public interest

Why Attend the Equal Justice Works Conference & Career Fair?

For those students interested in pursuing a career in public interest law, now is the perfect time to mark your calendars and make plans to attend the annual Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair. The career fair will be held this year in Arlington, Virginia, from October 28 to Saturday, October 29.

This event is the largest national public interest legal career fair in the country and provides students with the unique opportunity to network with a diverse grouping of public interest employers and organizations in one location over the course of just two days. The career fair typically draws more than 160 public interest employers from many states, including California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, and Texas. The employers conduct actual interviews for internships and full-time jobs and meet with students in informal “table talk” discussions of public interest legal opportunities with their organizations. The conference also includes opportunities for networking, mock interviews, and resume review with practicing attorneys and workshops on specific public interest careers.

The cost of registration for the conference is only $25.00 and registration information is available.  A list of employers participating in this year’s conference is also available. Some notable attending employers include:

  • Animal Legal Defense Fund – Cotati, CA
  • Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, PA
  • Disability Rights Advocates – New York, NY
  • District Attorney’s Office of Charlotte, NC
  • Federal Trade Commission – Washington, DC
  • Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Senate Office of the Legislative Counsel

Registration for the Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair ends on September 14, 2016 so be sure you register early! To stay abreast of other Equal Justice events and public interest opportunities, students should also consider joining the Equal Justice Works JDs for Justice Network or following Equal Justice Works on Twitter.

Prepare to Launch

Photo of Mary Crane

Guest Blog Featuring Mary Crane from MaryCrane.com

Congratulations — as soon as final exams end, you’re about to enter the world of work! This is an important first step in the transition that you will undertake from being a student to becoming a successful professional. Even if you are just entering your summer job, you will still have a plethora of challenges ahead of you. Over the next several weeks, you will begin to learn the intricacies of a new profession. You will start to develop your professional persona. You should begin to lay the foundation for what will eventually become your professional network. Perform well and your introduction to the world of work may lead to a job offer.

You will be prepared to launch your professional career if you undertake the following eight activities:

1. Establish S.M.A.R.T. goals for your summer experience
A S.M.A.R.T. goal is one that is Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-targeted. A summer associate assigned to a firm’s mergers & acquisitions practice group might send the following S.M.A.R.T. goal: by the end of the summer, research, assist with the drafting of bylaws and articles of incorporation, and participate in creating a financing plan for one merger. In contrast an investment bank intern might set the following S.M.A.R.T. goal: once a week, review a randomly selected financial statement and build a leveraged buyout model from scratch.

Identify as clearly and specifically as possible what you wish to accomplish and whom you wish to meet during the summer months. Once you’ve been assigned to a specific department or task, be prepared to revise and refine your goals.

2. Research

Learn everything you can about your summer employer. Understand the products or services that it provides. Get familiar with its culture. Ascertain how formal or informal the workplace appears to be.

Create a work journal in paper or electronic format and add your research results. Throughout the summer, constantly add to this journal, developing an ongoing record of the people you meet and the projects that you undertake. Make note of new skills acquired and lessons learned that you can later add to your resume.

3. Make contact with your new employer
In most cases, representatives from your employer’s HR department will reach out to you long before your summer employment begins. If they do not, take the initiative to contact them. Use these exchanges to confirm attire expectations, your start time on Day One, and any information that might be available regarding your supervisor.

4. Research your supervisor

To the extent you know the department to which you will be assigned or the people with whom you will be working most closely, spend some additional time engaged in research. Google or look up the names of key individuals on LinkedIn and look for points of commonality, for example, you graduated from the same school.

When you undertake this research, be discreet. Don’t get pegged as a cyber-stalker. And it goes without saying that all of your own social media information now needs to be workplace-appropriate.  If it’s not, clean it up now!

Read Activities #5-8 Here – Responding to Employers, Your Day-One Outfit, Commute Test Runs, and Your Work Kit

How a Law School Specialization Can Help You Obtain Employment

Guest Blog by Ashli Irene Weiss from Ms.JD.com 

Specializing while in law school is a valuable tool. As a law student, I specialized in intellectual property and focused on trademark law. My specialization helped me land amazing intellectual property career opportunities within a field of law I enjoy and that my peers are equally as passionate about. I wrote this article to share the benefits I learned that come with a specialization, to quell the fear that many students have of specializing while in law school and to provide advice on how to choose a specialization.

