Return to site

#makelawbetter opportunities for law students

by Cat Moon

A question I'm constantly asking myself these days: What are we doing to help law students navigate employment in the time of COVID-19? I know a few folks in the #keeplawopen army of innovators who are madly working on some projects and I look forward to sharing these in the very near future. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, I just came across this opportunity: COVID-19 Rapid Reaction/Systems Summer Institute and am sharing to amplify and encourage anyone reading this to do the same. I've already mobilized a group in Tennessee to figure out how we can launch a similar effort here, working with the courts, legal aid and public interest organizations, and law schools. I hope to share more about this effort soon.

More about the Summer Institute, offering law students the opportunity to work hands-on at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, from the Justice Blog post:

"A collaboration between People’s Parity Project (PPP), the Systemic Justice Project (SJP), and the Justice Catalyst (JC) announces a COVID-19 Rapid Reaction/Systems Summer Institute, which will employ law students in full-time (or volunteer part-time) summer legal fellowships, working with legal and law-related organizations on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis. While working on urgent projects, fellows will also participate in additional programming, described below.

Fellows will conduct research, write memos or reports, produce “know your rights” materials, and otherwise assist with projects aimed at ensuring the most vulnerable members of our society obtain the support they need and meet the legal challenges they face in this public health and economic crisis.

Specific projects will continue to develop in response to the current crisis and the needs of partner organizations. Sample projects could include:

  • identifying state-level legal barriers to instituting vote-by-mail for the November election;
  • assessing the authority of governors to free individuals held in detention in public health crises;
  • supporting individuals applying for unemployment insurance;
  • identifying means of holding individuals accountable for marketing sham cures for COVID-19;
  • supporting advocacy efforts for states to provide unhoused people with either temporary or permanent access to housing.

Fellows will receive three tiers of supervision/mentorship:

  1. the program’s coordinating and supervising team composed of members of PPP/SJP/JC; 
  2. the lawyers and members of partner organizations who provide projects and with whom fellows will work directly; and
  3. volunteer attorneys, who will devote a fixed number of hours per week supervising specific students/teams.

If you are a law student potentially interested in participating either as a part time volunteer or a full time fellow, a lawyer potentially interested in providing pro bono supervision, or an individual or organization potentially interested in proposing projects, please complete this form:

If you have a specific project to propose, please submit it here. Projects could be for an individual student or a team of students, and can vary in length and time commitment: "

For more information including contact information, see the Justice Blog post.

And if you have a #makelawbetter project serving law students to share, please let me know so that we can amplify! You can reach me at c <dot> moon at vanderbilt <dot> edu.