Rebecca Knox Public Interest Law Summer Fellowship

Mission Statement

NSU's Public Interest Law Society is a student-run organization founded in 1994 to promote public interest legal employment opportunities and to overcome the economic barriers that confront future public interest lawyers. The purpose of this fellowship is to provide funding to students who serve community needs by working in a legal position in the public interest field. Public interest work is defined, for the purposes of this fellowship, as work for a non-profit organization that serves a low-income, underfunded and/or underrepresented community. Preference will be given to students who choose to work for Legal Aid or Legal Services agencies. Students selected for this fellowship will positively reflect the goals and objectives of the Public Interest Law Society and the Shepard Broad Law Center and will have demonstrated an interest in serving the public interest community.

Student Eligibility

This fellowship is open to first- and second-year (and third-year evening) law students enrolled at the Shepard Broad Law Center. In order to be considered for the fellowship, students must first make arrangements for a pro bono placement at a public interest organization, located in any geographic area, for a minimum of 200 hours over the summer. Students may not receive pro bono credit for their fellowship work. However, students who volunteer in excess of the required 200 hours may apply for pro bono credit for those additional hours.  Students who intend to transfer to another law school should not apply. Students who are awarded fellowships but subsequently transfer may be required to repay their stipend.

Amount of Award

The fellowships normally range from $1000 to $2000 each but will be determined annually based on the number of applications, the availability of additional funding to the applicant, and the amount of funds raised during the annual PILS Auction.

Application Requirements

All items below must be received in a timely fashion. No exceptions will be made.

  • A cover letter to the committee indicating the following:
    • Name, NSU #, and anticipated date of graduation
    • Address, telephone number and non-NSU email address
    • Expected place of employment and number of hours per week you intend to work
    • Any additional source of funding you are applying for/expect to receive for your work or additional summer income from other resources
    • At least one reference (preferably from NSU)
  • Current resume
  • One- to two-page statement explaining why you believe you should receive the stipend. This statement should reflect any prior commitment to the public interest law community, other community involvement, reason for wanting to work with the current organization, and any other factors pertinent to the application.
  • Letter or written statement of verification from expected employer, detailing the job description and verifying that you have been hired or are currently being considered for the available position.
  • A statement describing your financial need, including debts incurred, means by which you are paying for your legal education, and any other proposed sources of funding.
  • Informal interviews may be conducted if number of applications greatly exceeds number of available fellowships

Deadline

The deadline for submitting a completed application is the first Friday in April. Please submit completed applications directly to Career Development.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee composed of Public Interest Law Society members working with at least one faculty member or administrator.  Academic and financial information will be reviewed only by a faculty member and/or administrator.

Responsibilities of Fellowship Recipient

Students who receive fellowships must fulfill the terms as submitted in the application. If a student does not complete such terms, he or she will be required to repay the money awarded.

Upon completion of the fellowship, the student is required to submit a one- to two-page report to the Public Interest Law Center by the first Friday in September describing and evaluating his or her fellowship experience. In addition, by that date, the student must submit a letter from the organization certifying that the proposed work was successfully completed. Fellowship recipients should also be prepared to speak about their experiences to interested groups of fellow law students.

Additional Information and Assistance in Finding a Summer Placement

For resource materials for finding a summer placement, and counseling regarding this and other public interest law opportunities, please visit the Career Development Office.

Rebecca Knox graduated from the Law Center in May of 2004. While at NSU she was president of The Public Interest Law Society.  She also performed over 780 hours of pro bono service at Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida, where she later became an attorney representing victims of domestic violence.  Rebecca passed away on August 20, 2006.  This fellowship is supported by donations in her memory.

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