If you are looking to pursue a career in public interest law, there are numerous scholarships available for you to apply for to support your dream. In this blog post is a list of the best public interest law scholarships curated for you to apply, let’s begin.
More often than not, students get discouraged from pursuing their dream careers because of the hefty cost of the education required to equip them with the qualifications to achieve their dreams. But it shouldn’t end yours because there are scholarships and other financial aid opportunities that you can take advantage of to fund the cost of your education.
And aside from scholarships, there are grants, bursaries, and fellowships that you should also be on the lookout for as they too are good sources of financial aid because you don’t have to pay back unlike a student loan.
These non-refundable financial aids – scholarships, bursaries, fellowships, and grants – are funded but not limited to federal and state government, colleges and universities, companies, and individuals. Also, note that every scholarship has its specific criteria and eligibility requirements which are important to review before applying for a scholarship.
In this blog post, I have curated a list of public interest law scholarships but before we get into it let’s define some terms.
Table of Contents
What is Public Interest Law?
According to Wikipedia, public interest law refers to legal practices undertaken to help poor, marginalized, or under-represented people, or to effect change in social policies in the public interest.
Scholarships and fellowships are offered by different organizations and institutions to those who would like to pursue a career in public interest law. The awards are very attractive in that they often cover full tuition and a monthly stipend to winners. Aside from the financial incentive, recipients of the scholarship may also gain access to special programming and counseling.
To be considered for a public interest law scholarship, you must have excellent achievements like a minimum of 3.0 GPA and a high LSAT score. But scholarship donors mostly place a heavy emphasis on a demonstrated commitment to and experience in public service.
14 Public Interest Law Scholarships
The public interest law scholarships are:
- Boston University School of Law Public Interest Scholarships
- Columbia Law School Public Interest Admissions Scholarships and Fellowships
- Yale Law School Public Interest Fellowships
- Kline School of Law Public Interest Law Scholarship Program
- Berkeley Law Public Interest Scholars Program
- NYU Law JD Scholarships
- Stanford Law School Public Interest Funding Programs
- Ms. JD Public Interest Scholarship Program
- The Toll Public Interest Scholars Program
- Wayne Reaud Public Interest Scholarship
- Blume Public Interest Scholars Program
- Northeastern University School of Law Public Interest Law Support
- American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) Public Interest Scholarship Program
- UCI Law Public Service Scholarship
1. Boston University School of Law Public Interest Scholarships
Boston University School of Law offers scholarships to students who wish to pursue a career in the public interest. The scholarship worth is between $40,000 to full tuition for three years and a stipend of up to $5,625. To be considered, you will have to submit an additional essay and a personal statement with your application for admission.
The essay should describe your career goals and focus on public interest.
2. Columbia Law School Public Interest Admissions Scholarships and Fellowships
Columbia Law School awards two different scholarships for public interest scholars namely; the Greene Public Service Scholarship and the Public Interest Fellowship (PIF). They both award full tuition to students in good academic standing who are committed to public interest or public service law.
Other perks come with receiving these awards. Both the scholarship and the fellowship do not require an application. Candidates are selected based on their admission application into the public interest program at Columbia Law School.
3. Yale Law School Public Interest Fellowships
This has to be one of the best public interest fellowships you can find around. The fellowship provides $50,000 every year to 30 graduates of Yale Law School’s public interest program. The funding supports 1 year of work in the public interest which will enable graduates to kickstart their careers while serving the legal needs of underserved members of our society.
4. Kline School of Law Public Interest Law Scholarship Program
Kline School of Law is the law school of Drexel University and provides scholarships to 5 students each year who are selected by the faculty committee. The scholarship award is up to a full-tuition thus you won’t have to worry about tuition while studying for a public interest program at Kline School of Law.
Aside from the monetary funding, scholarship recipients will also receive a personal public interest lawyer mentor, and invitation to participate in a Public Interest Colloquium, public interest research opportunities, and selection priority for co-ops and clinics. Those interested in this award are required to attach the scholarship addendum to their law school application.
5. Berkeley Law Public Interest Scholars Program
J.D. students with an interest to work in public interest law may consider applying for the program at Berkeley Law to get considered for a 3-year fully-funded scholarship. The program is aimed at reducing the financial barrier law students face when deciding whether to pursue public interest legal careers after graduation.
To be eligible for the scholarship, candidates must express an interest and commitment to work as a public interest lawyer after law school and submit an essay on “Why Berkeley Law”. This should also include other application materials such as a personal statement and resume that reflects your interest, experience, and commitment to the field.
