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Public Interest Fellowships

Deadline: April 7, 2017

Information file (PDF)      Application Form (WORD doc)

UGA Law offers four summer public interest fellowship opportunities:

These fellowships share common criteria. See the end of this file for more particular descriptions of each fellowship, including the number and the amounts of the fellowship awarded.

The Georgia Public Interest Law Fellowships use a single application process. You need only submit one application through Symplicity, as described below. After the deadline, your application will be distributed to each of the committees making fellowship decisions.

This document describes the general requirements for applying, including deadlines and projected dates for decision.




In general, a Georgia Public Interest Law Fellowship may be awarded to a rising second- or third-year student who will work in an uncompensated public interest legal position.

“Public interest” work means the use of law by nonprofit organizations, law firms, and governments to represent historically underrepresented people or groups or to advocate on behalf of causes and concerns with a broad impact on the public. Areas of public interest law include, but are not limited to, human and civil rights and liberties, women’s rights, children and youth services, immigrant issues, worker rights employment law, consumer rights, public benefits, gay and lesbian rights, environmental law, prisoner rights, criminal law, and the death penalty. Public interest work includes domestic and international activities, and encompasses individual and group representation, representation of governments, and policy advocacy. See

A record number of School of Law students spent a summer of service in Georgia; Washington D.C.; New York City and abroad in 2017.


A student may not receive more than one summer public interest fellowship in the same summer, either through UGA or from another source. A student may receive additional funds from his or her sponsoring organization, however, but only in the form of reimbursement for expenses incurred because of the proposed work. Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowships will also not be awarded for work for which the student will be paid or could be paid as an employee. Every applicant has a continuing obligation to report whether her or she has obtained other funding or compensation, even after the award of a fellowship.

In general, the Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowships will not be awarded in the following cases: employment in for-profit organizations; positions on political campaigns; judicial externships or clerkships; or research positions with professors. A student seeking fellowship funding for work in these categories should include a statement of why the proposed work falls within the definition of public interest described above.

One or more of the fellowship selection committees may give preference to those that have not received a fellowship from any of the Georgia Public Interest Fellowships in a prior year. Students should disclose whether they have received such a fellowship in their application.

Starting in 2017, an applicant may receive receive course credit for work for which they receive a Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowship. Contact Alex Scherr, for further information about for-credit summer externships.

To be eligible for a Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowship, a recipient must work a minimum of 320 hours during the relevant summer.

Finally, anyone who receives a Georgia Public Interest Law Fellowship must submit a report about his or her work to the contact person at the Law School for his or her fellowship. Contact people for each fellowship are listed below. These reports may be used by each fellowship to report to their donor or to publicize the fellowship opportunities more generally.


Application Process

Application forms will be made available via email and on the Fellowship web page,  You can also obtain an application form by sending an email to Tonia Lumpkin at

The application requires you to complete several documents:

  1. a curriculum vitae / resume, indicating all experience (academic studies, fieldwork, volunteer work, and paid work) relevant to the fellowship
  2. a cover sheet with information about you, your sponsoring agency, and your proposed work;
  3. four short answer questions addressing the criteria for selection, no more than 1 page, doubled-spaced, 12-point font for each question
  4. an offer letter from your sponsoring agency; and
  5. one letter of recommendation from any relevant source is strongly encouraged but not required.

You must compile these into three documents

  • Your curriculum vitae/resume
  • A single file that contains the remaining documents, in the order listed above: the cover sheet; short answers; offer letter; and letter of recommendation.
  • A letter of recommendation, if any.

You must submit your application through Symplicity. To do so, look for the listing for Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowships Application, posting number 9097. You should apply by uploading both your resume and the single file you have just created, designated as a cover letter in Symplicity.

If you plan to have a letter of recommendation submitted for your application, do not upload that letter to Symplicity. Instead, arrange to have it sent to Tony Waller,, by the deadline.

