LSFN FELLOWS

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Legal Services Funders Network (LSFN) is a Bay Area network of funders who fund civil legal service organizations as a poverty alleviation strategy.  Founded by five Bay Area funders in 2014, as of 2021 we have over 70 local funders participating. Our members include: community foundations, corporate foundations, crowd source funders, private foundations, law firms & law firm foundations, government funders, DAF holders and individuals. 
 
The LSFN Post-Graduate Law Fellows Program (the LSFN Fellows program) was designed in the midst of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic to address the needs of Bay Area Legal Services Organizations (LSOs) to increase their capacity to serve more clients, and May 2020 graduates of Bay Area law schools, who were faced with a delay in their ability to take the California Bar Exam, since the July, 2020 test had been canceled. 
 
Pursuant to Rule 9.42- CA Rules of Court Certified Law Students, these recent law school graduates may receive provisional licenses by associating with legal services organizations. This program is only available to law school graduates who have not yet taken the California Bar exam and have not yet had the opportunity to take an exam previously offered. As a result, the LSFN Fellows Program cannot be offered to students who graduated prior to May, 2021. For more information visit www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Special-Admissions/Practical-Training-of-Law-Students
 
This is a multi-impact investment. By participating in the LSFN Fellows Program as a funder, Fellow or LSO host organization you will be part of an initiative that:
 

  • Supports local communities as they face the challenge of trying to assist the ever-growing number of residents who have become unemployed; work in at-risk environments/conditions; risk eviction/loss of their homes; deal with fraud and abuse; seek benefits and access to healthcare; and face discrimination.

  • Supports LSOs at a time of great need, as the demand for legal services has surged based on the impact of COVID-19. Fellows will also provide a pipeline for hiring qualified and seasoned additional staff attorneys as more funding becomes available. 

  • Supports the training and use of recent law school graduates to work on legal issues that impact those most in need; provides fellows with reasonable compensation for their time; creates a community for fellows post-graduation; and leaves them with sufficient time to prepare for the upcoming California Bar Exam. 

 
Funding and Finances: This program is funded by contributions from local funders, including: individuals, foundations, crowd-sourced funders, governmental entities and law firms. The cost to sponsor a Fellow is be $16,000, of which $12,000 will be used as a stipend* for the LSFN Fellow’s commitment to the host LSO for a period of 5 months, from June through November of 2021. The LSFN Fellow will contribute 400hrs in total. The remaining funds will go towards Host LSO overhead (to cover on-boarding, State Bar registration fees, training & supervising the LSFN Fellow) and LSFN Fellows administrative costs. 
 
*: LSFN Fellowships offers recent law school graduates the opportunity to get firsthand experience and training in various fields of poverty law. Fellows will receive a stipend to help with living costs, bar fees and bar prep course. Please note that 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. 
 
Guidelines, Criteria, and Requirements:
 
This program has been designed with a local lens and is limited to graduates of law schools listed in the next section and LSOs in the nine Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Calar, Solano and Sonoma. 
 
Fellows: 
 
May 2021 graduates (receiving a JD, an LLM or a joint degree, such as a JD/MBA) from the following six Bay Area ABA accredited law schools are eligible to apply: 
 

  • Golden Gate Law School

  • Santa Clara University Law School

  • Stanford University Law School

  • University of California Berkeley Law

  • University of California Hastings College of the Law

  • University of San Francisco School of Law

 
If selected LSFN Post-Graduate Legal Fellows must: 
 

  • Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), committing to complete the fellowship and meet all program requirements (see below).

  • Submit all necessary forms to the LSFN and the California State Bar in a timely manner. 

  • Complete and comply with the CA Bar’s Rules Governing Practical Training of Law Students.www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Special-Admissions/Practical-Training-of-Law-Students

  • Be open to collaborating with the LSFN in selecting their placement and complete the selection process in a timely, respectful and responsible manner.

  • Provide their host LSO with reasonable notice re: dates they will not be available.

  • Participate in Fellows cohort programs. Fellows will “meet up” once a month virtually. We hope to have a few in-person gatherings in late summer/early winter.

  • Provide the LSFN with written midpoint and end of year-end reports describing the impact of the fellowship on you as a new attorney, your host LSO and the clients served. 

