Summer Public Service Fellowships

Even though applications for the Law School's Summer Public Service Fellowships will not be available until sometime next month, I thought it would be a good idea to send you summary information on the eligibility criteria, as I know many of you are applying for, or have accepted, public interest/government agency jobs for the summer. The Summer Public Service Fellowships (SPSFs) are grants of approximately $2500 given to first- and second-year students who accept summer employment with eligible public interest/government agencies. To be eligible for a Summer Public Service Fellowship, a job MUST be: 1) With a non-profit organization or government agency; 2) Legal in nature; 3) One that allows you to work a minimum of 10 weeks AND a total of at least 400 hours over the summer; 4) One that provides an attorney to supervise you; and 5) Not one for which you COULD receive academic credit (even if you volunteer without receiving academic credit). This last criteria has caused some confusion in the past, so I would like to clarify it's meaning. It is intended to cover positions for which you COULD intern/extern for credit, including positions at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, even if you accept a volunteer position without credit. This also includes positions at prosecuting attorney's offices and public defender's offices in Wisconsin, for which you COULD obtain credit through the Prosecution Project or the Public Defender Project (this rule does not apply to 1Ls taking positions at these offices, however, because 1Ls are not eligible to participate in either Project). Regardless of whether a job meets the above five criteria, SPSFs funded by work-study money (which comprise the vast majority of SPSFs) will NOT be made to fund: 1) Work for any partisan group or for a non-partisan political activity that is associated with a candidate or contending faction in an election for public office; 2) Work for which the political support or other affiliation of the student is a prerequisite for employment consideration; 3) Work to be performed for an elected official, other than as part of the regular administration of federal, state or local government (in other words, no campaign work); 4) Work for a judge (including an administrative law judge); 5) Work completed outside of the United States, unless the employer is the U.S. government; 5) Work for a for-profit law firm; or 6) Work for a congressional committee. SPSFs funded entirely by the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) are not necessarily subject to these limitations. If you have accepted, or are considering, a summer public interest/government agency position, and would like clarification on whether your employment would make you eligible to apply for an SPSF, please contact Kristin Davis at

Submitted by Kristin Davis, Public Interest Law Advisor on January 22, 2007

This article appears in the categories: Career Services & Student Job Postings

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