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. Previous deadlines will be shown until updates are available to give students information about timing; however, deadlines may change year-to-year and past deadlines are not guarantees of future timing.


General Resources


PSJD is a unique online clearinghouse for law students and lawyers to connect with public interest job listings and career-building resources. As a collaborative project among over 200 American and Canadian law schools, PSJD is a free resource for law students and alumni of our subscriber schools to search among thousands of public interest job opportunities and employer profiles. Employer organizations may also post job opportunities for free. In addition to its database, PSJD offers an online library of educational and career-building resources for those interested in pursuing a career in public service. These resources are publicly available to all website visitors. 

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 Summer Funding Primer and a list of Summer Funding Sources and Paid Internship Program. Go to PSJD's Resource Center for information on summer funding, public interest practice guides, and other resources.


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 2024 will depend on the number of applicants and the amount of available funds. Please review the 2024 SPSF Fact Sheet (PDF). Deadline: March 24, 2024. UPDATE: The application is closed and all funding has been exhausted

Additional fellowships offered through the Law School include:

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 the summer. The Program will pay a $3,500 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 websiteDeadline: March 29, 2024.

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 ten-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. Deadline: November 27, 2023.

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 websiteDeadline: January 12, 2024.

Disaster Resilience Program

The Disaster Resilience Program (DRP) mobilizes law Student Fellows to provide free civil legal aid in disaster-prone areas to ensure vital legal services are accessible, comprehensive, and responsive to the unique needs of individuals, families, and communities so lives can be stabilized and communities rebuilt to be more resilient.Student Fellows receive a $7,000 stipend upon completion of 300 hours of service (eight to ten-week term). Duties include: engage in outreach and education, help provide direct legal services to disaster survivors, and foster important relationships within the community. For more information, please see the website. Applications open January 4 and deadlines are rolling, so apply ASAP. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of obtaining an Internship.

Equal Justice America Legal Services Fellowship

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 websiteDeadline: March 25, 2024.

Goodwin Procter 1L Diversity Fellowships

National law firm Goodwin Procter LLP, a national law firm, provides diverse first year law students with awards of $10,000 each, to help cover expenses while working in a public interest law position during the summer after the first year of law school. For more information, see the posting on Symplicity or their website. Deadline: February 2, 2024.

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 $1,000 stipend. The $1,000 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 $3,500 stipend for a total award of $4,500. For more information, visit the Maggio Fellowship website. Deadline: February 16, 2024.

National Lawyers Guild Haywood Burns Fellowship

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. Deadline: January 2, 2024.

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 $6,000 stipend for 10 weeks. Participating labor organizations and application materials are available at the Peggy Browning Fund 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 seven positions. Deadlines are rolling, so apply ASAP. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of obtaining an Internship. Deadline: January 12, 2024.

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. Deadlines are rolling beginning on November 1, so apply ASAP. 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.

Robert Masur Fellowship in Civil Liberties

The fellowship is open to first-year law students who intend to carry out significant activities during the summer (in between their first and second year) in the areas of civil rights and/or civil liberties. Fellows each receive a $3,000 honorarium. For more information see their website. Deadline: April 19, 2024.

Rural Summer Legal Corps

Selected candidates will work with a legal aid provider (host organization) in a rural location for 8-10 weeks over the summer providing legal services to underserved and lower income individuals. Participants will develop valuable skills and gain hands-on training through direct involvement with results-driven community projects. Students will receive a $7,000 stipend for their service. For a list of last year's positions: click here. Previous Deadline: February 14, 2023.

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 on research projects and assist with on-going lesbian and gay civil rights cases. For additional information, see the Williams Institute website. Previous Deadline: February 17, 2023.

SABA Chicago Foundation Law Student Public Interest Fellowship

The South-Asian Bar Association of Chicago Foundation provides a $5,000 grant to one law student who works in an unpaid or low-paid summer position benefiting public interest. Work that benefits the South-Asian community is preferable, but not required. To view last year's appication, click here. Previous Deadline: June 15, 2023.

SABA Washington, D.C. Foundation Law Student Public Interest Fellowship

The South-Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C. Foundation provides up to $7,500 grant to one law student who works in an unpaid or low-paid summer position benefiting public interest. Work that benefits the South-Asian community in Washington, D.C. is required. For more information, see their websiteDeadline: April 12, 2024.

For More Information: Please contact Lindsay Slaker at lslaker@wisc.edu.

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