 
Legal Services Organizations: 
 
LSOs based in or with a satellite office in one of the following nine Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma) may apply to host up to three fellows. They must have 501(c)(3) status or be fiscally sponsored. Organizations applying must be a legal agency or social services agency with a legal department providing direct legal services, litigation, policy advocacy, and/or engaging in community lawyering.   
 
If selected Grantee LSO Hosts must: 
 

  • Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), transfer the $12,000 stipend to the legal fellow (per the terms set forth in the MOU), and provide the LSFN Fellow with tools and supervision needed to be engaged, successful and productive.

  • Complete and comply with the CA Bar’s Rules Governing Practical Training of Law Students.www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Special-Admissions/Practical-Training-of-Law-Students

  • Collaborate with the LSFN in selecting their legal fellow(s) and complete the selection process in a timely, respectful and responsible manner.

  • Allow the Fellow to plan not to work during Fellows cohort programs, Bar prep course times and the July “blackout” period.

  • Provide the LSFN with a written midpoint and year-end report describing the impact of the fellow in the organization and community served.

 
Matches will be made using the following criteria:
 

  • Experience/Subject Matter Knowledge: 

    • Applicants’ prior clinic and/or law related work experience. Note: LSOs who have had prior experience with a May, 2021 law school graduate from one of the six participating law schools as an intern or employee may apply jointly (“joint applicants”) to have the graduate return back to the LSO. These placements will be prioritized and expedited. 

    • Poverty law courses taken while in law school, such as: Family Law/Domestic Violence, Immigration, Criminal Law, Housing Law, Healthcare & Benefits, Bankruptcy, Civil Rights/Discrimination and Employment Law.

  • Applicants’ languages spoken/written and level of fluency.

  • Applicants’ place of residence between June-November 2021. The goal of this program is to have fellows and their host organizations reside in the same county. The purpose of doing this is to have placements be local, and limit the Fellow’s commute to the LSO’s office, to meet with clients and to court. 

  • Additional Requirements: We will try to accommodate LSOs with unique needs. For example, LSOs that meet clients at home, at community centers or cover a large geographic area may need a Fellow with access to a car. 

 
How to Apply: To apply visit: www.legalservicesfundersnetwork.org and go to the Fellowship Portal, which will go live on April 15th, 2021 by 3pm PT.
 
Timeline:
 
April 15th - Application opens
April 30th -  Application due date 
April 19th-May 7th - Matching by LSFN Fellows Administrative Team & Interviews  
May 21st - Paperwork must be completed and returned
 
Phase 1:
 
Applications from LSOs and Fellows applicants who have applied jointly to have the graduate return back to the LSO will be prioritized and expedited. Confirmation of the placement will be sent via email. Note: the number of joint applicants approved will determine how many “solo” applications we can fund, so we encourage “joint applicants” to submit their applications by April 23rd at the latest. 
 
Phase 2: 
 
LSOs and Fellows applicants who have applied “solo” will be matched in the following manner: 
 

  • After screening applications, we will propose a match and send contact information to both the potential Fellow and potential Host LSO. 

  • After receiving this information, they will conduct a virtual (e.g. Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangout) or phone interview within 72hours and independently report back to us within 48hrs the outcome of the interview.  

  • If there is mutual interest, the match will be confirmed. If either the potential Fellow or the host LSO does not feel well suited for the match, both parties will reenter the applicant/host pools. 

 
June 2020 - Fellowships commence 
December 2020 - Fellowships conclude 
 
Disclaimer: 
 
Applying to participate in the LSFN Fellows program does not guarantee placement.  We will do our best to place as many Fellows applicants as possible, based on the funding available and needs of the LSO Hosts. Similarly, depending on the pool of Fellows applicants, it may not be feasible to provide all LSO host applicants with an LSFN Fellow or the full number of Fellows requested. The LSFN is serving solely as the facilitator of this program and has not entered into an employment relationship with the Fellows or host LSOs. The LSFN shall be held harmless from any/all claims relating to placement of LSFN Fellows and to their contribution to the LSOs during and after placement. 
 
Additional Questions: If you have additional questions please contact info@legalservicesfundersnetwork.org

Legal Services Funders Network

© 2021 by Bigglesworth Family Foundation

3701 Sacramento Street, #399
San Francisco, CA 94118