Philadelphia VIP: Fall 2020 Legal Internships – May 1
Posted by Philadelphia VIP on March 17, 2020
Philadelphia VIP, the hub of pro bono in Philadelphia, recruits, trains, and supports volunteer attorneys who provide free legal services to low-income clients.
VIP seeks highly motivated, second- or third-year law students to serve as legal interns during the fall semester supporting VIP’s work in the many areas where our clients face critical legal needs, including: family law (custody, support, divorce, adoption), homeownership/tangled title (probate, quiet title, and deed transfers), debt collection, guardianship, tort defense, and estate planning. Our legal interns function as valued members of the VIP team. With attentive attorney supervision and training, interns gain valuable skills that will help them launch careers in any sector of the legal profession or in non-profit leadership.
- Passion for access to justice for underserved communities and commitment to VIP’s volunteer-based service model; experience with low-income populations is a plus
- Prior volunteer work
- Strong oral and written communication skills and attention to detail; Spanish fluency a plus (not required)
Working with clients and legal services to manage a full caseload:
- Assessing the legal merits of cases by interviewing clients and gathering documents
- Counseling and preparing clients for the civil legal process and the professional responsibilities surrounding the attorney-client relationship
- Managing urgent matters with deadlines and long-term projects
Working with private attorney volunteers to assist with case management:
- Guiding volunteer attorneys with substantive, ethical, or procedural legal questions
- Helping volunteers to manage VIP cases by asking for status updates and identifying potential challenges
- Observing court proceedings, and meeting judges and court staff
Cultivating volunteer attorney relationships to grow our pro bono practice capacity:
- Assisting with and attending attorney CLEs, trainings, clinics, and other outreach events
- Offering pro bono opportunities to attorneys who have signed up to volunteer with VIP
- Participating in programs to engage VIP stakeholders in organizations, legal services agencies, and courts
Developing practical skills in writing, research, and case management technology:
- Researching legal issues to support volunteers and staff
- Updating volunteer guides and writing client letters that involve legal analysis
- Using leading technology in all aspects of work with cases, clients, and volunteer
How to apply: E-mail cover letter and resume to Karna Laubenstein, Director of Operations, firstname.lastname@example.org. No calls, please. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with a priority deadline of
April 8, 2020 extended to May 1, 2020.
What to include in your cover letter: We invite you to include a statement about how your unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of VIP’s staff team and legal practice.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What sort of training and supervision can I expect?
This position is supervised by a Staff Attorney. Interns go through a two-week orientation process customized to their specific positions.
How many internship spots do you expect to have each summer/semester?
We have several legal internship slots each summer and during the school year, depending on staff needs.
Will Philadelphia VIP help me with obtaining academic credit?
Yes. If your school offers credit for internship experiences, let us know and send us materials. We want to support your professional development however we can.
Are interns paid?
VIP does not have funding for paid internships. We are happy to work with our interns to secure other funding, including fellowships and Work Study.
Is Philadelphia VIP an eligible Work Study employer?
Yes. VIP is a “community service” Work Study site. We are happy to make a Work Study contract with your school, and we require a waiver of the “co-pay” some schools ask employers to contribute. Contact your Financial Aid Office as soon as possible about this.
What is the internship schedule and commitment?
The intern must be available during normal daytime office hours. Summer internships at VIP start in May and run through August for a ten-week period. School-year internships begin when class start and continue through the end of the semester (usually about 13 weeks). We have found a minimum commitment of 12 hours per week in the school year, and 35 in the summer, provides the ideal experience for all.
Can Philadelphia VIP host or “sponsor” me for a summer fellowship?
Yes. We encourage our interns to apply for funding and keep us informed so we can help.
Are there other ways I can work with Philadelphia VIP as a student?
Yes. VIP has an ongoing need for interpreters and translators in various languages.
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