UHLC has a long history of subsidizing student summer work for local non-profit employers. This highly competitive program was greatly expanded in 1999 with a generous grant from the Houston Endowment. With their support, UHLC was able to quadruple the number of annual fellowships and add government employers as a placement option. In 2019, the Law Center financed 27 summer fellowships.
Students are responsible for choosing the agency, arranging their placement, and submitting all required applications and forms by 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Please read through the FAQ below for eligibility requirements and detailed application instructions.
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.
1Ls, 2Ls, and part-time 3Ls in good academic standing.
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 working outside the Houston area can apply for an additional $1,000 for travel expenses. The exact amount of the travel grant awarded may be different than the amount requested and 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.
Students must first secure their summer placement with a public interest organization or a government agency. Then, by 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 29, 2020, students must submit the following application materials to job posting ID # 24959 in the Symplicity Job Bank:
- A completed Summer Public Interest Fellowship Application Form; Summer Public Interest Fellowship Application Form;
- A completed Agency Agreement Form; and
- An updated copy of your resume (make sure to include all community service, volunteerism, and membership in service organizations).
Incomplete applications will not be considered. Students who will be working outside of the greater Houston area can apply for an additional $1,000 for travel expenses by filling out the Travel Expense Request Form and turning it in with all other required application materials. The Application, Agency Agreement, and Travel Expense Request forms are available in Symplicity under "Resources" as "2020 Summer Public Interest Fellowship Materials."
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.
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?
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.
The overall professional and thoughtful quality of your application.
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.
For students pursuing non-traditional or alternative legal placements, eligibility to apply for a fellowship will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please email Bill Powers at email@example.com with questions.
Your career counselor can help you identify resources and recruiting events to find and connect with public interest employers. Make an appointment here.
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.
Recipients will be notified mid- to late-April.
UHLC highly recommends keeping all commitments made to an organization. If you are not selected for a Summer Public Interest Fellowship you have three options:
- Securing an external fellowship to fund the work (external funding sources can be found on www.psjd.org)
- Receive academic credit by participating in the Externship Program (the deadline to apply is generally early May), or
- Volunteer. The wealth of legal experience and goodwill 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.
Payment is generally released by the end of June.