • In partnership with the Legal Services Corporation, the Rural Summer Legal Corps has been an incredible summer opportunity for law students to address the civil legal needs of rural communities. Over the last six years, 190 students spent their summer serving rural areas across our nation.

As fellow Deans, we know these are challenging times and we are faced with many tough choices about allocation of resources. We also know that the benefits to our students, to our communities, and to our justice system are well worth the contribution we make to support Equal Justice Works. We are grateful for your continued commitment to public service and hopeful for your continued support of this vital organization.

Sincerely,

Garry W. Jenkins
Dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law
University of Minnesota Law School

William M. Treanor
Executive Vice President,
Dean of the Law Center, and Professor of Law
Georgetown University Law Center

Claire O’Brien is an associate director of the career center at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri.

At Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Claire O’Brien advises students pursuing a variety of careers, including careers in public service.

In conversation with Catherine Williams, former marketing and communications assistant at Equal Justice Works, Claire discussed what motivated her to join the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee (NAC) and how her work as a law school professional informs her role as a member of the committee.

“I was working with a student who was heavily involved in the public interest community at Washington University and had worked in public interest internships for two summers. She saw the advertisement for the NAC application come up and recommended the position to me. As soon as I spoke with the student, I realized that this would be a perfect fit,” said Claire.

As part of her work as associate director of the career center, Claire helps students identify and cultivate their public service passions throughout law school.

“It’s one thing to learn torts, evidence, or criminal law in the classroom—but you’re shielded from how the law actually looks in the field. I think when you are out in your community and interacting with people who have real legal problems, there is nothing that can replace that experience,” said Claire.

In addition to discussing her role at Washington University School of Law, Claire spoke about why it is important for law students to get involved in pro bono work, how law schools can help create more public service opportunities for law students, and the many resources that Equal Justice Works provides for law students. 

To learn more about our National Advisory Committee, visit here.

Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, today announced the newest members of its National Advisory Committee.

Photo of new law student members Xavier T. de Janon, Michael Harding, Nicole Schaum, and Nathan Virag

Formed in 2003, the National Advisory Committee (NAC) is a diverse group of eight law students and eight law school professionals who serve as Equal Justice Works ambassadors within the law school and legal services communities. NAC members extend the reach of Equal Justice Works initiatives by providing leadership, feedback, and outreach assistance to support the organization’s mission to create opportunities for lawyers to transform their passion for public service into a lifelong commitment to equal justice.

“We are pleased to announce our 2020-2022 National Advisory Committee members,” said Aoife Delargy Lowe, director of law school engagement & advocacy at Equal Justice Works.

Photo of new law school professional members Darcy Meals and Trisha Nakamura.

“These new NAC members will bring a fresh perspective on what’s happening on law school campuses across the nation, which will help guide our efforts to help students in launching their public interest law careers.”

NAC members serve two-year staggered terms—this year, four students and two law school professionals will join the Committee to replace members who have completed their terms of service. The newest members of the 2020-2022 National Advisory Committee include:

Law Students:

  • Xavier T. de Janon, Golden Gate State University School of Law
  • Michael Harding, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
  • Nicole Schaum, University of Arkansas Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law
  • Nathan Virag, John Marshall Law School

Law School Professionals:

  • Darcy Meals, Georgia State University College of Law
  • Trisha Nakamura, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law

The current list of NAC members is available here.

Due to public health and safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the NAC will host its annual meeting virtually on July 29–30, 2020. At the meeting, members will brainstorm how to best expand access and knowledge of public interest law in their respective regions.

If you are interested in joining the National Advisory Committee or would like more information, please contact [email protected].

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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.

These new NAC members will bring a fresh perspective on what’s happening on law school campuses across the nation, which will help guide our efforts to help students in launching their public interest law careers.

Aoife Delargy Lowe /
Director of Law School Engagement & Advocacy
Equal Justice Works

 Kiva Zytnick is the Pro Bono Coordinator at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and a member of the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee.

Did you always know you wanted to be involved in pro bono and public interest law work?

When I was a law student, I knew that I wanted to do public interest work—that’s why I went to law school. But, I don’t think I quite understood the difference between public interest and pro bono. Now, as the Pro Bono Coordinator at CUA Law, I try to emphasize the distinction with my students. Pro bono work provides lawyers the opportunity, no matter what type of law they practice, to give back to their community with their unique legal skills. I advise all of my students to always think about how they can build pro bono into their practice.

Photo of Kiva Zytnick (left) being interviewed by Equal Justice Works Communications Intern Catherine Williams

In your current role, you help law students pursue their own public service passions through the Columbus School of Law’s Pro Bono Program. What is it about participating in pro bono opportunities that is so important for law students?

I believe that lawyers have a professional and ethical responsibility to use their legal skills to advance the public interest and expand access to justice. And I believe that duty begins in law school. Another point I emphasize to my students is that pro bono work is also incredibly beneficial for the volunteer. You get valuable hands-on experience, exposure to areas of law that you might not have had otherwise, an opportunity to build your résumé, a network of people you can tap into for future jobs, and even preparation for an Equal Justice Works Fellowship. It is also a wonderful way to learn about the community around you, about your fellow law students and peers, and about yourself. One of the other things I talk to students about is that you’re not just a law student, you’re a whole human being. Pro bono can be a really great way to fulfill yourself outside of the classroom.

What advice do you give to students who want to become involved in pro bono work but don’t know where to start?

People often don’t know where to begin. It sounds very simple, but you just need to take a deep breath and just jump in. I would suggest starting with whoever runs the pro bono program at your school, or if you don’t have one, your career services office. As part of my job, I provide pro bono resources and counseling to students. I talk through what interest areas they have, what skills they want to be building, and what works with their schedule. I am lucky to be in Washington, D.C., because there is a wealth of opportunities and legal service providers in this city to connect students with.

