Funding Your Summer Public Interest Position
public sector careers
Boston College Law School offers a variety of funding programs for law students who wish to work in public interest positions during the summer. There is also a wide range of regional and national funding sources for public interest internships and fellowships. If you have further questions about identifying summer funding sources, please contact the Office of Career Services at 617-552-4345.
Boston College Law School offers a variety of funding programs intended to promote and provide the funding for working for government agencies and public interest and non-profit organizations, including:
- Federal Work-Study Program
- Public Interest Law Fund (PILF) for 1Ls and 2Ls
- Owen M. Kupferschmid Holocaust/Human Rights Summer Funding Project
- 2L and 3L Scholarships, Fellowships, and Loan Assistance
- Graduate Funding
Amount of Award: $10.00 per hour, maximum award $4,000 for summer. Award period: May 19-August 24.
Eligibility: 1L or 2L student. Based on financial need.
Application Procedure: Submit the BC Law Financial Aid Application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the deadline.
Obligations of Award: Work for an eligible non-profit agency. Agency must contract with Boston College and agree to pay 25% of the wages earned and FICA (a total of 32.65%).
Administered by: Financial Aid Office
The Summer Federal Work-Study Program offers federal work-study grants to Boston College Law School students for summer work for eligible government agencies, public interest organizations and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. This funding is in addition to work-study grants available during the academic year. Awards are made through the Financial Aid Office. The federal government pays approximately 60% of the salary of work-study recipients, the remaining 40% is paid for by a contribution from an employer. Work-study awards are based on financial need and are administered by the Financial Aid Office. Students may apply by completing the Free Application for Students Aid (FAFSA) and the BC Law Financial Aid Application by the required deadline. The deadline for applying will be in January. Awards are usually made by mid-February. It is not necessary to have a job at the time of application.
The Work-Study Program is available to fund summer positions working for government agencies, public interest organizations and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. Other employers, including some public interest firms, may also be eligible. There are also many work-study opportunities at the Law School, including Research Assistants for professors, and internships at the BC Law Legal Assistance Bureau. A list of agencies that have contracted with Boston College in the past is available in the Financial Aid Office. Other qualified agencies may also participate in this program by completing a contract agreement with the Financial Aid Office.
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Public Interest Law Foundation Summer Stipend Program
Eligibility: 1L or 2L students who have applied for a summer work-study grant to work for government, public interest or nonprofit organizations.
Notification of Award: April
Application Procedure: Complete an application for summer work-study grant and submit to Financial Aid. Complete a Summer Funding Common Application Cover Sheet and Application and submit with a resume to the Career Services Office (East Wing 210) by deadline (TBA).
Obligations of Award: Fill out an evaluation form at the end of the summer.
Administered by: Public Interest Law Foundation
Contact Person: Public Interest Law Foundation, Summer Stipend Committee, or Kate Devlin Joyce in the Office of Career Services.
The Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) is a student-run organization committed to increasing awareness of public interest legal opportunities and supporting students who are interested in this work. The Summer Stipend Program provides students with financial assistance to pursue public interest work during the summer. In 2012, PILF funded more than 100 summer public interest internships. All law students who are interested in public interest legal work are eligible to apply for a PILF grant. PILF construes the definition of public interest legal work as broadly as possible in order to give applicants the opportunity to demonstrate how their employers and their particular position will benefit the public interest. PILF has funded positions with government agencies, non-profit organizations, state and federal prosecutors, public defender offices, judges, and private law firms with a public interest practice.
Students may apply for a PILF stipend in the Spring. For this application, applicants do not need to have a firm offer for a summer position but must have scheduled an interview. When applying for a PILF stipend, students may submit applications for more than one summer positions. Applicants will be notified beginning in April.
Applications will be evaluated by a committee appointed by the Public Interest Law Foundation based on two criteria: 1) the applicant's demonstrated commitment to public interest work and 2) the extent to which the applicant's work will benefit the public interest.
Bingham McCutchen Fellowship for Public Service: Through the PILF Summer Stipend Program, several students will be named Bingham McCutchen Fellows. Their summer stipends will be paid from a fund established at the Law School by Bingham McCutchen LLP in honor of John Curtin, to support public interest careers. Preference will be given to students working in civil rights, human rights, juvenile rights & enforcement. As part of this program, Fellows will be invited to participate in a special mentor program with Bingham McCutchen attorneys.
To apply, first-year students must apply for summer work-study funding in January and submit a Summer Funding Common Application Cover Sheet and Application to Career Services Office in March.
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Amount of Award: Varies. Intended to cover out-of-pocket travel and living expenses. May be combined with work-study or PILF awards.
Eligibility: 1L and 2L students. Preference for internship focusing on international human rights issues and working in foreign countries. Must have received an offer from employer.
Application Procedure: After securing a summer position with a human rights organization, submit 1) Summer Funding Common Application Form, 2) a coply of the employer commitment/offer letter, 3) information describing the agency and its work, and 4) a current resume to the Office of Career Services (East Wing 210) in late Fall/early Spring semester. H/HRP funding is designated for work with an international scope (preference for work abroad). Selections will be made and students notified in late April.
Obligations of Award: Work a minimum of 10 weeks. Notify the school of your arrival and progress in summer placement. Submit a written report during the Fall, speak at a student panel regarding your summer experience. Collect information about your organization and other local groups to share with the law school.
