Funding your Legal Career
Although many public interest and government employers welcome law student involvement, many cannot afford to pay a law clerk.
Additionally, if you perform public interest or public service work after graduation, you may want to take advantage of bar assistance and loan repayment programs to supplement your income.
Check early (and often) to make sure you do not miss a good opportunity!
There are several funding options to explore, including:
- Federal Work-Study – Provides partial funding for eligible government and nonprofit legal employers to hire paid law clerks. To receive Federal Work-study funding, students must qualify financially, and the employers must be awarded a contract.
- PILP Awards – Funds students to perform summer work at public interest organizations. PILP organizes an annual auction to raise funds and grants 15-20 summer awards. The application deadline is usually in March.
- Lezak Legacy Fellowship Program – Funds four to five students to work in public interest law positions for the summer. The Fellowship seeks students with a history of working for social justice, or who plan to work for social justice. The Fellows Program also provides assigned mentors for each Fellow.
- Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps JD – Awards $1,000+ education awards for students working in specific public interest priority areas during the summer or school-year. Award can be in addition to other sources of funding like work study or stipend. Applications are due in April or May.
- PSJD.org – PSJD maintains two lists of summer funding sources across the country, one location based and one universal. Look for the PSJD’s Resources Renter.
- Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) – Provides summer funding for law students working at Chicago public interest organizations.
- Peggy Browning Fund – Provides summer funding for students interested in workers’ rights issues. (Lewis & Clark is a member school).
- Externships – Provides school credit for full-time work unlocking summer financial aid. Available to students the summer after their 1L or 2L year or during their 2L and 3L year.
- Access to Justice Tech Fellows program – Paid fellowships to work with legal services organizations to leverage technology for low-income Americans.
- Oregon State Bar’s Diversity & Inclusion program – the D&I program offers scholarships for entering and current Oregon law school students intending to practice law in Oregon (applications typically available in April), as well as bar exam grants (applications typically available in April), and summer stipend programs (applications typically available in January).
- Lewis & Clark’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program – if you are a graduate, and are using your degree to help under-represented people or causes at a government, nonprofit, or tribal office, and are earning less than our income cap, you may qualify for Lewis & Clark’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program.
- Oregon State Bar’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program – if you are working for a civil legal aid organization, other private nonprofit organization providing direct legal representation to low-income individuals, as a public defender, or as a deputy district attorney, and earning less than the income cap, you may qualify for a forgivable loan from the OSB.
- AccessLex Scholarship Incentives – Use the financial curriculum, including workshops, online programming, and one-on-one counseling, to educate yourself on loan repayment and personal finance. For using its services, AccessLex will enter your name in a scholarship drawing.