Likewise, what advice can you give to law school professionals who are interested in creating or growing a successful pro bono program at their law school?

Communication is key. Engaging with students isn’t always easy—they can be hard to reach. I have gotten creative about engaging students. Try both in person and online options to maximize the ways to reach students.

One of my goals for this year is to continue to grow the pro bono and public interest community on campus. A method where I’ve had success is peer-to-peer communication. I have encouraged students to talk to their peers because they often listen to each other more than they listen to me. I encourage students to bring a friend with them when they go to a legal clinic where they do pro bono. One example that occurred just this week: I posted an opportunity in a GroupMe chat for students interested in pro bono and public interest work. Later in the day, one student who volunteers with the organization commented about how great of an opportunity it was. Within a few hours, three more students had signed up.

Lastly, what do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Equal Justice Works National Advisory Committee

I want to keep getting the word out about the amazing, fantastic resources that Equal Justice Works has. It is really incredible the wealth of resources the organization provides to law students and law service professionals. I also want to keep focusing on the National Advisory Committee’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. I really appreciate how Equal Justice Works is thinking creatively about getting these resources out to first-generation law students who often really do not know where to begin and do not have that personal network.

I believe that lawyers have a professional and ethical responsibility to use their legal skills to advance the public interest and expand access to justice.

Kiva Zytnick /
National Advisory Committee Member

Equal Justice Works, the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law, today announced the newest members of its National Advisory Committee.

Formed in 2003, the National Advisory Committee (NAC) is a diverse group of eight law students and eight law school professionals who serve as Equal Justice Works ambassadors within the law school and legal services communities. NAC members extend the reach of Equal Justice Works initiatives by providing leadership, feedback, and outreach assistance to support the organization’s mission of helping law students transform their passion for public service into a lifelong commitment to equal justice.

“We are over the moon to announce our 2019-2021 National Advisory Committee members,” said Aoife Delargy Lowe, director of law school engagement and advocacy at Equal Justice Works. “These outstanding law students and exceptional law school professionals provide Equal Justice Works with strategic guidance and a unique and important perspective on what’s happening on law school campuses across the nation.”

NAC members serve two-year staggered terms—this year, four students and five law school professionals will join the Committee to replace members who have completed their terms of service. The newest members of the 2019-2021 National Advisory Committee include:

Students:

  • Kaile Bennett, Stetson University College of Law
  • Erica Brant, Roger Williams University School of Law
  • Chantel Matikke, Lincoln Memorial University, Duncan School of Law
  • Brittany Urness, Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School

Law School Professionals:

  • Michelle Condon, Charleston School of Law
  • Parisa Ijadi-Maghsoodi, University of San Diego School of Law
  • Claire O’Brien, Washington University in Saint Louis School of Law
  • Nicholas Schroeck, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
  • Gregory Zlotnick, St. Mary’s University School of Law

The current list of NAC members is available here.

All members will meet later this summer in Washington, D.C., for a strategy session on how best to expand access and knowledge of public interest law in their respective regions.

If you are interested in joining the National Advisory Committee or would like more information, please contact [email protected].

These outstanding law students and exceptional law school professionals provide Equal Justice Works with strategic guidance and a unique and important perspective on what’s happening on law school campuses across the nation.

Aoife Delargy Lowe /
Equal Justice Works Director of Law School Engagement and Advocacy

In late 2018, the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) announced updated guidelines regarding on-campus recruiting. Under the new rule, the 28-day period during which summer and permanent employment offers remain open has been eliminated, and the October 15 and December 1 timing guidelines for advising and recruiting first-year students have been eliminated.

Equal Justice Works recognizes NALP’s essential role in designing and promoting recruitment policies and procedures for the legal career field, and will continue to follow the association’s guidance. At this year’s Conference and Career Fair, first-year law students will be eligible to apply for scheduled interviews. It is at the discretion of public interest employers at the event to offer interviews to first-year law students.

Under the guidance of its National Advisory Committee, Equal Justice Works will provide online resources prior to the event to support and educate first-year law students on attendee best practices.

If you have questions regarding policies at the Conference and Career Fair, please contact the Equal Justice Works Law School Engagement and Advocacy team at [email protected].

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 percent of our Fellows remain in public service positions, continuing to pursue equal justice for underserved communities across the country.

On October 26 and 27, 2018, the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair brought together more than 200 public interest employers and 1,400 law students from over 150 law schools. The conference gave attendees the opportunity to build their professional skills and grow their résumés, while interviewing for full-time positions and internships.

On Friday, attendees had the opportunity to interview for legal positions and participate in informal “table talk” discussions with employers. Attendees also had the opportunity to receive advice on their résumés, have their cover letter reviewed, and conduct mock interviews with recruitment professionals. During the day, attendees were able to attend conference sessions on a wide variety of pressing legal topics, including Defending the Earth: The Role of Lawyers (and Law Attendees) in Protecting Our EnvironmentReproductive Rights: New Threats and How Advocates are Fighting Back, and more.

In the afternoon, attendees heard from keynote speaker Sally Yates, the former U.S. Deputy Attorney General, as she discussed her commitment to blending public service and law with Judge Ann Claire Williams, formerly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

On Saturday, attendees continued to attend the career fair and practice their interview skills. Saturday conference sessions included JDS in Debt, Mobilizing the Next Generation of Public Interest Lawyers, and Protecting Transgender Individuals and Communities. Many attendees also took advantage of the opportunity to participate in Pro Bono Day of Service activities, where they served at an immigration consultation clinic in the Washington, D.C. area.

We look forward to seeing you at our 2019 Conference and Career Fair, taking place October 18­ and 19, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. In the meantime, click here to see when Equal Justice Works will be visiting your law school campus.