A collaboration between People’s Parity Project (PPP), the Systemic Justice Project (SJP), and the Justice Catalyst (JC) announces a COVID-19 Rapid Reaction/Systems Summer Institute, which will employ law students in full-time (or volunteer part-time) summer legal fellowships, working with legal and law-related organizations on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis. While working on urgent projects, fellows will also participate in additional programming, described below.
Fellows will conduct research, write memos or reports, produce “know your rights” materials, and otherwise assist with projects aimed at ensuring the most vulnerable members of our society obtain the support they need and meet the legal challenges they face in this public health and economic crisis.
Specific projects will continue to develop in response to the current crisis and the needs of partner organizations. Sample projects could include:
- identifying state-level legal barriers to instituting vote-by-mail for the November election;
- assessing the authority of governors to free individuals held in detention in public health crises;
- supporting individuals applying for unemployment insurance;
- identifying means of holding individuals accountable for marketing sham cures for COVID-19;
- supporting advocacy efforts for states to provide unhoused people with either temporary or permanent access to housing.
Fellows will receive three tiers of supervision/mentorship:
- the program’s coordinating and supervising team composed of members of PPP/SJP/JC;
- the lawyers and members of partner organizations who provide projects and with whom fellows will work directly; and
- volunteer attorneys, who will devote a fixed number of hours per week supervising specific students/teams.
In most cases the host organization will be People’s Parity Project but specific placements may vary. The coordinating team will include Molly Coleman, Jacob Lipton, and Jon Hanson.
The additional programming will be led by the Systemic Justice Project, and is designed to build community and provide participants a chance to share lessons, learn about different kinds of justice-oriented lawyering, compare different theories of change, examine deeper systemic problems revealed by the pandemic, and consider what opportunities the crisis might create for advancing long-term systemic change. It will include workshops with community organizers, social activists, justice-oriented lawyers, clinical faculty, and podium faculty from a variety of organizations and institutions.
If you are a law student potentially interested in participating either as a part time volunteer or a full time fellow, a lawyer potentially interested in providing pro bono supervision, or an individual or organization potentially interested in proposing projects, please complete this form: https://harvard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_78qGEWt1RhVEDqd
If you have a specific project to propose, please submit it here. Projects could be for an individual student or a team of students, and can vary in length and time commitment: https://harvard.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0OpMPioBvhzNfoh
We have secured limited funding to support this work, and also intend to qualify for summer public interest funding from law schools where possible.
Please distribute this message widely to organizations, lawyers, and students!