Eligibility and Criteria
MORE ABOUT THIS PROGRAM
- Summer Corps Success Stories
- I am Ready to Apply to Summer Corps
- Eligibility and Criteria
- FAQs for Law School Professionals
- FAQs for Applicants
- FAQs for Supervisors and Host Sites
- Information for Supervisors and Host Organizations
- Information for Current Summer Corps Members
- Resources for 2013 Summer Corps Priority Areas
In order to participate in the Summer Corps program, you must be a current student at an Equal Justice Works member school and must graduate no earlier than December after your summer of service.
In order to be eligible for any AmeriCorps program, including Summer Corps, you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States. During the application process, all applicants will be required to provide proof of their status by submitting acceptable documentation of eligibility, such as a copy of an unexpired U.S. passport, birth certificate, certificate of naturalization or Lawful Permanent Resident card.
QUALIFYING HOST ORGANIZATION AND PROJECT
In order to be eligible for Summer Corps, you must have secured a placement for the summer. Summer Corps members must serve in the United States at a domestic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Summer Corps members must be supervised by an attorney.
Examples of qualifying organizations include:
- Nonprofit organizations serving veterans, military families, homeowners facing foreclosure or victims of disaster, or organizations engaged in medical-legal partnerships;
- Organizations that receive funding from the Legal Services Corporation (LSC); and
- Other nonprofit organizations providing civil legal services to low-income and underserved communities.
The following settings do not qualify as Summer Corps host organizations:
- Federal government agencies such as federal defender offices, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice;
- Government agencies including district attorney's offices or offices of the attorney general;
- Internationally-focused or internationally-based organizations;
- Organizations primarily engaged in lobbying or impact litigation;
- Environmental organizations;
- Judicial clerkships; and
- Private law firms of any sort.
For further information on where AmeriCorps members can serve and the benefits to service, please visit the AmeriCorps website.
Direct Legal Service Requirement:
Your service project at your host site should adhere to the following guidelines:
- You must provide direct legal services to low-income and underserved individuals. This includes conducting intake, performing client and witness interviews, advocating for clients by telephone and in person, assisting attorneys with legal representation, and carrying out legal research and writing.
- Upon acceptance into Summer Corps, you will be expected to create a Project “Workplan” in accordance with Equal Justice Works guidelines.
- Your project is not eligible if you do pure policy work.
- Because Summer Corps members must serve low-income and underserved individuals, environmental law projects do not qualify.
- You may not engage in any activities prohibited by AmeriCorps during your service hours, including but not limited to
- proselytizing or engaging in religious instruction;
- attempting to influence legislation (lobbying);
- assisting, promoting or deterring union organizing;
- engaging in partisan political activities including elections and voter registration;
- referring or promoting abortion services;
- and/or providing a direct benefit to a for-profit entity, including small businesses.
All Summer Corps members must sign a document certifying they do not partake in any prohibited activities throughout the course of their project.
Summer Corps participants receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award of $1,175 which can be applied toward student loans or current tuition. Members have up to seven years to use this Award. Please see here for further details about the Education Award.
Please note that this Award is not a cash stipend, though a member can receive up to $4,300 in a stipend from another source and still be eligible for the Education Award.
Summer Corps members must adhere to the following guidelines regarding outside funding:
- Members can seek additional sources of funding for their projects and are encouraged to do so;
- Law school, bar foundation and other public interest fellowship awards are acceptable;Because Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps program, members cannot receive an hourly wage, except for Federal Work Study Awards;
- A member may receive a “living allowance” up to $4,300, which is not a wage and not paid on an hourly basis;
- Living allowance must be distributed at regular intervals and in regular increments, only during the member’s term of service and must cease when the participant successfully concludes the term of service;
- Summer Corps members can receive Federal Work-Study Awards during their term of service, but must ensure that the host organization reduces the member’s living allowance by the amount of the work-study award, if applicable;
- Summer Corps Members must inform Equal Justice Works of the total amount of any outside awards.Students may receive law school credit for their service only if their law school has decided that the AmeriCorps Education Award is not “compensation.” The American Bar Association has stated that law students may not receive credit and compensation for the same service. However, the ABA has allowed each law school to decide what counts as compensation. A Summer Corps applicant wishing to receive academic credit will have to contact his or her law school and provide certification from the law school that the law school does not consider the Education Award to be compensation.
Equal Justice Works evaluates Summer Corps applications and selects members using a number of factors including:
- Current priority areas for projects are not limited to, but include the following: veterans’ issues*, disaster relief, foreclosure, and medical-legal partnerships;
- Placement at a current AmeriCorps Legal Fellow host site, Equal Justice Works Fellowship host site (see here for current Fellows) or at an organization funded by the Legal Services Corporation
- Quality of the application;
- Eligibility of the applicant and applicant’s host site;
- Geographic diversity; and
- Law school diversity.
The application will require you to provide an overview of the client population you hope to reach, describe the types of direct legal services you will provide throughout the course of your project, including whether it is low-income and/or underserved, detail the intended outcomes of the services you provide, and describe the supervision you will receive at your organization.
Applicants will also be required to tell us why they are pursuing a career in public interest law and what inspired them to work in the indicated area of law.
Please submit a complete and thorough application.
Because Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded national service program, all applicants must consent in writing to undergo a National Service Criminal History Check. In accordance with federal law, Summer Corps applicants will be required to undergo the following criminal history checks: FBI nationwide fingerprint-based criminal history checks; State criminal registry checks in the state of service and state of residence at time of application; and a National Sex Offender Public Registry search.
Equal Justice Works will conduct and review the results of each National Service Criminal History Check after the applicant has applied to the Summer Corps program, but prior to enrolling those who are selected as Summer Corps members. Selection in the Summer Corps program is contingent upon Equal Justice Works’ review of the background check results. Having a criminal conviction is not an automatic bar to service. Each application is reviewed on a case by case basis. The Summer Corps application provides further details about the criminal background check process.
If you have questions about the Summer Corps program, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.