Equal Justice Works and Legal Services Corporation Announce Fellows for Rural Summer Legal Corps Program

Public interest law students will dedicate their summer to addressing pressing legal issues facing low-income residents of rural communities across the country
May 30, 2018

WASHINGTON – Equal Justice Works, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization committed to mobilizing the next generation of public interest attorneys, and the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the nation’s largest funder of civil legal aid programs for low-income people, today announced the selection of 30 law students (Student Fellows) for the Rural Summer Legal Corps (RSLC), a joint program of Equal Justice Works and LSC. Equal Justice Works selected the Fellows and LSC funds the RSLC program and selected the 26 host sites among its grantees.

Rural communities in the United States face a shortage of talented lawyers. Data compiled in 2013 showed that only two percent of law practices in the country are in small towns and rural communities, even though these areas are home to nearly twenty percent of the population.

“The Rural Summer Legal Corps program is a great opportunity for these Student Fellows to provide critical legal assistance to people in need, and to inspire them to look beyond a big city law setting when they graduate,” said Sara Morello, Executive Vice President at Equal Justice Works.

Launched in 2016, RSLC places law students at LSC-funded civil legal aid organizations to provide direct services in underserved rural communities across the United States and its territories. Student Fellows spend eight to ten weeks during the summer gaining hands-on experience providing direct legal services, engaging in community outreach and education, and building capacity at their host organizations.

"I am inspired by and grateful to the law students participating in the Rural Summer Legal Corps,” said LSC President James J. Sandman. “They have chosen to spend their summers serving low-income people in rural areas. They are proving that lawyers -- and law students -- can make a difference. I know some number of them will become full-time legal aid lawyers, and I look forward to working with them when they do."

This year, Student Fellows will tackle a number of tough legal projects, including connecting veterans in rural Maine communities with legal assistance; responding to legal issues arising from Hurricane Harvey; and providing legal assistance to victims of domestic violence in central Iowa.

Almost 50 rural communities in the United States have been helped by RSLC Student Fellows. In 2017, each law student worked full-time over the summer and spent, on average, 115 hours providing direct legal services to the community.

Click here to learn about the 2018 Student Fellows and their projects. 

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Equal Justice Works is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a just society by mobilizing the next generation of attorneys committed to equal justice. In collaboration 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.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.