More about Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps

Equal Justice Works continually expands and evolves our AmeriCorps-funded programs to meet national needs at the local level. 

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Employment Opportunity Legal Corps

Starting in August 2014, AmeriCorps Legal Fellows will have the opportunity to remove employment legal barriers for economically disadvantaged people through our newest initiative, the Employment Opportunity Legal Corps (EOLC). AmeriCorps Legal Fellows will serve unemployed or underemployed people who are actively seeking to join the labor market.  Some examples of legal barriers to employment are: minor criminal records eligible for expungement or sealing under state or federal law, errors in criminal records, expunged criminal records still appearing in commercial databases, loss of driver’s license needed to secure or travel to a job, inability to obtain an occupational license, loss of an occupational license, or a poor credit report that is preventing employment.

Law students interested in becoming an EOLC member can view host site locations and available positions on our website here.  Applicants should contact the host site directly for more information on positions that focus on addressing employment issues.

Current Host Sites are: 

  • Cabrini Green Legal Aid
  • Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition
  • Community Service Society
  • East Bay Community Law Center
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Chicago
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.
  • Legal Aid of North Carolina
  • Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania
  • Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
  • Legal Aid Society of Louisville
  • Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.
  • Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota, Inc.
  • Mississippi Center for Justice
  • Nevada Legal Services, Inc.
  • New York Legal Assistance Group
  • Northeast New Jersey Legal Services Corporation
  • Northwest Justice Project
  • Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity 
  • Rhode Island Legal Services, Inc.
  • South Carolina Legal Services Inc.
  • Southern Coalition for Social Justice
  • Watsonville Law Center
  • Whitman-Walker Clinic, Inc.

Veterans Legal Corps

Veterans frequently face complicated legal problems stemming from physical and mental injuries sustained during military service.  When these legal problems go unresolved, they can quickly multiply, creating insurmountable barriers to successful civilian life.  Lawyers play key roles in resolving the complex and intertwined legal issues veterans face. The ultimate goal of the Veteran Legal Corps is to improve the lives of veterans – once relied upon to serve their country as members of the armed forces – and enable them to return to civilian life as successful community members.

Over the next two years, Veterans Legal Corps Fellows and law students will provide legal assistance to low-income and homeless veterans with issues related to disability benefits claims, barriers to housing and employment, debt, family law, and other legal issues. 

The first class of Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Veterans Legal Corps members will begin their service in August 2013 and serve for two years. We are currently accepting applications for a few positions, beginning in Sept. 2014. Lawyers interested in becoming a Veterans Legal Corps member can view host site locations and available positions on our website here. Applicants should check the website regularly.

Current host sites are: 

  • Advocates for Basic Legal Equality
  • Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • Emory Law Volunteer Clinic for Veterans
  • Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
  • Legal Aid of West Virginia
  • Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
  • Legal Aid Society of Louisville
  • Legal Assistance of Western New York
  • Levitt & Quinn Family Law Center
  • Northwest Justice Project
  • OneJustice
  • Public Law Center
  • University of Miami School of Law
  • Widener Veterans Law Clinic

AmeriCorps Disaster Legal Fellowship

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in New York City and Long Island, legal aid organizations are still assisting disaster victims with their legal needs.  This widespread crisis has resulted in a surge in demand for knowledgeable advocates to help storm victims access FEMA grants, private insurance and other benefits that will help those affected by Sandy rebuild their lives. Based on lessons learned by legal service organizations in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and other disaster advocates, New York expects high demand for legal services to continue long-term.

Oklahoma is also recovering from two devastating tornados that struck in May 2013, killing 46 people and destroying over a thousand homes.  Legal services organizations have consulted with the legal aid programs in Joplin, Missouri and Alabama that have dealt with legal issues arising from tornado disasters and learned that Oklahoma can expect legal issues presented by low-income clients, similar to those experienced by Superstorm Sandy victims, to continue for two years or more as recovery efforts from the storms progress. 

In response to these disasters, the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps program currently supports four AmeriCorps Disaster Legal Fellows at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma

2012-2013 Fellowship Year

During the 2012- 2013 Fellowship year, 40 lawyers worked in a variety of areas including veterans' assistance, foreclosure prevention, disaster relief, and medical legal partnerships.

Helping Homeless Veterans

The crisis of homeless veterans is growing, with veterans making up more than 26% of the current homeless population and an estimated 500,000 additional veterans at risk of becoming homeless. During the 2011/2012 service year, 10 AmeriCorps Legal Fellows assisted 415 veterans in obtaining Veterans Affairs (V.A.) benefits; won 24 cases on behalf of veterans and obtained $422,130 in back benefits; assisted 940 veterans overcome legal barriers to housing and helped 104 veterans obtain housing. Watch this video to learn more.

Disaster Response

In response to the BP oil spill disaster and the devastating tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri,  Equal Justice Works deployed AmeriCorps Legal Fellows to help survivors recover their livelihoods and overcome the many legal obstacles facing these residents.  In the 2011/2012 service year, members represented 1,488 disaster victims with their legal issues. 

Equal Justice Works remains poised to act and deploy attorneys whenever and wherever disaster strikes. In December 2012 and January 2013, three Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows were deployed to help victims of Hurricane Sandy. Read more here.

Foreclosure Defense

When the mortgage foreclosure crisis hit in 2009, Equal Justice Works received funding to place 30 AmeriCorps Legal Fellows across the country to provide legal assistance to those facing financial challenges due to the recession. Watch this video to learn more. In the 2011/2012 service year, we continued to have 10 AmeriCorps Fellows in the field working on foreclosure issues in some of the states hardest hit by this economic crisis.  During this time, 365 homes were saved from foreclosure.

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