Frequently Asked Questions
How do you apply? Both the law school graduates and Host LSOs apply using an online application, which can be accessed via our LSFN website: www.legalservicesfundersnetwork.org.
Can an LSFN Fellow receive funding from other fellows programs 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 come from contributions made by LSFN funders. The payments will come from the LSFN’s fiscal sponsor, Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC). Both the LSFN Fellows and LSO Hosts must complete paperwork required by LAAC to receive funds.
What about health insurance? And how are Fellows classified? As noted in the program description, the LSFN Fellowship is a post-graduate learning opportunity that offers recent law school graduates firsthand experience and training in various fields of poverty law. Fellows will receive a stipend to help with living costs, educational loan payments and transportation. The stipend is a lump sum (paid in three installments) and we recommend that LSO Hosts not attempt to compute an hourly “rate”. That said, Fellows do track the time they spend with their LSOs for both the LSFN data analysis and for LSOs to determine how much time is being devoted to assignments/tasks. The stipend may be considered taxable income and we expect Fellows to do their own research and seek guidance from tax advisors as to how this may affect their personal taxes. As the fellowship is a temporary position, we do not expect or anticipate LSO Hosts to provide fellows with benefits (health insurance, vacation and/or sick pay). For LSFN Fellows in need of health insurance, the LSFN has a resource page that highlights several low cost options.
Why are only certain law schools and counties included? As noted in the program description, matching Fellows and LSOs in the same or a nearby county is important to us to make this a "locals helping locals program", limit commutes and avoid the need for LSFN Fellows to relocate. Fellows must attend California law schools.
Can a 2023 LSFN Fellow reside outside of the Bay Area/Central Coast? The courts and LSOs have resumes in person work in full or part-time. As a result, we do not offer the fellowship to graduates who do not plan to reside in the Bay Area, Northern California or the Central Coast from August-November.
When are the Fellows expected to work? The commitment is 400 hrs in total. Fellows are expected to complete their pre-bar requirements (which will take approximately 25 hours) between mid-May and the end of June.. This small time commitment is essential to help the Fellows connect to both the LSFN and their LSO Host. The time is broken down into the following:
Completion of paperwork: LSFN application materials, State Bar materials and LinkedIn.
June LSFN Learning Sessions (attendance and prep)
“Onboarding” with their Host LSO that includes activities such as: meeting with the Fellow’s supervisor(s), attending a staff meeting, onboarding and reviewing the LSOs handbook/other operations materials, reviewing substantive law related to the LSOs focus (this may include PLI and Bar Association training videos).
Fellows should not be scheduled to work during the month of July UNLESS the Fellow specifically asks to do so and the LSFN is notified of this plan. The post-bar schedule is up to the Fellow and LSO Host, with the following requirements:
Fellows must return post-bar by August 15th.
LSOs and Fellows must make sure that after the July bar exam results are released Fellows who do not pass the bar exam are only given assignments/tasks that can be performed by a non-attorney.
All hours must be completed by December 15th.
In terms of the post-bar schedule, weekly hours range from 20-40. Some Fellows opt to take a break after the Bar Exam and/or other vacation during the fall. Most of these Fellows opt for full-time with their LSOs. Others choose to resume with their LSO Host immediately after the bar exam and schedule themselves for fewer hours each week (15-25 on average) or complete their time with their LSO Host within a few months. A sample schedule chart is available.
We also ask that LSO Hosts not expect Fellows to be available during Fellows cohort programs (usually held on the first TH of each month from 3:00-5:00pm) and Bar prep course times.
Can we apply to the LSFN Fellowship program to extend the duration of a fellow/intern we currently have? Yes! As discussed in the program description, “joint” applications are prioritized. Historically close to 50% of our LSFN Fellows and LSO Hosts applied via this option.
Can additional application materials be submitted/requested? No. We have intentionally designed this application process to be simple, straightforward and equitable. That said, prospective LSO Hosts may visit internet sites such as LinkedIn to learn more about a prospective Fellow. In addition, joint applicants can ask prospective LSFN Fellows to submit additional materials directly to them.
How can I find a prospective Fellow or LSO Hosts to apply with “jointly”? The majority of our “joint applications” come from law students who have interned and their LSO Host previously/or are interning at the time they submit their applications. However, each year we have at least one Fellow applicant who on their own seeks out an LSO Host they do not have a prior relationship and they apply jointly. The LSFN has posted a list of all former LSO Hosts on our website.
Is there a required minimum GPA to participate in the program? No. We do not require a minimum GPA to participate in the LSFN Fellowship, nor do we request such information as part of the application process.
Authorization to Work: All Fellows must be authorized for employment in the United States without employer sponsorship.
How many prospective Fellows/LSOs can be interviewed? Matches for “solo” applicants are done very thoughtfully by our staff. We provide each applicant with one interview at a time. Over 85% of the time both the law student and LSO Host mutually agreed they were a good fit. In a few very rare situations this was not the case and we sent a second applicant to be interviewed. We do not allow consideration of more than one prospective Fellow/LSO Host at the same time.
Can we get a copy of the MOU and Evaluations in advance? Copies of our 2022 materials will be posted on the LSFN website here. That said, we may make modest edits to these materials for 2023.
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. The LSFN provides a simple form to track hours as well. 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.
Can I talk to a 2022 Fellow or LSO Host to better understand the program? At our April 13th LSFN Fellowship Informational Session (via zoom at 3pm PT) we will have several alumni Fellows and LSO Hosts on hand to answer questions. You are also welcome to watch the recording of Stakeholder Briefings for prior cohorts, which are on the LSFN website. In addition, this year we have mentors from our 2022 Fellows cohort and LSO Host mentors available as well to help LSOs with planning and answering questions.
What types of tasks can I give an LSFN Fellow? As our Fellows have graduated from law school and have prior legal experience, the tasks they should be assigned are very similar to what you would give to a new staff attorney. We ask that LSO Hosts give their LSFN Fellows meaningful legal work and expose them to a range of tasks and experiences. We recommend that LSO Hosts review the State Bar PTLS site to review limitations. We will post a list of examples of tasks.
Can we apply for a LSFN Fellow for a specific department at our LSO? Yes. In fact, for generalist LSOs we ask that you identify the specific department(s) you are envisioning your LSFN Fellow supporting. For subject matter specific LSOs (such as immigration) or those who serve specific populations (such as Seniors), we ask that LSO Hosts specify in their applications the specific legal issues the LSFN Fellow would be cover.
When does the PTLS expire? The State Bar of California controls the duration of the provisional license. Based on the current rules and plans for a July bar exam, the license would expire in mid-November.
What if we want to offer the Fellow a job after the Fellowship concludes? That would be great! In 2022 well over half of the LSFN Fellows continued on with their LSO Hosts or another LSO Host. Many of our LSFN Fellows complete their hours in October and transition to staff attorney or law clerk roles mid-month. We do require that Fellows who complete their hours “early” still attend our Learning Sessions and complete their final evaluations even if they accept other jobs prior to the end of the Fellowship season.
Have more questions? Feel free to submit them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will prioritize written questions submitted in advance at our April 14th zoom session and will post updates to these FAQs on the LSFN website.