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For Southern Coalition for Social Justice


Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Non-Profit Issue

Fall; Spring

Work Description

DESCRIPTIONS OF ORGANIZATION: The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is a multi-professional collaboration for community and regional empowerment. We use the combined skills of lawyers, social scientists, community organizers and media experts to serve low-income and minority communities' visions for themselves and their community, incorporating an international human rights perspective and linking their efforts to broader processes of political, legal, social and economic change in the South. We have ongoing cases and matters in the areas of voting rights, community development, asset building and prevention of land loss in low-income and minority communities, environmental justice, immigration policy, media justice, and criminal justice system reform. We seek to integrate a human rights approach to all of our work.

DESCRIPTION OF STUDENT WORK/PROJECTS:

Student projects involve factual investigation, legal research, policy analysis and writing in connection with an ongoing case or matter. Frequently there are opportunities for client interaction; and preparation for and attendance at court hearings. Much of our work is in collaboration with community groups and other advocacy organizations, and projects usually involve some form of interaction with those groups and organizations.

COURSE OR OTHER REQUIREMENTS/PREFERENCES FOR STUDENT:

Related coursework in civil rights, community development, environmental law, immigration, criminal law, human rights or federal civil procedure is a plus. Any student with an interest in our work will be considered. The student does not need to be certified under the State Bar Student Practice Rule.

Please describe briefly the nature of the work performed by your organization:

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice is a multi-professional collaboration for community and regional empowerment. We will use the combined skills of lawyers, social scientists, community organizers and media experts to serve low-income and minority communities' visions for themselves and their community, incorporating an international human rights perspective and linking their efforts to broader processes of political, legal, social and economic change in the South.

Please describe the types of projects you anticipate assigning to student externs:

We have four projects that will need student research from January to April, 2008. First, we anticipate representing clients in a major redistricting case in federal court where there is a motion for a preliminary injunction pending and likely court hearings during this period. Research and drafting federal court pleadings for this litigation would be one assignment. Second, we are involved in litigation being contemplated in federal court to help save land belonging to a low-income African-American family in rural North Carolina. We expect to be seeking a preliminary injunction and beginning discovery. The other two projects involve: 1) policy work in the areas of asset building, preventing black land loss and researching partition sales; and 2) legal research relating to possible environmental justice claims on behalf of residents opposing the siting of an outlying landing field in northeastern North Carolina.

Please indicate any preferences or requirements as to course work you would like a student to have completed (e.g. Administrative Law, Environmental Law, etc.) and whether a particular skill or experience would be helpful to a student working with your organization. In addition, please indicate whether a student extern working with you will need to be certified under the State Bar Student Practice Rule.

A student with background in: civil rights law, human rights law, federal civil procedure, non-profit corporation law and/or environmental law would be helpful, but any student with an interest in our work would be considered. The student would not need to be certified under the State Bar Student Practice Rule.

Has your organization worked in the past with student externs and/ or law clerks during the academic year? During the semester?

The SCSJ is a new organization, but Anita Earls has worked with two student externs from UNC in the past three years, and with numerous law clerks from Northeastern University Law School in prior positions.

Does your organization have a system in place for supervising student externs/law clerks and providing feedback? If so, please briefly describe that system.

Yes, we would use the externship program's forms to provide written feedback half-way through the term and at the end of the externship. In addition, I always have an "open door" policy to encourage questions at any point. It is my practice to give oral feedback on any written product (memo, brief, interrogatories, etc.) within a week of receiving it if not before, and to spend at least ten to fifteen minutes reviewing any public presentation/speaking or client engagement opportunity that occurs during the externship.

How many student externs would you like to work with during the semester?

One at this time.

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