A legal specialization can be work experience in a job interview.  ”Why do you want this job,” is a question I received at every job interview. As a new graduate, I always incorporated my specialization. A specialization requires certain courses to help prepare a student to practice in a specific type of law. I wrote articles on intellectual property, completed projects that simulated attorney work product and discussed new issues in IP with my peers in class. This translated to my potential employer as experience, because it aligned with some of the job qualifications required for the position. Similarly, a new graduate can use their specialization to demonstrate experience. This may help the new graduate stand out from other applicants who also have limited work experience, but no specialization.

Specializing shows to potential employers that you have a passion.  As an interviewer for an intellectual property job position, I favored those applicants that showed a passion for IP. In general, a passionate employee is dedicated to completing the task at hand, more pleasurable to work with and tends to have innovative ideas in that area of law. A specialization is a straightforward way to show an employer that you have a passion towards a particular field of law. It signals that you wanted to take specific courses in law school to prepare you for a specific career. It suggests that the employer can speak with you about breaking issues in the law, because you keep up-to-date on the news in that area. An employer may also be more confident that you will put in the hours required to solve the issue and have a better work product.

A legal specialization helps create new contacts.  In law school, I reached out to IP lawyers via email and introduced myself to IP lawyers at events I attended.  Under these circumstances, I always mentioned my specialization in IP.  My specialization was something that could relate with the IP lawyer.  People connect more willingly with one another if it is based upon a similarity.  Conversation between the two people flows more easily, because they can exchange thoughts and new ideas on a common interest.  If you practice in the same field of law, there is also a likelihood that the lawyer will run into you in the near future.  With a chance of crossing paths again, a lawyer may be more willing to help so they can maintain their reputation.

Read more on other ways specialization in law school can benefit your career.

Our Advice on How to Choose a Practice Area

It can be hard to decide on a specific practice area while attending law school, especially during your first year. The choices can seem endless! Throughout the year our office will present informational programs and events with participants designed to inform you about different legal careers & practice areas. Check the Upcoming Events section of our newsletters and web site, as well as the law school calendar regularly for events that may interest you or advance your career. In addition, programs are publicized by Twitter and Facebook so be sure to stay connected.

Conducting informational interviews is also a great way to explore different practice areas and to develop professional networks. Make a list of people you know (or who family members or friends know) who have a law degree. Contact them and introduce yourself as a law student and see whether they would be open to meeting or talking with you over the phone (at a convenient time) about their work and their unique career path. It is important to start building a network of colleagues. Not only can they be a source of jobs, but a source of future collaborations. They can also be a source of valuable advice on what steps you should take to learn more about a particular field or who else to contact to gain information and expand your network.

In addition, alumni/ae, faculty and lecturers are an important source in building your network and obtaining information about different areas of practice. Search the new Wake Network or contact your career advisor for assistance in identifying/contacting appropriate alums. Don’t forget that fellow students are an excellent resource. Talk to current students about their summer experiences and how they were able to obtain their summer position. To the extent you can (especially as a 2L and 3L), consider classes in areas of the law that genuinely interest you and may help you explore a particular area of the law, rather than loading up on “bar” classes.

You may even want to consider a field placement, clinic or externship for academic credit. A great way to research public interest/public sector employment is to enroll in a field placement for a semester.  A number of public interest/public sector employers offer students an opportunity to work in their office in exchange for academic credit. Similarly, if you’ve taken a class you really enjoy and think you may be interested in pursuing a career practicing that area of law, a practicum extension may be another option to choose. Talk to the professor of the class and see if s/he would be willing to be your faculty supervisor. Please note that approval is required for any placements for which academic credit is sought, so be sure to check with the point of contact for each individual externship or clinic for details.

Still unsure of how to start deciding on a practice area? Make an appointment with your career advisor to discuss what options you are considering and they will help guide you throughout this process as well as your journey through law school.

Want to work for the federal government? Here’s how!

The federal government has approximately 111,700 employees working in the legal field, including attorneys, law clerks, paralegal specialists, and contract representatives.  Even more employees with JDs work in policy-related positions, legislative liaison roles, etc.

In July 2012, the government implemented its new Pathways programs, streamlined developmental programs aimed at employment opportunities for students and recent graduates in the federal workforce.

Internships

The Pathways Internship Program provides paid internship opportunities for current students to work in federal agencies. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service. Internships are administered by each individual agency, but some agencies must post opportunities on www.usajobs.gov/studentsandgrads, making searching for these opportunities easier while others post internship positions directly on their website.

The Government Honors & Internship Guide, published by the University of Arizona College of Law, is a great resource for learning more about government internships and keeping track of deadlines.  The Guide, available at http://www.law.arizona.edu/career/honorshandbook.cfm includes information on opportunities at a number of federal agencies. The OCPD maintains an annual subscription – contact us for login information.

