GSF Frequently Asked Questions
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What if I cannot make or I miss one of SJI’s mandatory 1L lunch programs?
You must attend the SJI Mandatory 1L programming or you jeopardize your eligibility to receive GSF. If you miss a session, you must attend a make-up session. If you miss a make-up session, then you must contact your primary advisor at SJI to set up a meeting to reinstate your eligibility for GSF. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure he or she has fulfilled the requirements of GSF.
How do I register for GSF on LawNet?
Please visit www.law.columbia.edu/lawnet and click on the funding registration tab. Follow the prompts on the website.
Is there anything I need to do after I have accepted an offer of employment to receive GSF?
Yes, update your LawNet profile with correct supervisor and employment information, attend a GSF payment session, file a 2016-2017 FAFSA, fill out appropriate paperwork and enroll in direct deposit.
How do I know whether my potential employer qualifies for GSF?
Please read through the first few pages of this guide which enumerate what kinds of employers qualify for GSF. Also, please check LawNet to see if a prior student has worked at an organization, which would indicate that the organization does in fact qualify for GSF.
What if I cannot find my employer on LawNet?
Please fill out an Organization Request Form (ORF) and submit it to Cat Kirchhoff to get approval for your organization.
Is there an opportunity for someone to help me find a summer job and look over my resume prior to sending out my summer applications?
Yes, please use Symplicity to set up an appointment with an SJI specialist in your area of interest. You can find a list of SJI Advisors here.
Is there anything I need to do after completing my summer internship?
Complete an Employer Verification Form and fill out an evaluation form describing your summer experiences.
Why do I need to fill out a FAFSA?
It is a Columbia Law School requirement so that it can determine the method by which your GSF will be paid. The Law School requires that all student interns who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents to file a 2015-2016 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the federal government. Once processed, the Financial Aid Office will receive your FAFSA data electronically.
Do I need to fill out a FAFSA even if I don’t have any loans?
Yes. You may be eligible for work study funding even if you do not have loans.
If I am not a U.S. citizen do I still need to file a FAFSA?
No. Students who are not U.S. citizens do not need to fill out a FAFSA.
How can I make sure I receive funding in a timely fashion?
Enroll in direct deposit and make sure you complete your GSF paperwork on time.
How do I enroll in direct deposit?
You will receive instructions by email and at the GSF payment sessions about how to enroll in direct deposit.
What happens if I do not enroll in direct deposit?
You will only receive one pay check by mail and then your funding will be held until you enroll in direct deposit.
Is there an online system where I can view my paycheck?
Yes, you can view your paystub by logging in with your uni at my.columbia.edu. Click on the “Faculty and Staff” tab to find a link to “View My Paycheck.”
What do I do if my paycheck is incorrect?
Contact Catherine Kirchhoff, Ckirchhoff@law.columbia.edu, at SJI.
As a 1L, I thought I would receive $4,500 for my eight week internship, why is my paycheck less than that amount? As a 2L, I thought I would receive $6,000 for my ten week internship, why is my paycheck less?
Your funding through GSF includes work study funds or payment as a casual employee, which is treated as taxable earnings and reported to the IRS by the University.
Do I have to take a lunch break?
The federal government requires students who work an eight hour day to take a one hour lunch break.
Will I be compensated for extra hours I spend at my summer placement if I work more than 35 hours per week?
No. Students who work in excess of the 35 hour per week requirement are not compensated for the extra time spent working in their summer placement.
Does the day off for Memorial Day/July 4 get taken out of our GSF stipend? Will I be required to make up these hours? If I work more than 35 hours a week, can those hours count to make up for Memorial Day and July 4th?
Students are expected to plan in advance of the holiday, and schedule time with their respective work placement to make up the lost days.
GSF only compensates for 35 hours per week. If I work for more than that, can I count those excess hours toward my Columbia pro bono requirement?
No. Students that work in excess of 35 hours per week will not receive pro bono credit for the extra time worked. Columbia pro bono credit accures only for service in a week for which you are not paid. You can receive pro bono credit for time worked beyond the required eight or ten week periods. Please see the other considerations section for more information about pro bono.
When is the Early Interview Program (EIP)? Will that affect my GSF if I choose to participate?
EIP will be held in early August. Students planning to participate in EIP should plan their internships accordingly, completing their GSF hour requirement prior to EIP or making arrangements with their placement supervisor, to complete their internship work after EIP.
What if I plan to apply for Law Review?
Students should arrange their summer so that they are able to complete at least eight weeks in a placement organization before returning to school on or about August 1 for Law Review Orientation. Students interning out of the country should budget for potential changes in travel plans for this purpose. You must inform your supervisor that you may have to leave early for Law Review.
Other Important Considerations
Will my work at an organization this summer count for the New York State Pro Bono Requirement?
Your GSF-funded work will fulfill the "50 Hour Rule" pro bono requirement provided that it otherwise qualifies under the New York State Rule. The Rule requires completion of 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work prior to filing for bar admission. For many of you, the work you do during your GSF-funded summer will qualify for the New York 50 hour rule (but not for the CLS requirement). You must also complete a Form Affidavit of Compliance that describes your work and is signed by your supervising attorney (details below). You can find more detailed information about the New York State Pro Bono Requirement on the SJI website. If you have any questions about whether your work is likely to qualify under the New York rule, contact Laren Spirer, Director of Pro Bono Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also be sure to read the full New York rule and FAQ's on the Court's website.
Do I need to collect any paperwork from my employer during the summer to get credit for the New York State pro bono requirement?
As soon as you have completed your placement, you should complete a Form Affidavit of Compliance (http://www.nycourts.gov/ATTORNEYS/probono/AppForAdmission_Pro-BonoReq_Fi...) which includes a signature from your supervising attorney (who must be admitted in the jurisdiction where the work is being done). You must keep this original form in your files until you submit it along with your New York State Bar paperwork. You should scan a copy in case you misplace the original, but originals are required for your Bar application.
If I stay longer at my GSF placement and am not paid, do I need to collect any paperwork from my employer to get pro bono credit for the CLS requirement?
Yes, you must complete an Exit Questionnaire and have your supervisor complete a Supervisor's Report, but ONLY record the hours beyond the weeks you were funded through GSF. The Exit Questionnaire and Supervisor’s Report are now on LawNet. Under the Social Justice Initiatives section of “My Services," click on "Pro Bono Status". Click on "Fill out Exit Questionnaire" to complete the Exit Questionnaire electronically. Once you have successfully completed your Exit Questionnaire, you will receive a prompt to send a Supervisor’s Report to your supervisor for completion. You may also request a Supervisor’s Report by clicking on the “Action” button next to the relevant placement on your Pro Bono Status page and selecting “Request Supervisor’s Report.” Once your supervisor completes the Supervisor’s Report, SJI will approve your hours and your profile will automatically be updated on LawNet. Important note: Pro bono hours will not be credited until both mandatory forms (Exit Questionnaire and Supervisor’s Report) have been submitted and approved by SJI. Both the Exit Questionnaire and Supervisor’s Report must be submitted within 30 days of project completion, whether for mandatory or voluntary credit.
What do I do if I’ve read this guide, read the FAQ, read the SJI website and still have questions?
Contact Catherine Kirchhoff, email@example.com