Last fall, Brooklyn Law School inaugurated the Public Interest/Public Service Fellowship (PipS), a new two-year program in partnership currently with 12 governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations. Encompassing the third year of law school and first post-graduate year, its mission is to improve the practical skills of new lawyers, while providing essential legal services to underserved populations.
Today, nine BLS 2Ls have secured PipS Fellowships following an extensive selection process. This fall they will begin full-time positions in what is the first program of its kind on the East Coast, modeled after a similar program at UC Hastings. The Fellows will serve at some of New York’s most highly respected nonprofits and government agencies:
Brooklyn Defender Services: Elana Rodman ‘15 (immigration)
Legal Aid Society: Janeen Hall ‘15 (immigration)
NY Legal Assistance Group: Lauren Price ‘15 (special litigation), Alexander Hu ’15 (immigration), and Sara Friedman ’15 (matrimonial and family law)
NYC Law Department: Ryan Murphy ‘15, Diana Manakhimova ‘15 (torts division)
NYC Transit Authority: Daniel D’Costa ‘15
Youth Represent: Eric Eingold ‘15
The growing roster of partners also includes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project; Catholic Charities; Community Service Society; NY County District Attorney; Public Health Solutions; and Safe Horizon. Each partner will accept between one and nine Fellows.
“PipS allows students to transition to law practice and have a guaranteed job for at least one year after graduation in settings, which enhance access to justice for individuals and expands capacity for nonprofits organizations and government agencies,” said Professor Stacy Caplow, Associate Dean for Professional Legal Education, who spearheaded every aspect of the program’s implementation.
The traditional three-year law school structure has been a flashpoint in the national conversation about legal education. Many practicing lawyers complain that newly graduated lawyers do not know how to perform in the workplace. The PipS program is designed to integrate students into a professional setting where they can be trained and develop essential lawyering skills while they are still in law school.
While the PipS experience will vary depending on the focus of each partner organization, the overall format applies to all Fellows. Each Fellow commits to working full-time for the employer for two years, and after nine months of work and evening classes, Fellows will attend a seminar that satisfies the professional responsibility course, teaches skills, and explores the values, organization, and structure of the legal profession.
Following graduation, Fellows will have time to prepare for the bar exam. They will then return for another full year of work, with salaries provided by the partner organizations. At the end of the two-year cycle, the employer may opt to offer the Fellow a permanent job.
Both BLS and the employer screened candidates through a rigorous application process. Fellows were selected based on numerous factors, including their record of academic success, strong research and writing ability, and their ability to meet New York Court of Appeals and ABA requirements.
“What drew me to PipS was the guarantee of employment at a starting salary in the Fellowship’s second year, and hopefully beyond,” said Eric Eingold. “The organization that I applied to work with, Youth Represent, also appealed to me for its direct services to clients, its advocacy for the reform of laws concerning mass incarceration, and its focus on educating community partners about their rights. I am very excited to spend my third year in law school becoming a better lawyer so that by the time I graduate, I’ll be ready to serve as an advocate.”
Read more about PipS.