Frequently Asked Questions for Funders
How do graduates and LSOs apply?:
Both the law school graduates and host Legal Services Organizations (LSOs) apply using an online application, which can be accessed via our LSFN website: www.legalservicesfundersnetwork.org. There are no additional application materials required.
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 are the administrative overhead costs?
Because the Bigglesworth Family Foundation is providing much of the necessary work in-kind, the anticipated costs will be modest, about $70,000 for the entire program. This includes: administrative support, marketing, trainings & events and paying our fiscal sponsorship fee to Northern California Grantmakers (NCG). The costs per Fellow will be determined based on how many Fellows we have in total; the more we have, the less it will cost per Fellow. That said, a contribution of $1,000-2,000 per Fellowship sponsored to help offset costs would be greatly appreciated.
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 like you. 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, NCG.
When and how would a funder pay the grant?
Ideally we’d like the funding grants by the end of May, so that we can know how many fellowships we can offer. That said, if you can verbally/informally commit by then and make payment by the end of September, we can make that work. As noted above, contributions will be processed as grants to NCG, so that they are fully tax-deductible.
Can a funder request that its contribution be used for a specific county, LSO or graduate?
We will do our best to facilitate such requests. In some cases this may not be feasible. For example, we don’t yet have LSOs in certain counties, so that would be an example of a situation where we cannot guarantee a specific use of funds.
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 than15) to make the project worthwhile.
How do LSOs in rural areas participate? LSOs based in a non-metro areas and/or have an office/conduct office hours in a rural part of their county may submit a request to be a LSO Host.
They do not need to be based in one of the five 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 we have adequate funding to do so.
Can an LSO apply to the LSFN Fellowship program to extend the duration of a fellow/intern they currently have?
Yes. However, 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 I 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 type of reports will funders get?
The LSFN will provide ongoing updates to funders. NCG will provide reporting for the charitable contributions. We will try to make the mid-term and final reports supplied by the Fellows and LSO Hosts to the LSFN available on our Fellows portal for funders to review.
If you have questions you would like answered in the meantime, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.