JusticeCorps

JusticeCorps Logo

Help others help themselves find justice.
Learn about the law - and life - in return.

What is JusticeCorps?

Funded through an AmeriCorps grant, JusticeCorps is a collaborative project of:

  • California Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
  • Five local universities, including CSUDH, CSU Northridge, CSU Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona and the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Several local legal aid agencies and the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs

Students will be recruited from these local universities to provide assistance in 10 Los Angeles-area Self-Help Legal Access Centers and with the L.A. County Department of Consumer Affairs Small Claims Advisor. Members will be asked to make a 300-hour  commitment.

Members will be trained by experts in the field of family law, housing law, and small claims law throughout the program year. Members serve the public by providing legal assistance through one-on-one direct contact with the public, legal workshops, and computer terminals designed to assist the public in completing legal forms. Members have the opportunity to network with the legal community, such as judges, attorneys and court administrators and learn more about the law and the courts. After completion of 300 hours, JusticeCorps members will receive an educational award/stipend of $1,200 which can be used for up to 7 years.

For more information, contact:

Cathleen Torres
JusticeCorps Site Manager
justicecorps@csudh.edu
(310) 243-2438

Location: SCC 300

Why should I join JusticeCorps?

California is experiencing an explosion in the number of individuals appearing in court without legal representation, in matters from family law to housing issues. The majority cannot afford legal representation, and resources to meet the needs of these "self-represented" individuals are sorely lacking. The ratio of litigants to legal aid attorneys in California is 10,000 to 1!

Self-represented litigants face many obstacles, such as a lack of familiarity with legal terms and mandatory forms, and an inability to follow or fully comprehend court proceedings or orders given in court. This jeopardizes their ability to obtain guardianships, or to avoid domestic violence and elder abuse. Far-reaching societal impacts include family instability and resultant increases in the number of children involved in the juvenile dependency and delinquency system; a general lack of public trust and confidence in the court system; increased challenges for law enforcement officers; and increased rates of homelessness.

What is the role of a JusticeCorps member?

This year, more than 300 AmeriCorps members will volunteer to serve people coming to court without an attorneys, who are trying to resolve crucial legal matters affecting their family, housing, personal safety, and financial stability. JusticeCorps members serve in court-based self-help centers in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego, educating litigants on their legal options and potential outcomes. By providing neutral assistance—not legal advice—JusticeCorps members empower litigants to make the best choices for their particular case.

How to Apply for JusticeCorps

Applications for the JusticeCorps program can be found here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/justicecorps-la.htm. The applications are open from December through February every year for the Minimum Summer Time member and Graduate Fellowship. Applications for the Minimum Academic Time Member are open from December through March.

JusticeCorps Summer Minimum-Time (300 hour) Member Program
Application Deadline: February of every year

This program offers an intensive 10-week, full-time immersion program for students interested in assisting self-represented litigants. Participants provide 300 hours of service from June through August. This position requires a minimum service commitment of 35 hours per week. The LA Region Summer Program is open to all currently enrolled undergraduates or recent graduates.

Applicants are not required to be enrolled in a LA Region partner campus. All majors are welcome to apply. After completion of this program, members will receive a $1,200 education award that can be used towards tuition and student loans.

While the exact duties of each JusticeCorps Summer Time member will vary depending upon placement in service sites, the following provides a general description of the members’ duties:

  • Assist self-represented litigants in court-based self-help centers by providing legal information to litigants regarding family law, housing, civil harassment, temporary restraining orders, and name changes
  • Assist litigants in completion of family law, housing law, civil harassment, temporary restraining orders, name changes, and other pending legal forms
  • Attend mandatory trainings and other Member Development opportunities

JusticeCorps Academic Year Minimum-Time (300 hour) Member Program
Application Deadline: March of every year

JusticeCorps college student members provide 300 hours of service within an academic year (typically September through May/June). Members are required to serve a minimum of 6-8 hours per week at their assigned service location. The program start date for Academic Year Members is September of every year. All 300 hours of service must be completed by August (at the latest) of the following year. After completion of this program, members receive a $1,200 education award that can be use towards tuition and students loans.

While the exact duties of each JusticeCorps Academic Year member will vary depending upon placement in service sites, the following provides a general description of the members' duties:

  • Assist self-represented litigants in court-based self-help centers by providing legal information to litigants regarding family law, housing, civil harassment, temporary restraining orders, and name changes
  • Assist litigants in completion of family law, housing law, civil harassment, temporary restraining orders, name changes, and other pending legal forms
  • Participate in at least one of two annual Days of Service
  • Attend mandatory trainings and other Member Development opportunities

In addition to serving in the self-help centers, members must participate in at least one of two annual AmeriCorps Days of Service, which are coordinated to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Cesar Chavez Day. In addition to other special community service projects focused on the courts and legal access, these statewide service days give members an opportunity to support the community they serve in other ways. Projects in the past have included beautification of shared city spaces, marches, and rehabilitation of schools or parks through painting murals and planting gardens. Time spent participating in service days is counted towards member service hours.

JusticeCorps Graduate Fellowship Full-Time (1700 hour) Member Program
Application Deadline: February of every year

The Los Angeles Fellowship cohort is comprised of 28 full-time members. This small number of corps members are assigned to one of 10 locations with the purpose of leading workshops to walk litigants through the steps of specific case types (family law and housing law), taking on more complex cases than our undergraduate members, answering procedural questions for other members, and providing general support where needed. This fellowship provides a rich opportunity to develop a wide range of professional skills, to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the court responds to community need, and to gain legal knowledge. Fellows must complete 1700 hours in a period of a year (August through August of the following year). As full-time members, Fellows are at the center every day of the week. Fellows also receive a $20,000 annual living allowance that is distributed monthly. After completion of the program, Fellows receive a $5,000 educational award that can be used towards tuition and student loans.

While the exact duties of each JusticeCorps Fellow will vary depending upon placement in service sites, the following provides a general description of the primary fellow member duties:

  • Assist self-represented litigants in court-based self-help centers by providing legal information to litigants regarding family law, housing, civil harassment, temporary restraining orders, and name changes
  • Conduct workshops for litigants on various areas of law
  • Work closely with site supervisors and university representatives to support 300-hour members
  • Provide information and resources on best practices to 300-hour members
  • Serve as a role model and provide on-the-spot assistance to 300-hour members
  • Facilitate trainings for 300-hour members
  • Coordinate member service schedules and schedule requests
  • Conduct outreach to justice system and community partners
  • Assist in creation or revision of informational and educational materials for JusticeCorps service sites with guidance of qualified service site staff

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