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.
Can a law school clinic host a Fellow? No. Given the goals and structure of the Fellowship, it has been determined that some types of the legal services providers do not qualify to host a Fellow. These included, but are not limited to; Law School Clinics, Government Offices, LSO whose primary focus is criminal justice, nonprofit legal consultancies.
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 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 will 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.
Can a 2022 LSFN Fellow reside outside of the Bay Area/Central Coast? We anticipate that most LSOs and courts will be operating mostly in person by summer 2022. As a result, we cannot offer the fellowship to graduates who do not plan to reside in the Bay Area or Central Coast from August-November.
When are the Fellows expected to work? This is a part-time fellowship. The commitment is 400hrs in total. Fellows are expected to participate for a minimum of 20hrs in June. This small time commitment is essential to help the Fellows connect to both the LSFN and their LSO Host. The 20hrs is broken down into two portions:
(1) Six hours of LSFN Learning Sessions and
(2) Fourteen hours of “onboarding” by their Host LSO that should include 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) and potentially engaging in a small written assignment.
Fellows are not to 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 remainder of the schedule is up to the Fellow and LSO Host. Many Fellows opt to take a break after the Bar Exam and start full-time with their LSO Host in Mid to late August. Others opt to resume with their LSO Host immediately after the bar exam. 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, you may visit internet sites such as LinkedIn to learn more about a prospective Fellow or LSO Host.
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. In 2020 and 2021 close to 90% 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 2021 materials are posted on the LSFN website. That said, we may make modest edits to these materials for 2022.
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 2021 Fellow or LSO Host to better understand the program? At our April 14th LSFN Fellowship Informational Session (via zoom at 3pm PT) we will have several 2021 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 will be providing Fellows with mentors from our 2021 Fellows cohort and we will have a few LSO Host mentors available as well to help LSOs with planning and answering questions.
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 at the mid to late November, 2022.
What if we want to offer the Fellow a job after the Fellowship concludes? That would be great! In 2021 close to 2/3rd of the LSFN Fellows continued on with their LSO Hosts or another LSO Host.
Have more questions? Feel free to submit them to us at: email@example.com. 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.