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AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate Positions


Drake-Sponsored Public Service Internships for Summer-Paid

Twenty-four Drake Law Students completed Public Service Internships during Summer 2010 funded by grants obtained by the Law School from the Iowa Supreme Court’s Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Work Study funds (FWS) committed by Drake University, and Drake Law School scholarship funding. The 24 Public Service Interns represent 8% of the returning Law School student body.

For Summer 2011, it is anticipated that Drake Law School will be able to offer as many as twenty-three (23) paid public service internships: (1) Federal Work Study Poverty Law Internships (10 internships paying $15 per hour); (2) Federal Work Study-Other Public Service Agencies (3 internships paying $15 per hour); (3) Howard Fellowships at the Drake Legal Clinic (subject to the availability of funds, 2 internships, each with scholarship of 2-4 credits applied to summer 2011 tuition); (4) Drake Agricultural Law Center public service internships (8 internships, each with $2,500 living expense stipend).

Internships (1) and (2) require the public service agency to fund the local match ($1,371.30) for each internship. Funding has been secured for the Poverty Law internships in (1). Due to budget cuts, it is possible that not all of the allocated internships under (2) will in fact be funded.


Federal Work Study Community Service Internships for Summer-Paid

In 2010 Drake allocated $60,000 in Federal Work Study (FWS) funds to support the Law School’s Summer Community Service internships, and this level of funding is anticipated for 2011. Law students will continue to earn $15 per hour. Participating students are paid; they do not earn academic credit for the FWS internships.

Participating Public Service Programs

Because the Iowa Supreme Court IOLTA $14,000 grant has already been secured, the very positive 15-year internship experience with Iowa Legal Aid, and the courts and profession’s commitment to providing access to the courts for person who are indigent, the substantial majority of the FWS Summer Internships have been placed with Iowa Legal Aid (in Des Moines, Mason City, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Waterloo, and Ottumwa) and Story County Legal Aid (Nevada, Iowa). The Summer Poverty Law Internship positions will be filled first. 

Once the Poverty Law Internship positions have been filled, a determination will be made as to the number of internships that can be funded at other public service agencies who desire interns and can provide the requisite matching funds. We envision approximately ten to twelve interns will be placed through the FWS Poverty Law program in Summer 2011, and two to four interns with other public service agencies. In prior years we have funded internships with Midwest Environmental Justice Advocates, Iowa Coalition against Domestic Violence, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Attorney General, American Judicature Society, and the Iowa Workers Compensation Commission.

Local Match (25%) / Drake FWS Match (75%)

In the Law School’s Summer FWS program, law students can earn 7 weeks’ pay from July 1 through the start of classes in August. Each FWS Community Service Intern can earn $4,200 based on an hourly rate of $15 per hour (7 weeks x 40 hours/week x $15/hour = $4,200). Pursuant to federal regulations, $3 in FWS funds is available for each $1 in local matching funds. In addition to the 25% match, the local nonprofit employer is also required to pay the FICA. The 25% matching funds and the FICA total $1,323 ($1,050 match + $273 FICA). Drake will commit $3,150 in FWS funds as its 75% match, enabling each intern to earn $4,200.

FWS Eligibility Conditions

There are a number of conditions that federal regulations impose on the FWS Community Service internships:
  • (1) A student must be FWS eligible and his/her summer FWS earnings must be counted as a resource toward meeting cost of attendance for the following academic year. Interested students must consult with Jolaine Sweiger, the Assistant Director for Student Loans and Employment, in advance to confirm their eligibility.
  • (2) A student must commit to working seven weeks, between July 1 and the start of classes in August. However, there is nothing that precludes a student from volunteering with his or her agency during the month of June, and interns are encouraged to do so. The volunteer work can be counted toward the Law School’s Public Service Certificate that is awarded at graduation.
  • (3) A student cannot be enrolled in Drake summer courses (interims and all summer sessions) or participate in the France study abroad program.
  • (4) FWS summer internship awards are restricted to select community service agencies located in Iowa.

FWS Poverty Law Internship Program (10-12 internships)

A IOLTA (Supreme Court of Iowa Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts) grant to the Drake Law School provides matching funds to support FWS summer internships for Drake law students and travel expenses for the orientation program. This grant funding guarantees that Iowa Legal Aid and Story County Legal Aid have the necessary matching funds to participate and obtain FWS funding for eight to ten interns for summer 2011.

Current 1L and 2L students are eligible. Applicants must have a 2.00 law school CGPA, both at the time of application AND at the time of the commencement of the internship. Faculty supervision of this internship enables interns to be certified under the Iowa Supreme Court Student Practice Rule. Current 1L students can handle fact investigation, client interviews, and actual administrative agency evidentiary hearings. Current 2L students can handle all of the above AND actual in-court representation, under the supervision of licensed Iowa counsel.

Employing program must provide civil legal services to the poor in Iowa; over the years most Drake interns have worked for Iowa Legal Aid, usually in Des Moines but also at outlying offices; a Drake intern also been regularly placed with Story County Legal Aid in Nevada.

