Largest Deployment of Law Students to Serve Veterans, Victims of Natural Disasters and other Vulnerable Population

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AmeriCorps JD program funds future lawyers with hands-on public interest experience

Washington, DC—December 4, 2013— Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps today announced the creation of the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps JD Program, which provides law students with an opportunity to expand the delivery of critically needed legal assistance in low-income and underserved communities across the country for veterans, military families, disaster victims, and other vulnerable populations.  Services include disability benefits claims, removing barriers to housing and employment, family law, and other legal issues.

“Participants in the AmeriCorps JD program will help resolve some of the most critical legal problems that prevent people from having decent jobs, safe housing, and stable family lives,” David Stern, Executive Director of Equal Justice Works.  “At Equal Justice Works, we believe that many students begin law school with a desire to change lives.  This initiative will allow them to have a positive impact some of society’s most underserved communities.”

Veterans frequently face complicated legal problems stemming from physical and psychological injuries sustained during military service.  An annual survey by the VA shows legal needs are among the top unmet needs of homeless and low-income veterans.  Further, the VA has recently recognized that the legal profession is part of the solution to remedy backlogged disability claims

Several significant natural disasters, including the Oklahoma tornadoes, floods in Colorado and Superstorm Sandy in New York, have affected the livelihoods of thousands of Americans.  Many of them now face legal obstacles and require assistance to access FEMA grants and private insurance, as well as access safe housing.

An AmeriCorps-funded program, AmeriCorps JD provides law students with the opportunity to earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award – a voucher for educational expenses – for dedicating 300 hours of service to a qualifying legal project with legal aid organizations, veterans’ law clinics, Veterans Treatment Courts, academic institutions and other state or local government agencies.  

Equal Justice Works is currently seeking host sites and is accepting applications from law students for this program. For service in the spring semester, applications are due January 15.  For service in summer 2014, applications will open in March and will be due April 15. For more information, visit http://equaljusticeworks.org/americorpsjd.

Equal Justice Works is the national leader in creating public interest opportunities for law students and lawyers. Collaborating with the nation’s leading law schools, law firms, corporate legal departments and nonprofit organizations, Equal Justice Works offers a continuum of opportunities that provide the training and skills that enable attorneys to provide effective representation to underserved communities and causes. Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For additional information about Equal Justice Works, please visit www.equaljusticeworks.org.

AmeriCorps engages more than 80,000 men and women in intensive service each year through more than 15,000 nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country. Since 1994 AmeriCorps has provided critical support to millions of Americans affected by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, forest fires, terror attacks, and other natural and man-disasters, and is a vital resource in America’s emergency management infrastructure. For more information, please visit www.americorps.gov.

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