Fellows Program 2021

Fellows Program

ELIGIBILITY:

The PDLG Fellows Program is open to any first-year law student who meets or more of the following:

  • Has overcome significant and unusual obstacles in pursuit of a legal career
  • Comes from a disadvantaged background
  • Is part of a group that is underrepresented in the Philadelphia legal community.

All candidates must have a genuine interest in establishing a legal career in the Philadelphia area. Additional criteria include academic record; leadership; oral and written communication, research, analytical and organizational skills; sensitivity to professional ethical concerns; maturity, judgment, and integrity; commitment to the practice of law, commitment to hard work; demonstrated interest in the type of work practiced by the employers in the program; the ability to instill confidence in others; problem-solving; initiative; professionalism; relevant work experience; extracurricular activities and interests and other indicia of the potential for success.

Since the goal of PDLG is to increase the diversity of those practicing law in the Philadelphia area, in order to be eligible to participate in the Fellows Program, a student must have the citizenship or residency status to practice law here long term without needing to go through additional immigration proceedings.

Part-time, evening and joint degree students are eligible to participate in the Fellows Program if they:

  • Will have completed the equivalent of at least one year of law school but less than two years by May of the year they apply and will graduate two years later;
  • Have no time obligations that might interfere with a full-time commitment to the summer employer.

Applications will be submitted to the PDLG Fellows Program Committee by email to loiskimbol5647@gmail.com. Each part of the application (form, resume, list of activities and honors, personal statement, legal memo, law school transcript, other transcript(s)) should be a separate attachment to the email.

If you are interested in applying but you attend a law school that is not in the Philadelphia area or does not participate in the PDLG Fellows Program, please contact Lois Kimbol to confirm your eligibility before preparing your application.

Initial Screening

The PDLG Committee will review the applications and select those to interview based on the criteria listed in the section on eligibility.

 

PDLG Committee Reviews and Decisions

Representatives of participating PDLG law firms and legal departments (the "PDLG Committee") will conduct interviews of the selected candidates in February of each year. These interviews are scheduled on a Saturday in mid-February. Students will be notified of their selection and of the time of the interview by email earlier that week – if application materials are missing, students will be told when they must be received.

At the conclusion of the day of interviews, the PDLG Committee will select those candidates who, in its judgment, are the most qualified, are most likely to succeed as summer associates, and have a genuine interest in establishing a legal career in Philadelphia. Each selected candidate will then be randomly assigned to an employer for an interview for a specific job. Of course, no candidate will be assigned to an employer where there would be a conflict of interest. The interviewing employer will be provided with a full copy of its candidates' application packages and any other information developed as part of the PDLG process.

By the Monday after the interview day, all students will be notified by PDLG whether they have been selected for an employer interview and given a preliminary employer assignment. However, until the student is contacted by the employer, the assignment is only tentative. If and where changes must be made, they are made as randomly as possible and as soon as possible.

After being notified of the candidates assigned to them, employers will contact their candidates to schedule interviews within a week and will make decisions within a few days of the conclusion of their interviews. Employers understand that students have classes and other academic obligations and need to schedule around them, and we ask candidates to understand that interviews can involve as many as five practicing attorneys who also have complicated schedules, making flexibility in scheduling vital on both sides. It is also very important that interviews and decisions be made promptly so as not to disadvantage other applicants who are also waiting for decisions.

A student who will not be available for an interview during the interview period specified in the application must say so in the application so we can try to make special arrangements. Otherwise, if a student is not reasonably available for interviews during that period for reasons other than emergencies, the student may lose the opportunity to be considered during this first round.

We strongly encourage all those students to whom offers are made to respond as soon as possible, preferably within a week of receiving the offer.

Participating PDLG law firms have also agreed that if they make an offer outside the PDLG Fellows Program to a student who is matched with another participating PDLG employer for interviewing, the firm will keep the student’s offer open until the PDLG process is complete for that student.

 

Employer Actions

Students selected for summer employment will receive a letter from the employer confirming the selection and the details of employment. (<when???) The final decisions will not be made by the PDLG, and the PDLG will not have advanced information about employment decisions.

If hired by a PDLG organization, PDLG Fellows will receive the same salary other first-year summer associates/clerks/interns (if any) are paid by the organization. Salaries and length of summer employment will differ significantly among the firms and organizations. Each participating employer has committed to fully involve any student hired through the PDLG Fellows Program in its summer associate/clerkship/internship program (if applicable), provide the Fellow with a mentor, and provide appropriate and continuous feedback and training. The PDLG representative of the employer or his or her designee will serve as an additional mentor. Historically, PDLG has paired each Fellow who is not working at a law firm with one of our member law firms so that all Fellows will have the opportunity to be involved in some law firm summer training and social events.

From time to time, there are positions that open up after the primary round of employer interviews and decisions. If that happens, some applicants may be offered another interview opportunity. Each year we have had several positions filled through this process, but it is not required that students participate.

Each year, application materials for some students not offered jobs with PDLG employers are provided to the Montgomery Bar Association Diversity Committee for consideration under their Summer 1L Programs for diverse law students. Many participants in those programs are chosen from PDLG applicants. On the PDLG application form, there is an opportunity to choose whether to take advantage of this opportunity.

 

2L Summer Screening Interviews

Historically, those hired through the PDLG Fellows Program have been able to choose screening interviews for summer 2L jobs with a set number of law firms that hired through the Fellows Program that year. Similar in form to on-campus interviews, the PDLG screening interviews have been held as part of a firm's on-campus interviewing or at the law firm. There are no 2L jobs available just for PDLG Fellows and no PDLG participating firm is required to hire for the 2L summer - screening interviews are merely a way for PDLG Fellows to get a chance to meet with the firms and demonstrate what they have accomplished and why they would be valuable 2L summer associates. The firm's decisions are based on an overall review of the candidate's qualifications and the firm's hiring plans.

 

Fellows Program Events

All PDLG Fellows participate in two required programs before work begins (they may be virtual or in-person this year):

  • A writing program that will include a seminar in late March combined with one-on-one writing mentoring to be completed before starting work.
  • An orientation session is held by the PDLG on a Friday in May, after exams end at all participating schools but before summer jobs begin. This orientation is designed to acquaint the participants with the general expectations of the employers, the nature of the work and the legal environment in which it gets done.

It is essential that all students arrange to participate in both programs. Long-distance participation is possible in some situations.

Additionally, PDLG hosts 3 to 4 lunch seminars during the summer (again, they may be virtual or in-person this year). All Fellows are requested to participate unless a job-related activity conflicts with the seminar. Most years there is also an evening reception at which the Fellows can meet alumni of the Fellows Program as well as lawyers in PDLG member firms and legal departments.