Program in Law and Public Service

The Program in Law and Public Service is designed to offer a select group of students the opportunity to receive intensive and appropriate training that will prepare them for a career in public service. Each year, up to 20 first-year students will be admitted to the program. Another five slots will be held open for second-year students. Applications are due in the fall.

Professor Andrew Block Discusses the Program

 

Program participants will be required to take the course “Law and Public Service” in the spring of their first year of law school. (Students admitted to the program in their second year of law school may take the “Law and Public Service” course in the spring of their second years.) They will also be required to take the course on advocacy skills for public interest lawyers in the spring of their second year of law school. Last, they will be required in their third year to participate in a year-long colloquium in which students will present their independent research. Students in the program will be paired with a faculty mentor with expertise in the substantive area of interest to the participant. The faculty mentors will help students map out their courses, serve as sounding boards for summer and permanent employment, and will oversee an independent study.

Program participants will also be guaranteed summer funding for public service jobs, provided they comply with the prerequisites established by the Public Interest Law Association for summer grants. Participants will be required to spend at least one summer working in the field of public service. Questions should be directed via email to Professor Josh Bowers at jbowers@virginia.edu or Professor Anne Coughlin at amc6z@virginia.edu.

Contact: Professors Josh Bowers and Anne Coughlin, Program Directors
 

Applications and Selection

Applicants should submit a resume, undergraduate transcript, at least one letter of recommendation, and a personal statement, not to exceed 500 words, describing their commitment to public service and their future plans. The letter(s) of recommendation can be one(s) used for your law school application, but a letter that speaks specifically to your dedication to public service will be especially welcome and valuable. Hard copies of the letters must be submitted along with the application; they can be in a separately sealed envelope to preserve confidentiality if so desired. Second-year law students should also submit their law school transcripts; unofficial copies of transcripts, whether undergraduate or law school, are fine.

Selections will be based on past achievement, dedication to public service, and promise of future success. This program is designed for students who already know that they want to pursue public service as a career, and selections will be made accordingly. Applicants will be notified by the end of the first semester exams. Applicants should sign up for spring courses in the normal process; those selected will automatically be added to the “Law and Public Service Course” and, if necessary, will be permitted to drop one of the spring courses they had already selected.