Volunteer Law Student Job Description

 

Position:  Alaska Legal Services Corporation Rural Will Drafting Intern

 

Open to: all law students

 

Time Commitment:  varies—flexible with schedule

 

Duration: ongoing through school year

 

Location:  Work will be done remotely from student’s location.  Work will serve rural Alaska Native residents

 

Description of Activity:  Alaska presents unique and extreme access issues that hamper legal services offered to eligible clients. Approximately half of Alaskans live outside the Anchorage metropolitan area, many in towns or villages accessible only by small plane or boat. Less than 10% of the state has a road system. ALSC has offices in hub communities, but many of our clients live in remote villages. For example, the Bethel ALSC office serves residents of 56 small villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region that are not connected to the hub community of Bethel by any road system.

 

The law student will work with rural office attorneys offering direct services to clients by consulting with clients and ultimately drafting their will.  Wills are very important in rural Alaska because of unique property issues for Alaska Natives who own restricted property.

 

The student will be “on call” and will be notified when a will needs to be drafted.  The student will be notified, and ideally will have a will turned around and drafted for the client within two weeks—during which time the student can work on the will as their time allows.  If there are immediate health issues requiring the will to be completed sooner, the student will be notified (and can turn down the assignment if they do not have the required time to give).

 

Recommended Skills/Prerequisites:  Interest in or experience in Will drafting a plus, but not required.  Interest in Indian Law and Rural client issues.   Good communication skills, especially via phone with elders.

 

Language Skills needed:  none

 

Type of Supervision and Training:  ALSC has extensive experience supervising and mentoring law students.  The student will be supervised remotely by the Pro Bono Training Academy Project Coordinator (Sarah Carver) and the Rural Office Supervisor (Leigh Dickey).  The student will be given an overview on Will drafting and each Will will be carefully reviewed by supervising attorneys before sending on to the client.

 

Benefits/Compensation:  Unpaid volunteer.

 

Application Process:  Cover letter stating interest and list of any applicable coursework completed

 

Application Deadline: Rolling

Contact:  Sarah Carver, Attorney & Project Coordinator, Pro Bono Training Academy: scarver@alsc-law.org; 907-406-2222.  Email preferred.

 

 

 


 

Volunteer Law Student Job Description

Position:  Alaska Legal Services Corporation Pro Bono Bankruptcy

Open to:  all students

Time Commitment: varies—flexible with schedule

 

Duration: ongoing through school year

 

Location:  Work will be done remotely from student’s location.

 

Description of Activity:  Alaska presents unique and extreme access issues that hamper legal services offered to eligible clients. Approximately half of Alaskans live outside the Anchorage metropolitan area, many in towns or villages accessible only by small plane or boat. Less than 10% of the state has a road system. ALSC has offices in hub communities, but many of our clients live in remote villages. For example, the Bethel ALSC office serves residents of 56 small villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim region that are not connected to the hub community of Bethel by any road system.

Most rural residents do not have easy access to the court or to the private bar. A large majority do not have consistent internet access—and thus cannot access pro se materials posted online. Attorneys are disproportionately located in the Anchorage area. Of the 2445 attorneys in active practice who reside in Alaska, 1889 (77%) of those live in the third judicial district, which roughly corresponds to the Anchorage metropolitan area. In contrast, 67% of the poverty population in Alaska lives outside Anchorage. About 29% of Alaska’s residents lack ready access to services of the justice system, including physical access to a courthouse or law office. Alaskan courts are accustomed to litigants and attorneys appearing by telephone, but court rules that accommodate our unique geography do not help pro se litigants find pro bono attorneys. These access to justice issues make outreach and community coordination especially important in rural Alaska.

Alaska Legal Services has a Pro Bono Training Academy (PBTA)—a training system for pro bono attorneys.  One major component of the PBTA is designing comprehensive distance learning webinars and supporting library resources on specific areas of the law.  The goal of the PBTA is to provide more support to pro bono attorneys thereby increasing their willingness to take on extended service (or higher) cases.  Because of the low percentage of attorneys practicing in rural areas, the need for pro bono volunteers is especially high in the bush offices.  The law student will work on the PBTA project.  In particular, the law student will develop bankruptcy content for the PBTA and coordinate with private bankruptcy attorneys to design a bankruptcy clinic and resources.

 

Recommended Skills/Prerequisites:  Knowledge of Federal Bankruptcy Law—preferred that student has taken or is taking a Bankruptcy course

Language Skills needed: none.

Type of Supervision and Training:  ALSC has extensive experience supervising and mentoring law students.  The student will be supervised remotely by the Pro Bono Training Academy Project Coordinator (Sarah Carver) and the Rural Office Supervisor (Leigh Dickey).  The student will be given an overview on Will drafting and each Will will be carefully reviewed by supervising attorneys before sending on to the client.

 

Benefits/Compensation:  Unpaid volunteer.

Application Process:  Cover letter stating interest and list of any applicable coursework completed

 

Application Deadline: Rolling

Contact:  Sarah Carver, Attorney & Project Coordinator, Pro Bono Training Academy: scarver@alsc-law.org; 907-406-2222.  Email preferred.