LfA fellows spend most of their third-year units (12 each semester: 8 nonclassroom, 4 classroom) engaged in an externship at a nonprofit or government law office, working through both semesters, including most of winter break. Following these almost 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.
Lawyers for America offers UC Hastings students an academic year of practical experience (a training year) as part of their legal education, followed by one year of post-graduate employment (a service year) that will greatly enhance their competitiveness in the post-fellowship job market.
Who We Are
Lawyers for America, Inc. (LfA) was founded by UC Hastings College of the Law Professors David Faigman and Marsha Cohen in 2011 as a California nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status. LfA’s mission is to improve the practical skills of new lawyers, to expand the availability of legal services for those who cannot afford lawyers, and to increase the ability of government and nonprofit legal offices to render such services. To accomplish these goals, we work with law schools, governmental organizations, and legal nonprofits to create two-year fellowships comprising a training year that is the students’ final year of law school and a service year that is their first as new attorneys.
How We Do It
LfA provides a two-year fellowship program that comprises law students’ last year of law school (the training year) and first post-graduate year (the service year). While most law students start their third year of law school sitting in the classroom, LfA 3L Fellows work at a partner law office essentially full time and attend a classroom component at their law schools. Our Fellows are supervised by faculty and by the attorneys at the partner sites. After about nine months of work with one of our partners, and after graduation, Fellows have a three-month break to take the bar exam and enjoy a vacation before returning to their fellowship placement for a full year.
Why become a fellow?
Fellows leave law school with almost a year of full-time work experience under their belt and finish their Fellowship with almost two years (approximately 20 months) of work experience at the same workplace. This extensive experience, the skills it develops, and the availability of recommendations from people truly familiar with their lawyering skills are a great boon to Fellows in their search for post-fellowship employment. In addition, the experience will help Fellows succeed in those post-fellowship jobs. During their fellowship, Fellows will be serving society by helping to provide legal services to the public through their work at participating nonprofits and government agencies. Fellows will have been able to sample other workplaces as well: both 1L and 2L summers are available for other job or volunteer opportunities.
UC Hastings Law Students should visit the Placement Sites and Application page on the MyHastings.
Law schools that are interested in participating in the LfA program should contact us for additional information.
Partner law offices are the worksites for LfA Fellows and the backbone of our organization. We are actively enrolling nonprofit and government organizations to be our partners. Contact us today to participate!