Challenging work. Lots of responsibility. Interesting people. The opportunity to serve. These are some of the phrases that law students and graduates use to describe their experience at Legal Services of North Florida. Discover what it's like to learn about the practice of law at one of Florida's best public interest law firms and serve your community at the same time.
LSNF works in partnership with law schools throughout the country to offer valuable experience to students and graduates while in the service of low-income individuals in need of legal assistance. Besides various volunteer opportunities, law schools and public interest law non-profit organizations sponsor internships, externships and summer fellowship, internship and work programs to help law students and graduates gain real world experience. As a program created and supported through pro bono work of local attorneys, LSNF’s Private Attorney Involvement program encourages and supports the pro bono efforts of students. LSNF welcomes their joining us for their clinical as well as volunteer work.
Critical Experience for Legal Careers
- Developing courtroom and trial skills (must be Rule 11)
- Preparing for and observing administrative and court hearings
- Drafting pleadings and discovery motions
- Conducting legal research
- Conducting client interviews in person and by telephone
- Writing legal memoranda
- Investigating cases
- Participating in after-hours legal clinics
- Participating in after-hours community education events
Law School Pro Bono Compliance Requirements
At most Florida law schools and those schools throughout the United States, in order to obtain a law degree, a student must perform a minimum of 20 hours (or more outside Florida) of pro bono legal work during their second or third year of law school. Pro bono legal work is defined as "work on behalf of indigent individuals or other uncompensated legal work in conjunction with an individual lawyer, law firm or organization on behalf of a disadvantaged minority, the victims of racial, sexual, other forms of discrimination, those denied human and civil rights, or other work on behalf of the public interest. For a complete discussion (including orientation and forms) about the requirement for students at Florida State College of Law click here.
The amount of time and availability of the student will determine the range of opportunities afforded. A student’s experience and certification in other professions (such as a CPA) is also a factor. There are five LSNF offices from which volunteers may work located in Tallahassee, Quincy, Panama City, Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola. Students can volunteer in one or all of the following activities, but will most likely be assigned to a project based on availability. The duration of each project assignment varies in the number of hours from up to 3 to 6 or more per day in or outside the assigned office.
- Case Handling – LSNF staff or pro bono attorneys agree to work with students on all aspects of a specific case in any area of civil law available at the time. The volunteer student must be willing to commit the entire time necessary to complete a case assignment, regardless of the 20 hour minimum pro bono requirement. TIME COMMITMENT UP TO 20 PLUS HOURS
- Low Income Tax Clinic (LITC) – When available, students are assigned to LSNF’s LITC program to assist its tax experts on a variety of assignments including case preparation, outreach and research. TIME COMMITMENT UP TO 20 HOURS MINIMUM
- Research - When research is needed students are often times recruited to assist LSNF staff and pro bono attorneys in all areas of civil law, including work on appeals. Students may also provide research assistance to update LSNF’s Legal Advocacy Manual. TIME COMMITMENT UP TO 20 HOURS MINIMUM
- Client Intake – Besides interviewing clients for LSNF attorneys, students are needed to conduct client intake on LSNF’s Legal Advice Helpline. Other intake work includes updating LSNF’s client records on its Case Management System (CMS). Students gain valuable interviewing experience on a wide range of legal topics. COMMITMENT UP TO 20 HOURS MINIMUM
- Community Outreach – LSNF conducts many legal clinic and presentations throughout the year and needs help often times setting up, maintaining and breaking down LSNF’s display table during the designated outreach activity. Students may also be asked to perform client intake and collect other client information specific to the activity involved. COMMITMENT BASED ON AVAILABLITILY
- General Office Work - Office work is available for students who have limited time or short notice of availability. COMMITMENT BASED ON AVAILABLITILY
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact John Fenno at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-701-3306. If you call, please leave your email address. You will be emailed instructions to provide the following information. Get started sooner by contacting John Fenno and submitting the following information in your first email.
- Current resume.
- Complete and submit a volunteer application form. Volunteer Application Form.
- Complete, sign and submit confidentiality form. Confidentiality Form.
- Start/end date, days and hours of proposed volunteer work preferably Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Preferences regarding your volunteer work, what you wish to work on if any options are available.
