1. Who is eligible to participate in this program?
Law students and lawyers at any stages of their careers are eligible. Law students wishing to pursue a public interest career now or who plan to go to a law firm and want to keep public interest jobs an option for the future are encouraged to apply. In addition, we seek lawyers who have been practicing for a period of time and want to transition to a public interest career to participate.
2. How do I apply?
Use our simple online application form. Briefly explain why you are interested in public interest law, how you feel you could benefit from mentoring, and upload your resume. We will review your application expeditiously and get back to you within 2 weeks.
3. If I’m accepted, what happens next?
Most of our mentoring takes place via Skype calls. If you are in the New York metropolitan area face-to-face meetings are possible. The first step is a general counseling session conducted by the Director of Justice Labs, Rob Precht. He will get a general sense of your career interests and objectives. Based on the initial interview he will match you to one of our expert mentors. You will then have a counseling session with your mentor who will help you refine your goals. Thereafter, and based on the input of your mentor, you will work with Rob to develop a strategic career plan.
4. What is a strategic career plan?
A strategic career plan, like strategic plans for organizations and businesses, lays out a step-by step set of of actions that are designed to achieve measurable results. In the public interest career context the strategic plan will have three main elements. First, the plan will identify your talents and interests. Next, it will identify potential jobs where you can use your talents frequently. Thirdly, and most important, the plan will designate a series of concrete steps you should take to obtain desired jobs, including building up your network of contacts, refining your resume, joining organizations, producing articles and blog posts, performing pro bono work, adhering to a timeline, and using a checklist. The end product will be highly detailed plan that you can refer to on a daily basis to figure out your next actions and that will serve as an evaluation tool so that you will know if you are making progress towards your goals.
5. How long will the program take -- from acceptance to strategic plan?
We expect the entire process to take about 3 months. During your second counseling session with Rob, he will work with you to create a first draft of the career plan (you will be expected to do the majority of the writing). Thereafter you will work with Rob and your designated mentor to refine the plan. At the end of the process you will go over the plan with Rob and set up a schedule for checking back with him on a regular basis to monitor progress implementing the plan.
6. What does this program cost?
The program is free. That said, you will be expected to devote at least 3 hours a week of work during the program to implement suggestions the arise during your counseling sessions and to write and refine the strategic plan under the supervision of your mentor and Rob.
7. Am I guaranteed a job after the program?
No, we do not guarantee you a job. Our goal is to provide you with mentoring and a concrete career plan developed under the guidance of human rights experts. It is then up to you to implement the strategic plan. We believe that if you implement the plan there is a likelihood that you will achieve a desirable public interest job. Following the plan and persistence are key.
8. What happens after the end of the program? Can I still consult with Justice Labs?
Yes, we expect and hope you will be in contact with us after your strategic plan is created so we can help you monitor your progress and make suggestions if necessary.