NEIGHBORHOOD LEGAL SERVICES PROGRAM IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR ITS 2016-17 WESTWOOD FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

Application Deadline: 5:00 pm on February 19, 2016.  


Fellowship Description

The law firm of Covington & Burling LLP (“Covington”) funds annual Fellowships for graduates of Washington, D.C. law schools and the University of Maryland’s School of Law to work as staff attorneys with Neighborhood Legal Services Program for the District of Columbia ("NLSP"). Since 1964, NLSP has provided free legal services in civil cases to indigent residents of the District of Columbia. The Westwood Fellowship Program was established and named in honor of Covington’s deceased partner, Howard Westwood, who helped to found and preserve NLSP and legal services programs nationally. Each graduate awarded a Westwood Fellowship must commit to serve as an NLSP staff attorney for at least one year, with an option to apply for renewal of the Fellowship at the end of the first year. Covington provides funding through NLSP to cover salaries and other benefits for Fellowship recipients, as described below.

All third-year students attending accredited law schools in the District of Columbia and the University of Maryland’s School of Law, as well as lawyers who have received a J.D. degree from those schools within the preceding two years are eligible to apply for this Fellowship. The criteria for selection as a Westwood Fellow include: (1) a commitment to serving the indigent; (2) strong academic performance; (3) clinical or other relevant experience; and (4) an interest in practicing in the District of Columbia.

Reasons For The Program

The Fellowship expands Covington’s long-standing relationship with NLSP. In 1969, Covington decided to make a formal commitment to help meet the enormous unmet need for civil legal assistance among DC’s poor by sending two of its lawyers and support staff members to work at NLSP's neighborhood offices on a full-time basis for six-month shifts. The Westwood Fellowship Program adds another dimension to that 47 year relationship. It was started in the spring of 1991 to help ameliorate a shortage of funding and staff for NLSP, and to provide an opportunity for local law school graduates to dedicate their talents and energies to providing legal services to the poor.

Applicant Qualifications

This coming year, NLSP will have an opening for one Westwood Fellow, who will start no later than September 6, 2016. All third-year students at the accredited law schools in the District of Columbia (American, Catholic, UDC’s David A. Clarke School of Law, George Washington, Georgetown and Howard) and the University of Maryland’s School of Law are eligible to apply for this Fellowship. Lawyers who have graduated from those schools within the preceding two years are also eligible. Recipients of a Westwood Fellowship whose performance is satisfactory will be eligible to reapply for a second year. Renewal eligibility is conditional upon membership in a State Bar and at least a pending application to the DC Bar.

Salary and Benefits

Current salaries for Westwood Fellows are $43,500 for law school graduates and $45,000 for persons with relevant post law school experience. Fellows receive all employment benefits available to NLSP staff attorneys. The Fellowship will reimburse Fellows for expenses incurred in taking the bar examination and a DC bar review course in preparation for the bar examination. Reimbursement is not retroactive and is not available to candidates who are already licensed in any jurisdiction. Recipients of the Westwood Fellowships are employees of NLSP, not Covington.

How to Apply

Those interested in applying for a Covington & Burling LLP Westwood Fellowship should complete the application form and email it to the address indicated on the form. Applications must be e-mailed by 5:00 pm on February 19, 2016. Copies of the application form may be obtained from the Career Development Office at the above-listed law schools, as well as from NLSP’s website: www.nlsp.org.

Primary selection criteria include:
1. The applicant's commitment to serving the poor;
2. The applicant's academic record;
3. Any prior experience the applicant may have in public service work, including
participation in a law school clinical program;
4. The applicant's interest in practicing law in the District of Columbia; and
5. Three letters of recommendation from law school professors, judges, practicing lawyers
or others in a position to comment on the applicant's aptitude for a position at NLSP; and
6. Substantive writing sample of the applicant’s original work product of no
more than 10 pages in length.

Renewal of the Fellowship for a second year will be based on the Fellow’s job performance.

Any questions concerning the Westwood Fellowship Program should be directed to Hannah Lieberman, NLSP Executive Director, by phone or email.

Application Contact Information
Hannah Lieberman, Executive Director
Email: hlieberman@nlsp.org
Phone: 202-832-NLSP (6577)
Fax: 202-832-1984


Westwood Application Form