Entry-Level Positions

There are essentially three ways to obtain an entry-level position with the federal government: (1) the new Recent Graduates Program, part of the Pathways programs; (2) Honors Programs; and (3) the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program.

Pathways Recent Graduates Program: This program is intended to streamline hiring for recent graduates.  Students are eligible for the program for up to two years after graduation. The program lasts for one year (unless the training requirements of the position warrant a longer and more structured training program). All agencies are required to provide the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) with information about available positions, and OPM posts the information publicly on www.usajobs.gov/studentsandgrads/ about how to apply for specific positions.

Honors Programs: Many federal agencies (including the Department of Justice) hire new attorneys primarily through Honors Programs. These usually require a two-year commitment, after which participants convert to permanent federal employees. The Government Honors and Internship Guide (see above for details) is the most comprehensive resource for these programs.

Presidential Management Fellows (PMF): This is a competitive program that recruits students with graduate-level degrees to policy and management jobs (not attorney positions) in the federal government. Students are eligible to apply in their final year of graduate school or up to two years after receiving their degrees. As part of the Pathways Program, the federal government has streamlined the process and reinvigorated the PMF program for 2012-13. More detailed information is available at http://www.pmf.gov/. (The website has not yet been updated with the application process for the Class of 2013, but last year’s application process began in mid-September). You can subscribe to the PMF listserv to receive updates and keep track of key dates.

For additional detailed information on opportunities with the federal government, consult the 2012-13 Federal Legal Employment Opportunities Guide and additional federal career resources available at http://psjd.org/Careers_in_Federal_Government.

Equal Justice Works Fellowship Applications – Deadline is Sept. 18!

The Equal Justice Works Fellowships Program provides financial and other forms of support to lawyers working on innovative legal projects in nonprofit organizations across the country.  The two-year Fellowships offer salary (up to $41,000 annually) and generous loan repayment assistance; a national training and leadership development program; and other forms of support during the term of the Fellowship.

As you may know, Equal Justice Works recruits law firms, corporations, bar associations, foundations, and individuals to fund the majority of our Fellowships.  We refer to these funding partners as “sponsors.”

We receive applications proposing projects in a wide range of subject matter and geographic areas.  This year, we have particular sponsor interest without geographic constraint in several unique issue areas: Corporate Accountability Veterans Issues Economic Justice/ Economic Opportunity (poverty alleviation, community benefit agreements, tax reform, sustainable development, microfinance) Business Incubators Access to Education Issues STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education

We therefore strongly encourage candidates that are interested in working on these issues beginning next fall to consider submitting an application.

The application deadline is September 18, 2012, 5 p.m. EDT.

If you have any questions, please email Sarah Snik, Program Manager for Fellowships, at  ssnik@equaljusticeworks.org or call (202)466-3686 ext. 107.

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General Information about 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellowship Application Process

The 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellowships application is available at www.equaljusticeworks.org.  To review the application form, you must create a profile and an application name.  All applications will be assessed according to the quality of the proposed project, the host organization and the individual candidate, in addition to consideration of other factors such as issue area and geographic diversity.  Interviews will be conducted nationwide throughout the fall and winter, and offers will be extended on a rolling basis.

Equal Justice Works encourages sponsors to establish relationships with their Fellows from the beginning of the selection process and continue and grow these relationships throughout the Fellowship tenure.  To facilitate this process, sponsors participate in the selection of the Fellows.  Some sponsors will consider strong proposals located anywhere in the country and/or focused on any issue.  However, many sponsors provide us with geographic or issue area preferences for their Fellowships (typically projects based in cities in which they have offices or on issues of interest) and then participate in the interviews.  As previously mentioned, we have recruited sponsors who have expressed an interest in funding 2013 Equal Justice Works Fellows working on the particular issue areas included above.

Spring Internship Opportunity: Charlotte Immigration Court

The United States Department of Justice is seeking three law students to serve as volunteer legal interns with the Charlotte Immigration Court during the spring semester of 2013. All second and third year law students are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Organizational Description

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is responsible for adjudicating immigration-related cases.  Specifically, under delegated authority from the Attorney General, EOIR interprets and administers federal immigration laws by conducting immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings. 

On behalf of EOIR, Immigration Courts determine whether aliens are removable from theUnited States and consider applications for various forms of relief from removability.  Such relief includes asylum, adjustment of status, cancellation of removal, and waivers of inadmissibility grounds, including waivers for criminal convictions.  Parties may appeal their cases first to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and then to the federal appellate court which has jurisdiction over the original case.  The Charlotte Immigration Court is seated within the Fourth Circuit and has jurisdiction over all North Carolina and South   Carolina cases.

