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An aphorism often widely debated in law schools is the idea of ‘law as an instrument for social change’, But there are few who actually work towards using the agency of the law to empower lives and facilitate socio-legal revolutions. In order to contribute meaningfully as young legal professionals working for human rights, one has to be cognizant of the wide gulf between the law in action and the law as found in statutes, books, judgments and scholarship.
Therefore, whatever may be the course chosen, a direct/lived experience of poverty and discrimination, an understanding of how things work on the ground and experiencing the practical relationship of law with vulnerability is essential for any lawyer, policy-researcher or legal academician.
The Young Professionals Program for Legal Empowerment (YPPLE) was started by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in 2014 with the objective of equipping young legal professionals to become powerful change agents by giving them the opportunity to develop a holistic understanding of how legal empowerment at the grassroots play a catalytic role in bringing social change.
YPPLE is now entering its ninth year. In the first eight years of the program, CSJ placed 30 young aspiring researchers in its field areas, where they engaged with grassroot realities and in the process grew immensely both professionally and personally. The program allowed these young minds to pursue their true interests, with each individual finding something that they can call their own, be it a particular sphere of law, a work profile or a social cause they care about.
A group of young legal professionals will be placed for a minimum period of one year in field where CSJ is implementing its interventions. A learning/ performance road map will be developed jointly with the selected candidates. Each individual will spend a substantial duration in the field areas and the remaining time will be dedicated towards research and writing, reflections, inputs and capacity building.
The Program is open to young law graduates/legal professionals who wish to pursue a career in the field of human rights as lawyers, practitioners, researchers or academics. Willingness to engage with field realities, to live in challenging conditions and to travel extensively, are things every candidate must be willing to do. Candidates must, above all, display a strong drive, motivation and commitment towards working for social change.
- Conduct field based research on law and policy issues for formulating interventions and creating policy documents.
- Coordinate training and capacity building programs and develop training materials.
- Supervise data collection for research programs/projects.
- Collaborate/coordinate programs with stakeholders including representations with various government authorities.
- Contribute to the legal work of the organization.
- Organize events to initiate public debate on issues.
- Bring in creative approaches and perspectives to the existing work of the organisation.
A stipend of Rs. 33,000 per month will be paid to the selected candidates. Please note that the Program is designed as a two year engagement. At the end of mandatory one-year commitment, candidates would have the option to either continue working with CSJ or opt out.
Candidates interested in applying for the Program must submit an online application with the following attachments.
- A Statement of Purpose detailing their motivations and reasons for applying to the program. Candidates must also clearly specify their areas of interests and expectations from the Organization. (1000 words)
- An updated CV.
- 2 Writing samples
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