Equal Justice Works and Legal Services Corporation are actively recruiting students to fill 30 exciting positions nationwide for the Rural Summer Legal Corps program. The program connects public interest law students with civil legal aid organizations to address pressing legal issues facing rural communities. The application for Summer 2019 is open until February 11, 2019.
Selected participants will begin the summer with intensive training from poverty law experts on housing, domestic violence, public benefits, migrant farmworkers, Native American, and family law. After the training, the law students will return directly to their host site to continue their 8-10 week placement.
ALSC is excited to be a host organization for the 2019 program. Interested law students can learn more about applying for the program by visiting the Rural Summer Legal Corps website. Read about our fellow project below.
Host Site: Alaska Legal Services Corporation
Project: Pro Bono Training and General Practices
Location: Juneau, AK or Bethel, AK (depending on student preference)
Description of Fellow Project: Alaska Legal Services Corporation has a Pro Bono Training Academy (PBTA)—a training system for pro bono attorneys. The PBTA has three components: 1) designing comprehensive distance learning webinars on five specific topics faced by the rural Alaska poverty community (public benefits, bankruptcy, housing issues, elder law, and consumer issues); 2) creating a mentorship program matching newer pro bono attorneys with more experienced mentors; and 3) working with law students who will both assist in the PBTA and represent rural clients.
The goal of the PBTA is to provide more support to pro bono attorneys thereby increasing their willingness to take on extended service (or higher) cases. Because of the low percentage of attorneys practicing in rural areas, the need for pro bono volunteers is especially high in the rural offices. The PBTA will focus on placing cases from clients living in the targeted rural areas. The law student will develop content for the PBTA and participate in the expansion of the PBTA to non-attorney volunteers. The law student will work with rural office attorneys offering direct services to clients. As an example (and what we have found to be successful in the past), the student will work with rural Alaska Native Elders to draft and execute wills—which are of special importance in rural Alaska due to unique property issues.
The student will also help coordinate outreach and training on Alaska’s Legal Navigator (formerly known as the Microsoft Legal Access Portal) –a ground breaking initiative to simplify the process through which people seek and access civil legal assistance developed through a partnership between Microsoft, LSC, ALSC, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and Pro Bono Net. The Navigator is expected to launch in early 2019.