How can I learn to maximize my legal education while gaining meaningful experience?

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Bridge to Practice Fellowship Program

Beginning in the summer of 2014, the Appalachian School of Law will unveil its Bridge to Practice Fellowship Program. This Program has two distinct aspects vital to the maturation of future practitioners:  mentoring and training.  The mentoring component links first-year law students with upper classmen to impart a greater understanding of the rigors of law school.  ASL alumni are also paired with upper classmen to prepare them for life as attorneys upon graduation. 

The second aspect of this Program involves the placement of rising second-year students and recent ASL graduates in internships and fellowships with legal providers whose services complement ASL's educational concentrations in Natural Resources Law and Litigation/Alternative Dispute Resolution.  Approximately 10 fellowships for ASL graduates will be created in the areas of Natural Resources (7), Litigation/Alternative Dispute Resolution (2) and with the Judiciary (1 with the retired judges in the 28th, 29th, and 30th Judicial Circuits of Virginia encompassing southwest Virginia). 

Students who are interested in obtaining a paid internship or fellowship are placed at a site for 8-12 weeks.  The Fellows are paid by the site at a rate to be determined at the time of the placement.  However, the average pay ranges from $15 to $20 per hour.

This Program is open to rising second-year law students on a competitive basis and the most recent ASL law students who graduate in good standing with a GPA that places the student in the top 25% of his or her class.  Consistent with ABA Standards, academic credit is not available to students or recent graduates who receive monetary compensation in conjunction with this placement. 

The Bridge to Practice Fellowship Program provides students who will soon graduate from ASL, as well as recent graduates with career development and financial support while the students continue to build their professional experience and network. The goal is to leverage post-graduate work experience as part of a broad job search to secure full-time employment. The Program is effective because Fellows continue to develop subject matter expertise in a targeted field; develop professional relationships and references; and broaden networks for full-time employment.  The Fellowship is particularly valuable for students who intend to launch full-time careers with employers that prefer or require bar passage and employers that otherwise hire only as positions become available.