Spearheading a more diverse, economically empowered, and justice-centered legal profession – one apprentice lawyer at a time.
Black women are significantly more likely to be employed than other demographics of women, yet still experience higher rates of unemployment, lower wages, less access to work-family supports, and less access to advancement opportunities.* In our unjust legal system, they are 2x more likely to be imprisoned than white women.* They – and all women of color – make up less than 2% of equity partners in United States law firms.*
Esq. Apprentice gives women of color the tools, support, and resources they need to complete California’s legal apprenticeship program and become attorneys. As the nation’s only program utilizing legal apprenticeship to help women from low-income communities gain access to legal jobs and careers without debt, we are building a movement of women lawyers working for a more just legal system.
The path to becoming a lawyer is expensive and exclusionary by design. But if you are impoverished, of color, and identify as a woman? You face a daily battle against systemic racial and gender discrimination that wages war on your mental health, creates significant barriers to your learning, and makes your path to a legal career painfully out of reach.
For marginalized women of color, focusing solely on bar exam passage fails to address the very real and deleterious impacts of poverty on their lives – and their ability to study for requisite tests.
Esq. Apprentice works with community law firms to secure paid legal employment for a debt-free route to law licensing, and offers a culturally responsive coaching model that is designed to meet apprentices at the intersections of gender, race, and class.
Your support is a direct investment in their success.
Our mission is to create a debt-free path to law licensing for low-income women of color, spearheading a more diverse, economically empowered, and justice-centered legal profession.
We are building a cohort of attorneys through the apprenticeship program so that low-income women of color across California can experience better access to justice.
We are setting the stage for bigger, deeper, and more impactful change. To do this we have to change how states and bar associations treat legal apprenticeships and remove obstacles faced by apprentices through policy and administrative advocacy.
Our training, apprentice cohorts, and advocacy agenda create equitable opportunity, impact, and full participation for all.
When we say we are women of color centered, we mean all those who have had lived experience as women including transgender and gender non-conforming people.
This includes people with disabilities, LGBTQIA individuals, low-income people, and over-criminalized communities.
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity for upward economic mobility and joy, and they should know that they deserve it.
We create space for people currently navigating or who have successfully navigated the legal apprenticeship program to speak for themselves, we don’t speak for them. We are accountable to the legal apprentices.
We adopt policies and practices that recruit and retain a diverse staff and break down the structural barriers that prevent the full participation of all staff.
We make decisions that move us towards long-term change. We keep going when the work feels hard. We are committed to ensuring our apprentices become lawyers and retain secure jobs.
Women of color have been excluded from the law for far too long. Give now to create opportunities for them to flourish.
Our cohort of women have the grit, drive and skill to become licensed attorneys – but they can’t do it alone. Sign up to mentor or sponsor a future attorney today.