Summer Public Service Fellowship Program
The University of Arkansas School of Law Summer Public Service Fellowship Program provides paid public service fellowships to promising law students interested in public service careers. It offers meaningful employment opportunities and provides legal services to nonprofit, non-governmental, and government entities that cannot otherwise afford summer interns. During the summer of 2021, the program will offer fellowships to 10 students.
“For me, this experience reaffirmed my desire to work in a nonprofit or legal aid setting because those settings allow the most vulnerable people to get the help they need.”
“This is an opportunity to turn a thought or a ‘dabbling’ in social justice into the potential for a long-lasting, rewarding career path with no loss or financial burden placed on the student. The public service fellowship was a priceless experience for me in terms of exposure to an area where humanity meets the law.”
— Badria Mryyan, 2019 Summer Public Service Fellow
Past Summer Fellows
- Madison Miller, Squire Patton Boggs Summer Policy Fellow (Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, Washington DC)
- Ciera Runner, Public Interest Litigation Fellow (Federal Public Defender)
- Zachary Joseph Rivera (Oklahoma Innocence Project)
- Kara Butler, Public Interest and Rural Community Sustainability Fellow (Arkansas Access to Justice)
- Taylor Carpenter, Public Interest Litigation Fellow (Washington County Public Defender)
- Jessica Kloss, Raffaelli-Lineberger Summer Public Service Fellow (Securities and Exchange Commission)
- Dana McGee, Public Interest Litigation Fellow (Shelby County Public Defenders)
- Marcus Clouse (U.S. Magistrate Judge David Rush)
- Marion Humphrey, Gearhart Family Diversity Fellow (Arch City Defenders)
- Martha-Kay Mettler, Delta Fellow (University of Arkansas School of Law)
- Marion Humphrey, Squire Patton Boggs Summer Policy Fellow (1L) (Campaign for Youth Justice)
- Alexis Acello (1L) (Center for Arkansas Legal Services)
- Badria Mryyan (1L) (YWCA Tulsa)
- Clinton Summers (1L) (U.S. Magistrate Judge David Rush)
- Derick Dillard (1L) (Federal Public Defender for the Western District of Arkansas)
- Mitchell Dowden, Tyson Summer Public Service Fellow (2L) (Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic)
- Nicholas Linn, Raffaelli-Lineberger Summer Public Service Fellow (2L) (U.S. Department of Justice)
- Maria Baez de Hicks (2L) (Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families)
“Working for a federal judge my first summer of law school was an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to have received the fellowship. I couldn’t have paid my expenses without it, and I wouldn’t want to trade the internship for anything!”
— Clinton Summers, 2019 Summer Public Service Fellow
Fellows will receive $5,500 for 10 weeks of full-time work for a qualifying public service employer and will be enrolled in a one-credit course. They will complete duties assigned by their host organization during the summer of 2021 and submit a written summary of their experiences to the School of Law in August. See the Summer Fellowship Application Overview 2021 for additional details on the course credit and funding.
“Throughout the summer, I had a growing desire to further prepare myself for a career in public service. The fellowship program can help give a better perspective of what a career in a particular public service field of interest might look like. This is extremely valuable in efficiently launching into a public service legal career, while building lifelong relationships at the same time.”
— Derrick Dillard, 2019 Summer Public Service Fellow
- First- and second-year law students are eligible, and preference will be given to first-year students.
- Preference will be given to students with an interest in – and demonstrated commitment to – public service.
- Students must be in good financial standing with the University of Arkansas School of Law.
- Students may not transfer to another school for the 2021-22 school year.
- Preference will be given to students based on their financial need.
- One fellowship will be awarded to a student with a qualified employer whose work addresses problems of access to justice and rural economic development created by a low number of attorneys per capita. This work can be performed for the public interest which may include, but is not limited to, non-profit organizations; and federal, state, or tribal government agencies.
“This position taught me that there are no ‘small’ areas of law. Helping someone maintain their social security benefits or keep their home when they separate from an abusive partner may not be as ‘flashy’ as other types of law, but they are no less important. I found immense value in helping people with the ‘small’ things because they are big things to the clients. That was a crucial perspective for me to gain.”
