How To Get a Job in Legal Aid

Getting a job in legal aid shouldn’t be hard to figure out. We hope the below resources will help you, whether you are a current law student, attorney in another practice, or an advocate interested in using your skills in a civil legal aid organization to help your community.

First of all, it’s good to think about how you want to bring about change in your community and, in the bigger picture sense, in the world. Do you want to provide direct services to clients? Do you like helping someone fight an eviction and keep their home? Do you LOVE writing briefs and want to litigate? Do you prefer digging into statutes and seeing what needs to be changed? Your answers will change over your career, but it helps to know what lights you up right now. 

Then, when you’re at an organization, even as a volunteer, talk to people. Ask if you can join someone for coffee in person or on zoom to ask them about their work. If you’re on the benefits team, but you have always wanted to learn about housing, ask the housing lead if you can chat with them. Make friends at your own organization and at others. We are a small community in that everyone eventually knows everyone else, and if you make it known that you are interested in direct services work, but you’re currently doing policy work, friends may let you know about opportunities. This is especially important if you are moving across the state and still want to work in legal aid.

Job Resources

  • LAAC’s job board!
  • If you are in law school, check your law school’s website dedicated to jobs and careers. Ask your public interest alumni group for leads or advice on where to work. Ask the office of career services if they have a list of recent alumni in legal aid.
  • Legal aid organizations use a number of other job websites, some public interest or social justice focused, like and, and some general sites, like or LinkedIn. Of course, Googling can be helpful too, to find postings on the websites of individual organizations.

Internships/Summer Law Clerk positions (Paid and Unpaid)

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. LAAC offers the Dan Bradley fellowship to pay for summer placements in legal aid orgs, and many organizations now have funding to pay for their summer law clerks.

Post-Graduate Fellowships

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. Some law schools offer fellowships for public interest legal work, including at legal aid offices. Check out 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. 

In the Bay Area, the Legal Services Funders Network funds LSFN Fellows for post-graduate placements before they pass the bar exam.

Staff Attorney Positions

In addition to applying to fellowships, once you pass the bar exam, you can apply to be a staff attorney. Staff attorneys are entry-level positions offered to recent graduates by legal aid organizations.