One in five Arkansans live at or below 125% of the federal poverty level. The civil legal issues that affect Arkansas’s poor involve the most basic of human needs: protection from domestic violence; access to safe, habitable housing; and protection from financial exploitation, to name a few. Many of those in need of legal representation do not get it, because there are not enough staff attorneys at the legal services agencies or pro bono volunteers to meet the demand.
The Arkansas Access to Justice Commission was created by the Arkansas Supreme Court for the purpose of coordinating statewide efforts to provide equal access to justice in civil cases to all Arkansans. The Commission works closely with the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas as well as with the Arkansas Supreme Court, the Arkansas Bar Association, and the state’s two law schools on policy initiatives designed to address the justice gap in our state.
The Oscar and Patricia Fendler Access to Justice Fellowship provides support to the Commission in carrying out its mission. A Fendler Fellow will, among other things, (1) conduct outreach and education, including outreach to clients of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, (2) assist in developing resources for the Arkansas pro se public to use, and (3) assist in developing programs and resources to increase pro bono and financial support for legal aid providers. The Fellow will work under the direction of the Executive Director of the Commission. A majority of the Fellow’s time will be devoted to activities that directly benefit legal aid clients and the pro se public.
Appointment to the Fellowship is for one law school semester, either the Fall or Spring. The Fendler Fellow will work an average of 15 hours per week for a stipend of $15 per hour. The Fellow will submit a brief report each week describing the work he or she has done during that week. No academic credit is awarded in connection with the Fellowship. While an applicant may apply for an appointment for more than one semester, it is contemplated that a Fellow will serve for only one semester so that as many students as possible may have the opportunity to serve. Students who are not permitted to work outside the law school (e.g., first-year full-time students) are not eligible to serve.
Applications for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 are due no later than June 1, 2013.