Public Interest Fellowship

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy (The Advocacy Center) is a non-profit agency that provides legal assistance in civil matters to low-income persons in the Charlotte region.

The Advocacy Center provides an intense, practical, and worthwhile fellowship for recent law school graduates interested in providing legal services to low-income people. The Center has a long tradition of aggressive and effective advocacy, including individual cases, complex litigation and other advocacy projects. Our fellows work with staff attorneys on routine cases, handle administrative cases as the primary advocate under the supervision of an attorney, and participate in significant client advocacy projects, as described in the job description below.

Fellowships may be available in the areas of government benefits, health care access, consumer protection, immigration law, veterans’ benefits, tax, and other practice areas.

Funding: Due to budgetary constraints The Advocacy Center is not able to pay stipends for fellows but will consider applicants who qualify for public interest stipends through their law school, who are eligible for work-study grants, or who can work on a volunteer basis.

To Apply: Inquire about financial support available through your school, review The Advocacy Center’s activities described on our website and send (1) a detailed letter describing your interest in and prior experience with low income people, your interest in The Advocacy Center and your qualifications for or your interest in any particular program or activity; (2) a resume or other description of your academic qualifications (a transcript is not required); (3) a writing sample; (4) the names and telephone numbers of two references; and (5) any other information you wish to include to: Agatha Belvin, Administrative Manager, by email to agathab@charlottelegaladvocacy.org or by mail to 1431 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC, 28204, email is preferred.

Public Interest Fellow Job Description
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy accepts recent law school graduate fellows to help provide legal services to eligible low income people; provide a learning opportunity for the fellow in legal process, substantive law and the ways in which low-income people are affected by the law; and provide an in-depth evaluation in the event the fellow seeks an attorney position in the future.

Fellows perform the following functions:

  • Help Attorneys Represent Clients. Assist attorneys as directed on specific cases, including interviewing clients and witnesses; collecting, evaluating and preparing evidence for presentation;
  • performing legal research; drafting pleadings, briefs and other legal documents; consistent with The Advocacy Center’s standards for representation. Fellows are generally assigned to one attorney supervisor and work primarily with that attorney on routine cases such as eviction defense, public assistance and social insurance eligibility, protection from domestic violence and predatory lending. Fellows have the opportunity for extensive client contact, participate in all stages of case development, and accompany the staff attorneys to court hearings.
  • Represent Clients. If licensed by the NC Bar, provide direct representation to clients in the same manner as staff attorneys.
  • Handle Administrative Cases. As primary advocate under attorney supervision, handle limited number of administrative cases such as Unemployment Insurance appeals, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid disability appeals, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamp or other administrative cases; attend to cases on a timely basis;
  • keep clients notified of progress on cases; maintain case files in accordance with program policy;
  • maintain tickler system, prepare periodic case reports as required; close cases promptly upon completion of representation. Fellows will be primarily responsible for at least one administrative hearing and generally will handle between two and five hearings during the summer. Although opportunities are presented to watch one or two hearings and close attorney supervision is provided, the fellows will actually make the presentation of cases.
  • Participate in Significant Client Advocacy Projects. Under the supervision of a staff attorney, participate in significant client advocacy project such as major litigation, community
  • education, outreach, and other non-case related program activities. Fellows May participate in a
  • major advocacy project to permit them to see how broad problems affecting many individuals can
  • be addressed through the legal process.

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Women, minorities, veterans and individuals living with disabilities are encouraged to apply.