A summer internship with a public interest organization is an excellent way to obtain practical skills and training, and 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. Further, many public interest organizations prefer to hire attorneys who were former interns at their organization or another organization doing similar work, so summer internships can be invaluable networking opportunities. 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, including summer internships. Go to PSJD's Resource Center, which includes information on summer funding sources and other opportunities.
Specific Funding Sources
In addition to funding sources available through PSJD, University of Wisconsin Law students have often received summer 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 2016 will depend on the number of applicants and the amount of available funds. The SPSF application is due Thursday, March 31st at 4 PM. The 2016 application form and an SPSF Fact Sheet can be found below:
ABA John J. Curtin, Jr. Justice Fund Summer Legal Internship Program
The Curtin Justice Fund Legal Internship Program is seeking motivated law student interns to apply for stipends available for summer 2016. The Program will pay a $2,500 stipend to three law school students who spend the summer months 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. For further information see the Curtin Justice Fund website. The application deadline for Summer 2016 is Monday, March 28, 2016.
ABA Janet D. Steiger Fellowship Project
The Janet D. Steiger Fellowship Project provides law students the extraordinary opportunity to work in the in the consumer protection and antitrust departments of state and territorial Offices of Attorneys General throughout the United States, as well as the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, the Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs, and the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Protection. The eight-week paid Fellowships were initiated in 2004 by the ABA Section of Antitrust Law, in cooperation with the National Association of Attorneys General ("NAAG"), as a consumer protection outreach initiative to introduce law students to the rewards of legal careers in public service. For further information see the Steiger Fellowship website. The application deadline for Summer 2016 is January 15, 2016.
Arthur C. Helton Fellowship Program
Funded in part by contributions from ASIL members and private foundations, Helton Fellowships provide financial assistance in the form of “micro-grants” of $2,000 for law students and young professionals to pursue field work and research on significant issues involving international law, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and related areas. For more information, please see the Helton Fellowship Program website. Applications must be received no later than Monday, January 18, 2016, by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
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. The application deadline for summer 2016 is March 21, 2016.
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 for summer are due by Friday, April 15, 2016. For more information about eligibility criteria and the application and selection process, visit the Equal Justice Works website.
Goodwin Procter 1L Diversity Fellowships
National law firm Goodwin Procter LLP, a national law firm, provides diverse first year law students with awards of $7,500 each, to
help cover expenses while working in a public interest law position
during the summer after the first year of law school. Applications for the
2016 Fellowship must be received by February 19, 2016. Fore more information, visit the Fellowship website.
Michael Maggio Immigrants' Rights Summer Fellowships
The Fellowship will be awarded to one law student each summer
to work on a student-initiated project. Students must submit a project
proposal with an organization willing to host the student for 10
weeks and provide a $1,500 stipend. The $1,500 amount may be
paid by the host organization or may be provided by the law
student through other means, e.g., law school public interest
funding, independent fundraising, etc. The Maggio Immigrants'
Rights Fellowship will provide an additional $2,500 stipend for
a total award of $4,000. Applications for the
2016 Fellowship must be received by February 1, 2016. Fore more information, visit the Maggio Fellowship website.
Fellowships may be completed with any existing organization whose mission addresses the needs of underserved individuals and groups. We encourage applicants to identify grassroots and non-traditional work opportunities for which there is a serious current societal need. This could be a small non-profit, a short-staffed community law firm, or an organizing campaign that needs legal assistance. The Haywood Burns Fellowships usually provide a rigorous legal experience as well as a political one. For more information and for application materials, see the National Lawyers Guild website. Applications are due January 11, 2016.
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 application deadline is January 15, 2016.
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 2016 began in October 2015, 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.
Sher Kung Summer Fellowship
The QLaw Foundation Sher Kung Summer Fellowship is a 10 week, full-time, paid summer opportunity for a graduate or law student working for a public interest organization serving the legal needs of the LGBTQ community or serving people living with HIV/AIDS. The student will receive an award of $7,500. For additional information, see the fellowship website. The application deadline is February 5, 2016.
The Williams Institute Summer Fellowship Program
The Williams Institute provides a summer stipend up to $5000 for a current law student or recent law school graduate to work for a national lesbian and gay rights organization, working on research projects and assisting with on-going lesbian and gay civil rights cases. For additional information, see the Williams Institute website. The application deadline is February 29, 2016.
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