Allegheny County Bar Foundation’s Lawyers’ Fund 2019 Summer Fellowship Program

Certified Summer Fellowship positions will be awarded through the Lawyers’ Fund at the Allegheny County Bar Foundation to students attending an accredited law school in Pennsylvania or are the son/daughter of a current member of the bar with ties to Pittsburgh. In addition, The John P. Gismondi Fund will award Certified Summer Fellowship positions to students attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

The Lawyers Fund and The John P. Gismondi Fund - Will host 12 students at the following organizations:  

1.         Christian Legal Aid

2.         Disability Rights Pennsylvania

3.         District Attorney’s Office

4.         Education Law Center

5.         Jewish Family & Children’s Service

6.         Juvenile Court Project

7.         KidsVoice      

8.         Office of Conflict Counsel

9.         Office of Public Defender

10.       Pro Bono Center

11.       Women’s Center & Shelter

12.       Women’s Law Project


Description of the Programs

1.   Each organization wrote a short description of their program. (See APPENDIX A for program descriptions).

2.   Fellowship stipends in the amount of $4,000 will be awarded for participating in the Law Student Summer Fellowship Program.

3.   Program is limited to 2Ls only so that they can be certified and obtain the most comprehensive experience possible.

4.   The summer program runs from May 28, 2019 – August 2, 2019, 35 hours per week.

5.   An orientation program is mandatory for student Fellows of both The Lawyers’ Fund, and The John P. Gismondi Fund.


Eligibility and Application Process

Law students must have completed their second year of Law School by the time the Summer Fellowship program begins.
Students must be eligible to appear in court pursuant to Pa. Bar Admission Rule 321. Please see:
Application process will begin on November 1, 2018. 
Law students must submit a resume and unofficial transcript with each application.
All Pitt law student applications must be submitted via PittLawWorks.
The deadline to apply is January 15, 2019.
Law schools will submit completed applications to the Allegheny County Bar Foundation.
After preliminary review, applications will be sent to appropriate organizations.
Interviews will take place at each organization.
Awards will be made at the conclusion of the interview process in late February.
Fellowship awards shall be based on objective and nondiscriminatory criteria.  


Terms of Employment

Each organization will have their own requirements regarding their particular program. However, we recommend the following minimum standards to be set in order for the students to be fully compensated by the ACBF Fellowship Program:

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.
Students must sign an agreement with the Allegheny County Bar Foundation regarding terms of the Fellowship.
Students will be evaluated at the end of the program by the organization. Students will also have an opportunity to evaluate the program at that time. 
Students must attend an Allegheny County Bar Foundation orientation. The date, time and location are to be determined.
Students must dress accordingly for the program and should be in business attire when they are attending court and court-related proceedings. 


The following are short descriptions of Summer Law Student Fellowship programs:


1.                  Christian Legal Aid:


Christian Legal Aid of Pittsburgh, Inc. (CLA) is a private, non-profit Pennsylvania corporation established in 2004 to provide free legal services in civil cases to low-income people. CLA holds clinics every Monday night and two Thursday nights per month where clients can receive 45 minute consultations with volunteer attorneys.


This Fellowship Program will provide students with an opportunity to both directly assist volunteer attorneys serving low-income clients in a wide range of civil legal issues, as well as to assist in developing resources for a small growing nonprofit organization. The Student will be expected to attend all CLA clinics during the Fellowship period (every Monday night and the first and third Thursday night of each month), and assist CLA volunteer attorneys in the legal consultation sessions with clients. The Student will then provide research and support to CLA volunteer attorneys in representation of clients beyond clinic night. If the Student is a certified legal intern, the Student will have the opportunity to represent CLA clients beyond clinic night as appropriate and possible under the supervision of the Executive Director.


The Student will also assist and support the Executive Director in responding to client inquiries and developing resources for CLA volunteer attorneys in representation of our clients. This may include legal research for our Desk Reference Manual, developing legal resource materials for our volunteer website, and other related research and projects.  At all times the Summer Fellow will be trained and supervised by the Executive Director.


