New Podcast: AmeriCorps for Legal Experts – Equal Justice Works’s Cole McMahon and Marty Costello

picture-6In 2009, hundreds of emerging legal experts across the United States will offer assistance in helping people who face mortgage foreclosure and other problems through the Equal Justice Works 2009 Summer AmeriCorps program and the one-year AmeriCorps Legal Fellows program.

Every year in this country, four out of five low-income people in need of legal assistance are denied services because of overwhelming case loads at legal services offices and a dire shortage of attorneys who can help them.

Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps plays a crucial role in closing the gap between the supply and demand of legal assistance. AmeriCorps attorneys secure affordable housing, lost wages, orders of protection, health care, public benefits, adoption services, and education for low-income and underserved communities.

Today’s guests on Idealist podcast are Marty Costello, Program Manager, and Cole McMahon, Senior Program Manager, from Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps. They joined me to talk about the Summer Corps, a 300-hour AmeriCorps Education Award program for law school students, as well as its one-year, full-time AmeriCorps Legal Fellows program.

Download the podcast and listen!

The Equal Justice Works 2009 Summer Corps application opens today Wednesday, March 18 and closes Continue reading

AmeriCorps for Recent Public Interest Law Grads

Corps of recent law grads bring legal services to the poor

Equal Justice Works, an organization that fosters the public interest law career pipeline so the rest of us can sleep better at night, has recently sent off its newest AmeriCorps team to serve in 17 sites across the United States.

The Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Program acts to increase the availability of pro bono legal services in under-served communities. The program achieves its goal by engaging recent law school graduates, who connect the dots among legal aid workers, law schools, law students, and clients in need.

The AmeriCorps members also offer legal assistance to low-income clients, and thereby hone their skills practicing public interest law. They also help expand the public interest law emphasis in law school course content and offerings.

At $22K, the AmeriCorps stipend for the Equal Justice Works member is significantly higher than for most AmeriCorps programs. With the possibility of student loan deferments and the $4,725 Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, participating in the program post-law school isn’t as costly as it seems at first glance. The program also connects participants with 500,000 other AmeriCorps Alums post-service.

Summer Corps

In addition to the year-long AmeriCorps program, Equal Justice Works organizes an AmeriCorps-funded Summer Corps for first- and second-year law students. The Summer Corps engages hundreds of short-term members in 300 hours of service. Members then receive a $1000 education award. Look for applications in the spring.

Equal Justice Works Fellows

Finally, check out the two-year Equal Justice Works Fellowship for law grads, which offers new lawyers support (financial and professional) to practice public interest law. According to the web site, “Recognizing that many obstacles prevent committed attorneys from practicing public interest law, including the dearth of entry-level jobs and daunting educational debts, the program provides financial and technical support to lawyers working on innovative and effective legal projects.”

Public interest law

To learn more about careers in public interest law, and to learn about law school, check out Equal Justice Work’s web site, and its E-Guide to Public Service at America’s Law Schools. Keep up with the latest news and trends in public interest law, law education, and EJW by subscribing to the Equal Justice Works blog.