Legal Aid Summer Fellowship ProgramOrganizations We Fund Legal Aid Programs Donate Now What We Do
An essential component of FFLA’s mission is to promote service to the public by members of the legal profession by making public service an integral component of the law school experience. The Legal Aid Summer Fellowship Program offers approximately 10 Florida law students the opportunity to gain valuable legal service experience at a Florida non-profit legal service organization for an 10-week full-time paid summer fellowship. Fellowship stipends are paid to the host organization and distributed to the fellow according to regular employment practices. The organization and the summer fellow are matched using the preferences outlined by each in their application.
The purpose of this fellowship is:
- To involve fellowship recipients in the provision of high-quality, significant civil legal assistance to low-income Floridians, the indigent, and the working poor in critical areas of need.
- To provide an in-depth educational experience in representing low-income Floridians and working with individual clients and client groups in civil matters.
- To increase law student interest in and awareness of the legal problems of low-income Floridians, and the challenges and satisfaction of representing those who need it most.
- To promote commitment to pro bono representation of low-income Floridians.
Monetary stipends for students are $9,000. Host organizations receive additional funding to cover payroll taxes.
Host applications are available in early late October. Student applications are available in January. Fellowships are awarded in mid-March. The fellowship begins in May with a mandatory orientation and ends in early August.
Prospective student summer fellows must:
- Be a rising second- or third-year law student at an accredited Florida law school;
- Have a competitive GPA and resume;
- Have a strong interest in public service work; and
- Be available to participate in-person in the mandatory orientation.
Prospective host organizations must:
- Be a non-profit entity, tax-exempt and qualified to receive charitable donations within the meaning of the Internal Revenue Code;
- Operate within the state of Florida;
- Have a primary purpose of providing legal services to low-income Floridians;
- Offer opportunities for the summer fellow to gain practical legal experience such as having client contact, drafting legal documents, attending court or administrative hearings, and conducting community education; and
- Have the ability to host a summer fellow from May to August and provide supervision, a work space, technology, and other resources necessary for a student to be successful.
This grant is funded by FFLA on an annual basis in accordance with the Foundation’s grant allocation for the corresponding year which may be culled from all available sources including existing reserves, restricted donations, Endowment contributions, unspent or returned funds, past investment earnings and other funds which may become available.
Comments from Past Summer Fellows
Legal services programs are vital to the well-being of every community because there is no other type of organization with the time and resources (and inclination) to help poorer groups and lobby for greater change on behalf of those communities. Program: Florida Legal Services; Law School: Florida State University
My fellowship experience was rewarding in many ways. Working with children in the dependency system was a daunting task at times; however, at the end of the summer I know that I made a difference in my clients’ lives. I would recommend that anyone interested in making a real difference participate in this fellowship. You will make a difference and change someone’s life.
Program: Lawyers For Children America; Law School: Florida International University
Program: Southern Legal Counsel; Law School: University of Florida
Working at FRLS this summer really cements in my mind the fact that I want to be a lawyer and that I chose the correct career path. I really enjoyed working so closely with clients and having so much responsibility. I loved the experience! Program: Florida Rural Legal Services; Law School: Florida Coastal School of Law
I am unsure of what area I want to practice in, but I will be committed to pro bono service and intend to volunteer at the Legal Aid before graduating. Program: Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society; Law School: Stetson
This fellowship has made me more aware that no matter what I do in the future, doing pro bono work and/or working in public interest is very gratifying and valuable. Program: Three Rivers Legal Services; Law School: University of Florida
Some of the most satisfying aspects of the fellowship were the client visits, and the opportunity to put the knowledge I gained during my first year classes to use in a real life situation. The fellowship was an amazing experience, and I would recommend it highly to anyone.Program: Florida Institutional Legal Services; Law School: University of Florida