Seeking Candidates to Sponsor in 2013 for Fellowships in 2014
The National Center for Law and Economic Justice, a national law and policy organization, advances the cause of economic justice for low-income families, individuals, and communities. NCLEJ has provided legal representation and advice to low-income individuals and grassroots organizations and legal support for their advocates on economic justice matters since 1965, and is involved in ground-breaking, successful litigation and policy work around the country today.
NCLEJ is interested in sponsoring new projects that address such issues as unfair treatment of persons with disabilities, the enforcement of critical civil rights and due process protections in the Medicaid, cash assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, and the protection of low wage workers. Fellows have helped get a number of similar projects off the ground in recent years.
We now seek energetic, motivated candidates with a record of commitment to social justice work, experience in developing and implementing projects, and excellent writing, legal research and communication skills, to apply for NCLEJ sponsorship for applications for Skadden and Equal Justice Works fellowships starting September 2014. We also welcome applications from individuals who are eligible for any other relevant fellowships, such as those connected to specific schools or organizations, and are interested in NCLEJ’s sponsorship. A public policy background can be helpful, but is not required. Applicants should be prepared to satisfy bar admission requirements.
You can see a video launching the Dodyk Fellowship in which a recent Skadden Fellow at NCLEJ describes her experience here. A description of a recent Equal Justice Works Fellowship at NCLEJ may be seen here. Read a testimonial letter from an NCLEJ Deferred Associate here.
NCLEJ welcomes applications describing possible projects that fit within NCLEJ’s mission and areas of work as described above. We also welcome applications from individuals who have not themselves formulated a project; if we select the applicant we will work with that person to develop a project in an area where interesting new work is emerging, such as:
- Protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. As the welfare rolls have shrunk, a large proportion of those remaining (or those who should qualify for benefits but do not) are persons with disabilities, including learning disabilities and mental health problems. Much can be done to provide accommodations and remove barriers so those persons can receive the benefits they need and can participate in education and training programs.
- Promoting access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits as need increases. SNAP rolls have soared as more and more families have become eligible because of job loss in the current recession. NCLEJ has devoted major efforts in recent years to assure that eligibility is determined promptly. The Fellow will develop a project addressing additional steps that can be taken to increase access to SNAP benefits through creative and persistent advocacy.
- Increasing access to health care. As the recently passed health care reform legislation is implemented, States will be grappling with new obligations at the same time as continuing to experiment with both expanding and narrowing coverage, limiting services, and information technology solutions within the public health care system. The Fellow will develop a project that incorporates working with advocates around the country to develop strategies and litigation to maintain and increase access to health care in the face of this changing landscape.
- Addressing the challenges of efforts to modernize public benefits programs. States are turning to technology enhancements, including on-line applications, call centers and new computer systems, to modernize public benefits administration. Advocacy is needed to assure that these systems operate properly and promote, rather than deter, access to benefits.
- Promoting access to child care and educational opportunities. While child care and education may be essential for low-income parents seeking to enter or remain in the workforce and earn sufficient income to provide for their families, child care subsidy programs often place barriers in their way and educational opportunities are blocked. There is much that can be accomplished by creative and persistent advocacy.
- Reaching persons in deepest poverty. More and more individuals and families have become disconnected from both employment and income supports as the result of current policies and economic conditions, causing the number of people living below half of the poverty line to grow. The Fellow will work with NCLEJ staff and advocates around the country to develop strategies to reduce the numbers of those in deep poverty.
- Promoting access to critical work supports through workforce development programs. Many individuals in critical need of skills development and training in order to obtain sustainable-wage jobs are disconnected from crucial work supports (such as Food Stamps and Medicaid) that can help them achieve economic security as they become better prepared to achieve their employment goals. Often, there is no meaningful cooperation between workforce development programs and public benefit systems. The Fellow will work with advocates throughout New York City to protect individuals' access to effective skills development and training services and critical work supports.
Projects can be national or regional in scope, or focused on the New York City area, and can include impact litigation, legal and policy advocacy, training and community education. In its advocacy, NCLEJ considers how exploring these issues through the lens of race or gender can provide new insights into ways of seeking redress. NCLEJ welcomes the fellow's participation in this effort. Direct service projects involving extensive client intake, individual representation, or hot-lines will not be considered.
NCLEJ welcomes inquiries from law students entering their third year or recent graduates. Please note that both Skadden and Equal Justice Works have specific eligibility criteria, and refer to the respective websites for further information.
NCLEJ is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate because of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other consideration prohibited by law. Persons who are of color, are former recipients of public assistance, or have grown up in poverty are especially encouraged to apply.
The 2013 scale calls for a law graduate to receive $57,200 and goes up from there. The scale is usually adjusted as of January of each year to maintain comparability with colleague organizations. Fringe benefits include health, dental, life, and long-term and short-term disability insurance; employer contributions to TDA, cafeteria plan, and generous vacation, sick, family and medical leave and holiday schedules.
Please submit (1) a cover letter setting out why you believe you would be a good candidate for such a fellowship, and your ideas about what you would hope to accomplish in such a fellowship, (2) a resume, (3) a writing sample, and (4) three references. Send these materials by e-mail to fellowship (at) nclej.org or by mail to Fellowship Applications, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, 275 Seventh Avenue, Suite 1506, New York NY 10001-6708. Your application will be acknowledged by e-mail. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.