FAQs

When should I apply or submit a statement of interest?

While we welcome applications and statements of interest at any time during the year, we start recruiting each January. We encourage the early submission of applications so that we have ample time to match Fellows to partner organizations.

Do I have to be retired to be an Access to Justice Fellow?

No. Some Fellows have completely retired from the practice of law, some are just starting to scale back their practices and transition into retirement, and the rest are somewhere in the middle.

For my Access to Justice Fellowship, I am most interested in trying an area of law that is completely new to me.  Is this possible?

Yes. Many Fellows have embarked on projects that involve an area of law in which they have no substantial experience.

How much time do Access to Justice Fellows commit to their projects?

Fellows devote 10-20 hours per week to their projects, and commit to work for one academic year, from September through June.

What type of organization is eligible to apply for an Access to Justice Fellow?

Nonprofit organizations, courts, and public service entities in Massachusetts are eligible to apply to be partnered with a Fellow. You need not have a lawyer on staff to apply to the program. We are happy to consider an application from two or more organizations or courts working together on a project or initiative.

What type of projects do Fellows work on?

We are most interested in projects aligned with the mission and strategies of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission (core strategies) and/or the Lawyers Clearinghouse (mission) but we will consider any project that is focused on increasing access to justice for persons in the Commonwealth or that increases a nonprofit organization’s capacity to accomplish a social justice mission. Projects may entail litigation, be transactional in nature, involve public policy or advocacy work, or relate to other types of legal tasks.

My organization has already launched the project that I would like a Fellow to work on.  Is this okay?

Yes. We are open to proposals for a Fellow to work on an ongoing project or a new project. We will also consider applications proposing that a Fellow work on more than one project.

Are partner organizations required to provide office space and other resources to Fellows?

No. We do not require partner organizations to supply office space or administrative support to Fellows but many partner organizations do offer some of these resources to Fellows. Many Fellows make arrangements to work from their law firm offices, at home, or in other suitable areas.

How can an Access to Justice Fellow do legal research if their partner organization does not have access to resources such as Westlaw?

The Lawyers Clearinghouse is happy to offer each Access to Justice Fellow a free membership with the Social Law Library. Each membership includes access to many online legal research tools, including Westlaw.

Does the Lawyers Clearinghouse provide malpractice insurance to Access to Justice Fellows?

The Lawyers Clearinghouse will provide malpractice insurance to any Fellow unable to receive coverage from their partner organization.

I am no longer a member of the Massachusetts bar but I need active bar status for my fellowship project. How do I go about this?

If you have retired from the bar, you may register with the Board of Bar Overseers with a pro bono retired attorney status.  There are no dues. With this status, you can provide pro bono legal services without compensation under the auspices of an approved legal services program. For more information and any questions, please visit https://massbbo.org.