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 2020 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 are faced with a delay in their ability to take the California Bar Exam, since the July, 2020 test has been canceled. This pool of over a thousand new law school graduates will be unable to practice law until at least 2021. However, 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, 2020. For more information visit www.calbar.ca.gov/Admissions/Special-Admissions/Practical-Training-of-Law-Students or contact PTLS@calbar.ca.gov.
 
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 will surge based on the impact of COVID-19. Fellows will also provide a pipeline for hiring qualified and seasoned additional staff attorneys when 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 work; creates a community for fellows post-graduation; and leaves them with sufficient time to prepare for the next 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 will be $18,000, of which $15,000 will be used as a stipend* for the LSFN Fellow’s commitment to the host LSO for a period of 6 months, from June through December of 2020. The LSFN Fellow will contribute 500hrs in total, with a weekly average of 20hours per week. The remaining $3,000 will be provided to the host LSO to cover onboarding, State Bar registration fees, training and supervising the LSFN Fellow. Members of the LSFN Executive Committee will cover 100% of the LSFN Fellows program 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, educational loan payments and transportation. 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 Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo. If other regions are interested in running similar programs, we are happy to consult. 
 
Fellows
 
May 2020 graduates (receiving a JD, an LLM or a joint degree, such as a JD/MBA) from the following four Bay Area ABA accredited law schools are eligible to apply: 
 

  • Golden Gate 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 Fellows must: 
 

  • Sign a Memorandum of Understanding, 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 one in-person gathering in late fall/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 five Bay Area counties** (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo) 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.   
 
**: An exception to the 5 Bay Area county limit may be made for LSOs located in rural areas where a graduate from one of the four identified law schools is returning post-graduation to reside in that community. 

 
If selected Grantee LSO partners must: 
 

  • Sign a Grant Conditions Form/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), transfer the $15,000 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 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 days close in proximity to the next California Bar Exam (e.g. one to two weeks prior to the exam, the dates of the exam and the two weekdays following the exam). 

  • 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, 2020 law school graduate from one of the four participating law schools as an intern or employee may apply jointly 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-December 2020. 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. 

 
Timeline:
 
May 11, 2020:         Application opens
May 22, 2020:         Application due date 
 
May 11-29, 2020:    Matching by LSFN Fellows Steering Committee
 
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. 
 
Phase 2
 
LSOs and Fellows applicants who have not applied jointly 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 will 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. 
 
Questions: If you have question(s) please contact info@legalservicesfundersnetwork.org

LSFN FELLOWS

PROGRAM OVERVIEW FOR HOST ORGANIZATION

Legal Services Funders Network

© Copyright 2020 by Bigglesworth Family Foundation

Tel: 415-660-7930

Email: info@legalservicesfundersnetwork.org

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San Francisco, CA 94102