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The BPI Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellowship for a Public Interest Lawyer

Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), a Chicago-based not-for-profit law and policy center, seeks a recent law or public policy graduate to serve as the Polikoff-Gautreaux Fellow for one year, renewable for a second, beginning in summer or fall 2011.

The Fellowship was created in 1999 to honor Alexander Polikoff, who served as BPI’s Executive Director for 29 years, and Dorothy Gautreaux, the public housing activist who gave her name to Polikoff’s most significant lawsuit.  Through the landmark Gautreaux lawsuit, Polikoff helped thousands of public housing residents live in non-segregated communities throughout Chicago and changed the face of federal public housing policy.  The Gautreaux precedent has inspired similar remedial housing programs across the country.

As a result of the diverse range of issues BPI’s work addresses and the complicated political dilemmas they present, work at BPI requires a variety of skills, creativity and a willingness to go beyond traditional legal remedies to bring about social change. In a typical day, a BPI attorney or policy analyst might do any of the following:

  • Negotiate the components of a site plan for a new mixed income community in a working group of public housing residents, community members, the developer, Chicago Housing Authority and City of Chicago staff
  • Interview teachers and administrators about policies and practices that challenge the development and long-term sustainability of innovative public schools
  • Conduct research for groundbreaking exclusionary zoning litigation to increase affordable housing
  • Draft a motion to allow for the construction of public housing within the context of a new mixed income community
  • Meet with municipal officials and state legislators to advocate for the creation and preservation of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households

Learn how to apply here.  The deadline to submit an application is October 15, 2010.