2001-2003 Public Interest Law Fellows Program



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e-mail list, Mod.***]

----- Original Message ------
From: Julie Plavsic <jplavs@law.columbia.edu>


PILI/COLPI Public Interest Law Fellows Program

(2001-2003 Session)


The Constitutional and Legal Policy Institute (COLPI), an affiliate of the
Open Society Institute (OSI-Budapest), in collaboration with the Public
Interest Law Initiative in Transitional Societies (PILI) at Columbia Law
School, is pleased to invite applications for the Public Interest Law
Fellows Program. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2001.

The program will select seven lawyers from Central and Eastern Europe,
Russia and Central Asia ("the region") for two years of study and practical
work experience. Two slots in the program are specifically designated for
women's rights advocates, two slots are designated for disability rights
advocates, and the remaining three slots are undesignated.

Applicants with a strong commitment to human rights or public interest law,
a law degree, eligibility for legal practice in his/her country and
proficiency in English may apply. 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 NGO.
Preference will be given to applicants under 35 years of age. Selection
decisions will be made by April 10, 2001.

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 COLPI/OSI Budapest 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.

COLPI will cover 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. COLPI 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, COLPI and PILI cannot provide any financial or logistical
assistance for accompanying family members, including securing suitable
family housing. Moreover, Columbia University requires evidence of
financial support for accompanying family members. In the 2000/2001
academic year, this amount was equal to $360 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 in Transitional Societies
(PILI) is to support human rights principles through assisting the
development of public interest law communities in Central and Eastern
Europe, Russia and Central Asia, especially in the areas of clinical legal
education and access to justice. PILI is supported by the Ford Foundation,
the Mott Foundation, the Open Society Institute-New York and the Soros
network of foundations, including COLPI.
The Public Interest Law Fellows Program is one of PILI's core activities.
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, including a seminar entitled "Applied Law Reform In
Eastern Europe," which is taught by Edwin Rekosh, 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 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's nominating 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. 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.

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

An application form is attached. Applicants must include a nominating
letter from an NGO from the region describing the need for having a lawyer
working in the organization and contractually committing to
COLPI/OSI-Budapest to hire the applicant for at least one year after he/she
returns from the twelve-month training program in the US. The nomination
letter should also indicate a monthly salary rate that will be offered to
the applicant by the NGO in the event that he or she is selected for the
program (which would be provided to the NGO by COLPI in the form of a
grant). In addition, the applicant should provide at least one additional
recommendation. Information on the profile of the recommending NGO and
supplemental recommendations are also welcome.

Applicants should also identify a project that he or she would like to
design during the first semester of the program.  Ideas of projects with
practical significance to the nominating NGO are encouraged.  Some examples
of past projects include: (1) creating a gender policy institute to gather
statistical information on issues affecting women, and to monitor
legislation from a gender perspective; (2) reforming the law regulating
guardianship for those with mental disabilities using strategic litigation,
public education and the media, and; (3) establishing a human rights NGO to
litigate cases focusing on minority issues, with the goal of bringing
domestic legislation up to international human rights standards.

The electronic submission, via e-mail, of application materials is strongly
encouraged.  However, an original application must also be submitted
through regular mail. INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. If an
application is submitted without one of the required components listed in
the application, 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 1, 2001.  For more
information and application forms, please contact Julie Plavsic, Fellowship
Program Coordinator, 44 Morningside Drive, Suite 1, New York, New York;
tel: 1-212-851-1060; fax: 1-212-851-1064; e-mail: jplavs@law.columbia.edu.




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