By Steven DeCaprio, Association of Legal Apprentices //
The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) has expanded their mentorship program to include opportunities for marginalized people to study law under the Law Office Study Program (LOSP), a tuition free alternative to law school.
If you are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and are interested in studying law under the LOSP with an attorney affiliated with the NLGSF, you can sign up on their website. The mentorship program with the NLGSF is only available to members of the NLGSF so anyone participating in this program must also become a member of the NLGSF. You can sign up as a member on their website. Non-attorneys can join the NLGSF either as a Law Student or Legal Worker, whichever you feel best reflects your status.
The NLG is the nation’s oldest and largest progressive bar association and was the first one in the US to be racially integrated. Their mission is to use law for the people, uniting lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people by valuing human rights over property interests. Because the NLG is committed to overcome racial and class inequality their mission is aligned with the ALA’s effort to promote the Law Office Study Program (LOSP) as an alternative to law school.
In California, a person who has completed two years of college or passed the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) can become a lawyer by studying part-time for four years with an experienced attorney or judge.
If you are an attorney or judge who has practiced continuously for five years, you can help diversify the legal profession by supervising as many as two apprentices. Supervision requires 18 hours per week in a law office, five hours of direct supervision per week, monthly exams, and a semi-annual report to the apprentice. More information about the LOSP is available here.
If you want to become a mentor within the NLGSF, you can become a member and then sign up as a mentor. Sponsoring apprentices in the LOSP will create a pipeline for a new generation of attorney-organizers who are unburdened by student debt who will thus have more opportunity to focus on supporing social justice movements and providing services to under-served communities. This program is focusing on outreach to members of marginalized communities, which will also help to provide more diversity within the legal profession.
As we mentioned in our previous blog post, the NLGSF is working with the Association of Legal Apprentices (ALA) and Esq. Apprentice within the NLGSF NextGen committee to modify their existing mentorship program to include this opportunity to study law under the LOSP. ALA and Esq. Apprentice will also be assisting the NLGSF to provide support to mentors and apprentices with fulfilling the examination and reporting requirements under the LOSP.
The NextGen Committee of the NLGSF guides the mentorship project and is made up of Guild members from the greater Bay Area. All NLGSF programs, including this one, are led by member volunteers thus the success of this program depends on apprentices assuming leadership. Because of this, those interested in becoming apprentices under the LOSP are encouraged to join the NextGen committee to build and expand this program moving forward. Once there are enough apprentices, it is the goal of the NLGSF to create a Legal Apprentice Committee to focus on the LOSP within the NLGSF.
The NLGSF will be tabling at community college campuses throughout the Bay Area beginning August 21, 2017 to expand their outreach to include prospective apprentices under the LOSP from marginalized communities as part of this expansion of the NextGen committee mentorship program. They need volunteers for this outreach as well as other engagements. Please contact the NLGSF if you want to assist with their outreach efforts.