Vermont law School has announced a new partnership with Lawyers for America, LFA, according to a press release from the school found at vtdigger.org.
The school has created the partnership in an effort to increase public service opportunities for law students. The school also hopes to offer greater access to justice throughout the country with the partnership.
Vermont Law School is just the second law school in the United States to join the LFA, which is a nonprofit organization. It was created in 2012 by University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
The mission of the LFA is to improve practical skills of newly minted lawyers as it expands the availability of legal services for people who cannot afford lawyers.
Marc Mihaly is the president and dean of Vermont Law School. Mihaly said, “Vermont Law School students are service-minded and committed to making positive change in the world. Our partnership with Lawyers for America is a natural fit and will afford our students new opportunities to use the power of the law to make a difference across the country.”
Fellows with the program will spend one year, which is their final year of law school, working clinical externships. During their second year of the fellowship, those in the program will work as newly minted attorneys. They will work in paid service alongside a worksite partner to fill a need for assistance from lawyers.
UC Hastings Professor Marsha Cohen, the executive director of Lawyers for America, said, “Service through Lawyers for America will enable nonprofit legal organizations and government law offices to stretch their budgets to help fill our nation’s justice gap. LFA worksite partners have a direct interest in training the fellows. The more fellows can do and the faster and more effectively they can learn, the more value these offices get out of it. It’s a win for everybody.”
At Vermont Law School, the program is supervised by Jackie Gardina, the vice dean for faculty and professor of law.
“We look forward to counseling Vermont Law School students interested in giving back through Lawyers for America,” Gardina said. “Not only do the fellowships provide great public service opportunities, they expand on VLS’s already rich Clinical and Externship Programs to help students build firsthand expertise—giving them a distinct advantage as they enter the workforce.”
The school did not release any information as to how many law school students would take part in the new program at the school.