2023 Summer Legal Clerkship

Spend your summer building community power and advancing racial & economic justice at one of California’s leading civil rights law firms!

Public Advocates Inc. is currently hiring summer 2023 law clerks for our San Francisco and Sacramento offices. Our law clerks play a crucial role in building power in low-income communities of color through our community partnership lawyering model and advancing racial and economic justice through policy advocacy, enforcement actions and capacity-building. In turn, we are committed to providing high quality training and supervision to help advance the career goals of our clerks and to foster a true community of public interest lawyers.

Our Mission

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.

Legal Clerkship Program

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 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 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.

Living Allowance

Public Advocates provides a $3,000 living allowance (subject to taxes) to each summer clerk who commits to and completes a 10-week internship. The allowance can be used to supplement any additional outside funding law clerks may receive.

How to Apply

We value applicants with a demonstrated commitment to public interest work. Summer clerks commit to working full-time (on-site, if applicable) for 10 weeks (Monday through Friday, 7.5 hours/day). 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;
  • Your reasons for applying to Public Advocates;
  • Your preference (if any) for placement with our Education Equity or Metropolitan Equity Teams; and
  • Your preference (if any) for placement in San Francisco, Sacramento, or Los Angeles.

In addition, include a résumé, writing sample and list of references. Send your materials to our Legal Clerkship Program at lawclerks@publicadvocates.org.

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.

Arc of Justice Summer Fellowship

Public Advocates 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 advancing the legal and policy priorities of low-income African American communities in the Bay Area. The Arc of Justice Fellowship is a collaboration between Public Advocates and CHBA to help increase the number of law students of color who pursue careers in public interest law. The Arc of Justice Fellow will receive an additional summer stipend of $3,000. Find out more here.

Diversity Commitment

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.

Contact Us

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