MINELRES: PILI/Justice Initiative Public Interest Law Fellows Program

European Roma Rights Center minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Thu Jan 23 19:25:42 2003

The ERRC is herewith distributing an announcement by the Columbia 
University's Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) and The Open
Society Justice Initiative. Please do not respond to the ERRC concerning 
the contents of this message, but rather use the contact information 
provided below.

PILI/Justice Initiative Public Interest Law Fellows Program
Columbia University School of Law
(2003-2005 Session)

Columbia University's Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) and The Open
Society Justice Initiative (formerly the Constitutional and Legal Policy
Institute), are pleased to invite applications for the Public Interest
Law Fellows Program. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2003.

The program will select five lawyers from Central and Eastern Europe,
Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus ("the region") for two years of
study and practical work experience. One slot in the program is 
specifically designated for women's rights advocates, one slot for 
disability rights advocates, and one slot for a Roma rights advocate, with 
the two remaining slots undesignated.

Criteria for selection will include the experience of the applicant, the
applicant's potential to contribute to the development of the human
rights or public interest law field in the region, and the suitability of 
the applicant's proposed role in the nominating non-governmental
organization (NGO). Applicants must have a minimum of two years relevant 
work experience outside of law school. Preference will be given to 
applicants under 35 years of age. Minorities, especially Roma, are strongly 
encouraged to apply. Selection decisions will be made by May 1, 2003.

The Fellows will reside a total of one year in the US, consisting of one
semester of study at Columbia University and two three-month
internships. Fellows will return to their home countries after the first 
year, where they will spend at least one year working with their nominating 
NGO on human rights/public interest advocacy on a non-profit basis in such 
areas as providing legal services, strategic litigation, campaigning for 
reform, and human rights training/education. Upon their selection, Fellows 
will be required to sign an agreement with the Justice Initiative and 
Columbia University according to which he/she will commit to two years in 
the program; the first year to be spent in the US and the second year in 
his/her home country working with the nominating NGO.
The Justice Initiative will cover the cost of a round-trip coach airfare
to the US and provide each Fellow with a monthly stipend for a period of up 
to 12 months, a textbook allowance, and medical insurance for a year while 
in the US. The amount of this stipend is carefully calculated to cover the 
expenses of one person in the US for the period of one year. The Justice 
Initiative will also pay a local salary during the second year that is 
equal to an amount determined to be similar to equivalent work by the 
nominating NGO. This amount will be provided to the nominating NGOs in the 
form of a grant.

Please note, the Justice Initiative and PILI cannot provide any
financial or logistical assistance for accompanying family members, 
including securing suitable family housing. Moreover, Columbia University 
requiresevidence of financial support for accompanying family members. In 
the 2002/2003 academic year, this amount was equal to $700 a month for an
accompanying spouse and $350 a month for each dependent child. Providing
proof of the requisite financial support for accompanying family members
will be the responsibility of the applicant.

Program Description

The goal of the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) is to advance
human rights principles through assisting the development of a public 
interestlaw infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Central 
Asia and the Caucasus. PILI is supported by the Ford Foundation, the Mott
Foundation, the UK Department for International Development, the
European Community, and the Soros network of foundations. The Public 
Interest LawFellows Program is one of PILI's core activities.

Fellows will be expected to arrive in early August in order to
participate in "US Legal Methods and Problems," an intensive course that 
starts prior to other classes and provides an academic orientation for 
lawyers from civil law countries. In the first semester of the program, 
Public Interest Law Fellows participate in a non-degree program in which 
they audit 3 to 5 courses at Columbia Law School. As auditors, Fellows do 
not participate in exams and do not receive grades or credit from the law 
school for completing a course. All Fellows are required to participate in 
a seminar taught by Edwin Rekosh, Executive Director of the Public Interest 
Law Initiative. This seminar * which pairs Fellows with a select group of 
full-time Columbia students * provides a practical-oriented overview of law 
reform issues confronting the legal systems of Central and Eastern Europe, 
Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus from an interdisciplinary 
perspective, with an emphasis on democracy-building, civil society, and 
enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights. Each Fellow will be 
expected to propose a project relating to human rights or other public 
interest law issues, which will be the subject of research and 
collaboration by teams formed with other students in the seminar. The 
project should be related to the needs and priorities of the 
applicant'snominating NGO, but may change over the course of the semester 
based on the input of other students in the seminar. Ideally, the result of 
the seminar will be a project plan that can be further modified during the 
remainder of the year to fit the particular needs of the NGO.

In the spring and early summer, Fellows participate in two three-month
internships at human rights, legal services, or other public interest
law organizations in the New York area. To the extent possible,internships 
will be selected according to Fellows' particular interests in the area of 
human rights and public interest law.

More information about the Public Interest Law Initiative can be found
on the Internet at: www.pili.org. More information about Columbia Law
School can be found at www.law.columbia.edu.

Application Procedure

Applicants must submit the following:
* A completed program application form
* A nominating letter from an indigenous NGO in the region describing
the need for having a lawyer working in the organization and contractually 
committing to the Justice Initiative to hire the applicant for at least one 
year after he/she returns from the US. The nomination letter should also 
indicate a monthly salary rate, inclusive of all income taxes, social 
security and other wage-related payments payable by the individual or 
organization, that will be offered to the applicant by the NGO in the event 
that he or she is selected for the program (the salary amount is provided 
to the NGO by the Justice Initiative in the form of a grant).
* At least one recommendation from an individual outside the nominating
* A project proposal that he or she would like to work on during the
first semester of the program, ideally with practical significance to the
nominating NGO. (Some past examples include: developing a strategic
litigation strategy to address discrimination against women in the 
workplace; drafting a model mental health care law with a detailed
implementation strategy; establishing a legal aid program, and promoting
freedom of expression and religion through litigation and public
* Information on the nominating NGO and additional recommendations are
also encouraged, although not required.

The electronic submission, via e-mail, of application materials is
strongly encouraged although materials may also be submitted via facsimile 
an application is submitted without one of the required components, it will 
be disqualified unless the applicant can justify why he/she cannot obtain 
the needed information.

The DEADLINE for receiving applications at PILI is March 15, 2003.
For more information and application forms, please contact Julie Heaner
Plavsic, Fellowship Program Manager, 435 W. 116th St, Mailcode 3525, New
York, New York; tel: 1-212-851-1060; fax: 1-212-851-1064;
e-mail: jplavs@law.columbia.edu.