Public Interest Law Fellowship
To be considered for a summer 2013 award, please submit application materials to the Wayne Law Career Services Office by March 22, 2013 The PILF Committee expects to announce award recipients during the first the week of April.
The purpose of the Public Interest Law Fellowship Program is to promote opportunities in public interest law, ease student financial stresses, and offer needed assistance to organizations providing legal services to underserved constituencies.
In order to be eligible for a Public Interest Law Fellowship (PILF) Award, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
Current Wayne Law Student/Not Transferring: The applicant must be a current Wayne Law student and must be enrolled for the following fall semester. The student must be in good academic standing and have at least have a cumulative “C” (2.0) average. A student may apply for more than one PILF award during the course of his or her studies at Wayne Law.
Full-Time Work with a “Public Interest Organization”: The applicant must work either (a) 10 weeks full time for a single “public interest organization” (as defined below), or (b) if the applicant chooses to split the summer between two “public interest organizations,” he/she must work 5 weeks full time at each organization for a total of 10 weeks. Full-time is defined as an average of 40 hours per week. A sponsoring Public Interest Organization must be identified at the time of application.
Low or No Pay: The applicant may receive only minimal funding from the employer.
Financial need, as documented through the current year Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The student has the option of replacing loan funds with the PILF award.
Submission of all application materials listed in Section H below.
Confirmation of employment by the sponsoring “public interest organization(s).”
- Beyond these minimum requirements, the PILF selection criteria will include:
1) a demonstrated interest and commitment to public interest and the specific issue/area in which the applicant will be working over the summer (this demonstration may include volunteer experience with law school student groups);
2) how the applicant's proposed summer job and the community served relate to previous experiences and future goals; and
3) how the applicant's proposed employment and the community served relate to his/her broad legal education.
B. “Public Interest Organization” Defined
For purposes of PILF, a “public interest organization” is defined as:
A government or intergovernmental institution: Any domestic or foreign government agency, department, or office (at the local, state, or federal level), or an intergovernmental organization is eligible.
A non-profit organization serving underserved interests: Any non-profit organization that provides legal, policy, or advocacy services exclusively to communities or persons that are underserved or underrepresented is eligible.
- A non-profit organization serving community interests (provided that the organization is not otherwise excluded). Any non-profit organization that provides legal, policy, or advocacy services on behalf of the community at large is eligible.
C. Jobs Excluded from “Public Interest Organization” Definition:
The following organizations are not considered “public interest organizations,” and therefore are not eligible for PILF funding (even if they otherwise meet the definition above):
Judges and Courts – Traditional judicial internships are not eligible. However, non-traditional work with a significant public interest component for a judge, court, or tribunal may be considered eligible on a case-by-case basis by the PILF Committee.
Professors and Universities – Academic work for a professor or for a university is not eligible. However, work for a university-sponsored legal clinic is eligible.
- Partisan and Campaign Activities – Work on a political campaign, for a political party, or in a partisan capacity is not eligible.
D. Scholarship Amount
The 2013 PILF awards will be $3,500 - $4,500. However, a scholarship recipient may receive a reduced award if it is necessary to avoid an overaward as described below. Students receiving a reduced award are still required to fulfill all obligations, including working either a minimum of 10 weeks full time for a single public interest organization or a minimum of 5 weeks full time with each of two public interest organizations for a total of 10 weeks.
If a student receives an outside financial award or fellowship to fund the same position as a PILF, the PILF award may be reduced by 50% of the value of the outside fellowship.
E. PILF Limitations
University policy requires that no award constitute an overaward, contrary to federal and state law. “Overaward” is the granting of financial aid in excess of “financial need.” “Financial need” is, defined by federal regulations, and is calculated, pursuant to those regulations, by the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA).
A PILF in combination with federal student loans cannot exceed cost of attendance in the current academic year. A PILF will reduce eligibility for federal student loans. The student has the option of replacing loan funds with the PILF.
F. Amendments (Accepting a Job that Was NOT Included in the Original Application)
Understandably, the jobs included in a scholarship application are often approximations. Scholarship recipients may ultimately accept jobs that were not included in their initial application. If a scholarship recipient is awarded a PILF, then he/she may accept one of the jobs included in his/her initial application.
If the scholarship recipient accepts a different job (including a job with one of the organizations he/she specified, but in a different office or with different duties), then he/she must amend his/her application. The PILF Committee will then evaluate that amended application and notify the applicant of his/her decision within seven days.
