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2014 Spring and Summer Internship Program
GBLS is offering a variety of legal internships for the spring and summer term. Due to budgetary constraints, all positions described here are unfunded (unless otherwise noted), so we are presently seeking interns who can obtain full outside funding or will work on a for-credit basis. Many former interns have successfully arranged for their own funding by combining work-study and public interest grants. Students should inquire about public interest funding sources at their law school. Other funding sources are: The Massachusetts Bar Foundation-Legal Intern Fellowship Program (www.massbarfoundation.org) and Equal Justice America Fellowships (www.equaljusticeamerica.org).
Interested students should send a resume and cover letter indicating, in order of preference, the units they are interested in and available hours to: Maria Casas, 2014 Spring and Summer Internship Program, GBLS, 197 Friend Street, Boston, MA 02114 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Asian Outreach Unit provides legal assistance to hard-to-serve Asian immigrants clients on a wide variety of poverty law matters, including immigration, family, employment, housing, and public benefits cases. In additional to individual cases, AOU represents communities and groups on major legal issues affecting our communities (e.g., voting rights, immigrant workers rights, domestic violence). We seek interns who are bilingual in an Asian language (Cantonese, Khmer, Mandarin, Vietnamese strongly preferred). Student interns assist with intakes, case investigation, brief service and advice, legal research and writing and trial preparation.
We are seeking law students to work at the Cambridge & Somerville Legal Services’ office (CASLS) of GBLS. Students are given opportunities to have direct case handling and client contact responsibilities, combined with legal research and other assignments on systemic reform projects. The casework focuses on housing, government benefits, elder and mental health issues.
GBLS has established a new Consumer Rights Project to focus on foreclosure prevention, predatory lending, debt collection, credit discrimination and other consumer issues. The primary focus of the work in the coming year will be on the foreclosure crisis. The Project's work will include individual representation of homeowner's facing foreclosure; development of impact litigation; legislative and community advocacy; and outreach and education to homeowners in low-income communities, particularly communities of color. Students will assist in intake, screening cases, reviewing loan documents, doing factual investigations on cases, undertaking legal research and writing assignments, assisting in drafting pleadings and educational materials, and involvement in legislative and community activities.
Elder: Opportunities for direct client contact and representation, under attorney supervision in such substantive areas as housing (defense of evictions), health and income benefits (appealing terminations of benefits administratively and in court), mental health and nursing home issues. Legal work will be both individual case work, as well as opportunities to participate in systemic impact work through legal and factual investigation, and client representation.
Health & Disability: Opportunities to represent individuals who have disability claims pending at the Office of Hearings & Appeals, Social Security Administration Office of Disability and review, as well as to represent clients facing denial or termination of health care coverage by Office of Medicaid. Students will interview clients, develop record for administrative hearing and appear at the hearing; will also represent individuals and some community groups on access to health care issues; identify uninsured individuals facing tax penalties under Health Care Reform and help them access public health care programs; deal with administrative agencies such as the Office of Medicaid and the Connector, as well as legal research and writing; work on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Massachusetts. Fluency in a foreign language (especially Spanish) is a plus.
Children's Disability Project (CDP): The CDP represents children (under age 18) with disabilities in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits disputes with the Social Security Administration at all administrative levels of appeal and in Federal Court. Student's work will entail interviewing clients, factual investigation, evidence gathering, legal research, drafting brief, and preparation of cases for administrative hearings. Student will have the opportunity to appear at a hearing.
Medicare Advocacy Project: Work on behalf of elders and people with disabilities to help them navigate access to complex Medicare program; develop consumer education materials; factual and legal research and writing; client interviews, case development, advice and representation; address coverage and enrollment issues.
We are seeking law students to do client intakes, represent clients in unemployment hearings, wage and hour claims, claims for family leave, tax controversies with the IRS/DOR and Tax Court, and for the Criminal Offender Record Information and Reentry Project described below. We prioritize representation to single heads of households, immigrant workers, workers in temporary and domestic service jobs, and community based worker centers and their members. In addition to individual case work, student assistance is also needed with community legal education, on-going administrative and legislative advocacy as well as pending law suits. Fluency in Spanish, Cantonese, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and Vietnamese or other languages is particularly valued as is the completion of courses on evidence, administrative advocacy, and employment law, but none of these prerequisites are required. A minimum of 20 hours a week is preferred for those students wishing to represent clients in unemployment hearings. Work study funding is available during the year with the exception of the summer as grants are available then (including the Peggy Browning Fellowship). Funding ($15/hour) is also available for tax representation with emphasis on taxpayers who do not speak English; the ability to speak Spanish/Portuguese/Cantonese is strongly preferred for this special funding.
Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) & Re-entry Project: The Project assists individuals from communities of color, particularly in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan in overcoming barriers to employment and other opportunities caused by their criminal record histories. We need law students to do client intakes, draft legal documents, perform legal research, represent clients in court on sealing cases if 3:03 certified and/or assist in the courtroom, staff CORI help tables in Roxbury & Dorchester courts, and work on related community outreach events, appeals, systemic law reform projects and other cases. Work- Study funding is also available.
The mission of the Family Law Unit is to make a difference in the lives of impoverished victims of domestic abuse by assisting them in attaining and maintaining an economically sustainable life free from violence and to be agents of change in judicial and governmental systems which create barriers to victims achieving that goal. Areas for student involvement include:
Individual casework in divorce, paternity, contempt and modification cases. Students handle all aspects of representation, from interviewing, pleadings preparation, discovery and courtroom advocacy.
Rosie's Place Legal Clinic: Students work with attorneys on site at Rosie's Place, a community organization for homeless and other women. Students assist with intake clinics on site, client interviewing and various levels of advocacy..
Suffolk and Middlesex Counties Probate and Family Court Domestic Violence Advocacy Projects: In court advocacy to obtain restraining orders and other urgently required orders. Includes interviewing, pleadings preparation and oral argument.
Relocation Counseling and Identity Protection Project: A varied experience working with victims of crime who are seeking to relocate away from the perpetrator. Issues include internet stalking, privacy protection, identity change and other issues of import to these clients. Tasks include legal research, preparation of webinar and other training content and advocacy on behalf of victims seeking to relocate.
Latina Know Your Rights Project:
A unique project providing legal representation and coordinated community services to Latinas in part of Middlesex County. Students represent clients in all aspects of family law and immigration matters and partner closely with domestic violence agencies in the area. This project is located in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Legislative and Administrative Advocacy plays an important role in addressing systemic problems. Students will work with attorneys on drafting legislation and testimony, obtaining client stories and attending meetings with legislative and administrative staff.
The mission of the Housing Unit is to preserve tenancies and increase affordable housing for low income clients. We represent individuals who are being involuntarily displaced from their units and those who seek access to affordable units, as well as community groups who promote the expansion of resources for affordable housing and try to minimize the loss of currently affordable units. We also represent homeless families who seek temporary shelter. Students are needed for individual case representation and legal research on litigation and legislative matters, as well as our community group work.
The Immigration Unit provides representation to individuals before Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals and the First Circuit. We provide representation in a wide-range of immigration matters, but focus on individuals seeking asylum or protection from domestic abuse and unaccompanied minors. Our law students work closely with clients to prepare applications for asylum, self-petitions under the Violence Against Women Act and U visa applications, and conduct legal research and research into country conditions. Great opportunity to work one-on-one with clients. Language ability (especially Spanish, French and Haitian Creole) and immigration experience or course work preferred but not required.
Welfare/Child Care/Education and Training/Homeless Families - Intern openings for self-starting law students to work on projects and/or handle cases. Direct client representation is needed for families who need to obtain critical benefits or whose benefits are at risk. Special protections for survivors of domestic violence, disabled recipients, and families with disabled children are available under the law but poorly implemented, so legal representation is constantly needed. Students also may provide direct representation regarding child care benefits and access to education and training, and to clients to facing termination of utility service. Students also will assist with the monitoring stage of a recently settled major federal class action lawsuit against the Department of Transitional Assistance (the welfare agency) under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Interviewing clients about experiences and visiting welfare office after implementation begins will be critical elements of monitoring. Finally, there may be a need for research and other work on possible litigation against the welfare agency regarding unlawful method of implementing changes enacted by the state legislature. Students must be able to commit at least 20 hours per week during school year internships and full time during summer internships. Fluency in Spanish is a big plus.
GBLS is an AA/EO/Handicapped-accessible employer, committed to promoting diversity in its workforce and regards differences as assets.