First-Ever State Funded Legal Fellowship Program Launches in California for Attorneys Committed to Providing Legal Services to Immigrants


For Immediate Release: Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021

First-Ever State Funded Legal Fellowship Program Launches in California for Attorneys Committed to Providing Legal Services to Immigrants

(San Francisco, CA)—California’s first-ever state funded legal fellowship program for attorneys committed to providing legal services to immigrants launched today (Jan. 19). California ChangeLawyers and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) have partnered on the program that will focus on serving immigrants in the Central Valley and Central Coast.

During the two-year fellowship, ten lawyers and recent law graduates will receive intensive training and mentorship to prepare them to provide removal defense legal services to immigrants in two underserved areas of the state – the Central Coast and Central Valley. 

Legal service organizations hosting the fellows include: Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, Community Justice Alliance, Education and Leadership Foundation, El Concilio Family Services, International Rescue Committee, Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project, and Santa Barbara County Immigrant Legal Defense Center.

“The fellows will receive intensive legal training on immigration law, particularly removal defense, and immigrant rights as well as hands-on experience representing clients before federal agencies and the immigration courts,” said Valerie Zukin, of the ILRC. 

Experienced attorneys from the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice and Immigrant Legal Defense will provide the fellows with close mentorship and expert support on their cases.

“This program marks an historic investment in building removal defense legal services in underserved regions of California, including support to the host organizations to increase this capacity in the long term,” said Jasjit Singh, Director of Programs, of California ChangeLawyers.

Nine fellows have been placed with host organizations in the Central Coast and Central Valley, and one position remains open in the Central Valley. To apply to be considered, go to 


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Follow us on Facebook at, and on Twitter and Instagram @the_ILRC

California ChangeLawyers is a public foundation whose mission is to build a better justice system for all Californians. They empower the next generation of legal changemakers through scholarships, fellowships, grants, policy, and strategic communications. Follow us on Facebook at, and Twitter and Instagram @changelawyers.