G. Cancellation of a PILF
A PILF may be cancelled or reduced if the scholarship recipient (1) accepts a different job which does not qualify as public service as defined above, or (2) does not complete the required weeks of employment. If a student receives an outside financial award or fellowship to fund the same position as a PILF, the PILF award may be reduced by 50% of the value of the outside fellowship.
The student is required to notify the Law School Career Services Office if the public service work assignment cannot be completed. If the required weeks of employment cannot be completed, the PILF Committee will evaluate and notify the applicant of his/her decision to reduce or cancel the award. The student should be aware that if the PILF is cancelled or reduced, eligibility to recoup federal loan funds may be lost. Further, the student may be liable to return funds to the university.
H. PILF Selection
The PILF Committee, appointed by the Dean, selects and awards PILF scholarships based on the PILF Application. Past winners are eligible for consideration.
- Name and address;
- Phone number (preferably cell phone) and email;
- Current transcript; an unofficial transcript is acceptable
- Current resume (3 pages maximum)
- Personal statement (500 words maximum) – provide any information that will aid the PILF Committee in assessing experience, personal and professional goals, and commitment to public service. The statement should address the PILF selection criteria, which will include:
1. a demonstrated interest and commitment to public interest and the specific issue/area in which the applicant will be working over summer (this demonstration may include volunteer experience with law school student groups);
2. how the applicant’s proposed summer job and the community served relate to previous experiences and future goals; and
3. how the applicant’s proposed employment and the community served relate to his/her broad legal education.
2. Job information (note: applicants may include up to two potential jobs in the application)
- Organization contact information (organization/employer’s name, address, phone number, email, website, and a contact person);
- Job description (200 words maximum) – for each organization/employer, describe the organization’s work and mission, and the work the applicant will likely do over the summer;
- Name, email address, and phone number of the applicant’s legal supervisor of at the organization;
- Status of job offer (e.g., Do you have a confirmed job offer or have you merely submitted an application, etc.)
- Disclosure of additional outside financial support for the job, if any, (e.g., Have you applied for additional outside funding for the position? If so, what is the status of that funding?)
- Letters of support from an organization/employer, while optional, will be considered by the PILF Committee.
3. Authorization to review academic and financial aid information for purposes of determining scholarship eligibility – the student must explicitly state that her/his academic and financial aid information may be reviewed for purposes of determining scholarship eligibility.
4. Any additional information required by the Office of Financial Aid to complete your aid application.
Application materials must be submitted to:
I. PILF Funding and Award Payment
The PILF is a departmental award and will be funded by the Law School at the Dean’s discretion. The student’s award will be disbursed by OSFA after receipt of a signed Payment Authorization Form. The Payment Authorization Form should be signed by the Dean or his designee.
The award amount will be applied to the student’s account balance in a lump sum at the end of the current winter semester. Refunds are released to the student, after all university charges are paid, by the University Student Accounts Receivable Office. In some circumstances, the award may be made as a reduction in the student’s loan balance.
J. PILF Award Student Responsibilities
If a student receives outside funding for the same position which is funded by a PILF, the student must notify the Office of Student Financial Aid.
Students receiving a PILF award must return the following Final Report form and attach a written narrative, as described in the Final Report form. Timely submission of a final report is a requirement of the Public Interest Law Fellowship program.
The Final Report form will be available to other Wayne Law students to assist in their public interest law job searches. The PILF recipient may also agree to make the written narrative available to other Wayne Law students.
The written report must be submitted by September 30, 2013 to:
Wayne Law Career Services Office, 471 West Palmer, Suite 1265, Detroit, MI 48202
K. PILF Committee
The PILF Committee is appointed by the Dean and the Dean reserves the authority to make all final decisions regarding the award of PILF scholarships. The Dean will strive to appoint a committee with faculty, alumni, and student representation. The students on the committee will not have access to transcript or financial aid information of other students. The Assistant Director of Financial Aid assigned to the law school will serve on the PILF Committee Ex-Officio.
The PILF Committee will evaluate the applications and award the PILF scholarships, subject to the Dean’s reserved authority to make all final decisions.
The Office of Student Financial Aid will distribute awards according to applicable university policies and procedures. If university policies and procedures in effect for the administration of the scholarship funds are changed, these provisions will be automatically modified to conform to the changes.