Career Development Office
Symplicity

Hours 8am-5pm

Career Development Office
100 Law Center
Houston, Texas 77204-6060
Phone: 713-743-2090
Fax: 713-743-2091
lawcareer@uh.edu

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Summer Public Interest Fellowhsip FAQ

What is the purpose of the fellowship?
Who is eligible for the fellowship?
What are the terms of the fellowship?

How do I apply for the fellowship?
What criteria are considered for selection of fellows?
What placements qualify for this fellowship?
How do I find a fellowship placement?
What happens after I apply for the fellowship?
When do I know whether I have been selected for a fellowship?
What do I do about my placement if not selected for a fellowship?
If selected, when do I get the money?
Do I have to pay taxes on the fellowship money or will it impact financial aid?

 

What is the purpose of the fellowship?

To provide opportunities for work exposure in the public interest legal community, thereby instilling an excitement about and a commitment to public service in our students and graduates.

Who is eligible for the fellowship?

1Ls, 2Ls, and part-time 3Ls in good academic standing with a GPA of at least 2.33.

What are the terms of the fellowship?

Students who are working full-time (35 - 40 hours per week) are eligible to receive $400.00 a week for a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 weeks. Students who are working part-time (20 - 34 hours per week) are eligible to receive $200.00 a week only if they work for 10 weeks.

Students working outside the Houston area can apply for a Travel and Additional Expense grant of up to $1,000.00.  The exact amount of the travel grant awarded will be determined by the program administrator in accordance with funds available for competing needs.

Please keep in mind that students can only apply for a fellowship for one internship and students cannot receive both academic credit and a fellowship for the same internship.

How do I apply for the fellowship?

Students must first secure their summer placement with a public interest organization or a government agency. Then, by the posted deadline, students must submit their Public Interest Fellowship Application and the optional Travel and Additional Expense Grant Request (for students working outside of the Houston area). Also by the posted deadline, the host organization must fill out and submit an Agency Agreement. Please note this form can be submitted by the agency electronically, email, fax, US mail or hand delivery. Please begin work on the forms early and save a copy for your records.

What criteria are considered for selection of fellows?

1.      Your previous experience and future goals related to serving the public.  It is understood that many law students develop an attraction to public interest while in law school. A lack of previous experience should not deter a student from submitting an application.  

2.      Your placement.  How does the organization serve the public?  How will your time there benefit the organization and the population they serve? How will the experience help you achieve your public interest goals? 

3.      Your demonstrated understanding of the economic realities of public interest work.  Have you considered how to repay student loans, if any, on a public interest salary?  Have you considered how the lack of funding for public interest work impacts our justice system?  Do you have any thoughts about how to remedy the funding issues for individual public interest attorneys and/or organizations?  A discussion of potential funding sources is very favorably considered. 

4.      The overall professional and thoughtful quality of your application.

What placements qualify for this fellowship?

Students may work with legal departments of government agencies or non-profit organizations.  The placement can either provide direct legal services or be more focused on policy and legislative change. Judicial internships do not qualify as fellowship placements.  Fellowship work must be of a substantive legal nature and must be supervised by a licensed attorney.   

How do I find a fellowship placement?

Your career counselor can help you identify resources and recruiting events to find and connect with public interest employers. Make an appointment here.

What happens after I apply for a fellowship?

The applications are reviewed by a board of public interest attorneys and faculty who rank the candidates.  The fellowships are awarded in descending order until funds for this year are exhausted. 

When do I know whether I have been selected for a fellowship?

Recipients will be notified early to mid April.

What do I do about my placement if not selected for a fellowship?

UHLC highly recommends keeping all commitments made to an organization.  If you aren’t selected for UHLC Fellowship you have three options:

1.  Securing an external fellowship to fund the work (external funding sources can be found on www.psjd.org)

2.  Receive academic credit by participating in the Externship Program (the deadline to apply is generally early May), or

3. Volunteer.  The wealth of legal experience and good will generated will be well worth your time. 

If, however, it is impossible to fulfill a work commitment without receipt of fellowship funding, we ask you to clearly explain the contingent nature of your application to the organization.  

If selected, when do I get the money?

Payment is generally released the first week of June. 

Do I have to pay taxes on the fellowship money or will it impact financial aid?

The fellowship is an educational opportunity closely akin to a scholarship. The University generally does not issue recipients a 1099. Each individual should check with their own tax advisor and the university financial aid advisor.