Fellowship: Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Veterans Project
Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Veterans Legal Corps
Organization: Iowa Legal Aid
Fellowship: Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps
Located in: Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines or Iowa City, Iowa
About Iowa Legal Aid
Iowa Legal Aid is a not-for-profit organization that makes hope, dignity and justice available to low-income Iowans through free legal assistance and education that protects fundamental rights, basic necessities and access to the judicial system. Legal assistance with civil law problems is provided to low-income individuals in all 99 Iowa counties through ten regional offices. Assistance ranges from providing counsel and advice to representation before various agencies and courts.
Iowa Legal Aid is hosting two (2) one-year Fellowships to provide essential legal services to our nation’s veterans, active military service members, and their families. The selected candidates will be a part of a corps of legal Fellows serving in the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Veterans Legal Corps Program and will encounter hands-on experience providing direct legal representation to the veteran community. The Fellows’ role combines elements of direct legal representation and community outreach and advocacy. The attorneys selected for this Fellowship will be housed at either the Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Des Moines or Iowa City local office. Per Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps guidelines, the selected Fellows’ term of service should begin prior to October 1, 2018 and last for one year.
The Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps (VLC) Fellows will:
- Provide high quality direct legal representation to financially eligible veterans and their families. This will likely involve conducting intake, assembling evidence, conducting interviews, and researching relevant law.
- Complete a comprehensive legal assessment with the veteran and provide legal assistance in the areas of need disclosed by the assessment, to include VA benefits appeals and discharge characterization upgrades as well as family, housing and consumer issues.
- Establish a legal clinic in one of the VA medical centers located in Omaha, Iowa City or Des Moines.
- Assist in developing a robust volunteer lawyer referral system for veterans to ensure the private bar is assisting this population.
- Participate in a national corps of attorneys committed to providing legal representation to the veteran community.
- Have access to a substantive and skills-based training curriculum and ongoing support, including participation in Equal Justice Works’ annual Leadership Development Training in Washington, D.C.
- Position is a one-year Fellowship.
The ideal Fellow will possess a demonstrated commitment to public interest work and a strong desire to assist indigent clients. Further, the ideal candidate will have the following:
- Excellent writing, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills;
- Strong oral and negotiation skills, and the ability to work as a team member;
- Prior experience in managing independent projects or assignments;
- Knowledge of veterans’ benefits law and/or experience with veterans and military families; Military service or related-military background, including status as a military dependent are encouraged to apply;
- Diverse economic, social and cultural experiences and a second language are preferred;
- Law school clinic, externship, summer, or other relevant practice experience;
- Iowa state bar membership or eligibility to practice in Iowa.
- Ability to undergo and pass AmeriCorps-mandated criminal background checks (only convictions for murder and/or presence on sex offender registry are automatic bars to service; other criminal convictions are allowable pursuant to Equal Justice Works review and approval);
- Ability to begin the fellowship preferably no later than October 1, 2018 and attend Equal Justice Works’ annual Leadership Development Training in Washington, D.C. from November 6 – 8, 2018.
The Fellows will receive an annual living allowance, as well as financial support for housing, student loan repayment, and other permissible reimbursable living expenses. Additionally, Fellows receive an education award, health insurance, and other benefits. Interested applicants should contact Iowa Legal Aid with any follow up questions.
Other Benefits and Professional Opportunities offered by AmeriCorps:
- Student loan forbearance and interest accrual payment upon successful completion of service
- Opportunity to attend national trainings focused on leadership, networking, and project development sponsored by Equal Justice Works
- Childcare assistance (if income-eligible)
To apply, submit a letter of application (indicate geographic restrictions), resume, law school transcript, recent representative writing sample, and names, addresses and phone numbers of at least three professional references to:
Iowa Legal Aid
1111 Ninth Street, Suite 230
Des Moines, Iowa 50314-2527
The Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow is scheduled to begin the term of service by October 1, 2018.
Iowa Legal Aid is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, age, disability or veteran status. Reasonable accommodations are available to qualified applicants upon request.
Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.