2.                  Disability Rights Pennsylvania:


Disability Rights Pennsylvania is a statewide, non-profit corporation designated as the federally mandated organization responsible to protect and advocate for the civil, legal, and human rights of individuals with disabilities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. DRP works with people with disabilities and their families to ensure their rights to live in their communities with the services they need, to receive full and inclusive education, to live free of discrimination, abuse, and neglect, and to have control and self-determination over their services.


Student participation will include direct legal experience such as interviewing clients, conducting legal research, determining facts, preparing draft court documents, and reviewing discovery. The student will participate in bi-weekly meetings in which particularly complex intake issues are discussed and will attend client meetings, education due process hearings, and other court proceedings that occur during the student’s tenure. Students will have the opportunity to attend and help prepare materials for any scheduled presentations and legislative visits.


3.                  District Attorney’s Office:


First, Second and Third year law students who work for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office are exposed to a wide variety of opportunities and experiences in the field of criminal prosecution. All law students are involved in various and all aspects of trial, to include:


1.   Reviewing and preparing files for trial

2.   Interviewing and preparation of witnesses/victims for trial testimony

3.   Researching of and writing of briefs on pre-trial and post-trial issues

4.   Involvement in plea negotiations with attorneys

5.   Attending in-camera meetings with attorneys and Judges

6.   Attending and participating in jury selection

7.   Preparing post-trial briefs on Appellate matters


In addition to the above, duly enrolled law students who have completed at least three (3) semesters of legal studies or the equivalent thereof and have been approved and certified under Pa.B.A.R. 321 and 322, are permitted, under the supervision of a licensed Attorney, to prosecute and litigate pre-trial motions and bench trials.


4.                  Education Law Center (ELC):


ELC provides an intensive, hands-on experience where each law student is paired with a supervising attorney. We are a small Pittsburgh office (three attorneys); however, students are exposed to the full range of legal services provided by our entire legal staff (including an additional 4 attorneys in Philadelphia). Our work includes direct client contact (intake and fact investigation), case development (research and writing), preparation and assistance with formal representation in state and federal court (including special education, school discipline and other education matters, both individual and class action matters), and state level legislative and administrative advocacy (strategic community engagement and administrative complaints).


Summer Legal Interns will have the opportunity to work on individual school discipline cases, inform a U.S. Department of Justice complaint and on-going investigation of the PA Department of Education, school finance reform litigation in the PA Supreme Court, and multiple issues involving young children and English language learners. Interns participate in weekly office meetings and are supervised closely by a Pittsburgh attorney who makes assignments, supervises work and mentors them in all aspects of our public interest work and the professional responsibilities. Interns allow ELC to provide valuable legal assistance to students and their families who otherwise likely could not afford legal counseling or representation. The Education Law Center values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. People of color, of all genders, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status are encouraged to apply. 


5.                  Jewish Family & Community Services: 


This program will provide an intensive, hands-on experience which will allow law students to work on many kinds of family-based, humanitarian and removal immigration cases. The students’ tasks will include, but are not limited to, the following:


•   Refugee Green Cards & Citizenship applications:  Assist individuals with applications for permanent residence or citizenship – requires working with the client or gathering documentation, drafting correspondence to USCIS or clients.


•   Relative Petitions: These cases require attention to detail, research into marriage and divorce records, preparation of evidence to prove the bona fides of a relationship, sometimes research into types of DNA testing and making arrangements for testing in several countries.


•   Victim’s cases Including U visas T visas and VAWA: When non-citizens are victims of domestic violence or crimes there are protections and immigration remedies available for them. Work on these cases would be interviewing clients to determine circumstances and fact pattern, working on gathering documentation of abuse or crime, communication with prosecutors to establish cooperation and/or a law enforcement certification.


•   Removal/Hardship Cases:  These cases require a larger amount of time and resources. Work on these cases could include assisting a client with establishing proof of residency in the US for an extended period of time, or extreme hardship to a US Citizen or permanent resident family member. These cases often require research into country conditions, financial histories and lots of brainstorming.


