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2014 Summer Intern Program

Community Legal Aid is a private non-profit law firm which works to bridge the gap between poverty and justice for low income and elderly residents of central northeast Ohio. We concentrate our efforts on legal work that makes a difference in the lives of poor people.

  • Legal Aid provides economic benefits for clients by ensuring that they receive public benefits (e.g., unemployment insurance, Medicaid, housing subsidies, etc.) to which they are entitled and by preventing the collection of wrongful or unenforceable debt
  • Legal Aid improves the lives of poor people by: securing their personal safety with the protection and support orders that enable victims of domestic violence to make a fresh start free from abuse, obtaining health care benefits, preventing homelessness by defending eviction actions, preserving homeownership, and ensuring the habitability of dwellings, protecting consumer and taxpayer rights and essential property, and
    helping people to make informed personal decisions through the provision of timely, accurate legal advice, information, and pro se assistance.

Legal Aid has Summer Program openings for Law Students in four (4) of our Northeast Ohio offices. Job descriptions for the various positions are listed below.

We expect to be conducting on-campus interviews at The University of Akron School of Law, Cleveland- Marshall College of Law, Case Western Reserve University and The Ohio State University's Michael E.  Moritz College of Law. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis, and will continue to be accepted until the available positions are filled.

Deadlines for submission may be earlier due to law school interviewing schedules.

Please contact your law school’s career services office for more information.

Telephone interviews are available for applicants who are unable to participate in person.

Overview

Legal Aid is looking for dedicated, hard-working, and public-interest minded students for its Summer Program. Legal Aid has opportunities available for 2L’s (with or without intern certificate) and 1L’s.  Law Students who are applying to participate in the Summer Intern Program are expected to work unpaid for at least 10 weeks and may work up to 13 weeks.

Applicants must list their top two project preferences in their cover letter (see 2014 Summer Program position descriptions) and describe why they are interested and what they hope to experience. Cover letters which do not indicate preferences may not receive full consideration.

Law Students will work in different areas of the law and have different experiences. Generally, Law Students may expect to interview clients, draft client letters, draft court pleadings, research relevant legal issues, attend and assist with court hearings, assist with discovery, analyze evidence, and complete various other tasks as assigned.

All Law Students will receive training in substantive areas of poverty law, meet with judges involved and may observe court hearings. There will also be brown bag lunches with current Legal Aid lawyers and community members. Past participants have included judges, a civil rights attorney and leaders of local non-profit agencies.

Funding

Due to limited financial resources, Legal Aid’s Law Student positions are unpaid. Applicants are encouraged to apply for summer funding through the following sources.

These are just a few of the many funding possibilities. For more funding opportunities, visit the “Funding & Debt” page under “Resource Center” at www.psjd.org.

Course Credit / Externship Credit

Community Legal Aid often supervises students working for externship or other credit. Please indicate in your cover letter if you intend to work with your law school to receive course credit for your summer intern position. Please keep in mind that Law Students who apply through the Summer Intern Program are expected to work unpaid for at least 10 weeks and may work up to 13 weeks. If you are not interested in interning with Community Legal Aid in a full-time capacity for the summer, but are interested in volunteering your time outside of the Summer Program, please contact complete and submit the community member volunteer application that is available on the website at http://www.communitylegalaid.org/volunteer. Please note that this is a separate application from the Summer Program Application.

Applications Procedure and Student Qualifications

Summer Program applicants should have completed their first year of law school by the time they commence work in the summer of 2014.  We give special consideration to students with a demonstrated commitment to serving disadvantaged people and communities.  Law students who speak Spanish are strongly encouraged to apply.  Please submit the following:

  • Cover Letter*
  • Resume
  • Three References
  • Writing Sample
  • Completed Summer Program Application

Download the 2014 Summer Program Application here.

*Remember to include your top two projects / unit preferences (see Summer Program Positions below) and whether you are willing to volunteer, will be receiving credit, are work-study eligible or are applying for a public interest summer grant / fellowship

Send application materials to:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and put 'Summer Program' in the subject line of your email. Note that applications will only be accepted through the online process. Do not send hard copies of the forms. All submissions will be acknowledged.  If you do not receive a confirmation email within 1 week of sending your application, call (330) 983-2551 to verify its receipt.This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Legal Aid is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate because of age, race, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, or mental or physical disability.

