njsbf new jersey state bar foundation logo a 501c3 non profit organization

Informed Citizens

are Better Citizens

Law Fellow for Nonprofits

Grants are available to New Jersey Non-Profits to fund a Law Fellow to work with the host nonprofit organization on a project that will allow the attorney to practice in the area of public interest law and develop advocacy and other legal skills. Applicants and host organization will work together to submit a joint application for funding. Grant funds include salary, professional development expenses, New Jersey State Bar Association membership fees, reimbursement for work related travel, reimbursement for the Bar Exam (if applicable) and more.  Fellowship grants are made possible through funding from the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey.

Funding Cycle: 2025 – 2026
  • Look for the 2025-2026 application in the fall of 2024.

2024-2025 Law Fellows

Elias Bull, Rutgers Law School – Newark ‘24, will join Make the Road New Jersey to work on community education and group litigation to protect and support immigrant and low-income tenants in seek of safe living conditions.  “I am proud to be an NJSBF Law Fellow and have the opportunity to work for the betterment of New Jersey. I am committed to improving housing in the state of New Jersey. I believe stable, affordable, quality housing should be the rule and available to everyone regardless of wealth or immigration status. I look forward to working with Make the Road New Jersey to contribute to their successes in lifting up immigrant communities.”

Joelle Paull, Rutgers Law School – Camden ‘24, will join the Fair Share Housing Center to help address the housing shortage for New Jersey’s lowest income residents by preserving existing affordable homes, working to extend affordability controls, and to conduct outreach on the state’s affirmative marketing standards and enforcement mechanisms.  “I am excited about this opportunity to focus on preserving existing homes through deed restrictions as it intersects the fight for racial and economic justice in New Jersey. I believe that access to safe and secure housing is a fundamental right. I am looking forward to working with the Fair Share Housing Center to make it a reality for all New Jerseyans.”

Kalya Toomer, Seton Hall Law ’23, will join Volunteer Lawyers for Justice provide community education and outreach, as well as policy work and direct representation of clients who are survivors of gender-based violence, including human trafficking.  “I am committed to advocating for human and civil rights and look forward to using my legal research, writing and analysis skills through this fellowship. I am eager to work as part of the VLJ team on behalf of some of the most vulnerable members of the community. “

Application Suggestions and Tips

Finding A Host Organization

NJSBF does not match Fellows with their host organizations.  The Fellow candidate and prospective host organization should search each other out and then jointly prepare the application.

Fellow candidates may find organizations in several ways:

  • checking out the NJSBF list of Cosponsors at https://njsbf.org/about-njsbf/opportunities-for-funding/cosponsorship-programs/
  • talking to their law school’s career services office
  • contacting organizations that the candidate previously volunteered or worked for
  • approaching an organization that does the type of work that you are interested in or is active in the community you would like to impact
  • searching on social media and job boards for announcements about open positions or hiring needs
Host Organization - Eligibility & Background

 Eligibility

The host organization must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  The host organization must employ an attorney who is able to provide supervision to the Fellow for the duration of the term.  In addition, the host organization must be able to provide the Fellow with the necessary technology and resources to be successful, such as a workspace, computer, internet access, phone, etc.

 Host Organization Background

This document should be created by the prospective host organization with input from the candidate. Tell us about the organization overall – your mission, the work you do, the people you serve, and what makes you unique.  In addition, we want to know the candidate’s history / connection with the host organization and details about the supervision that will be offered to the Fellow.

The organization should be prepared to provide:

  • The candidate’s history at the organization, if any
  • Information about previous Fellows hosted by the organization, if any
  • Details about the proposed supervisor:
    1. Relevant issue area experience
    2. Supervision and management experience
  • The proposed level of interaction with the Fellow
  • A description of the technology and resources that will be available to the Fellow; whether the Fellow is working in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner
  • Information about the candidate’s salary and benefits

Preference will be given to organizations that are current or former Cosponsor partners of NJSBF. 

Candidates - Eligibility & Other Requirements

Eligibility

You must have graduated from law school before August 2024 with a J.D. or LL.M. You must not have previously held a full-time lawyer position.  Applicants coming from clerkships are eligible; applicants who are coming from fellowships are not.  If selected as a Fellow, the candidate must agree to work full-time for the host organization, with no outside employment that would interfere with the Fellowship.

Cover Letter

This document should be created and signed by the candidate and reviewed by the prospective host organization. In this letter, you will provide a personal statement and describe the ways in which your personal background and experiences make you uniquely qualified to serve the identified community. Explain your interest in non-profit work, your experience in the sector to date, and your connection to the community with which you will work.  If you have had any connection with NJSBF (such as a recipient of an NJSBF law school scholarship), be sure to mention that.

Candidate Letters of Recommendation

You should obtain and upload two letters of recommendation from people you have worked with who can comment on your skills and potential success as an NJSBF Fellow, such as supervisors or professors. If you interned at your proposed host organization previously, you may use them as one of the letter writers.  Please make sure that the letters contain the name of the letter writer’s organization and contact information.

Project Description

This part should be a collaborative effort between the prospective host organization and the candidate and contain a detailed narrative about the work to be performed by the Fellow during their time as an NJSBF Fellow.  Please keep in mind, in developing the scope of work, that NJSBF is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging throughout all of its programs and activities. 

Eligible projects are those that benefit residents of the State of New Jersey, support underserved populations, and contain a legal education component.  In addition, because the Fellowship is made possible through funding from the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey, the project shall comply with the purposes specified in New Jersey Court Rule 1:28A, which specifies that proceeds from the IOLTA Fund be used for one of the following purposes:

  1. Legal aid to the poor;
  2. Improvement in the administration of justice; and/or
  3. Education of lay persons in legal and justice related areas.

NJSBF believes that informed citizens are better citizens and a core component of NJSBF’s mission is to provide free law related information to the public.  Projects should include some aspect that serves the community.  Perhaps it is a webinar or flyer that presents Know Your Rights information to an underserved population.  Or maybe it is a public conference organized with other Fellows / organizations that addresses ongoing legal issues affecting low-income people.  NJSBF is looking for projects that fulfill its mission and have an impact on the community.  Be sure to describe how you will make that happen.

Preference will be given to projects that fall within one or more of these areas of law: housing stability, education law (including special ed and student rights, such as the rights of incarcerated students), disability (including mental health and substance abuse), veterans, immigration, domestic violence and workers’ rights. 

The project description should include:

  • A one-sentence description of the project and the population it seeks to help
  • A statement of need describing the issues to be addressed and the reasons the project is timely
  • The goals of the project, including strategies, anticipated outcomes, and plans for sustainability beyond the Fellowship term
  • A description of how the project will be distinct from the work of staff attorneys or previous Fellows, if any
  • A timeline of the Fellowship project, broken down into six-month increments
  • A description of potential NJSBF involvement. Is there a way for NJSBF to be involved in or connected to your project?
  • An acknowledgment of similar services within the community, with a description of what distinguishes your project, and ways in which collaboration may be possible
  • A description of the technology and resources that will be available to the Fellow; whether the Fellow is working in-person, remotely or in a hybrid manner
  • Information about the candidate’s salary and benefits
Project Budget

This document should detail how the Host Organization plans to spend the $125,000 grant, along with a breakdown of any additional funds being used to support the Fellow’s work.  If non-NJSBF funding will be used to support the Fellow’s work, the source and status of that funding should be included.

After You Apply

After you submit your application, it will be reviewed by NJSBF staff for completeness and by NJSBF’s Fellowship Committee for final decisions.  The goal is to notify Fellowship recipients in early February 2024, with the Fellowship beginning in August.