Business Behind the Scenes
The BBS Fellowship

What It Is

A $2500 stipend and semester-long fellowship in Spring 2021 for first-generation professionals currently attending law school. We especially encourage applications from students from communities that are underrepresented in the legal profession.

In addition to the stipend, the BBS Fellowship will include remote mentorship and training sessions that will provide fellows with foundational knowledge about the business side of the legal world. Our training sessions are designed to empower fellows in making informed career decisions not just in law school, but throughout their legal careers.

Along with mentorship and business-side training, the BBS Fellowship aims to connect you with successful innovators from different sectors of the legal world—and with other BBS Fellows—who will help you make career decisions that empower you, whether that be starting your own firm, founding a nonprofit, being a BigLaw partner, forging a path as a government attorney, going in-house, or leaving the law completely.

This is entirely a training and mentorship opportunity for our fellows. BBS fellows will not be asked to perform any work for BBS or its clients.

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Who We Are

We founded Bradley Bernstein Sands LLP (“BBS”) in July 2020 after each practicing law for nearly 15 years at some of the biggest law firms and most forward-looking city governments in the country. We are a woman-owned firm that represents private and public clients in complex litigation on the West Coast. For over a decade before founding BBS, Heidi Bradley has been a leading litigator in Los Angeles and Seattle and was co-chair of her prior firm’s litigation department. Erin Bernstein has been a national leader in the government affirmative litigation space. And Darin Sands is a first generation professional who has gone on to become a go-to commercial litigator in Portland. The three of us are longtime friends and are also the parents of young children. As we have built our own law firm, we spent a lot of time distilling the important lessons we’ve learned in our prior positions—not just about the dollars and cents of how law firms run, but also about the value of leadership training, building professional networks, project management skills, and integrating a true balance between family life and career ambition into a larger office culture. And we’re so excited to share that knowledge.

Why We’re Funding This

Each of our founders is a highly experienced and successful litigator in our own field. But when we set out to start a law firm, we realized that our legal education and career training had not included any information about the economics of big law, government, and nonprofits, or alternative career paths available to lawyers in and outside of the law. We hope to help fill that gap for current law students and help demystify the opaque world of law firm economics—focusing especially on students who don’t have attorneys or other professionals in their family networks.

As we built BBS, we wondered—given the grim statistics of female litigators in BigLaw’s partnership ranks—why there weren’t more women-owned firms like ours, and why there are astonishingly few law firms founded by people of color. Systemic inequality and racism certainly play a role in this disparity. So too does the lack of guidance for diverse lawyers on how to successfully navigate those realities and find a career path that provides autonomy and control over your future. We want to see more firms like ours out there, and we want to help train, mentor, and fund the next generation of founders.

Who Should Apply

Applicants should be first-generation professionals, and we encourage BIPOC individuals and others underrepresented in the legal world to apply.

Applicants need not be planning to start their own law practice! We hope that exposure to the way legal organizations of all sizes operate will empower new lawyers and demystify the business end of our field. We also encourage public-interest oriented students interested in managing or launching their own initiatives to apply, and we will be including non-profit fundraising and budget management as part of our training sessions.

What You’ll Get

The cohort of BBS fellows will receive:

  • Training by legal professionals from a wide variety of legal backgrounds and organizations, via remote sessions during the Spring 2021 semester in subjects including:
  • law firm economics at both the associate and partner level;
  • strategic & logistical considerations in starting your own firm;
  • in-house legal structures and career paths;
  • nonprofit economics & startup costs;
  • management training; and
  • career coaching.
  • Career mentorship, mock interviews, and resume review on an ongoing basis.
  • A $2500 stipend.

Over time, BBS aims to build a robust network of current and former fellows to act as a peer network for career development, mentorship of first-generation professionals between various law schools, additional training opportunities, and advocacy for diversity within the broader legal market.

All sessions will be remote, regardless of the status of COVID-19 lockdown.

Application Process

Please send a resume & brief statement on why you’re interested in this fellowship.

  • Statement should be fewer than 500 words
  • No cover letters, please; nobody enjoys writing them, and your time is valuable.
  • Interviews of finalists will be conducted by Zoom/Teams and concluded by Jan. 30, 2021.
  • Please send any questions about the application, fellowship, or BBS generally to the fellowship email address.