December 7, 2020

Remote Law Clerks to support our work – in California and South Carolina

Root & Rebound seeks remote Law Clerks to support our work – in California and South Carolina (Spring & Summer 2021)

ABOUT ROOT & REBOUND: R&R is a national reentry advocacy organization that restores and protects the rights, dignity, and opportunities of people directly impacted by the criminal justice system. Our mission is to restore power and resources to the families and communities most harmed by mass incarceration through legal advocacy, public education, policy reform, and litigation — a model rooted in the needs and expertise of people who are directly impacted.

WHAT WE DO: R&R offers innovative legal tools, know-your-rights education, direct legal services, policy reform, and impact litigation to support formerly incarcerated people and people with conviction records to navigate barriers to employment, housing, family reunification, obtaining ID, voting rights, financial stability, and more due to their record. 

LAW CLERK OPPORTUNITY: As a law clerk at R&R, students have the unique opportunity to work holistically on the issues of “reentry law”—directly supporting individuals who have been impacted and harmed by mass incarceration and are navigating the 48,000 documented legal barriers related to their criminal record. 

Unlike most legal externships, law students clerking at R&R learn about many areas of law–housing, family, labor/employment, civil rights, parole and probation, immigration, and many other substantive areas of legal practice as they impact justice-involved people. The positions listed are unpaid. 

Currently, all of our positions are remote.

Please indicate in the cover letter which of the 5 programs you are applying for:

DIRECT CLIENT SERVICES:

  1. R&R’s headquarters office in Oakland, California R&R runs a weekly Reentry Legal Hotline every Friday out of its Oakland office for anyone with questions about reentry and the impact of a criminal record on their life and legal rights. R&R also provides legal correspondence to currently incarcerated people via our prison letter-writing service. Through our statewide legal services, we support thousands of people each year. Direct client services clerks in the Oakland office:
    • Answer Reentry Legal Hotline calls and speak with currently and formerly incarcerated callers, and those who support them, about their reentry-related questions and issues every Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.;
    • Correspond with people writing to R&R from prison, and provide writers with follow-up legal guidance and resources on a variety of reentry topics;
    • Perform case-specific legal research;
    • Review legal documents and draft advocacy letters, court filings, and other materials.
  2. R&R’s Fresno, California office focuses on serving women of color with records and in reentry from incarceration. In this office, the team uses multiple empowerment tools including legal services, social services, and employment coaching and support. Direct client services clerks in the Fresno office:
    • Work closely with a small number of system-impacted clients;
    • Close collaboration with social services staff to contribute to the holistic success of client;
    • Close collaboration with policy advocate to help drive local Root & Rebound initiatives;
    • Perform client intakes and follow-up from community clinics (which will likely be virtual clinics this fall);
    • Conduct legal research related to client issues and policy initiatives, including but not limited to, family law, probate court, and dependency and child removal; and
    • Draft record cleaning petitions, and other legal documents.
  3. R&R’s San Bernardino, California office is based at Time for Change Foundation (TFCF) and helps formerly incarcerated women, their children, and families navigate and overcome legal barriers stemming from past criminal justice system involvement. TFCF is an organization that supports women to recover from homelessness, drug addiction, mental and physical abuse, family separation, and the effects of incarceration. There are a variety of legal topics and tasks related to the San Bernardino position, and the clerkship can be tailored to your interests, but direct client services clerks in the San Bernardino office typically:
    • Work closely with a small number of system-impacted clients;
    • Perform client intakes and follow-up from community clinics (which will likely be virtual clinics this fall);
    • Conduct legal research related to client issues and policy initiatives, including but not limited to, topics related to dependency and child removal; and
    • Draft record cleaning petitions, and other legal documents. 
  4. R&R’s Greenville, South Carolina office is a statewide legal advocacy hub embedded within Soteria Community Development Corporation, a unique social-legal advocacy partnership focused on expanding second chance opportunities and direct reentry legal services locally in Greenville and statewide in South Carolina. Direct client services clerks in the Greenville office:
    • Work closely with a number of system-impacted clients from all over South Carolina;
    • Perform client intakes and follow-up from community clinics (which will likely be virtual clinics this fall);
    • Conduct legal research related to client issues and policy initiatives, including but not limited to, topics related to child support and custody, jail conditions, homeless courts, employment, and housing issues; and
    • Draft family court complaints, and other legal documents.

LEGAL RESEARCH & WRITING

  1. R&R’s legal team educates systems-impacted people, their families, social service providers, employers, HR managers, probation departments, attorneys, workforce development professionals, and other stakeholders about reentry legal barriers and how to overcome those obstacles on the path to greater stability and opportunity. R&R has published and continues to create many topic- and audience-specific tools for systems-impacted communities in California, South Carolina, Hawai’i, Minnesota, Connecticut, and nationally, and is currently drafting a Roadmap to Reentry for South Carolina.
    • Conduct legal research and writing about the most current and relevant reentry legal issues to continuously update and improve our Roadmap to Reentry guide and other toolkits and resources;
    • Help staff develop legal trainings in the community and, perhaps, assist with those trainings;

Qualifications: 

  • Currently in law school or recent law school graduate.
  • Desire to work with people with arrest and conviction histories, and on criminal justice issues in a dynamic legal environment.
  • Demonstrated interest in racial justice and improving the lives of disenfranchised people and communities.
  • Strong work ethic, positive attitude, sound judgment, and a sense of humor.
  • Eagerness to take initiative, solve intricate problems, work on multiple projects simultaneously, and prioritize and organize in a deadline-driven environment.
  • Ability to comfortably and appropriately communicate with a diverse group of stakeholders including currently and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones, staff, community partners, board members, and others.

R&R Culture: At R&R, we have a strong culture of management and care for our law clerks. We support and push students to create action plans that are unique to their working style and goals, set them up with direct supervisors, and give them a unique and exciting experience across many areas of law through the lens of racial justice and ending mass incarceration and its collateral consequences.

CompensationAll positions listed are unpaid opportunities.

Application Instructions: To apply for this position, please send the following materials to Eva DeLair at [email protected]

  1. Resume;
  2. Cover letter (please indicate for which project(s) you are interested in);
  3. Short sample of legal writing (4 pages max.); and
  4. At least 2 references with contact information and a description of how they know you.

No fax or mail applications and no phone calls, please. 

Decisions will be made on a rolling basis.

Season Rolling basis application deadline Commitment
Spring Semester Jan. 15 (though we take applications on a rolling basis) 8 + hours per week for the majority of the semester
Summer March 1 (though we take applications on a rolling basis) 35-40 hours per week for 10 weeks (specific dates TBD)
Fall Semester Aug. 1 (though we take applications on a rolling basis) 8 + hours per week for the majority of the semester

Root & Rebound is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, people of color, people with conviction histories, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender non-conforming individuals.

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