Letter of Interest
California ChangeLawyers (formerly California Bar Foundation) is a statewide foundation that empowers the next generation of legal changemakers. We believe that a state as diverse as California should have a justice system led by advocates of all ethnicities and races.
We award grants to California focused legal organizations to cover the cost of hiring year-long and summer fellows law from diverse backgrounds. This is a double impact investment. We support organizations on the front lines of social justice while at the same time creating jobs for diverse lawyers and law students. This creates better, more authentic outcomes for communities—communities who can see and interact with lawyers who look like them.
This year, we will be providing $80,000 towards hiring a year-long fellow and $10,000 towards hiring a summer fellow at organizations throughout California. (If applying for both a year-long and summer fellowship, you will be required to complete two separate applications. Organizations will at-most receive one fellow.)
Diverse fellows may be law school students, recent law school graduates, and early career attorneys (less than 5 years of practice.) The grant will cover the cost of hiring both year-long and summer fellows at organizations throughout California. We select high-impact legal agencies that are committed to building a diverse staff, coupled with an inclusive and responsive work environment.
Guidelines, Criteria, and Requirements:
Have 501(c)(3) status: Organizations applying must be a legal agency providing direct legal services, litigation, policy advocacy, and/or engaging in community lawyering. The agency must serve historically neglected communities in California, particularly in areas or on issues where lawyers are few and far between. Agency must have malpractice insurance that will cover the Fellow’s substantive legal work.
Prioritizing historically neglected communities and underserved regions: (Example: Organizations working on issues like racial justice, environmental justice, immigrant rights, and other issues that directly impact historically neglected communities are encouraged to apply.)
Opportunity to create change: The proposal should indicate how this work will have both immediate and long-term value for the community being served.
Geography: Organization must be located in California and serve communities in California. Priority will be given to organizations serving highly underserved regions and historically neglected communities.
Grantee partners are required to sign a Grant Conditions Form and Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to comply with the terms and conditions set forth by California ChangeLawyers. Grantee partners must also be open to collaborating with California ChangeLawyers in selecting their legal fellows (California ChangeLawyers may wish to participate in interviewing with top fellowship candidates.)
The grantee partner is required to:
Hire the legal fellow as an employee.
Provide California ChangeLawyers with the opportunity to stay in contact with the legal fellow over the course of their fellowship as part of our commitment to provide the fellow support and professional development opportunities, along with our commitment to evaluating and improving our program.
Provide California ChangeLawyers a written year-end report describing the impact of the fellow in the organization and community served.
Acknowledge California ChangeLawyers on all printed materials and all publicity related to activities in which the fellow participates.
Reasonably accommodate site visits by California ChangeLawyers during the year in which grant funds are used by grantee partner.
Be available to attend at least one meeting of our Board of Directors to present the Fellow’s work and discuss the Fellow and organization’s impact.
Reasonably accommodate fellows to attend at least one or two fellowship cohort convenings.
Past grantee partners: (not an exhaustive list)
Immigrant Defenders Law Center:
Neighborhood Legal Services of
Los Angeles County:
School to Prison pipeline
Transgender Law Center:
Employment Rights for Transgender
Council on American Islamic Relations:
Civil Rights for Muslim Communities
California Rural Legal Assistance:
LGBT Program & Migrant/Farmworker Project
California Indian Legal Services:
Indigenous/Native legal representation
Centro Legal de la Raza:
Detained immigrant representation
Elder Law and Advocacy:
Al Otro Lado:
Removal Defense work along San Diego Border
Community Water Center:
Rural water rights in Tulare County
Legal Services of Northern California:
Disaster relief in rural Northern California
Root and Rebound:
Re-entry services in Central California
June 3, 2019: Application opens
July 1, 2019: Application closes
Late August 2019: Selected applicants are invited to submit full application
Mid-December 2019: Grantee partners are selected and notified
If your question(s) is not addressed on our FAQ page, please contact our Program Officer, Jasjit Singh, at firstname.lastname@example.org