Experience tells us that summer jobs are among the most effective training grounds for building student expertise and commitment, make valuable professional contacts, and provide vitally needed legal services - often to individuals who otherwise could not afford a lawyer. Unfortunately, the very organizations and agencies most engaged in this type of work, and most in need of student support, often cannot afford to pay students for their work. To address this operational paradox, several years ago, our School of Law began to raise funds from law firms, friends and alumni to provide Summer Public Interest Fellowships. Based on the success of this experience, the School of Law now supports Fellowships for all qualifying first year students - and for as many second year students as possible.
Students receiving the Fellowships work full-time, for a minimum of ten weeks, supervised by an attorney, in support of a public interest, governmental or judicial office. The School of Law's Foundation provides stipends, typically $3,000 to $4,000, to cover living expenses so students can fully engage in a work experience that would otherwise be unpaid. Past placements have included: ACLU of the Nation's Capital; Amnesty International; The Children's Law Center; DC Office of the Attorney General; DC Office on Human Rights; DC Superior Court; Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; Legal Aid Society; Legal Counsel for the Elderly; Manna, Inc.; Montgomery County Public Defender's Office; Neighborhood Legal Services Program; Public Defender Service of DC; Rappahannock Legal Services; US Department of Justice; US Environmental Protection Agency; and US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Rauh Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program enables students to spend their summers building expertise and making valuable professional contacts while providing vitally needed legal services, often to individuals who otherwise could not afford a lawyer.