- Download Hour Report Form and maintain volunteer hours worked throughout your time helping LSNF.
The Florida Bar Foundation has temporarily suspended funding for programs with placements of law students at legal aid and legal services programs in Florida. The Florida Bar Foundation plans on resuming the Law Student Assistance (LAP) once funds become available. Click here to check status of these programs:
- Legal Aid Summer Fellowship Program - Summer interns are placed for the summer break as full-time interns.
- Public Interest Fellow Program - Law schools in Florida receive funds from the Foundation to offer fellowships at a variety of public interest organizations and projects, including Legal Aid. Students should contact their law school placement office for information. Fellows are accepted through law school requests, on a first come basis, within physical space limitations at Legal Aid.
- Law School Civil Clinic Grant Program - Florida law schools are provided support for civil clinics which (1) involve law students in the provision of civil legal assistance to the poor; (2) provide an in-depth educational experience in representing the poor and working with individual clients and client groups in civil matters; and, (3) encourage law students to pursue public interest careers representing the poor and/or promote a commitment to pro bono representation of the poor.
- Sample Program Placements – Click here to see a 2010 list of FBF Summer Fellowship Projects and get an idea of the type of work involved.
Equal Justice Works Fellowships - Another program that law students seeking public interest opportunities should consider is the Equal Justice Works Fellows. These are available to law school graduates. Information at www.equaljusticeworks.org.
Alternatively, check other law schools, state legal aid support foundations, AmeriCorps and civil legal advocacy groups throughout the United States for paid internship opportunities. Some schools may require specific project outlines or plans during the application process, so please check with LSNF to make certain your project plan fits within LSNF’s services and priorities.
LSNF welcomes students seeking internships and has a solid reputation for turning out some of the best lawyers in the industry. Students interested in seeking an internship should contact LSNF either through its Director of Litigation, Scott Manion, at email@example.com or Director of Development/Private Attorney Involvement, John Fenno at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most law schools offer externship programs (also known as Clinical Externship Programs) that provide students academic credit while learning to assume the role of attorney or judicial clerk in the litigation and adjudication of real cases. Externships are available to eligible students who have completed a set number of credits of law studies. Many of the programs involve the practice of law, and those students must be certified for such practice by the Florida Supreme Court. In order to be certified, students must have applied in advance to The Florida Bar and received certification clearance.
- Florida State College of Law Externship Program information – click here. Approved legal services programs – click here. Application for a civil legal assistance project – click here.
LSNF welcomes students seeking externships and has a solid reputation for turning out some of the best lawyers in the profession. Students interested in seeking an externship should contact LSNF either through its Director of Litigation, Scott Manion, at email@example.com or Director of Development/Private Attorney Involvement, John Fenno at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certified Legal Intern
Participation in many externship programs requires a student to become a Certified Legal Intern. Under rules of the Florida Supreme Court, a law student may practice under the supervision of a member of The Florida Bar at a public interest organization. These rules were significantly modified in 2007. See Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, Rule 11. A Certified Legal Intern can provide a high level of services but also requires a commitment of time from the senior staff attorney providing the supervision and training. Arrangements for Florida law school students must be made through their law schools. Information about the requirements for certification is also available by clicking here.
LSNF encourages recognition of its law students and graduates and invites all to participate in Tallahassee during Law Day ceremonies in May of each year. A large poster is prepared containing the names of all the students reporting hours worked through Florida State College of Law and is displayed in a prominent location during the ceremony.
LSNF has five offices and employs staff attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries and receptionists in each office. There are, at times, also clerkships, law student internships, externships and fellowships available through the FSU College of Law, Florida Bar Foundation, National Association for Public Interest Law, etc. Those organizations (or the Director of Litigation, Scott Manion, at the Legal Services of North Florida Tallahassee Office) may be contacted for information on these types of positions.
When positions are available, they will be advertised in the local newspaper and, for attorney positions, written notice will be sent to local voluntary bar associations and The Florida Bar. Applicants seeking employment should submit a recent resume listing professional qualifications, along with a cover letter stating the position advertised for which you are applying, to: The Personnel Department, Legal Services of North Florida, 2119 Delta Boulevard, Tallahassee, Florida, 32303. If applying in general for future openings, we will simply retain your resume in a "pending" file. Learn More