Administered by: Holocaust Human Rights Project (H/HRP)
Contact Person: Coordinator, H/HRP Summer Funding Program or Career Services, x24345.
The Owen M. Kupferschmid Holocaust/Human Rights Summer Funding Project was established to fund students in internships that focus on international and human rights issues. Preference is given to internships in foreign countries. H/HRP is particularly interested in the development of law creating legal accountability for individuals responsible for state-sponsored or state-supported crimes or abuses, including mass murder and persecution, and human rights violations which states are unwilling or unable to prevent. However, anyone with an offer of a position in the human rights/international public interest field is encouraged to apply. The Project will fund first- or second-year students for a minimum of ten weeks. The funding amount will vary according to the needs of the students, but is intended to cover the out-of-pocket travel and living expenses. It may be combined with work study or PILF funding, and applicants are required to seek that additional funding. Students are encouraged to contact international organizations in January and to consult with the coordinator of the H/HRP Summer Funding Program for a list of possible sponsoring organizations.
The Holocaust/Human Rights Interns will be required to submit an evaluation and reflection of their summer placements to be used by future intern applicants. They will also be asked to speak on at least one panel or other forum about their experiences.
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Thanks to the great generosity of alumni and friends of the Law School, BC Law offers the following scholarships and loan repayment assistance to current second- and third-year law students. Many of these programs are intended to assist those students pursuing a career in the public interest.
Second-Year (2L) Students
James A. and Lois Champy Fellowship Program. Thanks to the generous contribution of Lois and James Champy (BC Law '68), the Champy Fellowship Program provides financial support to an outstanding second-year student who has demonstrated the intention and ability to work in the public interest and who is in need of financial assistance. The Champy Fellow will receive a $10,000 scholarship in two disbursements during the third year of law school. The Champy Fellowship Program defines a public interest career in its broadest possible terms, but with a preference to support a student who is providing direct legal services to the disadvantaged and/or is working in civil or human rights. Applications are sent to all 2L students in early Spring, and are also available in the Office of Career Services (East Wing 210). The application deadline for the 2013-2014 Champy Fellowship is March 29, 2013 at NOON.
Third-Year (3L) Students
The Drinan Family Fund in Support of Public Interest Law. Thanks to the generous contribution of anonymous donors, The Drinan Family Fund in Support of Public Interest Law has been established to encourage Boston College Law School students to pursue public interest careers. The fund awards $10,000 to a graduating student who will pursue a public sector career. This award is to be applied solely to indebtedness incurred for legal education.
Edward T. Bigham, III, Scholarship. The Edward T. Bigham, III, Scholarship was established in memory of Edward T. Bigham, III, (BC '75, BC Law '78), who served as an Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County in Massachusetts. The scholarship is a $5,000 award of financial support to an outstanding third-year student who intends to pursue a career as a district attorney. Applications are available in the Career Services Office (East Wing 210).
The David H. and Mary Murphy Posner Law Scholarship; The Roberts S. Pitcoff Memorial Scholarship; The Keefe Family Scholarship
These three $5,000 scholarships are for current third-year students who have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in the public sector.
Applications for the Drinan, Bingham, Posner, Pitcoff, and Keefe Awards, including further details and eligibility requirements, are sent to all 3L students in the early Spring, and are also available in the Career Services Office (East Wing 210).
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For graduates of Boston College Law School, The Francis X. Bellotti Loan Repayment Assistance and Forgiveness Program is available to those who pursue post-graduate law-related public interest careers to assist in the repayment of their educational debt. The awards are renewable annually. To be eligible for the LRAP, first time applicants must have graduated from the Law School within the past five years and be employed on a full-time basis in a public interest job. Preference is given to those who work for organizations that provide direct legal services to members of traditionally underrepresented groups. Please visit the LRAP page for complete eligibility details and current application. The application deadline is December 1st.
ADDITIONAL Education Debt Relief Resources, including information about Public Service Loan Forgiveness, are available online at:
The Office of Career Servies maintains an ongoing list of regional and national summer funding opportuinities. The handout is available online (BC login required). Click "2012 Summer Funding Opportunities".
Several national funding sources are currently available to law students doing summer public interest work. The criteria for the awards as well as the amount of funding vary according to the individual funding source. Some funders are issue-oriented; other funds are region-specific; still others apply to more general public interest work.
PSJD.org is also an excellent source for finding summer public interest funding.
Examples of the some popular funding sources include:
ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty
John J. Curtin Justice Fund Legal Internship Program
Deadline: Mid to Late March
Equal Justice America
Summer Legal Services Fellowships
Deadline: Late March
Federal Communications Bar Association's Foundation
Chairman Robert E. Lee Scholarship and Internship Fund
Massachusetts Bar Foundation, The Legal Internship Program
Legal Intern Fellowship Program
National Lawyers Guild
Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowship for Social and Economic Justice
Legal Services of New Jersey
Deborah T. Poritz Summer Public Interest Legal Fellowship Program
Deadline: Rolling beginning in November
Pride Law Fund
The Pride Law Fund Summer Fellowship
The Steven Richter Fellowship
Deadline: Early April
Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI)
Law Student Internship Program (Chicago area)
Deadline: Rolling admissions starting in October for 2Ls and Dec. 1 for 1Ls.