2023 Arc of Justice Summer Fellowship
Spend your summer building community power and advancing racial & economic justice at one of California’s leading civil rights law firms!
Public Advocates Inc. and the Charles Houston Bar Association (CHBA) are proud to announce the seventh annual Arc of Justice Summer Fellowship opportunity for law students committed to pursuing careers in public interest law. The Arc of Justice Summer Fellowship is a collaboration between Public Advocates and CHBA to improve the representation of attorneys of color in the public interest profession and to increase advocacy with communities of color throughout the Bay Area, particularly Black communities. The Arc of Justice Fellows will spend the summer clerking at Public Advocates with dedicated support from CHBA.
The Fellows will leverage Public Advocates’ and CHBA’s networks and professional development resources and will be exposed to public interest practitioners representing a wide variety of legal fields. In addition, the Fellows will establish meaningful connections with other summer law clerks and attorneys at other public interest legal organizations, minority bar associations, government agencies and private law firms or corporations.
Since 2016, Public Advocates and CHBA have selected Arc of Justice Summer Fellows from law schools throughout the country to clerk on our Education Equity and Metropolitan Equity Teams. The Fellows have engaged in local, regional, and state policy work on behalf of students, transit riders, and residents of color. They have also been warmly welcomed into the CHBA network, building meaningful relationships with high-caliber Bay Area attorneys through networking and social events.
The ten week-long Arc of Justice Summer Fellowship comes with a $3,000 stipend, in addition to a Public Advocates’ $3,000 living allowance (both are subject to taxes). To promote diversity in public interest law, the allowance can be used to supplement any additional outside funding law clerks may receive.
Public Advocates, a non-profit law firm and advocacy organization, challenges the systemic causes of poverty and discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing and transit equity, and climate justice. Since 1971, Public Advocates has focused on “making rights real” across California by collaborating with grassroots groups representing people of color, immigrants, and low-income individuals to achieve strategic policy reform, enforce civil rights, and support movement-building.
CHBA is a nonprofit organization of lawyers, judges, and law students throughout Northern California, and operates as an affiliate member of the National Bar Association and the California Association of Black Lawyers. Since 1955 CHBA has been committed to working within the African American community to facilitate access to the justice system and to promote equal protection under the law.
Spend Your Summer at Public Advocates
Our Legal Clerkship Program exposes students to the diverse strategies of our impact work in an environment designed to help them develop as public interest attorneys. Each law clerk is assigned to a supervising attorney on one of our two teams (Education Equity and Metropolitan Equity) who has primary responsibility for giving constructive feedback in a positive learning environment.
- Education Equity Team: Law clerks on the Education Equity Team support attorneys in K-12 and Higher Education advocacy school funding equity cases and campaigns in partnership with community-based organizations. Examples of cases and campaigns include legal advocacy to defund school police, enforcement actions to hold districts accountable for transparent and equitable budgeting, and enforcement actions to hold community colleges accountable for remedial education reform.
- Metropolitan Equity Team: Law clerks on the Metropolitan Equity Team support attorneys and community groups to win investment and development that meets the needs of the region’s low-income residents and workers. Public Advocates, along with our community, regional, and statewide partners, works to secure more affordable housing near jobs and transit, robust and affordable local transit service, investment without displacement, healthy and safe communities, access to quality jobs, and greater power for low-income communities of color in local and regional decision-making. Examples of our work include campaigns and coalition work that aim to create more homes that families can afford, more protections for tenants facing rising rents, and better wages and stronger workforce development policies for local residents.
Law clerk duties may include legal research and writing, drafting policy memos and reports, client communication and leadership development, community training and resource development, coalition-building, and data analysis. In addition to providing substantive legal advocacy experience, the Legal Clerkship Program includes a number of brown bag sessions, visits to legislative and state agency meetings in Sacramento, team-building events, meetings with community partners, and other activities intended to complement the day-to-day work of our law clerks.
Public Advocates and CHBA are seeking a law student with a demonstrated commitment to:
- Promoting diversity in the legal field, such as through membership in a relevant bar association or law school affinity group;
- Pursuing a career in public interest law and/or policy; and/or
- Serving low-income communities, communities of color and/or immigrant communities — and the Black community, in particular.
Public Advocates currently has a hybrid schedule and we expect all of our clerks, except for the clerk to be based in Southern California, to be able to commit to working at least part time for 10 weeks in Public Advocates’ San Francisco or Sacramento office, with the acknowledgement that this could change if COVID-19 levels increase.
How to Apply
Applicants should provide a cover letter explaining:
- Your specific interests and qualifications (please do not simply recap your résumé);
- Your experiences and commitment to working with low-income communities, communities of color and immigrant communities, especially Black communities;
- Your reasons for applying to Public Advocates; and
- Your preference (if any) for placement with our Education Equity or Metropolitan Equity Teams.
In addition, include a résumé, writing sample and list of references. Please email your materials to: Public Advocates’ Legal Clerkship Program, at email@example.com, and Nichelle Holmes, CHBA Immediate Past President, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Arc of Justice Fellowship Application” in your subject line.
We are currently accepting applications and plan to finalize our class by the end of February, 2023. The summer program begins the Tuesday after Memorial Day. If you are applying for the Arc of Justice Summer Fellowship, please do not submit a separate summer clerkship application.
Public Advocates is committed to fostering a diverse staff and diversity in the legal profession. We encourage all interested individuals to apply — especially Black, Indigenous and People of Color; women; people from low-income backgrounds; people with disabilities; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender; and anyone belonging to any other federal or state protected category. Read our Diversity Vision Statement here.