Lawyers for America offers UC Hastings students an academic year of practical experience as part of their legal education, followed by one year of post-graduate employment that will greatly enhance their competitiveness in the post-fellowship job market.
LfA fellows spend most of their third-year units (12 each semester) engaged in an externship at a public-interest law office, continuously through both semesters, including most of winter break. Following these nine months of work, graduation, and three months to take the bar exam and a vacation, fellows return to the same placement site for a full year, earning a stipend paid by LfA. Thus, participants leave the fellowship with 20 months of law-office work experience, supervisors who can attest to their capabilities as an attorney, and a reputation in the relevant legal community. In the event that their placement site has positions available at that time, successful fellows will be in an excellent position to compete for them.
The Class of 2014 LfA fellows are working for the Contra Costa County District Attorney or Public Defender. Fellows from the Class of 2015 are externing at the Contra Costa County Public Defender, the Contra Costa County Superior Court, the Berkeley City Attorney, the First District Appellate Project, and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Placement sites for the Class of 2016 will be announced as they are confirmed; please see: http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/clinical-programs/lawyers-for-america/for-law-students/america-app-info/index.php.
Because fellows have limited time to take basic courses during their externship year, those interested in applying for the program should pay careful attention to their course selection for second year. Specifically, you will be best positioned to participate in LfA if you plan to complete 14-15 classroom units each semester of your second year. This will ensure that you have sufficient units to graduate without having to take any 3L classes beyond those required by LfA. When choosing your 2L classes, consideration must be given both to courses that are relevant to one’s anticipated specialty and to those tested on the bar. The faculty has prepared a list of highly recommended courses that would be useful to view, at the bottom of this page: http://www.uchastings.edu/about/admin-offices/records/registration/index.php. In addition, you may find it helpful to listen to a program given in fall 2012 about course selection for those interested in the Lawyers for America program, which you can find here: http://bit.ly/lfa-intro. The PowerPoint may be viewed here.
Keep in mind that if you ultimately do not apply for, or obtain, a Lawyers for America position, your careful 2L year course selection will allow you great flexibility in selecting clinical opportunities during both semesters of your third year.
Fellowship opportunities will be advertised to the second-year class during the fall semester of second year. Applications will be made available at that time, and the selection process will conclude by the end of that semester (unless additional fellowship slots become available at a later time). Check back regularly for new listings at: http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/clinical-programs/lawyers-for-america/for-law-students/america-app-info/index.php.
The current stipend is $35,000/year, which begins as soon as the fellow begins work after taking the bar exam, typically August. Because they work in a non-profit or government law office, fellows are generally eligible for PICAP, the UC Hastings loan repayment program, as well as for the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. For more information, see http://www.uchastings.edu/about/admin-offices/financial-aid/picap/index.php.
There are contractual agreements governing the LFA program. UC Hastings enters into an agreement with the externship site (as it does for all external clinical programs.) In addition there is a Memorandum of Agreement to which the law school, the fellow, the placement site, and LFA are all parties. That agreement for the current fellowship program at the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office is here for your information.
For additional information about LfA at UC Hastings, contact Professor Mai Linh Spencer, email@example.com, 415-565-4743, the program’s Academic Director. For more general information about the program, contact Professor Marsha Cohen, firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-565-4676, LfA’s executive director.
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