A summer internship with a public interest organization is an excellent way to obtain practical skills and training, as well as to explore an area of law about which you are passionate. Summer public interest interns often develop skills in such areas as: client intake and counseling; legal and trial strategy; oral advocacy and negotiation; legal research and writing; and community organizing/outreach. While the majority of public interest organizations have insufficient funds to pay their summer interns, numerous resources exist to aid students in finding supplemental funding.
Please note, this page will be updated as information becomes available. Please check back for information regarding later deadlines.
PSJD - a NALP initiative - is an online clearinghouse for law students and lawyers to connect with public interest job listings and career-building resources. PSJD is a free resources for University of Wisconsin law students and alumni to search among thousands of public interest job opportunities and employer profiles.
In addition to their searchable database of thousands of organizations and opportunities, helpful "how-to" documents, public interest career fair dates, and other useful web links of interest, the website has a long list of funding sources for specific employment opportunities. Go to PSJD's Resource Center, which includes information on summer funding sources as well as post-graduate fellowship opportunities.
Specific Funding Sources
In addition to funding sources available through PSJD, University of Wisconsin Law students have often received supplemental funding through the programs listed below. While this list is not exhaustive, it contains some of the more common funding sources.
University of Wisconsin Law School Summer Public Service Fellowships (SPSF)
The SPSF program provides stipends to University of Wisconsin Law students who take full-time, unpaid or extremely low paid summer public service jobs. Grants for the summer of 2015 will depend on the number of applicants and the amount of available funds. The SPSF application will be available in February and due on Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 4:00 PM. For your information, the 2015 application form and an SPSF Fact Sheet can be found below:
ABA John J. Curtin, Jr. Justice Fund Summer Legal Internship Program
This program pays a $2,500 stipend to students who spend their
summer working for a bar association or legal services program designed
to prevent homelessness or assist homeless or indigent clients or their
advocates. The ideal intern will have a demonstrated interest in public interest
law and experience working with poor people or on issues affecting
them. All law students are eligible, and first year law students are
encouraged to apply. Students find their own eligible internship and must commit no less than eight
continuous weeks between May 1 and October 1 to the program of his or
her choice. Applicants must submit a resume, an application form
and a prospective program's supporting statement. For further information see the Curtin Justice Fund website. The application deadline for Summer 2015 is Monday, March 30, 2015.
Arthur C. Helton Fellowship Program
Funded by contributions from ASIL members, this one-time award will provide financial assistance, "micro-grants" of up to $2000, for law students and young lawyers to pursue human rights and international law work and research. Fellows will undertake their projects in affiliation with an established NGO or human rights organization.
For more information, please see the Helton Fellowship Program website. The deadline for 2015 has passed. Applications are typically due in January.
Equal Justice America Legal Services Fellowships
These fellowships are for first and second year law students who
will be working for organizations providing direct civil legal services
for the poor. This means that positions that are strictly policy
focused are not eligible. The fellowships are for up to $4,000 and the
position may take place anywhere in the United States provided that the hiring organization is a non-profit organization providing direct civil legal services to the poor. To apply, students must send a cover
letter describing their commitment and interest in providing legal
services to the poor, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and an
employment confirmation letter from the hiring organization.
For additional information about the Legal Service Fellowships, please see Equal Justice America's website. All applications for the Equal Justice America Legal Services Fellowships must be postmarked no later than March 23, 2015. Awards will be announced by email on or around April 24, 2015.
Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps JD Program
The AmeriCorps JD provides law students with the opportunity to earn a $1,212 education award voucher for spending the summer in a qualifying internship at a non-profit, public interest organization. Students must complete 300 service hours to receive the education award voucher, which can be used to pay current educational expenses or qualified student loans. Applications are due on Tuesday, April 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. For more information about eligibility criteria and the application and selection process, visit the Equal Justice Works website.
National Lawyers Guild Haywood Burns Fellowship
This fellowship has expanded to place hundreds of students with public interest organizations that are working to protect and further the civil and criminal rights of oppressed people in the United States. Fellows are awarded $2,000 stipends (that may be supplemented with work-study grants and student fellowships) and are required to work full-time for ten weeks. Students apply for either an internship with a sponsoring organization or may submit a proposal for a student-initiated project. For more information and for application materials, see the National Lawyers Guild website. The deadline for 2015 has passed. Applications are typically due in January.
Peggy Browning Fund Summer Internship
The Peggy Browning Fund funds summer internships in labor-related organizations throughout the United States. Each fellowship will have a minimum $5,000 stipend for 10 weeks. Participating labor organizations and application materials are available at the Peggy Browning Fun website. A cover letter, resume and completed application form must be sent to each eligible work site to which you wish to apply. A copy of each completed application must also be sent to the Peggy Browning Fund. Both the Fund and the specific sites to which you are applying must have received your applications by the deadline. You can apply for up to five positions. The deadline for 2015 has passed. Applications are typically due in January.
Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) Summer Internships
For students interested in working in Chicago, this is a great opportunity to work in public interest law. PILI sponsors a Summer Internship Program for first and second year law students from across the country (note: most PILI interns have completed their second year of law school). Each summer, PILI funds dozens of internships at public interest law agencies in the Chicago metropolitan area. Agencies hosting Summer Interns receive grants to pay an intern for 10 full-time weeks of work. PILI ensures quality supervision by experienced lawyers at the agencies, provides a ten-week educational luncheon seminar series, and hosts social and networking events throughout the summer. The areas of law available include civil rights, immigration, poverty law, health law, and environmental law.
Law students apply to the agencies directly through the PILI application. The application period for summer of 2015 began in October 2014, and applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all of the agencies have completed their hiring. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of obtaining an Internship. For an application and the list of placement agencies, see the PILI website.
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