Legal Services of Greater Miami & Community Justice Project attorneys with mobile home owners and organizers celebrating a victory.

Legal Services of Greater Miami & Community Justice Project attorneys with mobile home owners and organizers celebrating a victory.


As the realities of racial injustice impacting our communities are increasingly brought into the spotlight, Florida Racial Justice Fellows offers a unique opportunity for legal services attorneys in Florida to explore questions of equity, implicit bias, root causes and systemic solutions. The 2017 cohort will attend five webinars and a two overnight retreats, build deeper relationships with peers, and join a supportive network of attorneys looking to support the leadership of their clients and improve outcomes for communities of color.

The only responses that have had success in addressing root causes, even though limited, have been those led by the communities we serve. If we are to fulfill our role as lawyers to these constituencies we too must follow their leadership and find ways to assist them in building the power to counter attacks on our clients’ rights. A failure to act and adapt our practices will ultimately render us increasingly irrelevant to our clients’ struggles. First and foremost in this process is ensuring that emerging leaders in the legal services field are fully supported. By creating a community of accountability within our legal work, we can continue to dismantle harmful biases and re-frame our day-to-day work in a way that moves us collectively toward a better future.

The cohort will address questions such as: How can our practices, and more broadly our legal service organizations, work towards racial justice? Have we inadvertently contributed to the problem at times? How can we deepen the relationship between our practice and grassroots community organizations? How can LSC funded organizations use movement lawyering to tackle persistent issues at their doorstep?

The movement or community lawyering model is inherently designed to promote racial justice by virtue of its central principle of taking direction from those most impacted by social injustice. People who confront social and economic inequality that arises from structural racism are best equipped to determine the solutions that work for their communities, and the role of the lawyer is to support them and build their power to win the change they seek.

This program aims to help participants:

  1. Understand the movement lawyering model, theories of social change, and how to work alongside community-led efforts for systemic change.

  2. Examine privilege and racial bias, and how that has impacted their own approach and analysis in this work.

  3. Sharpen their analysis of structural racism and how that manifests in legal forums, policies and institutions that deeply impact the lives of their clients.

  4. Analyze the extent to which the environments they are working within are promoting racial equity and engaging in racial justice work.

  5. Discuss current shifts taking place at the national and local levels in terms of racial justice, and the opportunities/challenges that brings.

  6. Understand how they can bring a racial justice frame into their current work and orient their work toward promoting racial justice.

At the conclusion of the program, we hope that participants will have a better idea of how to incorporate a racial justice lens into their work and take leadership from community leaders and groups in their practice of law.

The inaugural class of Florida Racial Justice Fellows is now accepting applications from legal services attorneys throughout the state. If you have struggled with these questions, want to challenge yourself, or have been challenged by trying to address these issues within your institution, apply by November 4, 2016 to be considered for this unique opportunity.

The program is free of charge to participants. Limited travel allowances, lodging and meals will be covered for overnight retreats.

Applications for the 2017 cohort have closed. Thank you for your interest in this program and stay tuned for future updates.