Immigrant Justice Corps - Justice Fellow FAQs
What is Immigrant Justice Corps (“IJC”)?
Immigrant Justice Corps (“IJC”), is the nation’s first and only immigration legal fellowship program. IJC seeks to expand access to counsel by increasing the quantity of immigration lawyers and the quality of the immigration bar. Each year IJC recruits talented young lawyers (“Justice Fellows”) and college graduates (“Community Fellows”) many of whom are first-generation immigrants and bi-lingual graduates from the country’s top universities, for a two-year fellowship. IJC trains Fellows to be experts in immigration law and pairs them with leading non-profit legal services providers and community based organizations in New York City, Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Texas to provide legal services to low income immigrants.
The Fellows provide a broad range of immigration services including deportation defense, applications for asylum, naturalization, green cards and other forms of relief available to juveniles and victims of crime, domestic violence or human trafficking. Quality legal assistance allows immigrants to avoid deportation and separation of families. Immigrants who can to improve their legal status are better able to gain lawful employment, receive financial aid to college, access health care and live stable, productive lives in the United States.
IJC is infusing the legal profession with a new generation of lawyers and advocates committed to providing high quality representation and innovative thinking about the delivery of legal services to a vulnerable population, including the use of new technologies.
What qualities make an IJC Fellowship applicant a strong candidate?
IJC seeks Fellows who are smart, compassionate, and passionate about justice for immigrants. IJC also seeks Fellows dedicated to the idea of a Fellowship program – you give us two years of hard work and we will make sure you will be immersed in immigration law and helping others who likely would not have had an attorney or advocate otherwise. Almost all IJC Fellows speak a second language (in addition to English).
Do I need to speak a language other than English?
The ability to speak another language other than English is preferable but not required. The language that is in highest demand by host organizations is Spanish. We also have Fellows who speak Mandarin, Haitian Creole, French, Arabic, Korean, Fulani, Swahili, Czech, Polish, Norwegian, and Urdu.
How does the application process work?
There is an online application for Justice Fellows (law graduates) which will be open from mid-September 2017 through November 14, 2017. Applicants must submit a résumé, transcript, two letters of recommendation, and write two essays. Applications are reviewed by a selection committee and IJC staff. Selected applicants will interview in late November 2017 to early December 2017, and Justice Fellows will be selected and matched with partnering host organizations by the end of December 2017 or early January 2018. All Fellows start training with IJC the first week of September 2018.
Do all Justice Fellows have to take the New York Bar?
Generally, yes. However, we may be able to accommodate requests by fellows to not take the New York Bar exam. It depends on the host organization placement. Many of our host organizations work with children on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”) petitions, which require appearances in State Court. If the organization, you are placed with regularly does SIJS you will need to take the Bar of that state. However, if you work for an organization that only works on asylum cases, it may be possible for you to take the Bar exam of a different state.
Will Immigrant Justice Corps sponsor me for a green card or skilled worker visa?
No. All Fellows must be eligible for work authorization in the U.S. for the two years of the Fellowship.
If chosen, may I defer?
No. Fellows who are selected must be ready to start the program September 2018.
Do I need to submit an official transcript?
No. Please upload a PDF of a school-issued transcript.
Can my resume be more than one page?
Yes, though please limit yourself to two pages.
Do I have to finish my application before my recommenders can submit their letters?
No. Your recommenders can upload their letters as soon as you enter their information into the recommendation application step.
May LLMs apply for the Justice Fellowship?
Yes, LLM graduates may apply if they have sat/will sit for the New York Bar before the Fellowship begins.
How is the match made between Fellows and partnering host organizations?
IJC matches selected Fellows with our partnering host organizations based on the applicant's experience and interest, gaps in services within the community, location interests, and partnering host organization's needs. During the matching process, Fellows receive information about host organizations where they may be placed and those same potential host organizations receive the Fellows application information. Based on the preferences expressed by both parties, IJC makes final placement matches. Offer letters, which include host organization placement, are sent to Fellows in late December - early January. This is a change from our past process where Fellows accepted their position before we chose the host organizations.
What is the IJC Justice Fellow experience like?
Because our Fellows are placed at many different partnering host organizations every Fellow’s experience is unique. IJC’s partnering host organizations practice a wide variety of immigration law, serve different ethnic communities, and/or work in different geographic areas. While everyday work environment is different for each Fellow, all Fellows are a part of IJC’s team and together are provided:
· Immersive Immigration training upon starting with the program
· Ongoing monthly training and professional development opportunities
· Access to an immense network of professional immigration legal service providers—both organizations and individuals
· Career planning assistance
· Partnership with a large community of Justice Fellows and Community Fellows
· Invitations to IJC sponsored social and professional events
· Upon completion of the program, membership to IJC’s Alumni group
· A team of committed lawyers and professionals who want to help you succeed
Am I an employee of IJC or of the host organization?
Most Justice Fellows become employees of their host organization and receive benefits and supervision through their host. IJC guarantees a minimum salary ($56,000 for Justice Fellows), health insurance coverage, and at least three weeks’ paid time off for Fellows, but beyond that benefits packages, work environment, and even salary, vary greatly from one organization to another. We work with host organizations to ensure that Fellows who make the IJC minimum salary do not pay a monthly contribution to health insurance (for a single person only, if dependent coverage is needed there may be a monthly contribution made by the Fellow).
While most IJC Fellows are not directly employed by IJC, each Fellow is a member of the IJC team, which consists of a consortium of contemporary social justice advocates focused on providing desperately needed legal services to vulnerable immigrant populations.
Will I be placed outside of New York City?
Maybe. Approximately 21% of Justice Fellows are hosted in Upstate New York, Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Texas to meet the extraordinary demand for immigration legal services that exists nationwide. However, with our pre-matching process, you will know before you accept the fellowship offer where you would be placed.
Do Justice Fellows continue to work in immigration after the Fellowship?
IJC has graduated two classes of Justice fellows. Approximately 96% of our Fellows will continue to work in immigration law with IJC, host organizations, other not for profits, government agencies and in private practice.