FAQ for Applicants

General Information About the Program

Who should apply?
Lawyers and paralegals with a passion for providing equal access to justice to one of the most vulnerable client populations — unaccompanied immigrant children — are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible to apply to an Equal Justice Works justice AmeriCorps host site, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident
  • Be willing to submit to a criminal background check, including FBI fingerprint check (note that most criminal records do not disqualify you from service)
  • Have Spanish language fluency
  • Have experience in immigration or family law
  • For lawyer positions: Hold a J.D.

What will the Fellows be working on?
A cadre of 46 full-time legal professionals —lawyers and paralegals—will help immigrant children who have crossed the U.S. border without a parent or guardian as they navigate complex immigration court proceedings.

In addition to providing desperately needed representation, members will build pro bono capacity in this growing arena of public service law so that the field is able to keep up with such dramatic increases in demand. This initiative will seed the field with competent and knowledgeable lawyers who can train others and work together to develop best practices for working with the specific needs of unaccompanied minor immigrants.

As well, members will maintain detailed records and collect needed data in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our nation’s immigration courts in the long term. Because of the rapid growth in this area of need, the field remains ill-equipped to determine what changes to our courts must be made to ensure that justice is served for all immigrant children. Our members will collect extensive data that will paint a picture of what is working and what isn’t, so that we can accurately diagnose and correct issues in the immigration court system.

Where are the fellowships located?
A cadre of 46 full-time legal professionals —lawyers and paralegals — will serve as AmeriCorps members in 20 cities across the United States with the greatest need:

  • Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Knoxville, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, Newark, Oakland, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Seattle.

How do I find a host site or list of host sites?
Click below to view a current list of host organizations:

How long is the Fellowship term?
The Fellowship term is one year, with a strong possibility to renew for a second year.

How long is funding available for this justice AmeriCorps program?
We have been awarded a three-year grant. It is possible that the funding will be available beyond three years.

Applying to justice AmeriCorps: Requirements and Benefits

When is the deadline to apply?
As soon as possible. Fellows will be selected and must begin by November 30.

How do I apply?
Send a cover letter and resume, along with any additional site-specific application materials, to the email address listed for the organization(s) in which you are interested.

Click here for a list of host organizations.

Are there specific eligibility requirements?

  • For an attorney position, you must hold a J.D. degree
  • Applicants should be fluent in Spanish
  • Applicants should have experience in immigration or family law
  • Experience working with children is preferred

Do I need to be barred?
Each site will give preference to candidates who already have a bar license in the state of practice. However, candidates with pending bar memberships should apply. Some states allow for temporary waivers in nonprofit practice.

What type of training is available to Fellows?
All Fellows will participate in a one-week training in Washington, D.C. in December 2015. Additional training opportunities will be offered by each host site and by the partnership.

Can JDs and other law school graduates apply to the paralegal positions?
Yes.

What are the Earnings and Benefits?

  • Each AmeriCorps attorney Fellow will receive up to $41,000 — $24,200 in a living allowance and up to $16,800 in supplemental benefits for the actual cost of housing, student loans, and other allowable expenses
  • Each AmeriCorps paralegal will receive up to $32,800 — $24,200 in a living allowance and up to $8,400 in supplemental benefits for the actual cost of housing, student loans, and other allowance expenses
  • Benefits include fully paid health insurance, and some sites may offer additional benefits

justice AmeriCorps as an AmeriCorps-funded Program

Does being part of AmeriCorps limit what Fellows can work on?
Yes. AmeriCorps members cannot engage in prohibited activities, which include lobbying and religious proselytizing. In addition, this grant is for providing legal representation to unaccompanied immigrant children aged 15 and under.

What are prohibited activities?
Click here for a list of AmeriCorps’ prohibited activities

What is the criminal background check process?
All AmeriCorps members must agree to and undergo a multi-part criminal history check: a check of the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW), an FBI fingerprint check, and a state background check in both the state from which you applied and the state in which you will serve, if different.

You will be provided with instructions for completing these checks and will be reimbursed for costs associated with a criminal history check. Anyone who is on the NSPOW or who has been convicted of murder cannot be an AmeriCorps member. Other items in a criminal history are considered on a case-by-case basis. A criminal history is not a bar to service.

Will I receive a Segal Education Award in addition to my benefits?
AmeriCorps members can receive an education award in the amount of $5,730 upon successful completion of a one-year term of service. An education award can be used toward student loans, future tuition, and other qualifying educational expenses for up to seven years.

What if I previously served in an AmeriCorps program?
If you previously served as an AmeriCorps member (for example, in Teach for America, City Year, Equal Justice Works’ Summer Corps or AmeriCorps JD, etc.) you may not qualify for a full educational award. Each individual may receive up to two full educational awards in their lifetime.