Law Student Assistance Grant Program

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Overview

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Effective as of the 2011-12 grant year, The Florida Bar Foundation has suspended its Law Student Assistance Grant Program temporarily due to severely reduced revenue from Florida’s Interest on Trust Accounts (IOTA) Program. The Foundation intends to restore its funding of Law Student Assistance grants when IOTA revenue rises to pre-recession levels.

For more information contact Andrea Horne

The 1983-84 grant year marked the start of the Foundation’s Law Student Assistance (LSA) grant program. Since that time the Foundation has initiated and discontinued different law student grant projects to promote public interest and pro bono activities among law students and in their subsequent legal careers. Changing needs and opportunities and the availability of funds have determined the number and level of grant projects. The programs that promote public interest and pro bono work remain the central focus of the LSA grant program.

Legal Aid Summer Fellowship Program

For more information contact Andrea Horne.

Through the Legal Aid Summer Fellowship Program (initiated in 1995), the Foundation provides summer fellowships to first- and second-year law students from accredited law schools throughout the nation. Each summer, law students are placed at eligible Foundation-funded legal assistance providers. The purposes of the fellowship program are to: involve law students in the provision of civil legal assistance to the poor in critical areas of need; provide an in-depth educational experience in representing the poor and working with individual clients and client groups in civil matters; increase law student interest in and awareness of the legal problems of the poor and the challenges and satisfactions of representing the poor; and promote commitment to pro bono representation of the poor. Minority students are specifically encouraged to apply for this fellowship opportunity.

Comments from Past Summer Fellows

I learned that Legal Aid is incredibly necessary. Legal Aid plays a huge role in the day-to-day lives of its clients. Equally important, Legal Aid plays a huge role in the community as a whole because the resolution of individual cases impacts the community in a positive way.

Program: Broward Legal Aid
Law School: Stetson

Legal services programs are vital to the well-being of every community because there is no other type of organization with the time and resources (and inclination) to help poorer groups and lobby for greater change on behalf of those communities.

Program: Florida Legal Services
Law School: Florida State University

Legal Aid deals with clients who have no other place to turn for representation. The indigent have no other recourse; Legal Aid is a place of last resort. The difference the representation makes in people’s lives is ineffable; [clients] are saved in many cases from losing their homes or having wages garnished. Sometimes just having an attorney appointed can make a difference between being, or not being, evicted.

Program: Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association
Law School: Stetson

My fellowship experience was rewarding in many ways. Working with children in the dependency system was a daunting task at times; however, at the end of the summer I know that I made a difference in my clients’ lives. I would recommend that anyone interested in making a real difference participate in this fellowship. You will make a difference and change someone’s life.

Program: Lawyers For Children America
Law School: Florida International University

I have wanted a career in public interest since I was in college, and this fellowship has further solidified that goal.

Program: Southern Legal Counsel
Law School: University of Florida

Working at FRLS this summer really cements in my mind the fact that I want to be a lawyer and that I chose the correct career path. IÂ really enjoyed working so closely with clients and having so much responsibility. I loved the experience!

Program: Florida Rural Legal Services
Law School: Florida Coastal School of Law

I am unsure of what area I want to practice in, but I will be committed to pro bono service and intend to volunteer at the Legal Aid before graduating.

Program: Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society
Law School: Stetson

This fellowship has made me more aware that no matter what I do in the future, doing pro bono work and/or working in public interest is very gratifying and valuable.

Program: Three Rivers Legal Services
Law School: University of Florida

This is an invaluable way to supplement classroom learning with real world experience. There are so many things that law students do not learn in the classroom, things that perhaps cannot really be taught, but only learned through experience.

Program: Heart of Florida Legal Aid
Law School: University of Florida

Some of the most satisfying aspects of the fellowship were the client visits, and the opportunity to put the knowledge I gained during my first year classes to use in a real life situation. The fellowship was an amazing experience, and I would recommend it highly to anyone.

Program: Florida Institutional Legal Services
Law School: University of Florida

Public Service Fellows Program

For more information contact Andrea Horne.

The Public Service Fellows Program promotes public service/pro bono activities among law students and continuing public service/pro bono activities among lawyers and has been a mainstay project of the Law Student Assistance grant program. The program provides funds to law schools to support Florida law student internships at public interest agencies providing legal services and to promote awareness of the general student body as to the importance of public service activities by lawyers. The purpose of this grant program is to: 1) promote pro bono legal services by members of the legal profession; 2) provide law students with direct involvement in public service legal assistance activities; and 3) promote the concept of public service legal work on law school campuses generally.

Public Service Fellows grants are awarded directly to Florida law schools, which then select the students who will receive the financial aid using criteria approved in advance by the Foundation. Foundation funds generally are utilized to provide fellowships or stipends to participating law students.

2010-11 Public Service Fellows Grants

Comments from Past Public Service Fellows

“My participation in this program has reinforced my belief that service to the community is a worthwhile and meaningful concept.”

Program: Nova Southeastern University Juvenile Mediation Program
School: Nova Southeastern University

“Even if I do work in private law, I see pro bono work as an integral part of being a lawyer because the reality is that many people do not have the means to have access to justice.”

Program: Gulfcoast Legal Services Inc
School: Stetson University College of Law

“I have gained a greater sense of understanding the legal needs of people who normally could not get assistance due to lack of income.”

Program: Community Legal Service of Mid-Florida
School: Florida A&M College of Law

“I came to law school in order to learn how to give back to the community and those less fortunate. The Public Service Fellowship allowed me to see first hand what that would be like as a career.”

Program: Three Rivers Legal Services
School: Florida Coastal School of Law

“Participating in this program has sparked a continuing interest in public service now as well as after graduation.”

Program: Legal Services of North Florida, Inc.
School: Florida State University College of Law

“Participating as a Public Service Fellow was my first exposure to pro bono work for indigent clients. This experience strengthened my curiosity and desire to work for the public, and increased my awareness of the need for pro bono work in the legal field.”

Program: Jacksonville Area Legal Aid
School: Florida Coastal School of Law

“The Health and Elder Law Clinic at the University of Miami changed my perspective on lawyering and my ability to make a change in this world. My two years in the clinic as an intern and then a fellow motivated me to pursue a job in public interest.”

Program: University of Miami’s Health and Elder Law Clinic
School: University of Miami School of Law

“Ultimately this experience has shown me that the payment one receives in serving the public manifests itself in goodwill, and a sense of being part of something bigger than the billable hour.”

Program: Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society
School: Barry University School of Law

Law School Civil Clinic Grant Program

For more information contact Andrea Horne.

The Florida Bar Foundation funds for the Law School Civil Clinic Program at Florida law schools are provided to support law school civil clinics which (1) involve law students in the provision of civil legal assistance to the poor; (2) provide an in-depth educational experience in representing the poor and working with individual clients and client groups in civil matters; and (3) encourage law students to pursue public interest careers representing the poor and/or promote a commitment to pro bono representation of the poor.

2010-11 Law School Civil Clinic Grants

For more information, contact Andrea Horne at The Florida Bar Foundation, 875 Concourse Parkway South, Suite 195, Maitland, FL 32751 or call (407) 960-7000, or Toll-Free (in Florida only), (800) 541-2195.