How does an Affirmative Leaders Fellow advance public rights?

States and cities are on the front lines of defending their residents against discrimination, fraud, and disenfranchisement. Affirmative Leaders Fellows receive training and support to help them work to expand enforcement efforts, protect their residents, and grow the impact of a city or state’s legal work. They develop and hone the skills to advance new legal theories and enforcement strategies for their offices to be more proactive using the law to address their communities’ needs. Their work is also aimed at helping city, county, and state law enforcement agencies work more collaboratively on complex problems.

What are the advantages of becoming a Fellow?

During the year-long program, Affirmative Leaders Fellows will:

  • Participate in 3-day orientation, where they will meet their fellows cohort, learn from leaders in public affirmative litigation, and spend time setting goals and planning for the year.

  • Join at least 2 other convenings to learn concrete skills like managing investigations, taking depositions,  trial advocacy, and amicus work, as well as interpersonal skills like leadership development.

  • Connect by video conference monthly to receive coaching and additional learning opportunities.

  • Receive one-on-one mentoring focused on developing an affirmative litigation practice.

  • Carry out affirmative work in their offices that gives them a chance to apply their skills and improves the lives of vulnerable residents in their communities.

As Affirmative Leaders Fellowship alumni, former fellows will:

  • Continue to have access to Public Rights Project’s network of public impact litigators.

  • Receive discounts on and access to ongoing training and professional development opportunities.

When is the application deadline?
The application will open in January14, 2019. The deadline to submit all parts of the application is February 22, 2019 at 11:59pm PDT.

How long is the fellowship, and what are the start and end dates?
The fellowship runs for two years, starting in September 2018 and ending in August 2020.

Who is eligible for the program? 
Fellows must be current employees of a state or local government law office with an active bar membership in the jurisdiction where their office is located. At least part of their job description should include or will include affirmative litigation. The fellowship is likely best suited for attorneys who have newly joined a government office or who have recently moved within government to a new or expanded affirmative litigation role.

What are the pay and benefits in the program?
Fellows are paid an annual stipend to cover living expenses. Please note that stipends will vary by location and are calculated based on cost of living and the placement office’s average salaries. The average range is $60,000-$80,000. PRP also provides an additional stipend to cover fellows’ healthcare.

Where are the fellows based?
Public Rights Project is a national organization and seeks applicants from state and local public law offices - like city attorney, county counsel, district attorney and state attorney general offices - across the United States. Click here for more information on locations.

How are fellows selected?
Fellows are selected by a committee that includes Public Rights Project staff, board members, partners, and placement staff.

What are we looking for in our fellows?
Fellows are selected using criteria that include:

  • Passion about power of government to improve residents’ lives.

  • Desire and office support to develop or expand affirmative litigation skills. For example, some participants might be skilled prosecutors or general counsel seeking to transition to civil litigation. Others might be experienced civil litigators transitioning to plaintiff-side work or moving into government for the first time from the private or nonprofit sector.

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills

  • Ability to understand, navigate, and achieve results in complex governmental organizations

  • Demonstrated ability to achieve outcomes and results within deadlines and resource constraints

What is the application process?

January 14, 2019 - Application Opens

February 22, 2019 - Application Closes

March 2019 - Candidate Interviews

April 2019 - Fellowships Offered

March 2019 - Fellowships Start

When will I meet the other fellows?
Fellows begin with a multi-day orientation at Public Rights Project in Oakland, CA, followed by onboarding with their placement offices. Orientation consists of in-depth training and workshops on topics pertinent to the fellowship, including:

  • City and state government structure

  • Successful models for affirmative litigation

  • Leadership in government

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness

What are typical responsibilities of a fellow?
Fellows will work alongside colleagues in their government offices on affirmative litigation (including new case generation and ongoing affirmative litigation), coalition building and community engagement, policy research, and other projects developed with their placement offices as needed. A fellow’s litigation docket will only include affirmative work, defined as either: (1) litigation, potential litigation, or other enforcement strategies in a proactive capacity, in which the agency is the plaintiff, potential plaintiff, or amici on the plaintiff’s side; or (2) litigation or potential litigation in which the agency is the defendant or amici on the defendant’s side, but in which the agency is defending proactive policy choices that protect and/or expand the civil, economic, or environmental rights of residents. For example, if a city is sued by someone challenging an anti-discrimination city ordinance, the fellow may work on defending the city in that litigation. In some circumstances, fellows may also help draft legislation.

Fellows will also publish at least one blog post, article or policy paper with PRP during their fellowship on a topic related to their work. For example, a fellow working on predatory lending may publish an issue brief identifying strategies and legal theories other state and local governments may wish to use to address the problem in their communities.

Who would I report to?
Fellows will report directly to their placement supervisor in the host government office. In addition, fellows will have monthly conference calls with PRP staff.

How does PRP prioritize diversity and inclusion?
We aim to assemble an applicant pool that adequately represents the face of the world we live in. We believe that a variety of perspectives enrich the efficacy of the work of local and state governments.

Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply?
No, U.S. citizenship is not a requirement. All Fellows must be authorized to work in the U.S. Public Rights Project welcomes and encourages people of all backgrounds to apply to the fellowship.

Other questions?

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