Campus News

UGA law students embark on public interest fellowships

Nearly 50 law students awarded $83,000+ in public service grants

University of Georgia School of Law students are answering the call of public service in record-breaking numbers. Thanks to additional funding sources, the law school has been able to provide 48 students with monetary support to pursue summer public interest work in a variety of settings. This number more than doubles the number of participants from two years ago in 2016, which was 22. The total amount of funding has grown from $53,000 in 2016 to more than $83,000 in 2018 and the number of fellowship sources has grown to eight, including new grants supporting work in health and municipal law.

“Seeing our students answering the call to service is very rewarding,” School of Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge said. “The law school’s mission is all about preparing our students with a first-rate legal education and connecting them with opportunities for real-world training so they can become future leaders for our state and society. Ensuring our students have access to public interest fellowships speaks to the heart of our mission.”

School of Law students will perform criminal justice, nonprofit and governmental work throughout Georgia, the nation and the globe. Select placements in Georgia include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlanta Legal Aid, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Augusta Public Defender’s Office, the Chatham County District Attorney’s Office and the Georgia Public Defenders Council. Out-of-state positions include the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C.; the Victims Rights Law Center in Boston, Massachusetts; the Mental Health Project in New York City, New York; King County Bar Association Pro Bono Family Law Services in Seattle, Washington; the Institute for Justice in Austin, Texas; the Cook County State’s Attorney Office in Chicago, Illinois; and South Carolina Legal Services in Greenwood, South Carolina. International locations include the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in Samoa, Boat People SOS in Thailand and No Peace Without Justice in Belgium.

“Students secured virtually all of these positions on their own. I am grateful to our graduates and to our other sources of financial support, which are enabling students to gain real-life legal experience with work that benefits society and helps students build their careers,” said Alexander W. “Alex” Scherr, associate dean for clinical programs and experiential learning.

Three new sources of fellowship money for the summer of 2018 include the State Bar of Georgia Health Law Section, the law school’s Sumner Memorial Fund and the Milner S. Ball Fellowship Fund. These join last year’s fellowship programs: the Justice John Paul Stevens Fellowship Foundation, the Melburne D. and Jacqueline K. McLendon Endowment, the Edward D. and Carol J. Spurgeon Public Service Fellowship Fund, the student-run Equal Justice Foundation and the Dean Rusk International Law Center Global Externship Overseas.