2014 Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program

Building on St. John’s Vincentian mission of serving those in need, and the ethical obligation of lawyers to promote social justice, the Law School’s Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program (“the Program”) seeks to encourage and facilitate our students’ participation in the delivery of legal services to traditionally underrepresented clients, groups, or interests.

Application Requirements

Students in good standing in the Class of 2015, the Class of 2016, and the Class of 2017 (evening students) are eligible to apply for a 2014 Summer Public Interest Fellowship if they have met the following requirements:

  • Worked at the annual Public Interest Auction on March 27, 2014
  • Performed three hours of approved pro bono work during the school year (pro bono service that is not for credit or compensation)
  • Solicited donations for the 2014 Public Interest Auction. This includes:
    • Attending mandatory solicitation trainings
    • Making 15 documented in-person solicitations (travel time not included)*
      *Special consideration will be given to solicitations that result in donations received before February 21st
  • Volunteered five miscellaneous hours through work during the Fright Fest Fundraiser in the fall, additional pro bono work, additional soliciting hours and other tasks as need is determined throughout the year.

Eligible Public Interest Employment

For purposes of the Program, an eligible public interest employer includes any entity, public (i.e. government) or private, that provides legal assistance and/or legal advocacy for low-income, underserved, or disenfranchised people and communities. Judicial internships do not qualify.

How To Apply

The application process for the 2014 Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program opens in the spring semester and closes with an April application deadline. Applicants must secure employment before applying for a fellowship and must submit the following for their application to be marked complete:

  • Application form
  • Resume
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Public Interest Law Student Association (PILSA) Accounting Chart certifying completion of the required public interest service hours (Questions about these service prerequisites should be directed to PILSA via TWEN)
  • A statement of no more than two pages, typewritten and double-spaced, evidencing the applicant’s commitment to public interest law and public service prior to, and during, law school
  • A brief letter from the applicant’s prospective summer employer describing the organization/agency, stating the number of hours and weeks of employment, and detailing the work to be performed and supervision to be received

The Selection Process

The Law School's Summer Public Interest Fellowship Selection Committee reviews the applications and selects the Summer Public Interest Fellows. The eight-member Selection Committee is composed of four PILSA-designated student representatives and four professors/administrators. The Director of the Public Interest Center serves as the Selection Committee Chair, but only participates in the final selection in the event of a tie. The Selection Committee reviews applications in their totality and selects fellows based on the following criteria:

  • Whether the fellowship placement qualifies as eligible public interest employment
  • How directly the position serves the public interest
  • The applicant’s current commitment to public interest
  • The applicant’s commitment to PILSA and other public interest initiatives at the Law School
  • The applicant’s past commitment to public interest, pro bono, and social justice

Additional Considerations

Students should be aware of the following additional considerations when applying for a 2014 Summer Public Interest Fellowship:

  • Fellowships are usually awarded for a single, uncompensated position requiring a minimum of 10 weeks at 35 hours per week, although the Selection Committee will review applications for partial awards as well
  • The typical fellowship award is around $5000
  • Students may apply for supplemental funding to support travel outside of the metro area and the Selection Committee has full discretion over the awarding of supplemental funding
  • Students receiving partial funding from another source or working less than the minimum weeks or hours may be eligible to receive a partial fellowship award as determined by the Selection Committee
  • Judicial internships and placements do not qualify for the Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program
  • Late applications will be accepted on a rolling basis if funding is available
  • Fellowships may be awarded for eligible public interest employment outside New York State
  • Fellows are required to submit a one-page evaluation of their summer experience to the Director of the Public Interest Center prior to the conclusion of their fellowship and may be asked to participate in related Public Interest Center events and presentations

More Information

Rachel D. Andron, Esq.
Director, Public Interest Center