Many people spend a lifetime searching for a job that complements their strengths, offers professional development and support, and contributes to the greater good. Ohio Access to Justice Foundation Justice for All Fellows check all boxes thanks to the Foundation’s innovative fellowship program.
Since 1999, the Foundation has funded 88 Fellows to develop and execute two-year projects to address urgent legal problems facing everyday Ohioans. Justice for All Fellows collaborate with Ohio nonprofit host organizations from around the state to design civil legal services projects that are distinctly different from the host organization’s current work. Recent projects led by Fellows help mitigate the effects of the school-to-prison pipeline, assist low-income families facing eviction, and provide civil legal services to sex workers, to name only a few.
“Fellows get to lead projects that ultimately innovate service delivery at their host organization,” said Camille Gill, the Foundation’s Programs and Grants Counsel. “It’s a unique leadership opportunity, particularly for a new attorney.”
In addition to funding, the Foundation provides support and guidance to Fellows, including access to one-on-one coaching with Foundation staff, professional development, and networking opportunities. At a recent summer retreat, Fellows from across Ohio gathered in Columbus to learn from Stephanie Hanna, owner of the professional development company The Other 85. Hanna, a seasoned attorney, offered networking tips suitable for new attorneys starting their careers.
“The retreats help Fellows build leadership skills to meet their project goals,” Gill said. “Particularly after several years of pandemic virtual gatherings, it’s nice to bring everyone together in person again.”
After Hanna’s workshop, the group headed to Huntington Park to relax and socialize at a Columbus Clippers game.
For second-year Fellow Julia Lauritzen, this was her final retreat as a Justice for All Fellow. Looking back, she is thankful for the Foundation’s support throughout her first two years at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.
“Having the opportunity to connect with the other Fellows regularly was great,” she said. “We’re working on different projects, so not everything’s the same, but there’s still an understanding of what others are doing and that we’re all figuring it out together.”