Summer Funding Sources

The Office of Public Interest maintains the following list of summer funding resources. It is updated annually as new information is provided. For third-party funding sources (non-WCL), please refer to the organization websites for up-to-date information about application criteria, materials, and deadlines. Please contact OPI with any general summer funding questions at publicinterest@wcl.american.edu. Please use this information for future planning as well.

For a current and more exhaustive list of funding sources, visit PSJD.org

Summer Funding Sources Specifically for WCL Students

WCL Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) Grants

Established at American University Washington College of Law in 1989, EJF is a non-profit, student-run organization. Throughout the school year, EJF raises money and collects donations from students, faculty, staff, and the business community to fund grants for WCL students. Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) Grants are the primary source of funding for students who accept unpaid or low-paid public interest summer internships both in the U.S. and abroad. The $4,000 grants enable WCL students to gain valuable experience in the public interest sector while providing critical services to underrepresented members of our communities. Any student who accepts a full-time summer public interest position and meets EJF volunteer requirements is eligible to apply. For more information visit the EJF website.

Squire Patton Boggs Public Policy Fellowship

Since 2011, the Patton Boggs Foundation has been pleased to make available annually a Patton Boggs Public Policy Fellowship grant to the American University Washington College of Law for summer work. The grant provides a rising 2L, 3L or 4L with the essential funding to pursue a public policy position of their choosing. One grant of $5,000 is awarded to the recipient. The Squire Patton Boggs Foundation focuses on students with a strong interest in international dispute resolution. Students may seek opportunities in foreign countries and in the United States. A preference is given to interested veterans of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. The Foundation also wishes to further opportunities for students who contribute to the diverse economic, educational, and ethnic background of WCL’s student body. Click here for more information about this opportunity. Applicants are also encouraged to visit the Foundation’s website and Facebook page (google "Patton Boggs Foundation Facebook") for additional information about the Foundation and prior Fellows. Applications for 2017 are due on March 31, 2017 at 5:00 pm. Applications are available here.

External Summer Funding Sources

Equal Justice America Legal Services Fellowships

Equal Justice America provides $4,000 fellowships to students who accept full-time summer public interest employment at a non-profit organization in the U.S. providing direct civil legal assistance for the poor.  Placements with public defender offices and government agencies do not qualify.  Equal Justice America sponsors fellowships for 175 law students at more than 75 law schools, including Washington College of Law. Students can receive BOTH the Equal Justice Foundation (WCL) Grant and the Equal Justice America Fellowship. To apply, applicants must send a cover letter describing their commitment and interest in providing legal services to the poor, a resume, two letters of recommendation, and an employment confirmation letter from the hiring organization to Equal Justice America. Students should indicate on the cover letter whether or not they have work-study funding. Students may apply prior to securing a placement, but an employment confirmation letter is required before a fellowship will be awarded. All application materials must be sent together.

Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps JD Program
Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps JD program is an AmeriCorps-funded program that provides 350 law students with the opportunity to earn an $1,230 education award voucher for spending the summer in a qualifying internship at a non-profit, public interest organization. Students must complete 300 service hours to receive the education award voucher, which can be used to pay current educational expenses or qualified student loans. Additionally, county, state, and nonprofit public defenders offices now qualify for Summer Corps funding.  The 2017 application is due on April 14, 2017 and is available on the Equal Justice Works website. Fellowships are offered on a rolling basis.

Akin Gump Pro Bono Scholars Program

Are you interested in making pro bono work an integral part of your practice? The Akin Gump Pro Bono Scholars Program is a two-year summer program for top students who are interested in doing just that. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP currently offers this program in five offices: Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.The Pro Bono Scholars Program is a two-summer commitment. During their 1L summer, Pro Bono Scholars spend at least seven weeks at a public interest organization of their choosing. The firm encourages the Pro Bono Scholars to choose a placement that matches their own interests and will provide them with true substantive experience. Some candidates have applied for (or even received an offer from) a public interest organization during the selection process; others have worked closely with the firm's pro bono practice to identify and secure public interest placements after being selected as a Pro Bono Scholar. While Akin Gump prefers that candidates work with organizations that have a strong fit with their pro bono practice, particularly those groups with which they already have relationships and that operate in the communities where they have offices, there are few limitations on the organizations with which a Pro Bono Scholar might work.

International Funding

Arthur C. Helton Fellowship Program (American Society for Internaitonal Law)

Established in 2004, the Arthur C. Helton Fellowship Program recognizes the legacy of Arthur Helton, a prominent human rights advocate and ASIL member. Helton died in the August 19, 2003 bombing of the UN mission in Baghdad. Funded by contributions from ASIL members, interest groups, and private foundations, Helton Fellowships provide financial assistance in the form of "micro-grants" for law students and young professionals to pursue field work and research on significant issues involving international law, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and related areas.

Fellows undertake their projects in association with an established educational institution, international organization, governmental agency, or non-governmental organization working in areas related to international law, human rights, and humanitarian affairs. ASIL does not assist in securing organizational sponsorship for Fellows. In acknowledgement of Arthur Helton’s commitment to human rights and humanitarian affairs in the field, preferential consideration may be given to applications demonstrating a significant fieldwork component as well as those involving the human rights of refugees, internally displaced persons, and other vulnerable populations. Applications for fieldwork in the area of international criminal law and international humanitarian law are also encouraged.