DC Justice Fellows

Applications for the 2023 class of fellows are open now through January 17, 2023!

DC Justice Lab is training movement lawyers to transform criminal legal systems across the country. 

 

DC Justice Fellows are recent law school graduates who spend one year receiving training and support as they work on criminal policy reform in the District of Columbia, a city where 90% of people incarcerated in local jails are Black.

Watch a recording of our informational webinar and Q&A session:

The application is now closed, stay tuned for next year's application!

ABout us

Advancing racial equity and engagement with D.C.’s Black community is central to DC Justice Lab’s mission of transforming the District’s approach to public safety and make it a national leader in justice reform. Our efforts are focused on building power by bringing those who are most affected by policing, prosecution, and prisons into the policy development process. We strongly believe that community-informed policies are the best way to push our world toward justice.

Working together with justice-impacted communities and organizations, we’re helping D.C. adopt smarter safety solutions, including:

  • Non-police emergency response
  • Universal second look sentencing
  • Protecting the rights to drive and ride transit
  • Police-free schools
  • Automatic criminal record sealing 
  • Banning solitary confinement
  • Criminal code reform

What we offer

As a DC Justice Fellow, you will develop the skills to be successful movement lawyers as you see criminal policy reform projects through from start to finish and engage in training and mentorship with DC Justice Lab’s seasoned staff. 

You will spend one year working on criminal policy reform in the District of Columbia, a city where 90% of people incarcerated in local jails are Black. You will be assigned one existing DC Justice Lab project and will develop another project of your own choosing. In both cases, your projects will include research, policy development, advocacy and training. And, you will work directly with people who are impacted by the criminal legal system at every stage of their project.

Throughout your project, you will receive training and support from our staff.  In addition to on-the-job training, the Fellowship also includes professional mentorship and a rigorous professional development curriculum.

Over the course of 12-months, you will develop skills including:

  • Legal research
  • Policy drafting 
  • Campaign development and execution
  • Media relations
  • Building grassroots movements through public education
  • Effective, tailored, and well-designed communication 
  • Local government advocacy
  • Building and maintaining community partnerships
  • Professional responsibility

You will spend the year working on criminal policy reform in the District of Columbia, a city where 90% of people incarcerated in local jails are Black. You will develop a project of your own choosing, in addition to working on DC Justice Lab’s existing projects. In both cases, your projects will include research, policy development, advocacy and training. And, you will work directly with people who are impacted by the criminal legal system at every stage of their project.

DC Justice Lab staff will be here to mentor and support you throughout your fellowship. We will seek to understand your strengths, goals and desired areas of growth. We will help you develop the technical and soft skills needed to bring your projects to completion, help you hone your career goals and trajectory, and provide you with professional networking opportunities in public interest law.

In addition,  the Fellowship includes a rigorous professional development curriculum, with workshops and trainings offered by both DC Justice Lab staff and external partners. 

You will be part of a cohort of 3-4 fellows who will support each other to achieve your goals both during this fellowship and beyond. You will also have the opportunity to be part of an active alumni network to mentor, support and learn from from fellows who come after you. 

Fellows will work 40 hours/week and enjoy a flexible hybrid work environment and a full compensation package: 

  • Salary: $60,000
  • Student Loan Repayment: up to $435/month towards student loan payments, tax-free
  • Insurance: Health, dental, vision, life, short term disability 
  • Retirement Contribution: automatic 3% employer contribution
  • Leave: Fellows will have 5 personal days off in addition to days DCJL is closed:
    • All federal holidays and DC Emancipation Day (12)
    • Mondays in August (4-5)
    • Days before and after Thanksgiving (2)
    • Week between Christmas and New Years’ Eve (5)
    • Flexibility: Fellows are welcome to work on holidays in order to take different days off

What You Offer

You are passionate about DC Justice Lab’s mission and strategy. You believe that the people most affected by issues are the ones who should guide and direct their change. You relate well to people from different walks of life and identities and think about how to build equity into every stage of your work. You are a strong writer and legal researcher. You have excellent issue-spotting skills, a demonstrated commitment to justice, and a clear understanding of the importance of systems change. You are a self-starter and work well in collaboration with others.

Eligibility

  • Graduated law school in 2021, 2022, or will graduate in 2023
  • Have a demonstrated personal commitment to DC Justice Lab’s Values and Vision 
  • Commit to completing the 12-months of service with DC Justice Lab (Start Date: August 21, 2023)

The Application Process

Stage 1: Application

Deadline: 8 am EST on January 17, 2023

We want to understand your values, writing ability and where you thrive. To that end, please complete the application at this link. The application includes:

  • Request for Resume
  • Law School Transcript (This may be either official or unofficial, as long as it is legible.)
  • Letter of recommendation that highlights your skills and passions, especially as it relates to the qualities described in the About You section
  • 3 Short Answer Questions
  • Optional Statement on Equity
Stage 2: Interview

Timeframe: February 6 - 25

Applications will be reviewed between January 18 and February 6, 2023. Applications will be screened by DCJL staff and reviewed with a standardized rubric to help minimize bias.  

Interview offers and scheduling details will be sent during the week of February 6 and interviews will be conducted during the week of February 13. 

Interviews will be conducted virtually with a panel of DC Justice Lab staff. The interview will likely be 30-45 minutes and will involve a question-and-answer portion and short exercise involving analysis of a statute. All applicants will have the opportunity to respond to the same set of questions and the questions (but not the exercise) will be provided 30 minutes before the interview to give you time to prepare. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions of our team.

Stage 3: Offers

Timeframe: March 1 - 15

Following interviews, DC Justice Lab staff will meet to select four fellows. Decisions will be made based on a standardized rubric to help minimize bias. 

Offers will be made in the first two weeks of March and each individual will have one week to accept or decline.

FAQ

DC Justice Lab welcomes applications from applicants with disabilities. Requests for accommodation during the application process can be sent to apply@dcjusticelab.org. This inbox is monitored by a staff member who is not a part of the application review process.

Three or four people will be selected to form the inaugural 2023-2024 class of DC Justice Fellows.

While the DC Justice Fellowship is aimed at new attorneys, we welcome submissions from non-attorneys, especially on law-adjacent topics.

Up until the deadline has passed, you can make changes directly to your application using the link provided to you by Google Forms. If you need to make changes after the deadline has passed, please email apply@dcjusticelab.org.