Employment, rather than scholarship; interns will earn $15 per hour and funding is sufficient so that each student can earn at least $4,200 (280 hours' work @$15 per hour)

A 1-day mandatory orientation/training in May enables interns to "hit the ground running" and helps the program qualify for certification under the Supreme Court Student Practice Rule. The training rotates annually between Drake and Iowa Law Schools. The May 2011 orientation will be held at the Drake Legal Clinic.

Application Procedure is explained on Application. Rolling application deadline: Monday, February 15. The applicant pool will be assessed shortly thereafter, and candidates may be interviewed, in person or by telephone, by the Legal Aid program(s) to which they have applied. Internship awards will be made by Professor Lovell, the Program Co-Director, with substantial input from the Legal Aid programs.
Target: offers prior to beginning of Spring Break

Click here to download the application.
Click here to download a list of all Iowa Legal Aid & Legal Aid of Story County office addresses.

FWS-Other Public Service Agencies (2-4 internships)

The Law School's Career Development Office (CDO)has developed a list of public service employers who are certified as eligible to participate in the FWS summer internship program. In addition to Iowa Legal Aid and Story County Legal Aid discussed above, a number of public service agencies have been approved for participation, ranging from Midwest Environmental Justice Advocates to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. The complete list is on the Law School’s Public Service Web page and can be obtained from the CDO office. The participation of these employers is contingent upon their commitment of the required matching funds and the availability of FWS funds. Because of the reduction in FWS funds, there may not be sufficient funding to fill every public service agency’s request to participate in the Summer 2011 FWS Internship program.

The FWS Guidelines describe the type of organizations that qualify for participation. Although the FWS Guidelines do not restrict participating agencies to those delivering legal services, the Law School, consistent with its mission, will only award internships that involve legal work or the delivery of legal services that are supervised by an attorney. Interns at these organizations are not certified under the Iowa Supreme Court Student Practice Rule.

Contact Persons and Phone Numbers. If you are interested in an organization other than Iowa Legal Aid or Story County Legal Aid, you must contact the organization to determine if they are hiring student interns under the FWS program. If the public service agency is interested in participating in the FWS program, it must be approved by the Law School for an allocation of FWS funds. Once an agency is approved for an FWS funds allocation, applicants will need to submit a cover letter, resume and possibly a writing sample to the organization. Subject to the availability of Drake’s FWS funds (described above), the organization will conduct interviews and select the student workers.

- Equal Justice Works

This website is filled with information regarding public service internships and fellowships. Please go to the Career Development Office (room 181, Opperman Hall) for the password to log-in.

- PSLawNet

This website shows public service job opportunites. You can register free, by clicking here.

Iowa Children's Justice Summer Fellowship

Purpose and Eligibility
The Iowa Children’s Justice Summer Fellowship is designed to financially support law students who obtain a summer volunteer position in the area of juvenile law.  For the 2013 summer, there are 10 grants available in the amount of $2,000 each.  All applicants must locate their own volunteer position.  Applicants must be either a 1L or 2L in good standing.  Examples of eligible juvenile law positions include Public Defender Offices doing parent representation or GAL/attorney for child work, Youth Law Center in Des Moines, private law firms that provide representation for clients in juvenile court, clerking for Juvenile Court and Appellate Judges, and research projects in the area of juvenile law.  The expectation is that fellows will work full-time for eight weeks. 

Application Requirements
A completed application includes:
  -  Iowa Children’s Justice Summer Fellowship Application
  -  Resume
Click here to download the application. 
(You will have to complete the application, print it and scan it into your computer in order to attach it as a pdf to your application email.)

May 1, 2013, but decisions will be made on a rolling basis.  Applicants are encouraged to get their applications in early.  Applications should be submitted electronically to Iowa Children’s Justice at  The subject line of the message should be “Fellowship Application.” 

Important Information for Students Who Will Earn Academic Credit for Their Summer Externship
An American Bar Association accreditation standard prohibits students from both getting compensated for and earning credit for externships.  “Compensation” is defined very broadly, and may include awards made under these grant programs.  However, funding used to “cover expenses reasonably related to the externship” will not be considered as compensation.  Even though a student may receive a summer financial aid package to help fund the tuition and other expenses, we understand that not all expenses may be covered or even permitted under federal loan eligibility guidelines.  Please be aware that if you are awarded funding under this application process, and you are getting academic credit for your externship, you will be required to keep track of your actual expenses that are associated with the externship.  At or near the end of the summer, you will be required to submit documentation of actual expenses that are not covered by loans or other sources and that will be covered, therefore, by awards under this application process. 

Summer Charles & Joseph Howard Fellowships (2-4 internships)

For more than a decade the Law School has funded Charles & Joseph Howard Fellowships in the Drake Legal Clinic through the earnings from the students’ work in providing representation under the Legal Clinic’s grant with the Iowa State Public Defender’s Office, and that is the plan again this summer. The availability of contract funds will determine how many, if any, Howard Fellowships can be awarded in 2011. Typically, these earnings have been sufficient to award two to four Fellowships; Fellowship awards are made by the Director of Clinical Programs, in consultation with the Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic. Students must have a 2.00 law school CGPA. Howard Fellows are certified under the Iowa Supreme Court Student Practice Rule. Fellows must commit to a minimum of ten weeks and 200 hours of client representation

The Fellowship provides a scholarship that covers 2 - 4 hours of Summer Tuition, approximately $2 – 4, 000.

