Our Team Story
Fund Legal Internships and Bar Preparation Grants for Formerly Incarcerated Students.
Every contribution helps.
Formerly incarcerated people know the legal system and all its injustices on a firsthand basis. The person closest to the problem is also closest to the solution. Who better to empower with a legal education to break down the systemic injustices long perpetuated by our civil and criminal courts? When you give a formerly incarcerated person options, you open the doors that society has long slammed shut. Not only does the individual benefit, but so does their community, their clients, and the public writ large.
Law school is possible for formerly incarcerated students, but it is not easy. Every student feels the financial strain of grad school, but this is amplified for students coming out of incarceration with debts and fees, probation or parole restrictions, and years of wages and savings lost to time spent inside. The Formerly Incarcerated Law Students Advocacy Association (FILSAA) seeks to ease that burden so that the criminal legal system can be placed within reach of those most affected by it.
Your donations to FILSAA will go toward giving formerly incarcerated students at CUNY School of Law opportunities to:
- accept unpaid public interest summer internships ($6k* per student per summer),
- study for the bar exam after graduation ($6k* per student for a bar prep course and to assist with living expenses, allowing them to focus on studying),
- prepare to pass the character and fitness evaluation to obtain a license to practice law (this can cost upwards of $1k for students with criminal records or substance treatment histories).
Unsurprisingly, students with arrests and convictions in their backgrounds often do not come from elite academic environments or from wealthy families, and they face additional challenges in securing scholarships or federal grants, ultimately meaning they rarely receive financial aid. With more formerly incarcerated students are enrolled at CUNY School of Law than at almost any other law school in the country, FILSAA is creating a supportive environment to address the unique concerns of these students and helping to remove the additional barriers in their legal educational pursuit.
Your contribution helps provide a chance for formerly incarcerated students to compete on the same level with their peers. 100% of the donations made to FILSAA will support formerly incarcerated law students at our school.
Mission: FILSAA seeks to build a pipeline from prison to the legal workplace so that the people most affected by the criminal legal system can have a hand in changing it. We recruit prospective students, provide academic and social support during law school, and advocate for easier transitions into the legal field.
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