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The Justice Collaborative is a team of legal experts, researchers, and media strategists collaborating across a collection of strategically aligned projects to advance criminal justice reform. We supply deep legal and policy expertise to organizations throughout the country to cut through the complexity and confusion of local, state, and federal laws and procedures that make up our criminal justice system. Our goal is to transform our deeply flawed criminal system so that it’s grounded in human dignity and restraint.

The Justice Volunteers , a project of The Justice Collaborative (TJC), is a volunteer task force dedicated to researching a variety of key criminal justice issues. The work done by The Justice Volunteers is incredibly valuable to TJC’s goal of holding elected officials in the criminal justice system accountable, advocating for reform-minded policies across the country, and researching and amplifying important local issues related to criminal justice reform.

The Law Student Research Team is a new team within The Justice Volunteers that launched in May 2019. Applicants will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis through 2020. This team will work collaboratively and independently in Justice Volunteer Chapters on campuses across the country. Guided by the principles laid out in our “ Blueprint for a Safer and More Just America ,” Law Student Research Team members will be responsible for:

  • Identifying policy shifts made by local actors such as the sheriff or the district attorney;
  • Analyzing the legal context for reform in each state, including the current legal structure related to each of the key areas, any lawsuits and their basis, as well as any changes that have been made or introduced at the local level;
  • Researching relevant legislative changes and reform efforts, including key supporters and opponents, implementation processes for passed legislation, and key points and factors that contributed to failed legislation;
  • Conducting literature reviews for existing research on which rhetorical strategies and narrative tools have proven persuasive, and which have been less effective, within the context of each issue area.

The Law Student Research Team will work remotely and be directly supervised by Keli Young. Almost all of this work is done online and is designed to be as flexible as possible to allow team
members to work whenever their schedule permits. However, it is expected that members will work at least 4 hours per week. Members seeking to fulfill their pro bono requirements for admission to the bar must check in at the start and finish of each work shift, and should maintain a log of all completed assignments.

How To Apply
Interested law students should submit their resume and cover letter to Keli Young at with the subject line “Law Student Research Team Applicant.” In the cover letter, applicants should be sure to note which element(s) of the TJC Blueprint most align with their interests and past experiences, and whether they are interested in a leadership role in a Student Chapter. As a program designed to maximize flexibility, we encourage applicants to apply as ongoing members of the Law Student Research Team; however, students are welcome to apply for a summer, semester, or year-long positions.

Click here for more information about this opportunity.