Getting a job in legal aid is as simple as getting a job in any other legal field. Online resources are a major way to hear about jobs, internships, and fellowships, along with events like Public Interest, Public Sector day at a law school near you. Internships are often the starting point for interested law students, and fellowships, along with staff attorney positions, are the usual first post-graduate opportunity to further enter the legal aid sector.
Online Job Resources
- LAAC’s job board!
- Your law school’s website dedicated to jobs and careers for current students and alumni is a great place to start when looking for a legal aid job.
- Legal aid organizations use a number of other job websites, some public interest or social justice focused, like PSJD.org and Idealist.org, and some general sites, like Indeed.com or LinkedIn. Of course, Googling can be helpful too, to find postings on the websites of individual organizations.
Internships during law school can be a helpful way to show your dedication to legal aid and social justice work while meeting colleagues in the field. It can also be a way to get references and writing samples for future job applications. Many law schools have public interest funding for summer internship placements at legal aid organizations. Internships at a legal aid organization can be great starting point.
Fellowships can be a direct way to start your career post-grad in legal aid. What is a fellowship? A fellowship is a post-graduate position at a public interest organization funded through financial assistance from another entity, like a nonprofit, law firm, or law school. LAAC offers the Dan Bradley fellowship. Some law schools offer fellowships for public interest legal work, including at legal aid offices. Check out PSJD.org for some more information. You can also read more about fellowships through Equal Justice Works and Skadden to get a sense of what public interest organizations look for in fellows.
Staff Attorney Positions
In addition to applying to fellowships, the other main way to get a job is to apply for staff attorney listings at the legal aid organization that you want to work for. Staff Attorneys are often the entry-level position offered to recent graduates by legal aid organizations. In terms of fellowships, a fellowship can turn into a Staff Attorney position if successful and there’s enough funding.