Frequently Asked Questions
How do you apply?
Both the law school graduates and host LSOs apply using an online application, which will be accessed via our LSFN website: www.legalservicesfundersnetwork.org. There are no additional application materials required.
Can a LSFN Fellow receive funding from other fellows program simultaneously?
Yes. The LSFN Fellow’s application does not ask for this information and it is not a factor in our process.
What is the source of the funds that are being paid to the Fellows and the LSOs?
The funds ($18,000 per Fellow) come from contributions made by funders. The LSO host issues the Fellow’s stipend from these contributions, which are paid as a grant to the LSO host. The payment will come from the LSFN’s fiscal sponsor, Northern California Grantmakers (NCG).
Why are only certain law schools and counties included?
As noted in the program description, matching Fellows and LSOs in the same county was important to us to make this a "locals helping locals program", limit commutes and avoid the need for graduates to relocate. We picked the five counties using the San Francisco Foundation's (SFF) 5 Bay Area County description. In addition, the LSFN has a solid base of funders in each of the five counties identified, so we feel confident we will be able to raise the funds needed to support this program if the graduates and programs that benefit are based in these counties. If another county, such as Santa Clara wants to create a similar program, we are happy to assist. However, one key element they will need to secure in advance is a commitment by funders to support a minimum number of fellowships (I suggest no fewer than 15) to make the project worthwhile.
How do LSOs in rural areas participate?
If you are an LSO based in a non-metro and/or have an office/conduct office hours in a rural part of your county, you may submit a request to be host LSO. You do not need to be based in one of the five primary counties identified.
What happens if the California Bar Exam is not given in September 2020 or if a May 2020 law school graduate does not feel comfortable taking it remotely?
If the California State Bar moves forward with the current plan to administer the bar exam remotely in September, then under the current rules the provisional licenses will expire at the time the results are announced (expected to be close to the end of December). However, there may be some modifications made to the rule, that would allow new graduates flexibility to wait until February, 2021 to take the exam as it has been traditionally administered. It is also possible the California State Bar may decide not to administer a remote test this fall and wait until 2021 to next administer the exam. If this occurs, we will allow LSOs to ask to extend Fellows for an additional 6 months, provided there is adequate funding to do so.
Can we apply to the LSFN Fellowship program to extend the duration of a fellow/intern we currently have?
As noted above, the State Bar of California controls the duration of the provisional license. Based on the current rules and plans for a September bar exam, the license would expire at the end of December, 2020.
Can we get a copy of the MOU in advance?
We are still in the process of developing these materials. We can assure you, they will be straightforward and simple to complete.
What is required in terms of reporting?
It is up to each host LSO to determine the data and measurables that they want their Fellow(s) to track, per that organization’s norm. As for what will be required in the mid-term and final reports to the LSFN, as you might expect, they will be straightforward and simple to complete.
Is there a minimum number of hours the Fellow needs to work each week?
The Fellowship needs to start, in some capacity, in the early June 2020 and will need to end in December 2020, whenever the September bar results are posted, as that is when the provisional license will expire. The program is designed for a Fellow to work an average of 20hrs/week (not including time-off near around the exam). In extenuating circumstances, the LSFN is okay with a Fellow completing their hours in a 20/80 split pre & post bar exam. Meaning Fellows will need to work at least 100hrs (20%) before the end of the September and then the remaining 400hrs (80%) by the end of December. This is the minimum requirement. To be able to meaningfully participate in the Fellows program, which include LSFN led cohort programs (monthly), the fellow needs to be consistently engaged with the Host Organization and participating in meaningful work both before and after the bar.
If you have questions you would like answered in the meantime, feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.