The Public Service Law Fellowship Program was funded for the first time in 1986 and is still funded by the Florida Bar Foundation I.O.T.A. Law Student Assistance Grant Program. The purpose is to promote interest in legal advocacy for the poor among law students. The program funds three fellows to work in non-profit or government organizations in the community. Fellows will receive a stipend of $2500.
Fellows work from August through April.
Fellows work with lawyers in the following non-profit or government agencies: Guardian ad Litem, Public Defender, Florida Institutional Legal Services, Battered Women’s Clemency Project, Three Rivers Legal Services, Department of Environmental Protection, St. Johns River Water Management District, and Southern Legal Counsel. Some placements involve intensive research and writing; some include working with clients. The duties differ depending on the agency. We make every effort to take fellows’ aptitudes and interests into account in assigning placements.
Fellows also write articles for the Docket on some issue relating to serving the underrepresented, and they organize projects to promote awareness of poverty issues and public interest law among the law school community. Fellows must take a three-credit course in poverty law in the fall semester.
Fellows must work an average of ten hours per week at their internship. Many fellows work more. In addition, they devote time to the group project(s), attending fellowship meetings approximately biweekly.
Minimum requirements: Four semesters by the end of summer, (a Summer counts as a semester) GPA of 2.0 or above after Fall. Applicants fill out a short application form, and write a brief essay. These forms and final information will be available at CGR late in the fall semester. The application deadline will be in the first week of the spring semester.
Unless the number of applicants is so large that it is not feasible, we interview every applicant. We evaluate applicants in terms of their relevant experiences and activities, demonstrated commitment to pro bono or public interest activities, demonstrated academic ability, writing ability, and interest in public service law. In most years, we have more than ten applicants who really deserve a fellowship based on these criteria.
Timothy McLendon at CGR, director of the Fellowship program, will be happy to talk with you about the program, or about your interest in public interest law more generally. Jesse Howell, Assistant Director of Career Services, has a wealth of information about pro bono and paid opportunities, including post-graduate fellowships, in public interest and government law.
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