Public Interest Fellowships

William S. Boyd School of Law Public Interest Fellowship Program

The Public Interest Fellowship Program offers financial resources, mentorship, and experiential learning opportunities to part-time and full-time students with strong academic credentials, a demonstrated record of community service, and a clear commitment to public interest work after graduation from law school. Fellows can expect individualized academic and career counseling from faculty, career guidance from alumni who have undertaken public interest work, and hands-on experience with committed community partners facilitated through our Career Development Office and Externship Program. We anticipate that Fellows will be leaders among our student body in assessing the public interest and public service needs in our community, promoting new initiatives to address those needs, and involving their classmates in these initiatives. Fellows will also benefit by becoming part of a community of like-minded, public-oriented students whom they can call upon during law school and after graduation.  Students accepted into the Public Interest Fellowship Program will become Fellows in the upcoming fall semester.

Brittnie WatkinsPublic Interest Fellows will receive:

  • A one-half tuition scholarship for one year renewable at one half resident tuition in subsequent years provided the Fellow remains in good academic standing. Fellows remain eligible for merit-based scholarship awards from the admissions committee up to the remaining one-half tuition.
  • A $5000 stipend or scholarship each academic year to support the Fellow’s work in public interest. This $5000 is in addition to any salary the Fellow receives from a public interest employer. For one of the Fellows, the award will be sponsored by the Forsman/Pescetta Fellowship Fund, established to promote public interest work in Nevada.  Each fellow may have up to 2 paid $5000 stipends during his/her time at Boyd.
  • Reasonable expenses to attend one public interest conference in the United States while the Fellow is a J.D. candidate.

Three broad principles underlie the Fellows Program: Community, Development, and Reflection.

Community: The Public Interest Fellowship Program offers its Fellows the opportunity to become part of a community of students, faculty, and advocates. The Program will bring this community together through seminars, reading groups, informal meetings and gatherings, conversation with public leaders in Nevada, activities in the Public Interest Law Association and similar organizations, and opportunities for the Fellows to present to faculty and other students.

Development: The law school will create opportunities and structures to support the Fellows throughout law school and to further develop their interests and leadership potential.

Reflection: Fellows will be expected to work at least one summer during law school for an organization that promotes the mission of public interest work. Fellows may select from a wide variety of opportunities, including state and federal legislatures, and offices of government and non-profit legal agencies. 

Finally, Fellows must write an annual report detailing their accomplishments of the past year and their expectations for future years. This will not be a mere paperwork “requirement” of having received a Fellowship. Instead, the goal of the annual report will be to provide an opportunity for students to be reflective of their ongoing educational experience and mindful of their future professional path. In completing the report, students will connect their pre-law-school ideals with the many new experiences and opportunities presented during their law school education.

Application process

The Fellowship Committee will begin reviewing applications from admitted applicants on March 15 and continuing students on April 15.

Contacts for questions about the application:

Nikki Harris, Associate Director of Career Development and Public Interest Advisor (for questions about the program)
Eric Eden, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid (for applicants and newly admitted students)
Christine Smith, Associate Dean for Public Service, Compliance and Administration (for application receipt questions)

Melanie KushnirComplete the application form here.

Public Interest Fellows will be selected based on their:

• Demonstrated commitment to pursue a career in public interest or public service,

• Prior contributions to public service through employment, advocacy and/or volunteer activities, and

• Academic achievement.

Fellows must write an annual report detailing their accomplishments of the past year and their expectations for future years. This annual report has two purposes: to demonstrate the recipient’s continued commitment to public interest and public service law; and to provide an opportunity to students to be reflective and mindful of their educational and professional path.

Melanie Kushnir Access to Justice Fellowship

About Melanie and the Fellowship that Honors Her Memory. Click here to read more.

For more information about the programs, contact Nikki Harris, the Associate Director of Career Development and Public Interest Advisor.