Important Dates*

Application deadline..........................................................................................................  Open Until Filled

Offers extended (must be accepted within 72 hours)..................................................................Rolling basis

Orientation......................................................................................................................... June 2 2014

Summer Program....................................................................................................June 2 – August 8, 2014

2014 Summer Program Positions

Foreclosure Project..........................................................................1 positions (Warren)

1)      Assemble loan modification handout package for our foreclosure clients which explains the various components of a loss mitigation packet, how to complete each form in the packet, a checklist of documents to gather, including what suffices for the information being requested and whether there is any authentication necessary. Specific tasks would include drafting of information materials and assembly of both in-house and outside materials for the package.

2)      Perform community outreach during clinic days. Specific tasks would include screening court referrals, doing intake interviews, reviewing the docket, obtaining necessary documents from the court, and preparing, collating and filing pleadings.

3)      Prepare financial packets for loss mitigation review. Specific tasks would be ensuring packets comply with program guidelines, running ratios and percentiles necessary for review, assisting clients with providing accurate income and expense figures, as well as the supporting documentation necessary to verify both. Additional tasks would be sending out financial packets to both clients and counsel, monitoring production of documents, and drafting letters to clients with respect to same.

4)      Review and track foreclosure outcomes in each county to determine percentage helped by government loan modification, internal loan modification, RS funds, and/or non-retention options. Specific tasks would be to produce spreadsheets and charts that would demonstrate settlement ratios and trends in the different counties, as well as the success of the counties' respective mediation programs.

Students with excellent communication skills would be ideal, as would students with an accounting or finance background and experience with Microsoft Excel.

Veterans Project..................................................................................1 position (Akron/Canton)

Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps recently created the national Veteran Legal Corps Fellowship to address the legal needs of low income and homeless veterans with a focus on veteran disability benefits claims, barriers to housing and employment, debt, family law, and other legal issues. 

Community Legal Aid is currently hosting an AmeriCorps Legal Fellow from this program and is searching for a law students to join the program.  The law students will be under the supervision of the Managing Attorney of Economic Stability and may be stationed in the Akron or Canton office of Community Legal Aid. The law students will work directly with Veteran clients, perform legal research and writing and participate in community outreach programs.

Law students must work a total of 300 hours by August 31, 2014 in order to eligible for the AmeriCorps Education Award in the amount of $1,175 for qualifying education expenses. The position is not eligible for academic credit.

Advocacy Project..........................................................................1 position (Akron)

Project Goal: Increase Community Legal Aid’s capacity to do multiple party and other impact work

Tasks to be completed: Help draft discovery, motions and briefs needed to advance impact litigation; help prepare for depositions of defendants and our clients; incorporate the facts from the various client affidavits into a coherent story; and/or preparing for multiple hearings.

Skills Needed: Ability to organizing a lot of material into a single well-written and compelling brief; understanding of damages and evidence law; good people skills with our clients; critical thinking to anticipate defenses and our responses.

Health Education Advocacy and Law Project (HEAL)...........................2-3 positions (Akron) INTERN POSITIONS FOR HEAL ARE FULL

The Summer Intern can expect to be engaged in the following activities:

  • Conduct intake screening and initial client interview with patients referred to HEAL through our medical-legal partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital or Summa Women’s Health Center.
  • Conduct factual investigations including client interviews, requesting and reviewing medical, school, and other records, searching public records, etc.
  • Attend hearings, trials and outreach events
  • Conduct legal and policy research
  • Draft pleadings / research memoranda / policy papers / correspondence
  • Such other tasks as may be assigned

Specific Qualifications:  This internship is best suited for a law student who is interested in health law and/or health policy.  Candidates with previous experience in policy work are preferred.  Other helpful qualifications include:  having taken a health law course; prior experience in policy advocacy; having an understanding of the health care system.

  • Demonstrated interest in and sensitivity to the legal needs of the poor as well as motivation to improve the condition of the poor
  • Interest and experience in health law and/or policy issues.
  • Strong research/writing backgrounds
  • Personal characteristics include:  excellent interpersonal skills, first-rate oral and written communications skills, professional attitude, discretion, diplomacy and tact, ability to relate to professionals, strong analytical and organizational skills, and high dependability
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word and Internet research tools
  • Ability to speak a foreign language is highly desirable         

 

Family Law Project ......................................................... 3-4 positions (Akron/Canton/Warren)

The intern will have immediate contact with clients, will draft documents and will shadow attorneys at hearings.  The intern will be assigned an attorney with an ongoing caseload.  The intern will gain valuable litigation experience and will know that he/she has assisted victims of abuse and those needing custody/visitation and divorce assistance. The attorney and managing attorney will evaluate the intern.