•   Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: when Unaccompanied minors are identified locally whether in detention or released from ORR Custody, we work with them to help identify relief available to prevent removal.  The work on these cases often require family court filings, asylum filings, removal proceedings representation and evidence gathering.  


Educational aspects of the program:


•   One-two week orientation and training, during which students/fellows are introduced to the fundamentals of Immigration Law, the software programs used daily, an in-depth cultural orientation training and client interviewing skills 


•   Weekly department staff meetings to discuss progress of different cases, brainstorm legal strategy issues and review goals on complicated cases


•   Free attendance at many online CLEs and trainings as well as live CLEs sponsored by JFCS on various immigration topics


•   Opportunity to attend USCIS interviews and Immigration Court hearings and dependency/confirmation of custody hearings on a semi-regular basis


At all times, interns/fellows will be supervised and trained by staff attorneys and accredited representatives at JFCS.



6.                  KidsVoice:


KidsVoice, a 501(c) (3) organization, provides legal representation to 3,000 abused, neglected and at risk children each year. Law students in our summer internship program have the opportunity to advocate for the safety and well-being of children victimized by crime, mistreatment and severe neglect. Students accepted into the program will appear in court on behalf of our child-clients


KidsVoice cases primarily involve the representation of children in child abuse and neglect proceedings involving the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families. Pennsylvania law requires that children in these cases be represented by an attorney. The core of the internship program is the successful training and supervision of our students, each of whom is teamed with one of our staff attorneys. KidsVoice attorneys are expert child advocate attorneys, with years of valuable experience.  Student interns will draw from our staff’s wealth of experience to gain insights and opportunities about the work and careers of child advocate attorneys.


The KidsVoice Summer Internship Program begins with a training program designed to ensure that interns have the tools, knowledge and resources to successfully advocate on behalf of our clients. Upon completion of training, each extern will be paired with an experienced mentor attorney. This attorney will guide the student through case preparation meetings, shadowing opportunities, and direct instruction, and supervise the student in court. KidsVoice provides an exciting hands-on experience and the unique opportunity to make a difference by representing and advocating for abused and neglected children. In addition to courtroom practice, student externs obtain real life experience in meeting clients in their respective homes, working with other child advocacy professionals and advocating on behalf of our clients. 


The overall goal of the program is to provide a comprehensive and hands on experience that will provide the student with a total child advocacy experience. Some of our most successful interns have been hired as KidsVoice staff attorneys.


Pitt and Duquesne law students interested in KidsVoice as their selection for the Lawyers’ Fund Fellowship Program also must commit to a one semester internship during the school year.  This time commitment is necessary because the objective of the internship is to provide a comprehensive child advocacy experience with the potential for successful interns to be considered for future employment opportunities with KidsVoice.  (Please note that the Lawyers’ Fund Fellowship only provides a stipend for the summer program.  Students may receive internship class credit from their school for the additional semester commitment.)



8.                  The Office of Conflict Counsel:


We represent adult criminal defendants and juveniles charged in the juvenile division of Family Court. We represent people in all phases of the criminal justice system in both divisions from preliminary hearing through appeal. An intern would be exposed to the court system i.e. filing and records retrieval, preparation of motions and pleadings, trial work, investigation and client contact. This would be done under the supervision of experienced and trained attorneys.




9.                  Office of Public Defender:


Summer Interns will be responsible for a variety of tasks in the Office of the Public Defender including filing court documents, making copies as needed, reviewing discovery materials and police reports, conducting research, preparing memos, assisting in drafting motions, as well as gaining some court room observation.  Additionally, students who have completed their second year may be eligible to serve as a Certified Legal Intern. These students would then be able to assist at Preliminary Hearings in City Court with the advice of attorneys and the consent of the client. Once students are comfortable, we permit them to conduct the actual hearings (again, with client consent and an attorney standing by). We also engage our interns with formalized sit down sessions in which we discuss the matters they are working on, as well as detail the various stages of the criminal justice system and our office’s role at each stage. Interns will have mentors to assist with questions and facilitate assignments. Additionally, all interns will be supervised to ensure that assignments are appropriate for their skill set and knowledge base and to ensure that work is evenly divided. 


