Summer Law Clerks

Summer Law Clerk 2019
Position Description
Harrisonburg and Winchester Offices

Organization Description:
Blue Ridge Legal Services provides free legal services to lower-income residents of the Shenandoah Valley. Focuses include protection from domestic violence, predatory loans, unemployment compensation, nursing home discharge, financial exploitation of the elderly, bankruptcy and debt issues, foreclosure, eviction, and repair issues in rental housing.

BRLS enjoys a strong reputation for high quality legal services across our service area and the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the most recent needs assessment survey of judges within our service area, the judges uniformly gave our attorneys high marks for preparation, zealousness, and effectiveness both in trials and in written briefs.

Summer Law Clerk Position Description:
Positions are available for students having completed the 1L or 2L year.

Law clerks assist with client interviews and follow up, document collection, research, and drafting letters and pleadings. Clerks are encouraged to observe client meetings and court proceedings. Clerks are invited to attend taskforces and other meetings with community social services providers. After an introductory training, law clerks usually are assigned primary responsibility on at least one no-fault divorce case. Past law clerks have represented clients in unemployment compensation appeals hearings. Depending on cases active at the time, students with a Virginia student practice license may represent clients in basic court proceedings related to garnishments or landlord-tenant issues. An attorney will oversee all work and provide feedback.

Though this is an unpaid position, many law schools offer public interest summer fellowships or federal work-study. Contact your law school’s career services office or public interest student groups for more information.

Goals:
Throughout the summer, tasks will increase in complexity and responsibility. Students should seek out opportunities to observe court, negotiations, and client meetings.
By the end of the summer, in terms of time management, client relations, file organization, and case planning, summer law clerks are expected to be functioning at a level similar to that of an entry-level attorney.

Documents Requested:
– Cover Letter
– Resume
– Writing Sample (brief)
– List of three to five references, with phone numbers. If possible, please include a reference who can describe your work at another legal aid, law school clinic, or employment/volunteer work with lower-income individuals.
– In your cover letter please indicate whether you wish to be considered for the Winchester office, the Harrisonburg office, or both. If interested in both, please indicate any preference between the locations.
– If you are a 2L, please indicate in your cover letter whether you have the interest and required coursework to obtain a Virginia student practice certificate. Details can be found at http://www.vsb.org/pro-guidelines/index.php/bar-govt/third-year-student-practice-rule/ 

Please email these documents to: Dathan Young, supervising attorney for the Harrisonburg office, dyoung@brls.org. You may call (540) 433-1830, to follow up and ensure the documents were received.
Interested students should submit materials at their earliest opportunity.
The final deadline to submit all materials is January 20, 2019.
*If you are applying through a law school hiring fair, follow that program’s deadline, which may be earlier.

Hiring Criteria:
– Demonstrated interest in poverty issues. This might include work (either paid or volunteer) at another legal aid, legal aid law school clinic, volunteer work with disadvantaged groups, previous employment at a social service organization, and/or involvement in public interest student groups.
– Strong client interviewing and writing skills, or else willingness to develop these skills.
– Maturity and ability to work with others as a team.
– Strong sense of responsibility in one’s work, motivated by the understanding of the impact one’s work has on the client’s case.
– Self-motivated, showing an ability to take a project and run with it, while still responding to direction from the lead attorney on the case.
– Language skills, particularly in Spanish, Russian, or Arabic, are a plus but definitely not required.