The Intern can expect to be engaged in the following activities:

  • Conduct screening and client interviews with clients seeking to obtain civil protection orders against abusers. 
  • Conduct factual investigations including client interviews, requesting and reviewing court, medical, and other records, searching public records, etc.
  • Attend hearings, trials and outreach events
  • Conduct legal research
  • Draft pleadings / research memoranda / correspondence
  • Such other tasks as may be assigned

 

Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated interest in and sensitivity to the legal needs of the poor as well as motivation to improve the condition of the poor
  • Strong research/writing backgrounds
  • Personal characteristics include:  excellent interpersonal skills, first-rate oral and written communications skills, professional attitude, discretion, diplomacy and tact, ability to relate to professionals, strong analytical and organizational skills, and high dependability
  • Proficient in Microsoft Word and Internet research tools
  • Ability to speak a foreign language is highly desirable

 

Immigration Law Project................... 1 position (Youngstown)

The intern will increase the capacity of the program to serve clients seeking naturalization, initial spousal “green cards” or renewal of spousal “green cards” which are the three most labor intensive routine services we typically provide.

 

The intern will work on the following projects.

·       Prepare Immigration court briefs on issues that would benefit other potential clients (particularly use of felony child support convictions as grounds for removal, and basis of changed circumstances as eligibility for asylum).

·       Develop materials primarily on domestic violence and secondly on standard housing, credit, used car and car repair issues affecting foreign students and staff and their dependents (one public university has asked us to assist in orientation of the new foreign students and staff).

Specific tasks to be completed by this intern include developing checklists for interviewing clients, collection of necessary documents for particular routine immigration services and rafting briefs and applications.

The intern should have skills, experience or interest in communicating with individuals with Limited English Proficiency and a strong research and writing background.


Pro Bono Bankruptcy Project/VLSP...........................................................3 positions (Akron)

Student Goals: Students will understand the basics of Chapter 7 bankruptcy law and basic lawyering skills involved in working with clients in the VLSP/CLAS setting.

Students will interview all Summit County (and perhaps other counties) clients requesting bankruptcy assistance (approximately 135 clients) and do public records research to complement the client’s intake interview.  Upon completion, the case is evaluated by the VLSP Attorney.

Students will draft client specific advice letters to provide clients with advice regarding their options.

Students will assist at the Peace of Mind Clinics (for clients who receive our uncollectable letters).

Students will prepare at least one bankruptcy petition. 

Students will attend at least one 341 bankruptcy hearing.

Students will attend and observe at least one call day at bankruptcy court.

Students will make contact with volunteer attorneys by assisting in the case placement process, assisting volunteers on an as-needed basis, and assisting in the preparation of the annual bankruptcy CLE that is co-sponsored with the Akron Bar Association.

Students will attend bar association meetings with the VLSP Managing Attorney.

Students will be invited to attend the annual bankruptcy CLE at the Akron Bar Association and may be invited to be a speaker at the CLE (providing a 5 minute overview of the work they do on the project for volunteer attorneys).

Specific Tasks:

Interviewing clients, Informal research (public documents), Legal research, Drafting client letters, Meeting with clients, Document review, Case management, Bankruptcy petition preparation, Attend hearings, Speak with private attorneys, attend bar association meetings and/or events, Draft pleadings, memos, etc.

Skills, Experience, Interests Needed:  Law Student needs to be self-motivated and able to work on their own and in a team. Student must be able to follow directions. Student must be responsible and reliable, as they will be meeting with clients. Student must be professional, as they will be meeting with clients and private attorneys. No prior bankruptcy, evidence, litigation or research and writing experience is needed. Interest or background in poverty law and/or bankruptcy law is helpful, but not required.

Certificate of Qualification for Employment Clinic Project......

1 position (Canton)

Project Goal: Set up format where intern/law student can assist clients in all eight counties with CQE application

Specific tasks allocated to law student:

·         Interview clients by telephone

·         Assist clients in completing CQE application

·         Assist clients in compiling documentation necessary for CQE application

·         Assist client in completing application

·         Attend hearings with attorney


The ideal student for this position will have taken a criminal law course. The student should have a strong writing background with an interest in criminal and/or poverty law.

 
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