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2015/2016 Fall and Winter Internship Program
GBLS is offering a variety of legal internships for the Fall and Winter 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. Another funding source is: Equal Justice America Fellowship (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, 2015/2016 Fall and Winter Internship Program, GBLS, 197 Friend Street, Boston, MA 02114 or via email at email@example.com.
Asian Outreach Unit | Cambridge and Somerville Office | Consumer Rights Unit | CORI & Re-entry Project | Elder Health Disabililty Unit | Employment Unit | Family Law Unit | Housing Unit | Immigration Law Unit | Welfare Unit
Asian Outreach Unit provides legal assistance to Asian immigrants clients on a wide variety of poverty law matters, including immigration, family, employment, housing, and public benefits cases. In addition 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, poverty law-based elder issues, and mental health/disability rights issues for adults and children.
GBLS Consumer Rights Unit focuses on foreclosure prevention, predatory lending, debt collection, credit discrimination and other consumer issues. The primary focus of the work has been the foreclosure crisis. We engage in 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. We are also interested in other consumer issues including debt collection abuses, banking practices and consumer scams. Interns will assist in intake, screening cases, reviewing 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.
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.
Elder: Opportunities to help clients with a wide range of legal issues. Opportunities to represent clients facing denial or termination of health and income benefits in hearings conducted by various state and federal agencies, such as the Office of Medicaid, Department of Transitional Assistance, Social Security Administration. Further opportunities to work with clients facing evictions, or discharge from a nursing home. Students will interview clients, carry out legal and factual research to develop the record, and will also work with individuals and community groups on issues such as elder abuse and improving quality of life for nursing home residents. Legal work will be both individual case work, as well as opportunities to participate in systemic impact work such as legislative and administrative advocacy.
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(in some instances); 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, 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 on exciting policy initiatives 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.
The Family Law Unit is a litigation practice that offers opportunities for students to handle their own caseload in divorce, paternity, contempt, modification and abuse prevention order cases in Probate and Family Court. Students handle all aspects of representation, including interviewing, pleadings preparation, discovery and courtroom advocacy.
Additional opportunities include the ability to participate in the unit’s systemic work aimed at improving access to justice for all victims/survivors of domestic abuse. Examples include working on legislative campaigns and court practice reform, continuing legal education efforts, and community outreach.
Students may also choose to work on one of the unit’s specialized projects, listed below.
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, which could include handling individual cases.
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 courtroom representation.
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 custody jurisdiction, emergency court orders, 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.
SJC Rule 3:03 certification preferred (student attorney certification); Ability to speak a language other than English highly desirable; work-study funding available
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.
We are currently involved with anti-gentrification work as investors are buying up formerly foreclosed buildings and trying to raise rents by 50%-200%. Our current shelter work includes shelter access, terminations and transfers. We are focused on draconian state policies that seek to save money by barring access to shelter. In all our work we prioritize clients with limited English proficiency, and those who seek reasonable accommodation because of disability. We seek protections for survivors of domestic abuse with governmental agencies. We often seek jury trials in our eviction defense work, and file affirmative litigation against bad public and private actors.
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 for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes 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.
The Welfare Law Unit (WLU) has at least one opening for a law student intern each semester. The hours per week that the intern can commit will affect the types of work we can assign.
We are currently strategizing ways to address increasing problems with access to cash assistance and food stamp benefits. In the past year, the state welfare agency has made dramatic changes to how it handles cases, which has resulted in staggering bureaucratic disentitlement for our clients. We may have to file further litigation to address some of these problems. We have begun advocacy with the new Commissioner, work on a proceeding with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights of HHS and the Dept. of Justice, and handling recently filed litigation against the state child care agency, and are continuing work on implementation of our federal ADA class action settlement.
As part of these efforts, we seek a law student to help us investigate and document the problems faced by individual clients, to handle or assist with direct client representation of families and individuals wrongfully denied subsistence cash and food stamp benefits, and depending on strategy decisions and timing, to provide litigation support.
DTA is also in the process of implementing many substantive changes required by a welfare reform law passed last year. Significant work will be needed as implementation proceeds. Depending on the student’s skills and interests, there may be opportunities to assist with our response to the welfare agency’s implementation of these changes.
Courses in Administrative Law and Welfare Law are helpful, but not necessary. Spanish fluency is a huge plus.
GBLS is an AA/EO/Handicapped-accessible employer, committed to promoting diversity in its workforce and regards differences as assets.