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Public Service Fellowships

In April 2016, UC President Janet Napolitano announced a first-of-its-kind systemwide fellowship program aimed at helping students at UC Davis School of Law and other UC law schools pursue careers in public interest law.

The President's Public Service Law Fellowships award $4.5 million annually to promising law students at King Hall, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UCLA. The funding makes post-graduate work and summer positions more accessible for students who want to pursue public-interest legal careers but might otherwise - out of financial need - seek private sector jobs.

"Lawyers who serve the public interest can use the power of the law to effect positive change and strengthen our democracy," Napolitano said. "For the benefit of California and the nation, we want to foster the public-service careers of more UC-educated legal scholars."

Pending funding approval from UCOP for 2019, the post-graduate fellowships will provide $45,000 for graduates entering public service, plus an additional $2,500 to help defray bar-related costs. The summer fellowships will provide each fellow $4,000 to subsidize summer public-interest law jobs.

As part of the fellowship, UC hosts an annual conference that brings together legal experts from around the country and across UC to network and share expertise on selected public-service law topics. The annual event, which will be held each year at a different UC law school, gives current and past fellows an opportunity to build a supportive network of public interest lawyers across California and the nation, Napolitano said.

The fellowship program will also help make UC a destination for top law school students who are committed to practicing public interest law.

"Public service has long been a hallmark of UC Davis School of Law. Many of our students are inspired by the principles of service espoused by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for whom the law school building - King Hall - is named," said Dean Kevin R. Johnson. "Thanks to the new public service fellowship program, more students can pursue law in the public interest, providing legal assistance to those who need it the most."