Public service fellowship program to support UC Davis Law students
In 2016, in response to a proposal by Dean Kevin R. Johnson and deans from three other UC law schools, the University of California Office of the President started the Public Service Law Fellowships program. That program has allowed UC Davis Law to fund approximately 230 students in summer and post-grad fellowships.
The Loan Repayment Assistance Program provides further support to students interested in pursuing careers in public interest law.
“It is a top priority to offer support to students in their efforts to gain invaluable public interest law experience,” Dean Johnson said. “The fellowships provide a wonderful opportunity for students to use the skills they are learning in law school to help people in need who otherwise would not have access to an attorney.” Johnson for more than a decade has served as President of the board of directors of Legal Services of Northern California, the leading legal services provider in the region.
This year, more than 80 King Hall students and graduates will be supported by UCOP fellowships in obtaining real-world public interest experience. UC Davis Law was able to award summer fellowships to every student who applied this year. The recipients, first- and second-year students, will work at nonprofit organizations and government agencies. The fellowships provide each recipient $4,000 for positions that otherwise would go unpaid.
Students have summer placements at the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, the Alameda County Public Defender, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, to name a few of the employers.
The program’s yearlong post-graduate fellowships come with a $45,000 salary and $2,500 bar-study stipend. Graduates have secured positions with leading public interest employers, including Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Yolo County Public Defender, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, and the UC Immigrant Legal Services Center. More information here.
Nonprofits usually cannot afford to pay interns, said Associate Director for Public Interest & Government Sofia Parino, of UC Davis Law’s Career Services office. And few offer entry-level positions, because “they need experienced attorneys to do more with the resources they have,” she said.