Pilot Program Expands Public Service Grants to Judicial Internships


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September 6, 2019

A new two-year pilot program at the University of Virginia School of Law will expand summer public service grants this year to fund judicial internships for the first time.

“Now students can pursue internships with courts, as well as with public service employers, without having to worry about how they’ll afford to do so,” said Annie Kim ’99, assistant dean for public service and director of the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center. “Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and donors, students can work in any sector that interests them regardless of whether they’re getting paid.”

This summer, 166 students received a record $703,370 in grants. Each year, the student-run Public Interest Law Association works with the Law School’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center to disburse the funds, known as PILA grants. In the past, students have used the grants to work for federal, state or local governments, nonprofits and public defenders’ offices, as well as internationally. The pilot program aims to make fellowship opportunities more equitable by including additional popular internships.

Through a judicial internship, UVA Law students work during the summer for federal or state judges.

“Working with a judge over the summer is a good way for students to both gain exposure to different types of law and courtroom practice, as well as to contribute meaningfully to the development of the law,” said Ruth Payne ’02, senior director of judicial clerkships. “Extending PILA grants to students interested in judicial internships is a wonderful way to make this experience more accessible to our students.”  

PILA grant requirements for the judicial internships are the same as for other grant recipients and public service roles. Student recipients are required to apply and qualify for the funding by volunteering their time for pro bono work — 40 hours for first-year students and 80 hours for second-year students. Grantees must also have secured a public service position and agree to donate hours back to PILA, which founded the grant program.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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mfox@law.virginia.edu / (434) 982-6832

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