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 some summer fellowship funding available; students should check with their law school’s career services office and public interest 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 our Austin office. 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 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 what office or practice areas I work in?
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 know how 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.