Description of Internship

The Charlotte Immigration Court is seeking law students with a strong interest in immigration law to intern during the spring semester of 2013.  Beginning and ending dates are flexible.  The number of hours is also flexible, though students must intern a minimum of nine hours per week.  The selected candidates must successfully complete a background investigation prior to the start date of the internship.

The type of projects assigned to volunteer legal interns will vary, depending upon the Court’s docket.  Such projects typically include drafting decisions on various applications for relief from removal, researching and preparing memoranda on complex issues in immigration law, and preparing materials to assist the Immigration Judges.  Interns are exposed to litigation with frequent opportunities to observe case proceedings.

Interns will work directly under the supervision of the Judicial Law Clerk (“JLC”) hired through the Attorney General’s Honors Program.  The JLC will serve as a mentor to the intern during the course of the internship.  The intern will also have the opportunity to interact directly with the Immigration Judges.

Hiring Criteria

The internship is highly competitive and requires strong research and writing skills.  Prior knowledge of or experience in immigration law, though not required, is encouraged.  One must be a United States citizen to be eligible for this internship.

In his or her application, the applicant should include a cover letter, a resume, a list of three references, an unofficial or official law school transcript, and a legal writing sample (no longer than 10 pages, double-spaced).

Students selected for interviews must provide an official law school transcript at the interview.  The writing sample must be the applicant’s exclusive work product.  The applicant’s cover letter should include relevant experience, including but not limited to, criminal or immigration-related internships, relevant classes, international experience, journal or law review, moot court or other extracurricular activities.  The applicant’s cover letter should also include an explanation of why the applicant wants to work at the Charlotte Immigration Court and how working at the Court will assist the applicant in his or her plans after law school.

Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 24, 2012.

Applicants may send applications by e-mail to Kathleen.Haley.Harne@usdoj.gov 

Please contact Kathleen Harne, Judicial Law Clerk with the Charlotte Immigration Court, with any questions: Kathleen.Haley.Harne@usdoj.gov ; phone number: (704)817-6142.  Applicants will be contacted for telephonic or in-person interviews shortly after receipt and review of applications.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Free Webinar: Getting the Most from Your Summer Public Interest Experience

On Wednesday, May 23 at 3:00 PM EDT, NALP is presenting “Summer Success: Getting the Most from Your Summer Public Interest Experience.”

During this free webinar, you’ll learn practical tips on how to develop professionally and personally while interning at a public interest office this summer. Also, you’ll get insider advice from public interest attorneys and community leaders.

Deb Ellis, the Assistant Dean of Public Service at NYU Law School, and Lindsay M. Harris, Tahirih Justice Center’s Equal Justice Works Fellow and Immigration Staff Attorney, will be leading the webinar.

Don’t delay, register today!

Register here:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/824680642

Equal Justice Works SummerCorps Application is Open!

Don’t miss out on this summer funding opportunity!

Summer Corps is now accepting online applications for the 2012 program.  The deadline to apply is March 23, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded program that will provide law students with the opportunity to earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for dedicating their summer to a qualifying legal project at a nonprofit public interest organization. Summer Corps members may also serve at organizations that currently host Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows and traditional Equal Justice Works Fellows.
As part of the 2012 Summer Corps program, 711 members:

  • Gain first-hand experience and legal skills in areas such as client intake, representation and legal research and writing;
  • Earn a $1,175 AmeriCorps education award voucher upon completion of 300 hours of service that can be used to pay current educational expenses or qualified student loans;
  • Have access to Equal Justice Works’ network of alumni, experience and expertise as the nation’s largest provider of public interest opportunities for law students and attorneys; and
  • Become an official member of AmeriCorps, one of the largest national service networks in U.S. history.

For more information, or to apply, visit http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/law-school/summercorps/more

FREE Webinar: The Summer Public Interest Job Search

NALP and Equal Justice Works have teamed up to offer students this FREE webinar with insight into the key elements of the summer public interest job application process.  Attorneys with years of experience will highlight do’s and don’ts, explain how and why public interest application materials may differ from law firm materials, and explore the dynamics of personal interactions in interviews and networking situations.

If you are looking for work in the public sector, don’t miss out on this valuable information and advice!

Part 1: Wednesday, January 25  at 3pm: Best Practices in Drafting Cover Letters & Resumes

Part 2: Wednesday, February 1 at 12pm: Best Practices in Interviewing & In-Person Networking

 

To register, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/953896682

For more information, visit http://www.nalp.org/