PUBLIC RIGHTS PROJECT FELLOWSHIP



This month, Public Rights Project hosted informational webinars for attorneys interested in learning more about the PUBLIC RIGHTS PROJECT Fellowship! During the webinar, we provided a brief overview of the organization and our fellowship program, and used the rest of the time for Q&A. If you missed the webinar, you can still check out a recording using the link below.

Please email any questions to fellows@publicrightsproject.org and someone from our team will get back to you soon!


PURPOSE

The Public Rights Project Fellowship aims to:

  • Catalyze local and state agencies’ efforts to expand affirmative litigation, community engagement, and innovative strategies to enforce their residents’ legal rights.

  • Establish a pipeline to develop experienced, diverse, talented leaders in state and local government.

The fellowship

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Public Rights Project helps talented attorneys find pathways into rewarding public service careers. We place skilled, public interest-minded fellows into state or local government law offices -- City Attorneys, District Attorneys, or Attorneys General -- for two years. Fellows have the opportunity to work on a range of civil rights, economic justice, and environmental justice issues that directly impact vulnerable populations locally and across the country.

Fellows will work collaboratively alongside colleagues in their government offices on affirmative litigation, coalition building and community engagement, policy research, and other enforcement projects developed with their placement offices. They will help develop new cases and generate new ideas for their office to expand public rights enforcement.

Fellows will also publish at least one blog post, article, or policy paper with Public Rights Project 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.

COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY

Public Rights Project is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity. We aim to assemble an applicant pool that 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. We encourage applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for the fellowship without regard to their race, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnicity, sex, gender (including pregnancy and gender identity or expression), sexual orientation, color, age, mental or physical disability, marital status, veteran status, genetic information, medical condition, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance.

Professional Development

Fellows begin with a multi-day orientation with Public Rights Project, 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 inclusion

  • Stakeholder engagement and partnership

Throughout the program, fellows will participate in monthly check-in calls with other fellows and Public Rights Project staff. Fellows will also receive periodic professional development opportunities from Public Rights Project staff and partners.

STIPEND

The fellowship pays a yearly stipend calculated based on the fellow’s legal experience, cost of living in the fellow’s placement city, and the average pay of other attorneys in the fellow’s placement office. Generally, the stipend will range from $60,000-80,000.

ELIGIBILITY

Fellows must have an active bar membership in a U.S. state and a passion for public service. The fellowship is likely to be ideally suited for attorneys with 3-5 years of legal experience after law school, and a background in litigation.

LOCATIONS

During the 2019-2021 cycle, fellows will have the opportunity to work in the offices of Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. Prospective fellows may apply to one or more offices. In each office, fellows will be an integral part of strategic decision-making, not just regarding ongoing cases, but also in deciding which impact cases to bring.


Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office

In Cook County, fellows will be placed in the Civil Actions Bureau of the State's Attorney's Office and work on the following priorities:

  • Litigating enforcement actions designed to recoup for citizens of Cook County tax revenue wrongly withheld by corporate residents;

  • Reviewing, investigating, and filing suit against predatory lenders and financial service providers;

  • Taking targeted action to address wage theft;

  • Protecting the rights of Cook County residents from financial crimes and fraud;

  • Forming intergovernmental partnerships to ensure the fair and equitable application of laws designed to protect Cook County residents; and

  • Developing a program to utilize the civil arm of the State’s Attorney’s Office to further criminal justice reform and increase the public safety of residents of Cook County.

Click here for more information about this placement.

Detroit Mayor

In Detroit, fellows will be placed in the Mayor’s Office and will have the opportunity to:

  • Take targeted action to address blight and other economic justice challenges that disproportionately affect low-income communities of color;

  • Combat fraud and discrimination against immigrants, communities of color, and low-income residents;

  • Address public health and environmental justice, including the opioid crisis and environmental hazards that affect residents in their neighborhoods; and

  • Maximize resources available to the City for affirmative rights enforcement by building lasting partnerships with surrounding institutions.

Click here for more information about this placement.

Wisconsin Department of Justice

Fellows at the Wisconsin Department of Justice will be assigned to projects in any of the Department’s following units: Special Litigation and Appeals; Consumer Protection & Antitrust; Medicaid Fraud Control & Elder Abuse; and Environmental Protection.  Fellows will work on matters in a variety of topic areas, including:

  • Enforcement actions and related litigation concerning violations of Wisconsin’s consumer and Medicaid fraud statutes;

  • Enforcement and litigation of antitrust laws;

  • Investigation and prosecution of elder abuse;

  • Multistate investigations, including ongoing matters relating to the prescription opioids industry; and,

  • Other targeted actions to enforce Wisconsin’s environmental protection laws.

Click here for more information about this placement.