10.              Pro Bono Center of Allegheny County Bar Foundation:    


The Pro Bono Center is a small, non-profit legal services organization that creates, mana The Pro Bono Center provides summer fellows with an opportunity to work directly with clients and have weekly court appearances in an intensive program focused primarily on family law.  Following training and under the supervision of Pro Bono Center staff attorneys, the summer fellow will draft and file divorce complaints and work on cases from intake to completion; represent victims of domestic violence at final protection from abuse hearings; and advocate for parties attempting to settle custody disputes at family court conciliations, among other things.

The summer fellow may have the opportunity to work on other types of matters including client intake screening, criminal records expungements, name changes, and inquiries from incarcerated individuals. The summer fellow will hone writing skills through legal research, drafting correspondence, submitting an article for publication in the ACBA Lawyers Journal, and completing writing exercises. 

The Pro Bono Center is a non-profit legal services organization that advises and represents individuals with low incomes seeking help with a variety of civil legal problems. In addition to assisting clients, the summer fellow will also perform work typical to a non-profit legal services organization such as volunteer recognition and support, community outreach, and the annual Golf and Bocce Tournament. Because we are located within the offices of the Allegheny County Bar Association, the summer fellow will have numerous networking opportunities at ACBA committee meetings and events. 


11. Women’s Center & Shelter:


The Civil Law Project (“CLP”) of the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh (“WC&S”) is one of several statewide civil legal aid programs that was established in 2001 and today is funded primarily through grants from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Office of Violence Against Women, Pennsylvania IOLTA and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. CLP advises and represents income eligible victims of domestic violence in their civil legal matters with priority given to a client’s safety, autonomy and restoration. CLP exists within a larger domestic violence agency, WC&S.  It presently consists of a Chief Legal Officer, who oversees the entire legal department of WC&S; a supervising attorney, who manages CLP and her own individual case load; a staff attorney who provides representation to survivors of intimate partner sexual violence, two staff attorneys who provide extended representation in protection from abuse and complex family law matters, a staff attorney who represents survivors of intimate partner violence who are refugees, immigrants and limited english speaking persons; a paralegal; and a part-time legal assistant. Victims of domestic violence are referred to CLP from within WC&S as well as from the Court, private counsel and other community resources. To date, CLP has handled over 3,000 civil legal cases with representation focused primarily in the area of family law.


A fellowship with CLP may include legal research, memo writing and protocol development on topics of federal, state or local domestic violence laws, policies and procedures. A significant part of the work shall include review and drafting of pleadings, client and witness interviewing, case preparation, observation of court negotiations and hearings in family law cases, and legal representation to plaintiffs in Protection from Abuse proceedings.


CLP is seeking a second-year law student with a Supreme Court Certification and preferably completion of one legal research course. The student fellow will work directly under the supervising attorney who will offer constant guidance and who will provide on-going feedback and support to the student, which will include a formal evaluation and review at the end of the fellowship.  The law student should be sensitive to issues of domestic violence and interested in improving the justice system’s response to domestic violence



12.  Women’s Law Project:


Our organization is a small non-profit legal organization focusing on women’s rights in Pennsylvania.  We are a leading voice in the fight for access to reproductive health care including abortion and contraception, improving institutional response to all forms of violence against women including sexual assault and harassment, challenging sex and gender discrimination, and advocating for workplace equality and economic justice.  In order to achieve these goals, we engage in high-impact litigation, free legal representation, advocacy and education.  Our interns will do important legal work over the course of their tenure with us, providing them a solid foundation in public interest work.  Our interns will conduct legal research, draft briefs and memos, represent the agency at community meetings, speak with clients or potential clients and develop public education materials.