Clerkships & Internships
TRLA hires law school students as both interns and clerks on a regular basis throughout the year. For more information about our internships, please see Texas Access to Justice Project (TAJ).
TRLA also hires law clerks, who perform traditional research, interview clients and witnesses, assist with litigation-related activities, and help develop cases. For more information, please see Clerking for TRLA.
If you are a third year law student seeking an attorney position, please see Attorney Openings.
Texas Access to Justice Project (TAJ)
TRLA hires law school students for the Telephone Access to Justice Project (TAJ) in Austin and San Antonio. These part-time TAJ Associate positions offer law students the opportunity to develop practical legal skills and assist low-income clients with a wide variety of legal problems. Under the supervision of staff attorneys, TAJ Associates conduct detailed, substantive intake interviews with low-income Central and South Texans who seek representation through the TAJ toll-free number. Students enter client information into TRLA’s database, which is used by TRLA attorneys to make case disposition decisions. In the course of their work, TAJ Associates frequently collaborate with TRLA staff attorneys throughout our 68-county service area.
Law students who have completed their first or second years of law school are eligible for TAJ Associate positions. While first-year law students are encouraged to apply and interview, they cannot begin working until they have completed their first year. Spanish is strongly preferred. Pay begins at $11 per hour and can increase to as much as $15 per hour with experience.
TAJ Associates must work a minimum of 12-15 hours per week. New TAJ Associates are generally hired to start at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters and the summer. The summer position is part-time and does not preclude interning with another organization or attending summer school. Most attorneys that TRLA has hired in the last few years began their TRLA careers at the TAJ Project.
Law students interested in the positions should contact Vickie Benitez, Attorney/Director, TAJ Austin; firstname.lastname@example.org; (512) 374-2755 or Mario Varela, Director, TAJ San Antonio; email@example.com; (956) 299-5993.
Clerking for TRLA
TRLA law clerks perform traditional research, interview clients and witnesses, assist with litigation-related activities, and help develop cases. Generally, a clerk works with more than one attorney in practice areas of interest to the student. The best way to learn more about TRLA and opportunities for law students is to attend the Public Service Career Day held at the UT-Austin School of Law in February of each year. Students can sign up in December through career services offices to interview with TRLA. TRLA attorneys from our 68-county service area attend, interview students, and discuss opportunities at TRLA.
TRLA operates offices throughout its 68-county service area. For a list, please go to Offices.
TRLA has organized its services around more than 45 practice areas that address the range of problems confronting low-income people. Practice areas include: Economic & Social Justice, Disaster Legal Aid, Domestic Violence & Family Law, Housing, Individual Rights, Labor & Employment, Public Benefits, and Victims Rights.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Students interested in clerk opportunities should send a cover letter stating their office preferences and resume to Monica Bustamante at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Students may also contact Ms. Bustamante with further questions about clerking opportunities.) Students interested in clerking at the Nashville office should send a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript, and writing sample to Caitlin Berberich at CBerberich@trla.org.
Will I get paid?
There are numerous funding opportunities available for summer clerks. Law schools generally have summer fellowship funding available; students should check with their law school’s career services office and public interest law advisors about available resources. When TRLA has multiple students interested in sponsorship for a limited number of fellowships, such as the Texas Law Fellowships, priority is given to students interested in working in offices other than TRLA’s Austin location. In addition, TRLA may obtain funding for some law clerk positions through various sections of the State Bar. Telephone Access to Justice Associates get paid an hourly wage.
Can I split my time with a position at another another organization?
Yes, a split summer can be accommodated in most situations.
Can these opportunities lead to full-time employment?
TRLA has ongoing hiring needs and has hired many attorneys over the last several years, many of whom are recent law school graduates who first came to TRLA as Telephone Access to Justice Associates or as law clerks. An interest in working in offices other than our Austin or San Antonio branches significantly increases opportunities for long-term employment.
Can I choose an office location or practice area?
Clerks will be able to specify a preference in office location and practice areas. TRLA will attempt to honor these preferences as much as possible. Students should be aware that preferences to work in branch offices outside of San Antonio and Austin are easier to accommodate and can affect funding opportunities.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
Because of the location of the service area, the ability to communicate in Spanish is preferred but not required. For full-time attorney positions, if the applicant is not already fluent in the language, a commitment to become so is required.