Legal Summer/Fall 2019 Fellowships
Multiple positions available.
The Center for Survivor Agency and Justice is a national organization dedicated to enhancing advocacy for survivors of intimate partner violence.
CSAJ develops and promotes advocacy approaches that remove systemic barriers, enhance organizational responses, and improve professional practices to meet the self-defined needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors. We steer this towards our vision: a world where all people have equal access to physical safety, economic security, and human dignity.
CSAJ Legal Fellows will gain hands-on experience in cutting-edge and special projects to advance CSAJ’s mission.
Contributing to one or more of the below projects, Legal Fellows will work in partnership with lawyers and advocates for survivors of domestic violence across the country, conduct impactful research, and develop legal advocacy materials and tools to assist attorneys and advocates in accessing economic justice for survivors of intimate partner violence.
Areas of law may include, but are not limited to: credit repair and reporting, debt collection defense, housing and foreclosure, employment rights, eviction prevention and defense, court administration and barriers, custody and family law issues, economic relief in protection orders, federal taxes, public benefits, civil rights, race equity, and more.
Support Current Initiatives
CSAJ Legal Fellows will assist the Director of Capacity Building and Systems change with legal and policy work on groundbreaking initiatives:
The Consumer Rights for Domestic Violence Survivors Initiative (CRI) is a national project of CSAJ that enhances economic justice for survivors of domestic violence by building the capacity of and building partnerships between domestic violence and consumer lawyers and advocates across the nation. Legal Fellows may help support this project by engaging in statutory and case law research related to coerced debt, credit reporting, and the intersection of family law and consumer issues (e.g. tax and child custody/divorce). They may also support research, writing, and/or project work on systems and policy changes targeting barriers in the credit reporting and debt areas. This research will support CSAJ’s advocacy efforts and technical assistance work in providing up to date support on litigation strategies.
Access to Justice for Survivors Project: CSAJ has a multi-year project that will equip non-lawyer legal advocates with the ability to provide support to survivors, especially in the context of debt related representation. . Legal Fellows may help support this project by engaging in statutory and case law research related to costs of accessing the civil justice system and legal strategies to reduce or remove fines and fees from the civil legal system. There is also precedent for non-lawyer advocates to provide some legal advocacy, especially in the context of domestic violence and sexual assault. Another potential project is researching state laws that have specific exceptions to the unauthorized practice of law rules for advocates like these and searching case law, attorney general opinions, and more for clarity as to what counts as “legal advice” and when non-lawyers can provide that assistance.
Conduct research and write an advocacy brief on other core topics such as:
innovative programs and practices that help survivors avoid predatory lending (including payday loans)
confidentiality protections in bankruptcy
policy analysis and recommendations on paid leave, workplace protections, public benefits, and the unique interplay of poverty and violence.
Develop Future Work
CSAJ Legal Fellows will assist the Director of Capacity Building and Systems Change with legal and policy work to develop CSAJ’s future work around:
Sex Work and Human Trafficking: Survivors of human trafficking are often trafficked by intimate partners or those pretending to be a romantic partner. They often require similar assistance as survivors of domestic or sexual violence (ex: civil protection orders, housing advocacy, identity theft advocacy, etc). They often also require criminal defense and criminal record expungement. Sex workers operating by choice or circumstance may also face abuse by customers or an intimate partner and may need the same services. Potential projects for Legal Fellows may include research and resource development on issues such as: trafficking survivor and sex worker specific economic security needs, a racial justice and survivor-centered perspective on the term “modern day slavery,” developing a map of potential partnerships with legal and non-legal service providers, the use of VAWA dollars to support trafficking victims, and more.
Anti-SLAPP Impact Litigation: Survivors of intimate partner violence are often further abused in the court system with abusive motions that that negatively impact survivors’ economic security by forcing them to miss work, find childcare, and take other expensive actions to defend themselves. A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is the term for lawsuits that are filed with the intent to silence critics. Some advocates have been able to use anti-SLAPP legislation for the benefit of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. Potential projects for Legal Fellows may include significant research on the development of this area of law and partnership mapping.
Propose a Legal or Policy Research Project to contribute and advance CSAJ’s project activities. Get to know CSAJ and pitch us your idea!
CSAJ is composed of a small team of dedicated advocates in the legal, social work, and academic fields who are wholly committed to creative vision, open communication, and justice-minded social change work. While CSAJ Legal Fellows are able to enjoy the flexibility and convenience of telecommuting, they can also participate in weekly staff meetings with the organization’s leadership, take part in all of CSAJ’s trainings, and receive supervision and support from the Board of Directors as needed.
This is an unpaid fellowship for Summer/Fall 2018, with the possibility of extending the term. Coordinating an externship with the Fellow’s Law School is possible.
Law student completing their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year of law school.
Demonstrated ability to work independently; Experience with remote/virtual office environments preferred.
Strong legal research skills.
Excellent writing skills.
Attention to detail, a self-starter, and excellent organization skills.
Ability to organize, coordinate, and implement a collaborative project, involving multiple contributors, from start to finish.
Demonstrated commitment to social justice or public interest law.
Experience with advocating for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault a plus.
Experience with anti-poverty and economic justice policy or direct advocacy a plus.
To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to Yvette Butler, Esq., Director of Capacity Building and Systems Change at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Accepting multiple Fellows! CSAJ welcomes applicants from diverse backgrounds and experiences.