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Legal Internship: Summer 2024

ABOUT PHILADELPHIA VIP

Philadelphia VIP is a nonprofit that recruits and supports volunteer attorneys to represent low-income Philadelphians who face critical legal issues but cannot afford a lawyer.

Since 1981, VIP has been the hub of pro bono in Philadelphia, annually supporting over 1,500 volunteers assisting hundreds of low-income clients in four priority areas: preventing homelessness, preserving income, supporting family stability, and promoting community economic development. Our staff of eighteen consists of attorneys, case managers, and other professionals and is highly collaborative, creative, and passionate about our capacity-building model of service. VIP values a diverse work environment and encourages people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, and people with disabilities to apply.

POSITION SUMMARY

VIP seeks highly motivated second- or third-year law students to serve as summer legal interns supporting VIP’s work in the many areas where our clients face critical legal needs, including: homeownership/tangled title (probate, quiet title, and deed transfers), debt collection, guardianship, tort defense, and estate planning. Our legal interns function as valued members of the VIP team. With attentive attorney supervision and training, interns gain valuable skills that will help them launch careers in any sector of the legal profession or in nonprofit leadership.

KEY QUALIFICATIONS

  • Passion for access to justice for underserved communities and commitment to VIP’s volunteer-based service model; experience with low-income populations is a plus
  • Prior volunteer work
  • Strong oral and written communication skills and attention to detail; Spanish fluency a plus (not required)

KEY FUNCTIONS

Working with clients and legal services to manage a full caseload:
  • Assessing the legal merits of cases by interviewing clients and gathering documents
  • Counseling and preparing clients for the civil legal process and the professional responsibilities surrounding the attorney-client relationship
  • Managing urgent matters with deadlines and long-term projects
Working with private attorney volunteers to assist with case management:
  • Guiding volunteer attorneys with substantive, ethical, or procedural legal questions
  • Helping volunteers to manage VIP cases by asking for status updates and identifying potential challenges
  • Observing court proceedings, and meeting judges and court staff
Cultivating volunteer attorney relationships to grow our pro bono practice capacity:
  • Assisting with and attending attorney CLEs, trainings, clinics, and other outreach events
  • Offering pro bono opportunities to attorneys who have signed up to volunteer with VIP
  • Participating in programs to engage VIP stakeholders in organizations, legal services agencies, and courts
Developing practical skills in writing, research, and case management technology:
  • Researching legal issues to support volunteers and staff
  • Updating volunteer guides and writing client letters that involve legal analysis
  • Using leading technology in all aspects of work with cases, clients, and volunteers

HOW TO APPLY

E-mail cover letter and resume to Kelly J. Gastley Managing Attorney, kgastley@phillyvip.org.  No calls, please. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with a priority deadline of February 12, 2024.

What to include in your cover letter: We invite you to include a statement about how your unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of VIP’s staff team and legal practice.

ABOUT INTERNSHIPS AT VIP

Are interns paid?

Yes. VIP offers a small stipend to interns who are not seeking academic credit, work study, or other sources of funding for their summer internship.

What is the internship schedule and commitment?

The intern must be available during normal daytime office hours. Summer internships at VIP start at the end of May and run through early August for a ten-week period.  School-year internships ideally start in late August or January and can be flexible with class schedules. We have found a minimum commitment of 12 hours per week in the school year, and 35 in the summer, provides the ideal experience for all.

Will Philadelphia VIP help me with obtaining academic credit?

Yes. If your school offers credit for internship experiences, let us know and send us materials. We want to support your professional development however we can.

Is Philadelphia VIP an eligible Work Study employer?

Yes. VIP is a “community service” Work Study site. We are happy to make a Work Study contract with your school, and we require a waiver of the “co-pay” some schools ask employers to contribute. Contact your Financial Aid Office as soon as possible about this.

Can Philadelphia VIP host or “sponsor” me for a summer fellowship?

Yes. We encourage our interns to apply for funding and keep us informed so we can help.

What sort of training and supervision can I expect?

This position is supervised by a Staff Attorney. Interns go through a multi-week orientation process customized to their specific positions.

How many internship spots do you expect to have each summer/semester?

We have a few legal internship slots each summer and during the school year, depending on staff needs and supervision capacity.

Are there other ways I can work with Philadelphia VIP as a student?

Yes. VIP has an ongoing need for interpreters and translators in various languages.