The Institute for Public Representation (IPR) invites applications for a two-year graduate fellow/staff attorney position to start in August 2016 in its Environmental section.
What is IPR?
IPR is a public interest law firm and law school clinic founded by Georgetown University Law Center in 1971. IPR serves as counsel for groups and individuals who are unable to obtain effective legal representation on issues of broad public importance. IPR’s work is currently focused in three areas: civil rights/general public interest law, environmental law, and communications law and policy. IPR provides third-year and occasionally second-year law students an opportunity to develop a wide range of lawyering skills by working on real cases under the supervision of faculty members and fellows (also referred to as staff attorneys).
There are six fellow positions at IPR, and we are now recruiting for two of these two-year positions for the 2016-2018 term, one in the civil rights/general public interest law area and one in the environmental law area. There is a separate announcement for the civil rights/general public interest law position.
IPR’s Environmental Practice
IPR’s work in environmental law primarily focuses on individuals and communities, many of whom are in the Washington metropolitan area, who suffer a disproportionate share of environmental harms and enjoy fewer environmental amenities than other parts of the area in question. Our clients include neighborhood associations, regional, local, and tribal environmental organizations, community activists, and Indian tribes. IPR also represents national organizations on environmental issues of national importance arising under the federal environmental laws. We have worked on litigation involving the full array of federal, state, and local environmental laws as well as civil rights and administrative law, and have appeared in federal and state courts and before local zoning boards, public service commissions, and agency hearing examiners. In addition to litigation, our environmental advocacy extends to federal and District of Columbia rule-making and permitting processes, and frequently involves working to support coalitions of groups concerned with these issues. Much of our work is precedent setting.
The nature of IPR’s environmental projects varies from year to year depending on client need, attorney interest, and resource availability. Because IPR conducts a clinical legal education program for twenty-four Georgetown law students each semester, eight of whom work on environmental projects, another key factor in selecting projects is their appropriateness for clinical teaching. Additional information about IPR’s projects is available on-line here.
The students, most of whom are in their third year of law school, work at IPR full time and receive credit for an entire semester of law school work. The students work on projects under the supervision of an environmental graduate fellow/staff attorney and faculty member. The students and graduate fellow/staff attorneys also participate in seminars dealing with issues of federal administrative and litigation practice, various substantive fields of law, and issues of professional responsibility as well as team project meetings in which students present some issue that has arisen in their project to their fellow students and supervisors. Fellows/staff attorneys are offered an opportunity to co-teach seminars with a faculty member.
Students have the chance to develop a wide range of lawyering skills as well as to consider how their personal values relate to their professional careers. In addition to the graduate fellow/staff attorneys, the professional staff of IPR includes three full-time members of the law school faculty. The faculty members oversee work on projects and are responsible for teaching the seminars and grading. The faculty member responsible for the environmental projects is Professor Hope M. Babcock. Professor Babcock has directed IPR’s environmental program for twenty-four years and has over forty years of experience in environmental law. She was formerly general counsel of the National Audubon Society and served in the Carter Administration in the U.S. Department of the Interior. She also teaches environmental and natural resources law at Georgetown.
What Do the Graduate Fellow/Staff Attorneys Do?
The graduate fellow/staff attorneys are responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the students, and work closely with the students on improving their lawyering skills, especially legal research, writing, and analysis. Much of the staff attorneys' time is spent guiding students in conducting legal and factual research, reviewing student drafts, making suggestions for improvement, and preparing the students for oral presentations. The staff attorneys have their own opportunities to engage in oral and written advocacy on their projects, including the chance to argue before federal, state, or administrative judges. They take an active role in project development and in planning other IPR activities.
IPR’s fellowship program offers a particularly rewarding opportunity for recent law graduates completing judicial clerkships or lawyers with two to three years of relevant work experience. Past graduate fellow/staff attorneys have emphasized that the IPR experience is unique in several respects.
First, the fellowship program offers an opportunity to work on interesting, often cutting-edge projects. Because all of our projects are handled on a pro bono basis, we have leeway to choose projects that are important, interesting, and present educational opportunities for both students and graduate fellow/staff attorneys.
Second, graduate fellow/staff attorneys assume substantial responsibility for projects at an early stage of their careers and generally play a more important role in the decision-making process than do their contemporaries in other types of law practice. They also have an opportunity to work on a variety of cases, at different stages of development, so they gain a broader understanding of how cases are developed and how the litigation process, in particular, works. Graduate fellow/staff attorneys work closely with a broad range of public interest organizations, meeting others who are involved in public interest law and seeing how their organizations function.
Third, graduate fellow/staff attorneys acquire a good practical working knowledge of both specific subject matter areas and of the federal, state, and local administrative and judicial process.
Fourth, graduate fellow/staff attorneys have an opportunity to work closely with experienced, full time faculty members, who have substantial litigation and substantive expertise. For those with an interest in clinical teaching, graduate fellow/staff attorneys get first-hand experience in clinical supervision, and also participate in, and often co-teach, seminars. As part of the Law Center community, graduate fellow/staff attorneys are urged to attend faculty workshops and other programs, and to participate in a variety of on- and off-campus activities.
Pay and other benefits
The annual stipend for the position will be at least $53,500 plus an opportunity to participate in group health insurance and other benefits, including unlimited free access to a state-of-art, on-site fitness center. The fellowship will start in August 2016 and end in August 2018. Georgetown University Law Center awards an LL.M in Advocacy to each fellow upon completion of their two-year term.
What Qualifications Are We Looking For?
We are looking for applicants who demonstrate the following:
- a commitment to public interest law
- prior work experience in environmental law or a judicial clerkship
- strong legal writing and communications skills and experience and/or interest in helping others improve their legal writing, research, and analytical skills
- an interest in (and aptitude for) clinical legal education
Graduate fellow/staff attorneys must be members of the D.C. Bar or take steps to apply for membership in the D.C. Bar (through examination or reciprocity) upon being accepted for the position.
How to Apply?
Applicants for the fellowship should submit the following:
- a resume and law school transcript
- a list of references, including contact information
- a recent legal writing sample of any length that represents the applicant’s most challenging legal work (The writing sample should not be a collaborative work or a piece significantly edited by someone else.)
- a brief statement (not longer than one single-spaced page) explaining the applicant’s interest in the position.
Send your application materials in a PDF file attached to an email to IPR’s Administrator, Niko Perazich, at firstname.lastname@example.org. The application deadline is Monday December 7th 2015.
After reviewing the application materials, we will select a small number of applicants to be interviewed at our office. While IPR cannot pay applicants’ travel expenses, we will try to arrange interviews at a time most convenient for the applicant.