Harkin Summer Service Learning Internships (8-10 internships)

The Agricultural Law Center has again secured grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, some of which has been allocated to support summer internships. Students have received a stipend of $2,500, with a minimum time commitment of 20 hours per week for 10 weeks with their sponsoring institution. Students receive no academic credit. Students who are in the Agricultural Law Certificate Program receive a preference in the award of these internships. Interested students should contact Professor Hamilton to ascertain information about these internships.

Interested students should contact Professor Hamilton to ascertain information about these internships.

Spring Break Volunteer Trip

In 2008, 2010 and 2011, the law school organized and partially-funded a New Orleans Spring Break Volunteer Trip, under the supervision of Erin Dallinger-Lain, Assistant Director of Admissions, Director of the Academic Success Program and a Drake Law graduate. This trip allows students to put into practice skills learned in the classroom through service. Student volunteered at the New Orleans Pro Bono Project which provides free, quality civil legal services to the poor. They were able to conduct client intakes, fill out and file divorce pleadings, create brochures for the public about elderabuse, fill out debt forms for bankruptcy, and create a national emergency contact directory. Many of the clients that the students were able to work with had been affected by Hurricane Katrina or the Gulf oil spill. There are plans to continue a volunteer trip each year over spring break, although the destination may change in the future.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

The VITA program is sponsored by United Way and a number of community partners to help low-income workers prepare their tax filings. The SBA has for a number of years been a partner, with the Drake Legal Clinic serving as a drop-in site and studentsserving as volunteers. There was no Drake Law involvement in VITA in 2010 and 2011 due to administrative issues, but there are plans to restart our involvement in 2012.

Student-Sponsored Public Service

Many Law School student organizations engage in publicservice in addition to philanthropic projects. The Public Interest Law Association, also known as Equal Justice Works, began a project in fall 2011 called Drake Law S.O.U.L.S. (Students Offering the Underprivileged Legal Assistance). Students work with volunteer lawyers and faculty at the Iowa Homeless Youth Shelter’s weekly Outreach. Students do the intake interviews and observe the volunteer lawyers and faculty provide legal advice. Other public service opportunities provided by this organization include participation in Meals From the Heartland (assembling meals for starving people around the world), Reach Out to Dropouts (teams go out to re-enroll and provide resources to people who have dropped out of high school) and the Veterans Stand Down (students conduct initial interviews of homeless veterans and faculty review cases for legal referrals) and assisting with the Halloween Hoops Party (see below).

The Student Animal Legal Defense Fund organizes students to volunteer at local animal shelters. The Drake Association for Child Advocacy (DACA), a new student organization in 2011-12, is helping set up a non-profit called “Making the Law Work for You”, which will work to educate kids in the foster care and juvenile justice systems about the law and their legal rights through interactive lessons in conjunction with empowerment organizations for foster children and others. DACA also plans to assist with Adoption Day, a local legal tradition in which many adoption proceedings are scheduled on the same court day and celebrations are held, and the Spring Reunification Picnic for families separated by foster care, as well as to help put together a conference on Children’s Rights in the 21st Century.

The Delta Theta Phi legal fraternity also provides substantial person-power to the Halloween Hoops Party and has public service programs of its own. The Business Law Society is a new organization that plans to participate in the VITA program and contribute to a Habitat for Humanity build.

The Halloween Hoops Shoot-Out Party is an annual public service event, co-sponsored by the SBA and the Des Moines NAACP, and hosted by Professor Lovell and Dolph Pulliam, Drake Community Outreach Director since1995. The event includes a pizza party for as many as 300 people and an award ceremony with hundreds of prizes for community youth (ages 3 to 12), more than 75% of whom are minorities. In addition to monetary contributions by the SBA and contributions of candy by law students (as part of an Amnesty Day program), law students act as volunteers in “throwing the party” for inner city youth. Assistant Director of Law Admissions Erin Lain has described it as Drake’s best outreach to Des Moines’ minority community.

Drake Legal Clinic

The Legal Clinic has a separate and important role in the Law School’s public service commitment and opportunities. The Drake Legal Clinic represents indigent clients, and thus pro bono service is central to its mission. Clinical opportunities have been made available to every student so desiring, and approximately half of the Law School's graduates take a clinic course. The clinical experience unquestionably helps students understand the immense need for legal services and the ethical responsibility lawyers have to provide pro bono and other services in our communities.

Volunteer Opportunities

The 2007 Joan & Lyle Middleton Center for Children’s Rights Community Resource Directory is now available…

   - Click here to view or download it.

Last Modified: 1/27/2015 1:12:00 PM by Ann Van Hemert