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. Currently, most information reflects deadlines pertaining to Spring/Summer 2012. Please check back for information regarding 2013.
Public Service Law Network (PSLawNet)
PSLawNet strives to create a supportive community for public interest oriented law students and attorneys and is one of the greatest resources on the web for finding public interest jobs and funding. PSLawNet's goal is to be a "one stop shop" for law students and law school graduates working, or hoping to work, with nonprofits, public interest law firms, and government agencies. Since the University of Wisconsin subscribes to PSLawNet, all UW law students have unlimited access their resources and databases.
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 summer funding sources for specific employment opportunities. To access the list of summer funding sources, go to www.pslawnet.org, click on "Career Central" on the left sidebar, then click on "Financing a Career or Summer Job." This will take you to the funding list.
Specific Funding Sources
In addition to funding sources available through PSLawNet, 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 Interest 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. Most fellowships will be funded in conjunction with the federal work-study program. Grants for the summer of 2013 will be approximately $2,500, depending on the number of applicants and the amount of available funds. The SPSF application is due by noon on April 2, 2013 (in the Office of Career Services). More information, and an application form, can be found below as PDF documents (please print out ALL documents):
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 at http://www.abanet.org/homeless/curtin.shtml. Applications are due by Monday, March 25, 2013.
Arthur C. Helton Fellowship Program
Funded by contributions from ASIL members, this one-time award will provide financial assistance, "micro-grants" of up to $1000, for law students and young lawyers to pursue human rights work and research. Fellows will undertake their projects in affiliation with an established NGO or human rights organization.
For more information, please contact: Veronica Onorevole, ASIL Senior Programs Associate at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-939-6000.
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.
All applications must be postmarked no later than March 19, 2012. Awards will be announced by email on or around April 20, 2012
Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Program
Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded program that provides law students with the opportunity to earn a $1,000 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 10, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. For more information about eligibility criteria and the application and selection process, visit http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/programs/summercorps/general.
Everett Public Service Internship Program
This program sponsors approximately 200 summer internships at over 60 nonprofit organizations nationwide. Students must work full-time for 10 weeks. Deadlines vary, depending on which internship you are applying for. Interested students should apply directly to participating organizations, a list of which may be found at http://www.everettinternships.org/search/internships.cfm.
Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowship for Social and Economic Justice
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. Applications are due in early January. For more information and for application materials, see http://www.nlgnyc.org/linksnew.html.
Peggy Browning Fund Summer Internship
In 2012, The Peggy Browning Fund will support 60 funded summer internships in labor-related organizations throughout the United States. Each fellowship will have a minimum $4,000 stipend for 10 weeks. Participating labor organizations and application materials are available at: http://www.peggybrowningfund.org/positions.html. 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. Applications are due by January 18, 2013. 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 three positions.
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 $5,000 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 2013 begins in October 2012. The earlier you apply, the better your chances of obtaining an Internship. For an application see the PILI website at www.pili-law.org.
FOR MORE INFORMATION please contact Trisha Fillbach at email@example.com.