The 2019 Gismondi Summer Fellowship Program

Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS) is a private, non-profit Pennsylvania corporation established in 1966 to provide free legal services in civil cases to low-income people. The program serves the residents of four counties in Western Pennsylvania. The program's mission is to meet the civil legal needs of the poor and vulnerable in our community through effective legal representation and education.

The Gismondi Fellowship Program:

This Fellowship Program will provide an intensive hands-on experience which exposes aspiring lawyers to the procedures related to either Protection from Abuse (PFA) or Housing cases.

  1. Protection From Abuse (PFA) Cases – Students will help represent victims of domestic violence in PFA cases. Duties will include interviewing clients and witnesses, preparing cases for hearing, negotiating, and appearing in court on behalf of the plaintiffs, as well as general office duties.
  2. Housing Cases– Students will help represent clients in eviction cases, as well as in other matters related to public housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (sometimes known as Section 8 Vouchers). Duties will include interviewing clients, evaluating cases to determine what remedies could be available, reviewing documents, negotiating, and appearing in court or administrative hearings on behalf of the clients, as well as general office duties.

The educational aspects of the program include:

  • Orientation during which students are introduced to the legal fundamentals of  Housing or PFAs, evidentiary matters and client interviewing and negotiation.
  • Weekly meetings to review and discuss the cases and issues handled the prior week; 
  • Occasional "lunch and learn" meetings featuring speakers on a variety of legal topics;
  • Lawyering skills training which will included interviewing, counseling, fact gathering, drafting, witness preparation, case analysis, and litigation.
  • Further concentration on poverty law issues, ethics, and professional conduct by working side by side with attorneys who have dedicated their professional careers to serving others.           

At all times interns will be trained and supervised by staff attorneys at NLS.

Program will run from May 28, 2019– August 2, 2019. Students should work at least 35 hours/week. If a student must be absent from the program, the student should make every effort to make-up for lost time.

Eligibility and Application Process:

  • Law students must have completed their second year of law school by the time the Fellowship begins.
  • Only Law Students who are eligible to appear in court pursuant to Pa. Bar Admission Rule 321 will be considered.  Please see: http://www.pabarexam.org/bar_admission_rules/321.htm. 
  • All applications must be submitted via PittLawWorks.
  • Interviews will take place at Neighborhood Legal Services by a designated member of the Foundation and NLS.
  • Awards will be made at the conclusion of the interview process in March. 
  • Fellowship awards shall be based on objective and nondiscriminatory criteria.  
  • The application deadline is January 15, 2019.

Will you be paid for working here?

The Gismondi Fellows will be awarded stipends through the The John P. Gismondi Fund at the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. The purpose of the fund is to promote employment of the University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”) law students at Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLS) or a similar public interest nonprofit organization providing legal services to those in need in an environment where the law students can obtain clinical skills and exposure to the litigation process.