“I am monumentally grateful for the Public Service Fellowship. It allowed me to serve and grow as a student, an advocate, and a future attorney without worrying about how I was going to pay my rent.”
— Lexi Acello, 2019 Summer Public Service Fellow
- Students are responsible for securing a qualifying public service employer willing to host and supervise them.
- Qualifying employers include 501(c)(3) organizations, other non-profits, and local, state, or federal entities, including tribal governments.
- For-profit law firms that perform public interest work will not be considered.
- Funding preference is made for students working for an organization that cannot otherwise afford summer law clerks.
- Consult the Summer Fellowship Application Overview 2021 for additional details.
Note: There are additional requirements for those applying for the Squire Patton Boggs Fellowship. More information about the fellowship program is available on their website and 2020 Fellows Brochure featuring the most recent class of fellows.
“The Summer Public Service Fellowship Program was vital in providing the opportunity for hands on experience in work that I want to base my future career on. This opportunity helped me to not only see myself in this role, but also begin to build a professional network that will allow me to be successful in the future.”
— Maria Baez de Hicks, 2019 Summer Public Service Fellow
Application Process and Timeline
For more information on how to apply, see the 2021 Summer Fellowship Application Instructions and 2021 Application Form. All application materials must be uploaded to the Public Service Fellowship TWEN site by 8 p.m. on March 19, 2021.
Programmatic deadlines and milestones include:
- 11/20/20: Application forms and information available
- 03/19/21: Application deadline
- 04/02/21: Notification of awards
- 04/09/21: Deadline to accept
Participating in the Summer Public Service Fellowship program increased my commitment to “a role that has some policy focus. I think it’s very important to work towards removing injustice from the system fully, and emphasis toward policy is a way to do that. Before, I was not as committed to make that a part of my work, but I think it’s truly important to meet both litigation and legal practitioner work with policy activism and advocacy.”
— Marion Humphrey, 2019 Squire Patton Boggs Summer Public Service Fellow
Other Public Service Summer Opportunities
Students interested in a paid placement in the public service sector may go to the online law school Career Center to search and apply to jobs, research employers and funding opportunities, schedule career advising appointments and more. The law school’s Office of Career Services is also helpful when looking for paid positions.
Public Service Externships
Students interested in earning academic credit while participating in public service legal opportunities may consider a summer externship. Details are available on the Externships page or contact professor Angie Doss (firstname.lastname@example.org). Summer externship applications are available in February each year.
Public Service and Pro Bono
Placements through the law school’s Public Service and Pro Bono Program are another way to advance a career in the public service sector. The program offers opportunities for service and recognizes students who engage in substantive pro bono work. Pro bono opportunities are available on GivePulse in the law school’s Pro Bono subgroup or contact professor Annie Smith (email@example.com).
“The only reason I had this opportunity was due to the Summer Public Service Fellowship Program. It’s an opportunity I would take again and again. I would recommend anyone else take the chance to explore options outside of a traditional law firm route.”
— Mitchell Dowden, 2019 Tyson Summer Public Service Fellow
Potential Work Areas
Offices and organizations where students can gain substantive public service legal experience include, but are not limited to:
- Public Defender
- Public Prosecutor
- City Government
- City Attorney
- University Counsel
- Public Utilities
- Child Protection and Family Support
- Legislators (tribal, state, or federal)
- Legislative Committees (tribal, state, or federal)
- Government Agencies (tribal, state, or federal)
- Trial Judges
- Labor Unions
- Advocacy Groups
- Nonprofit Organizations
“I found that some of the very best people work in public service. They believe in the mission and value the people they work with.”
“The Summer Public Service Fellowship is one of the best programs you can participate in during law school because it allows you to experience what it's like to work in public service before choosing a career path. Pro bono and public interest work are fundamental to the legal profession because much of the public cannot access representation. This fellowship gives you the opportunity to serve as an advocate for that great majority.”
— Nick Linn, 2019 Raffaelli-Lineberger Summer Public Service Fellow