Project-Based Legal Fellowship Sponsorship (for law students graduating in 2021)

Legal · Oakland, California
Department Legal
Employment Type Full-Time

UnCommon Law Legal Fellow Overview  

UnCommon Law (UCL), a legal nonprofit, is seeking candidates to sponsor for Equal Justice Works, Skadden, or other project-based, externally funded fellowships, to begin work with UCL in the fall of 2021 in our Oakland, California, office. Candidates are expected to apply to the 2020-2021 application cycles of relevant fellowship opportunities.

About UnCommon Law  

UnCommon Law believes all people incarcerated for violent crime deserve access to healing, justice and effective legal representation. This group makes up 76% of the population in California’s prisons.  

Through our unique, trauma-informed model of advocacy, we provide the space currently missing in the system for healing, accountability, and safe pathways home from prison. In developing new self-narratives, the people we serve are able to more effectively disrupt violence inside and outside prison, and they become leaders who can change negative societal narratives about those incarcerated for violent crime. Our groundbreaking approach is changing policy and outcomes, driven by the voices and experiences of system-impacted communities.

About the Role

UCL is seeking candidates to sponsor for project-based fellowships in subject areas of their own interest. Some past project ideas have included: (1) advocating for young people sentenced to life terms for crimes committed under the age of 26; (2) developing a training program for formerly incarcerated people to prepare people in prison for their parole hearings; (3) advocating for more robust gender-based trauma training and awareness in the Board hearing process; and (4) conducting legislative research and advocacy regarding introducing trauma-informed programming into prisons across California. 


  • Expected graduation from law school in spring 2021 and plans to sit for the July 2021 California Bar Exam 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 

  • Ability to work independently, take initiative, and be self-motivated 

  • High attention to detail with exceptional organization skills 
  • A willingness to approach client work with kindness, non-judgment, and sensitivity to confidential matters 
  • Compassion for incarcerated persons and their family members, and a demonstrated interest in criminal justice reform 

  • A valid form of identification and the ability to pass a background check that would permit entry into California prisons

Application Instructions  

For more information on the application process for Skadden or Equal Justice Works Fellowships, please consult their websites.

Initial applications for the 2021 Skadden and Equal Justice Works Fellowships hosted at UnCommon Law must be received by July 1, 2020. Skadden and Equal Justice Works applications are due in September, 2020. UnCommon Law will work with accepted applicants to draft proposals to the fellowship programs.  

Please submit a resume and a cover letter describing: (1) your interest and relevant experience for the role and (2) a paragraph describing the type of project you would anticipate proposing to fellowship programs. Submit these materials, along with contact information for two professional references, to our hiring portal (

UCL is committed to providing an inclusive, welcoming, and culturally responsive environment for all members of our staff, volunteers, contractors, vendors, and clients. UCL does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, or prior contact with the criminal justice system. We strongly encourage applications from people impacted by incarceration as well as from traditionally underrepresented communities. 

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  • Location
    Oakland, California
  • Department
  • Employment Type