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EJF Student Grants

The Equal Justice Foundation awards summer grants to support public interest work at various non-profit organizations, providing students with valuable legal experience and public interest organizations with much-needed assistance.

Penn Law 3L Summer Grant applications are due Friday, March 14, at 5pm. Email EJF board member kevin_pavloski@law.upenn.edu with any questions or concerns.

Student Testimonials

“I would not have been able to work at the New York Legal Assistance Group without the generosity of EJF, and I had an amazing experience advocating for the low-income LGBT community in New York City.  In the face of most public interest and governmental organizations being unable to offer financial compensation for summer legal internship positions, the ability to secure funding from an external source, such as EJF, is crucial to be able to enjoy your 1L or 2L summer job.”

 

“At Pine Tree Legal Assistance [in Portland, Maine], I was able to help low-income clients face major crises, like eviction, foreclosure or the denial or loss of public benefits, and to make a real difference in people’s lives. I also conducted research and pulled documents at courthouses around the state that helped uncover massive foreclosure fraud and led to the national freeze on foreclosures. Not only am I grateful to EJF for the opportunity to help low-income clients, the organization itself could not provide the quality and quantity of legal services without organizations like EJF.”

 

“The project I worked on helped low-income homeowners to assemble the necessary documents and legal permissions necessary to apply for forgivable grants to have their homes retrofitted to become more energy efficient. One older woman who lived alone had applied for the program because she had been heating her home by turning her oven on and leaving its door open, since she couldn’t afford to purchase heating oil. This program, which she is now in, will lower her monthly bills by at least 25% and hopefully enable her to heat her home safely and efficiently in the future.”

 

“The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission, according to its website, is ‘to secure, through rule of law, equal justice under the law.’ The organization is divided into six different projects: Voting Rights, Education, Fair Housing & Fair Lending, Community Development, Environmental Justice, and Employment Discrimination. I was an intern in the Education Project, and I had a fantastic summer.  I had the opportunity to perform legal research and write legal memoranda, to work directly with several different attorneys, to experience the advocacy and policy side of the law as well as the litigation side, and even to go to the Supreme Court!  Needless to say, I am very grateful for EJF’s support!

 

I never would have been able to work at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center (LCAC) without an EJF grant. LCAC is a trial-level organization based out of New Orleans, LA, providing legal assistance to indigent defendants facing the death penalty throughout Louisiana. LCAC is seriously understaffed, has no funds to hire interns. We volunteers were instrumental inensuring that defendants received fair trials, working day and night to investigate, observe trials and file motions. We were also able to visit inmates in death row, to show them there are people who still care about them. Without my EJF grant, and similar grants from other schools for the other interns, all of the work at the office would have come to a halt, and many indigent defendants would have been left without hope.

       

“This summer, with the help of the EJF grant, I was able to pursue an internship at the Los Angeles Public Defenders. … One experience particularly affirmed my desire to be a public defender. I was writing a motion to dismiss for a client who was charged with a double murder. I believed that he was innocent. Now, as any good public defender will tell you, a client’s perceived innocence or guilt does not affect the zealousness of the advocacy she provides. However, it is undeniable that a client you believe is innocent will tug at your heartstrings in a particular way. The motion was complicated because it involved some tricky issues in criminal law; during the middle of my writing I went to visit him in jail. We talked about the motion; he gave me some ideas and then he talked my ear off for the next hour. It is not a particularly dazzling story about my courtroom prowess but I think it captures what I think being a public defender is about – working hard to help clients traverse the complicated maze of the criminal justice system.”

 

“I received an EJF grant to spend the summer at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law  in Washington, DC.  I was an intern in the Lawyers’ Committee’s Mortgage Scam Prevention program and worked on case development and on-going impact litigation on behalf of homeowners across the country. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such incredible lawyers, improve my skills, and be involved with such important work. Beyond having a great summer experience, my internship solidified and focused my interest in becoming a civil rights litigator after law school.”

Some Past Summer Employers

ACLU of Delaware

ACLU of Michigan

Alliance for Justice (Washington, D.C.)

CAIR (Capital Area Immigrant Rights) Coalition (Washington D.C.)

Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles

Disability Rights Advocates (Berkeley, Calif.)

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (Arusha, Tanzania)

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Washington, D.C.)

Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Practice (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Los Angeles County Public Defender

Louisiana Capital Assistance Center (New Orleans)

National Center for Youth Law (Oakland, Calif.)

Natural Resources Defense Council (Washington, D.C.)

New York Legal Assistance Group (New York City)

Open Society Justice Initiative (New York City)

Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (Philadelphia)

Pennsylvania Innocence Project (Philadelphia)

Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project (Philadelphia)

Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office 

Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program

Pine Tree Legal Assistance (Portland, Maine)

Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, Mental Health Division

School District of Philadelphia, General Counsel’s Office

Tahirih Justice Center (Falls Church, Va.)

U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor (Philadelphia)

Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (Washington, D.C.)

 

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