6. NYU Law JD Scholarships
NYU Law offers several scholarships to incoming and current J.D. students with an interest to work in public interest, public service, and government positions. The scholarships for incoming and current students are different but there is just one that is for everyone which is the PILC Summer Funding Program that guarantees funding for all first and second-year students working in public service and government positions. $5,500 are provided to first-year students while second-year students will receive $7,500.
For incoming students, they have access to apply for the following scholarship programs:
- Sinsheimer Service Scholarship
- Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Scholarship Program
- Latinx Rights Scholar Program
- Furman Public Policy Program
Each of these scholarships offers full tuition to a select number of students with a passion for public interest law.
For current students, the following scholarships are available:
- Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program
- Derick Bell Public Service Scholarship
- Moelis Urban Law & Public Affairs Fellowship
7. Stanford Law School Public Interest Funding Programs
Stanford Law School offers a number of funding programs such as postgraduate fellowships, summer funding, scholarships, and loan repayment assistance program to students with a commitment to pursue a career in public interest law. A total of $4 million is siphoned into this program every year to assist current students and alumni.
The fellowships, summer funding, and scholarships all have different eligibility requirements and are offered to a limited number of students. Their worth or value also varies.
8. Ms. JD Public Interest Scholarship Program
This is one of the public interest law scholarships provided as a stipend to students as they pursue careers in public interest law. The scholarship is only for women and it was established to offer financial support to those who are interning without getting paid. The scholarship is awarded every year, so if you missed it this year, you can try again next year.
9. The Toll Public Interest Scholars Program
This program is funded by the Robert and Jane Toll Foundation and is tenable only at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. The program has many objectives one of which is to ease the financial burden of law school by providing full-tuition scholarships and funded public interest summer employment.
The program offers a full-tuition scholarship and stipend for all three years of law school to Toll Scholars who must be active participants in Carey Law School’s public interest program. Toll Scholars must also be in good academic standing, remain enrolled at the law school, and commit to working in the public interest for at least 3 years upon graduation or following a clerkship.
10. Wayne Reaud Public Interest Scholarship
The above-named scholarship is tenable only at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law. It is a full-tuition award that covers students’ entire 3 years of law school and provides summer stipends for interns in public interest legal work. To be awarded, you must have a good academic record and be committed to pursuing a career in public interest law following graduation.
11. Blume Public Interest Scholars Program
Blume Public Interest Scholars Program is one of the best public interest law scholarships for those enrolled in a public interest program at Georgetown Law. The program covers full tuition each year to a select number of students. Recipients of the award are known as Blume Scholars and also receive a faculty advisor and a public interest attorney mentor as well as several opportunities to expand their career and experience.
To be selected, you must be in good academic standing, have some experience in public service, be committed to pursuing a career in public interest law, and have overall achievement. If you satisfy all of these then you should go ahead and apply for the Blume Public Interest Scholars Program. If you get called for an online interview then you are among the semi-finalists.
12. Northeastern University School of Law Public Interest Law Support
Northeastern University is one of the best schools in the US for public interest law and through its Public Interest Law Scholarship provided financial assistance to select students in the program. To qualify for the funding, you must have overall excellent academic achievement and extensive experience in fields concerned with social justice and public service.
The scholarship is full-tuition and it is renewable for 3 years of law school.
13. American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) Public Interest Scholarship Program
You can qualify for a scholarship if you intend to pursue a public interest law program at AUWCL. The scholarship covers 3 years of full tuition, which means you won’t pay tuition during your time in law school. It is awarded to students with excellent academic records and a commitment to pursue a career in public interest law upon graduation.
The program was established in 2001 and is offered every year to date.
14. UCI Law Public Service Scholarship
In a bid for the University of California Irvine (UCI) School of Law to promote and attract students into public interest law careers, the law school established the UCI Public Service Scholarship offered to incoming and continuing students with a commitment to public service. Incoming applicants will apply for the scholarship at the same time they are applying for a place in the public service program.
Scholarships for public interest law are quite generous, all of them offer full-tuition awards and a few of them add stipends to it. If you are seeking for a law program to pursue that you won’t spend so much on tuition then you should consider pursuing public interest law and be eligible for numerous funding options.
What is the salary of public interest lawyers?
The salary of public interest lawyers varies by location but it can range from $75,493 to $102,436.
How long does it take to become a public interest attorney?
It takes approximately 7 years to become a public interest attorney. 4 years for an undergraduate degree and 3 years of law school.
- 12 Best Scholarships For First-Generation Law Students
- 12 Best Masters In Law Scholarships for International Students
- 10 Law Scholarships For International Students
- 15 Law School Scholarships for Disabled Students
- 6 Best Undergraduate Law Scholarships for African Students
- Top 10 Grants For Conservation Projects