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LSFN Public Interest Law Bar Fellowship

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 2024 we have well over 100 California 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 Public Interest Law Bar Fellowship (the LSFN Fellowship) 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, as the July, 2020 test had been delayed. 


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, 2024. For more information visit


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:


  1. 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.

  2. Supports LSOs at a time of great need. Fellows will also provide a pipeline for hiring qualified and seasoned additional staff attorneys.

  3. 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. LSFN Fellows receive a $15,000 stipend* (paid in three installments) for the LSFN Fellow’s commitment to the host LSO for a period of 6 months, from Ma/yJune through November/December of 2024. The LSFN Fellow will contribute 400 hrs in total. A $2,800 contribution to the Host LSO to help cover overhead (to cover onboarding, State Bar registration fees, training & supervising the LSFN Fellow) and LSFN Fellowship 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 Bay Area, Central Coast and Northern California counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo. 




May 2024 graduates (receiving a JD, an LLM or a joint degree, such as a JD/MBA) from the following Northern California ABA accredited law schools are eligible to apply: 


  • Golden Gate Law School

  • Pacific McGeorge School of Law (added 2023)

  • Santa Clara University Law School (added 2021)

  • Stanford University Law School (added 2021)

  • UC Berkeley Law School 

  • UC Davis Law School (added 2022)

  • UC College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly Hastings College of the Law)

  • University of San Francisco School of Law


May 2024 graduates from Monterey/Empire College of the Law (added 2022) may apply via our joint application process. 


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

  • 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 (most often on the 1st TH of the month). We plan to have a few in-person social gatherings as well. Fellows are expected to attend at least one gathering. 

  • 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) one of the following counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo) 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Attend the LSFN Fellowship Informational Program (or view the recording).

  • Attend the LSO Host meeting in June. 

  • 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, 2024 law school graduate from one of the 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, Small Business and Employment Law.


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


  • Applicants’ place of residence between August-November 2024. The goal of this program is to have Fellows and their host organizations reside in the same county or in adjacent counties. 


  • 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: and go to the Fellowship Portal, which will go live on April 5th, 2024 by 9am PT.



Note: We intentionally do not start our application process until after most other fellowships and staff attorney hiring has been completed, as we want law students to be able to pursue those opportunities fully. Once a prospective Fellow accepts their offer to become an LSFN Fellow and completes their paperwork, we ask that they honor their commitment. 


  • April 4th: 3pm Information Session via Zoom

  • April 5th: Application period opens. Note: applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  The earlier an application is received the better one's chances are of being accepted. ​

  • April 26th: Application period closes

  • April 8th-May 6th: Solo applicants matching by LSFN staff & Interviews  

  • May 10th: Paperwork must be completed and returned

  • May 30th: First LSFN Fellow Learning Session (mandatory)  

  • May 15th-June 30th: Pre-bar requirements (15 hrs) must be completed

  • July: “Blackout Period” for Bar Exam 

  • August 19th: Deadline for Fellows to return back to their LSO Hosts

  • October-December: Fellows complete their commitment to their LSO Host. 

    • The date of completion varies depending on the schedule the Fellow and LSO Host agrees to. However, Fellows must continue to attend LSFN Learning Sessions in November and December, even if they have completed their time with their LSO Host.

  • December: Fellows Celebration

Application Processes: 


Phase 1: Review “joint” applications from LSO Hosts and Fellows applicants who have applied jointly to have the graduate return back to the LSO. 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 19th at the latest. 


Phase 2: LSOs and Fellows applicants who have applied “solo” will be matched in the following manner: 


  • After screening applications, the LSFN 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 72 hours 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. 


In prior years approximately half of our Fellows apply “solo” and half “jointly”. 




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

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