Deadlines and Dates of Decision

Friday, April 7: deadline for applications

April 21: decisions on the Justice John Paul Stevens and Spurgeon Fellowships

April 28: decisions on the McLendon and EJF Fellowships

The four selection committees consist of different groups of faculty and other individuals. Each committee will notify recipients shortly after selections for that fellowship; the offer will include a deadline by which the applicant must affirmatively respond. An applicant’s failure to respond by the deadline may, in the committee’s discretion, result in withdrawal of the offer of a fellowship.

Responsibilities of Recipients

Fellowship recipients must:

  • work at least 320 hours (8 weeks, full time work) over the summer at the proposed public interest employer; and
  • submit a Fellowship Report to the contact person for the relevant selection committee no later than September 1 of the year in which the award was given. The report should include a discussion of how the student’s experience affected their commitment to public interest work and his or her development as a lawyer.

Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship

Number of Fellowships: 2

Location: National/International

Amount & Term: $5,000 for Summer 2017

Contact Person: Kathleen Doty,

Description: The University of Georgia School of Law will award two students Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowships of $5,000 each in order to support their placements in public interest law. The initiative is a partnership between Georgia Law and the John Paul Stevens Fellowship Foundation,, which was established by former law clerks of Stevens, who served as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1975 until his retirement in 2010, and who spoke at Georgia Law in 2013.

Among the Justice’s former clerks are a Georgia Law alumna, Merritt E. McAllister, now a partner at King & Spalding LLP in Atlanta, and two Georgia Law faculty members, Diane Marie Amann, Associate Dean for International Programs & Strategic Initiatives and Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law, and Sonja R. West, Associate Professor of Law.

The award of a Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship recognizes a Georgia Law student’s commitment to public service and potential for excellence throughout his or her legal career.

Eligibility & Requirements: The Justice John Paul Stevens Fellowships use the criteria stated for all Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowships.


Edward Spurgeon Fellowship

Number of Fellowships: 1-2

Location: National

Amount & Term: $2,500 - $5,000 depending on number of fellowships awarded.

Contact Person: Gregory Roseboro,

Description: The Edward Spurgeon Fellowship supports Georgia law students who seek to work in the public interest during the summer. Created by former University of Georgia Law School Dean Edward Spurgeon, the Fellowship has provided invaluable support to law students through funds that cover the costs associated with unpaid public interest lawyering. The Fellowships continue the Law School’s commitment to encouraging public interest law practice, a commitment advanced in significant ways during Dean Spurgeon’s tenure.

Eligibility & Requirements: The Edward Spurgeon Fellowships use the criteria stated for all Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowships.


McLendon Fellowship

Number of Fellowships: 6-8 depending on available funds

Location: National/International

Amount & Term: depends on available funds; in 2016, $3,500 for each fellowship

Contact Person: Alex Scherr,

Description: The Melburne D. and Jacqueline K. McLendon Endowment was established to provide funds “to be used to benefit the University of Georgia School of Law for practical legal education and training.” The Endowment stated that “practical legal education and training” should include education and training in both civil and criminal law. The Law School recognizes that much of the practical education and training of students occurs during the summer in extracurricular public interest placements procured by the students themselves. Because of the public interest nature of placements, students work at these placements without compensation. The purpose of the McLendon Fellowships is to help students defray the expenses they incur while working in uncompensated summer placements.

Eligibility & Requirements: The McLendon Fellowships use the criteria stated for all Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowships.


Equal Justice Foundation Fellowships

Number of Fellowships:  5 – 10 depending on available funds

Location: National/International

Amount & Term: $1,500-$3,000 depending on available funds.

Description: The Equal Justice Foundation is a student-run organization devoted to the promotion of public interest law. EJF works to provide stipends for Georgia law students who have chosen to work in unpaid, public interest positions over the summer. Public interest law is not a lucrative field, and students who pay the high cost of legal education need financial support. EJF’s mission is to:

  • Raise money for stipends and distribute the funds to public interest law students in a fair manner,
  • Provide networking opportunities for students interested in public interest law careers, and
  • Promote the viability of public interest law careers at UGA by our fundraising efforts and supporting other public interest organizations at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Eligibility & Requirements: The Equal Justice Foundation Fellowships use the criteria stated for all Georgia Law Public Interest Fellowships.