2017 Summer Intern Program

Volunteer Opportunities for Law Students

2017 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 plan to conduct on-campus interviews at The University of Akron School of Law, Cleveland- Marshall College of Law and Case Western Reserve University but law students from other law schools are strongly encouraged to apply. 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 2017 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.

  • Summer grants / fellowships through individual law schools
  • Equal Justice Works, AmeriCorps JD Program, may be offered in 2017. In the past fellowships were not cash awards, but were a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award which could be applied to educational debt or future education costs. These were awarded on a first come, first served basis so check the web site and be sure to apply as soon as the application is available on line—they go quickly. www.equaljusticeworks.org or e-mail: americorpsjd@equaljusticeworks.org. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Equal Justice America - Visit www.equaljusticeamerica.org for application details.
  • Work Study Funding - Some universities offer work study funding for summer positions. Please check with your law school financial aid office for particulars at your law school. Please note that work-study money may reduce the amount of loans available to you for the following two semesters. Talk with your financial aid office to determine how work-study money may affect you.

These are just a few of the many funding possibilities. For more funding opportunities, visit the “Funding Sources” 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 complete and submit the community member volunteer application that is available on the website at http://www.communitylegalaid.org/node/188/students-and-community-members. 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 2017.  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:

*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:

volunteer@communitylegalaid.orgThis 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.

Community 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 5 & 6, 2017

Summer Program....................................................................................................June 5 – August 11, 2017

2017 Summer Program Positions

       

Family Law Project...................................................................1 position (Canton)

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

 

Pro Bono Bankruptcy Project/VLSP...............................................................1 position (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.

 

Economic Security Project .....................................................................1 position (Youngstown)

The intern will have immediate contact with clients, will draft documents and will shadow attorneys at hearings.   The intern will gain valuable litigation experience and will know that he/she has assisted clients achieve economic stability and obtain Social Security Benefits, Unemployment Compensations, and various other public benefits.

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

  • Participate in client interviews and client contact
  • Conduct factual investigations including client interviews, requesting and reviewing medical, and other records, searching public records, etc.
  • Contact community agencies and medical providers 
  • Attend hearings, trials and outreach events
  • File court documents
  • Conduct legal research
  • Draft correspondences
  • 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

 

Posted: January 5, 2016